Trump’s Big Lie Victims Slapped Him Back at the Jan. 6 Hearing

Luis G. Rendon/The Daily Beast/Getty
Luis G. Rendon/The Daily Beast/Getty

Tuesday’s Jan. 6 Committee hearing kicked-off amid a raging dumpster fire. In the hours preceding Rep. Bennie Thompson bringing the gavel down, the 45th president chivvied Rep. Kevin McCarthy in a radio broadcast, reportedly left John Eastman to swim solo in shark infested waters, and learned that previously unseen video captured him in the Oval Office on Jan. 6 and its run-up would be heading to the committee.

Former President Donald Trump remains in the headlines, but not all publicity is desirable. After more than two-and-a-half hours of testimony on Tuesday, he is that much worse for the wear. Already, six-in-10 Americans say Trump should be criminally charged for his role in the insurrection. That number is likely to increase as the hearings continue.

Trump’s former attorney general, Bill Barr, again shoved a dagger into the ex-reality show’s host gut in pre-recorded testimony, belittling his former boss’s claims of election fraud in Fulton County. “The claims of fraud were bullshit,” Barr emphasized.

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Meanwhile, Democratic Rep. Adam Schiff and a committee investigator curated footage that laid out the Trump-driven scheme to have state legislators trample on democracy. Trump and Co. targeted representatives and officials in Arizona, Georgia, and Pennsylvania. Victory was to be obtained at any and all costs.

For his part, Rusty Bowers, the Republican speaker of the Arizona legislature, picked up where Barr left off. Bowers’ testimony was stirring, his faith moving.

“It is a tenet of my faith that the Constitution is divinely inspired,” Bowers explained. For him to decertify an election “because someone just asked to is against my very being.”

The legislator called Trump a liar in not so many words, but in contradicting Trump, Bowers denied ever having called the election “rigged” or fraudulent.

Beyond that, he shredded ex-Trump lawyers Rudy Giuliani and Jenna Ellis—the latter’s desperate sidekick. “We’ve got lots of theories, we just don’t have the evidence,” Bowers recalled Giuliani acknowledging.

Bowers made fidelity to his oath of office and the U.S. Constitution paramount. Like an Old Testament prophet, Bowers spoke truth to power.

His belief in the foundational document echoed sentiments expressed by Rep. Barbara Jordan during the Nixon impeachment hearing: “My faith in the Constitution is whole; it is complete; it is total.”

Once again, Brad Raffensperger, Georgia’s secretary of state, punched back at Trump during the hearing. (Just weeks earlier in the Georgia Republican primary, Raffensperger handily beat-back Trump’s efforts to deprive him of the GOP nomination.)

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“The numbers were the numbers,” Raffensperger intoned. “The numbers don’t lie.” Beyond that, Raffensperger specifically reviewed and rejected the election irregularities suggested by Trump. To be clear, ballots were not shredded. Minors, felons, and the dead did not cast ballots in the Peach State.

Despite Trump’s attempts to strongarm Raffensperger, there were no votes to “find.” As the hearing progressed, the image of Trump sounding more like Tony Soprano than the one-time leader of the free world congealed.

Then again, The Sopranos was only fiction. These hearings have made clear that menace was (and is) part of the Trump campaign playbook. Jan. 6 was just one play.

Witnesses who appeared on Tuesday repeatedly testified of physical intimidation. Ms. Wandrea ArShaye “Shaye” Moss, a former Georgia election worker, was brought to the brink on account of the harassment she endured from Trump diehards. Moss says she has stopped going to the grocery store out of fear.

Her mother testified that the FBI directed her to go into hiding, and reminded us that the duty of the president is to protect the citizenry, not place them in harm’s way. For the record, the mother and daughter shared a ginger mint, not a USB stick, as Rudy Giuliani and others implied they saw in video footage of them counting ballots.

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In his closing remarks, Rep. Schiff said that this is not America. It sounded more like a hope and a prayer. Others would differ.

Malcolm Turnbull, a former prime minister of Australia previously observed: “You know that great line that you hear all the time: ‘This is not us. This is not America.’ You know what? It is, actually.”

Reports continue to emerge of Trump contemplating another run for the White House. His prospective candidacy does not have appeared to deter Mike Pence, his vice president, and Ron DeSantis, Florida’s governor. Trump’s base will never desert him. Whether they ever-so-slowly slip away remains to be seen.

As we heard on Tuesday, the Big Lie is no longer an issue of fact. Rather, it is now a matter of the heart, an article of faith for far too many. Democracy and the future of the Republic lie in the balance.

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