News & Politics

Democrats' Jan. 6 Soviet-Style Show Trial Begins

AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi rejected Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy’s recommendations for seats on the Democrats’ Soviet-style show trial they refer to as the “January 6 Select Committee” — a virtually unprecedented move.

The speaker named Republican Reps. Adam Kinzinger and Liz Cheney to the committee, leading to speculation that she now wants to lead both parties at the same time.

Both Cheney and Kinzinger will be trotted out front and center to “prove” how bipartisan the committee is, despite the fact that the narrative has already been set, the script has been written, the stage directions have been given, and Democrats have tested various themes and one-liners to see what will sell with voters.

“She’s broken Congress,” McCarthy told the New York Post, adding that her actions make “the whole committee a sham and the outcome predetermined.”

The partisan news site Salon headlined its gentle missive on the committee, “Democrats have a massive opportunity with Capitol riot committee: Shove it down the GOP’s throat.” The piece referred to the equally “bipartisan” Benghazi committee chaired by Trey Gowdy when Republicans ran Congress.

If Democrats don’t do the same thing with their Jan. 6 select committee, they will be missing the chance to tar and feather not only Donald Trump but the entire Republican Party. Everybody knows what happened on Jan. 6. Everybody knows who assaulted the Capitol. It was a violent mob of Trump supporters. They didn’t try to conceal who they were. They waved Trump flags. They wore MAGA hats. They chanted Trump slogans. They filmed themselves with their cell phones and immediately posted the clips on social media. They tweeted. They Facebooked. They Instagrammed. They gave interviews to whoever from the  mainstream media was present. And then they went home and bragged about it.

All of this is true, but how does it prove the culpability of the Republican Party? There won’t be many Democratic politicians echoing the headline’s sentiment in public, but the Democrats are out for blood — Republican blood — and won’t be satisfied beating up Donald Trump again. They won’t stop until they destroy the GOP as a political party.

To accomplish that goal, they will look to paint a picture of Donald Trump being in charge of a vast conspiracy involving Republicans in Congress and right-wing organizations like QAnon and Proud Boys. The evidence will be scant, but they will “connect the dots” to prove conspiracy.

This committee won’t work for Democrats unless they prove the January 6 riot was more than a bunch of delusional right-wing nuts taking advantage of a breakdown in law enforcement to run through the halls of the Capitol like a bunch of escapees from a lunatic asylum. They must “prove” that the danger of insurrection is still with us. Otherwise, the process becomes just another partisan game.

McCarthy foolishly gave Pelosi an opening when he submitted any names at all. Now Pelosi can humiliate Republicans and claim it’s being done on a bipartisan basis. Perhaps Kinzinger and Cheney will wake up to the fact that the Democrats aren’t interested in finding out what happened on January 6.

Don’t count on it.