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The Insurrection: One Year Later

Updated: Jan 7, 2022

One year ago America was the victim of an attempted coup. It was a well- coordinated, meticulously planned and violent effort to overturn the results of an election and illegally install a tyrant into the Oval Office.

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It was not simply “tourists”. It was not Antifa. And it was not the FBI. It was a mob hell-bent on keeping Donald Trump in office. It was a movement not only supported by Trump, but enthusiastically encouraged by him.

Like December 7th and 9/11, the date January 6th will go down in infamy as a fateful and dark date in American history. The committee formed to investigate the events surrounding that day has been largely condemned by Republicans, who are calling it a partisan effort to attack Donald Trump. The party that held seemingly endless hearings over the attack in Benghazi is nevertheless claiming that efforts to get to the bottom of the January 6th insurrection lacks legislative purpose, and therefore many are refusing to comply with subpoenas testify about their role in the uprising.

Others, including Trump, are claiming vague Executive Privilege as a reason for not cooperating with the committee. In an almost laughable defense, lawyers for Trump want to argue their case against the release of certain documents surrounding that fateful day before the Supreme Court. They are asserting that such revelations would be “damaging to the Office of the President” because they would prevent privileged conversations from happening. His lawyers further assert that Trump is not acting out of personal gain, but to protect future presidents from being subjected to such restrictions.

Give me a break!!

Foreshadowing the Insurrection

A hallmark of American democracy is the peaceful transition of power from one administration to the next. It was always taken for granted that, once the election results were verified, the losing candidate would concede to the victor and the transfer of power would occur, as it always has.

While there have been several disputed elections, most notably in 1876 and 2000, negotiations allowed for this tradition to continue…until now.

Trump had foreshadowed his intentions when it was predicted he would lose to Hillary Clinton in 2016. With the polls showing him being defeated, Trump refused to say if he would concede. Even after his inauguration, Trump refused to admit that lost the popular vote, and even launched a commission to investigate alleged voter irregularities.

Seeing this, and fearing a repeat in 2020, a bipartisan group, Transition Integrity Project, was formed to investigate possible scenarios that could occur if Trump lost, yet refused to concede, or even refused to leave office. While it wasn’t an official group, it was a collection of individuals, some of whom were involved in the 2016 Clinton campaign, who shared several possible ways the election could end. They called these scenarios war-gaming exercises, and invited participants to offer solutions to any possible outcome to the 2020 presidential election.

Conservatives also conducted their own transition research. The Texas Public Policy Foundation and the Claremont Institute both held their own war gaming sessions to attempt to deal with possible outcomes. They reached the conclusion that, even with a Trump loss, there would only be minimal public disruption, yet the Constitutional peaceful transition of power would occur, as it always did.

None of these scenarios predicted the events of January 6th.

Prior Planning

No act as serious as plotting the overthrow of the government can take place without planning. The January 6th Select Committee is investigating meetings with at least 20 Trump associates, including Steve Bannon, John Eastman, Rudy Giuliani and Michael Flynn, along with members of the Proud Boys and Oath Keepers, at Washington's Willard Hotel in what was known as the “War Room”, to map out specific strategies to overturn the election results.

In an attempt to double-down on their election disputes, Trump and his advocates filed multiple lawsuits to challenge the results in six battleground states that Trump lost. They ignored the states where Trump came out ahead, as well as those races where Trump was not a candidate, such as battles for the Senate or governorship. Not surprisingly, Trump lost almost every case, including one where they took the fight to the Supreme Court.

While it’s yet unclear exactly what was accomplished during the War Room meetings, a 36 page version of a Power Point presentation was forwarded to Trump Chief of Staff Mark Meadows. The information contained in the presentation gave specific details as to how Vice President Mike Pence could throw out the will of the voters and have Trump-friendly delegates installed to re-verify the results to his advantage.

Trump ally and economic advisor Peter Navarro ingratiated himself into Trump’s inner circle by devising a number of alternative theories and possibilities as to how to overturn the election results. On Trump’s orders, Navarro distributed these plans to Republican members of Congress prior to January 6th. His schemes included unproven and debunked claims of voter fraud and fake ballots, and were given the elaborate names “The Immaculate Deception”and “The Green Bay Sweep”.

Meanwhile, the internet was abuzz with activity as Trump ramped up the rhetoric of a stolen election and a rigged system. Users openly stated there would be violence as they were invited to attend a “Save America” rally on the very day Congress was to verify Joe Biden’s victory. Trump promised it was going to “Be Wild”on December 19th from his now defunct Twitter account.

Yet, authorities ignored these threats. Why wouldn’t they? There have been numerous protests in Washington in the past, and none had resulted in widespread violence. After all, the Capitol had recently endured Black Lives Matter protestors with no threat to those inside the building.

But, the major difference was that there was a huge police presence during the BLM marches. On the day of the insurrection, law enforcement was told to hold back, and to even assist Trump supporters who said they feared violence from the Left as they marched on the Capitol.

So, the insurrection may have been a preventable occurrence. A failure of law enforcement to pay attention to internet chatter combined with an unexplainable lack of adequate security resulted in a mob that was able to easily overpower the limited Capitol police who guarded the lawmakers contained in the building.

The insurrection was planned in plain sight. Apparently no one was looking, or they were ordered not to look.

The Insurrection

The morning of January 6th was brisk, with temperatures hovering around 40 degrees. Despite the coolness of the morning, participants began arriving around 6 AM. It was a typical Trump-style event with loud music blaring from oversized speakers, MAGA hats and pro-Trump banners galore, and dozens of vendors eager to take advantage of the hysteria that was sure to happen, as it usually did at a Trump rally.

Meanwhile, Capitol Hill was also buzzing with activity as lawmakers prepared for what was sure to be a day of contentious debates. Normally the verification of Electoral College votes was a mere formality. However, a number of Republicans vowed to dispute the results, which would mean pointless hours of debate for what was already a foregone conclusion.

In anticipation of fireworks, people were actually tuning in to C-Span to watch the sparks fly between the die-hard Trumpers and other lawmakers. They had no idea what was in store for them on that fateful day.

Viewers were treated to a split screen of members of the House of Representatives making their dignified walk to the Senate chambers and the raucous sounds of the rally on the Ellipse. As speakers we recognized at each venue, the coverage would shift from one to the other. In the Senate chamber the lawmakers didn’t get past Arizona before objections were raised, requiring members of the House to withdraw to their chambers to hold an obligatory two hours of debate.

As the debate was getting underway, Trump and his minions were encouraging the assembled crowd to “Fight like Hell”, and “Start kicking ass and taking names!”. With that incendiary rhetoric, they were instructed to march on the Capitol to prevent the verification from happening.

As the mob approached the Capitol, Capitol police quickly manned the barricades, but were just as quickly overwhelmed. For the next 187 minutes the mob ran roughshod through the Capitol building, chasing lawmakers into hiding as they threatened both House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) and Vice President Mike Pence.

Meanwhile, as the events unfolded, at the White House Donald Trump was excitedly watching the insurrection on television. Despite urgent requests from Fox News hosts, his son, Don Jr. and even his daughter, Ivanka to call off the rioters, Trump waited almost three hours before making a video request for the rioters to stand down. Trump demanded doing several takes and including the Big Lie into his video before it was released to the public.

Obviously thinking they had effectively shut down Congress and prevented the results from being verified, the protesters complied with Trump’s request and were gently escorted away from the Capitol. There was no tear gas or use of rubber bullets, as had been used during the Black Lives Matter protests. Instead, it was an almost serene procession, especially considering the events of the day.

Once they were given the okay, Members returned to the Capitol. Despite numerous efforts to obstruct the process, the results were verified early the following morning.

The Insurrection had failed. Joe Biden was inaugurated as scheduled.

The Aftermath, the Investigation and What’s Next

Donald Trump became the first president to be impeached a second time. Like his first impeachment, Republicans acknowledged the offenses were indeed worthy of impeachment, but also like the first one, they allowed legalese to let Trump escape punishment.

Almost immediately, Republicans tried to rewrite the tragic events of January 6th. They compared the Capitol rioters to tourists, claimed it wasn’t an “armed insurrection” since no one had firearms (they did), and tried to claim the rioters weren’t Trump supporters, but actually infiltrators from Antifa or the FBI.

Republicans attempted to prevent any Congressional investigation into the insurrection. When a Select Committee was formed, House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) tried to have Trump loyalists placed on the committee to keep the truth from coming out. The committee plans on releasing an interim report on their findings this summer, with a final report to be released just before the midterm elections.

Judges are angrily denouncing the lenient treatment the Capitol rioters are receiving. They worry the lack of serious consequences will lead to another attack after the 2024 presidential election, as Trump teases at running again.

Several retired generals echoed this fear, citing the far right's recruitment of several ex-military members and their involvement in the insurrection. They fear that there is a growing pro-Trump faction in the active military that could join in a future attempted coup.

Democrats are planning to commemorate the insurrection with a series of solemn events. Donald Trump, however has cancelled a planned news conference, where he undoubtedly would have spouted the Big Lie while whitewashing the horrific events of a year ago. He blamed the news media and the House investigation for the cancellation, but said he will use an upcoming rally to make his claims.

We are living in scary times.

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1 Comment

We are living in scary times and I worry about the future, So many people I know are concerned about the future.How do we get things under control?

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