Many of us have been flabbergasted by the revelations of the January 6 committee, which includes our local Congressmember Zoe Lofgren.
In recalling the days before the insurrection, most of us were counting the days the man-child still held power. We were hoping his damage would be limited to outrageous pardons and highly questionable Presidential Medal of Freedom winners.
We were wrong.
The January 6 Committee has shown that Trump didn’t just have a temper tantrum because he lost. He planned, organized, incited and executed a direct attack on our Constitution, our institutions, and on our shared values as a nation. He actually believed he could keep power.
As crazy as that notion is, we still have a large minority of people engaging in and spreading the big lie. That brings us to Kevin McCarthy and Mitch McConnell — two Republican leaders who were outraged by the January 6 attack and initially spoke forcefully against Trump and his cult. But what happened?
Within in a week, these leaders backed down, cowered and tried to downplay the entire incident — which we now know was a failed, but highly-organized, attempted coup. The reason is as simple as it is horrifying. McCarthy and McConnell found out members of their respective caucuses were culpable of conspiracy in concert with Donald Trump.
Sen. Ron Johnson tried to contact the vice president to give him an alternative set of electors. Congressmembers Jim Jordan, Marjorie Taylor Greene, Lauren Boebert, Andy Biggs, Matt Gaetz, Paul Gosar, Louie Gohmert, Madison Cawthorn and Mo Brooks were intimately involved with the planning and execution of the plan. Moreover, 121 House Republican members were duped and coerced by their conspiratorial colleagues into supporting overturning the election.
In the Senate, Ron Johnson, Ted Cruz, Josh Hawley, Tommy Tuberville, Roger Marshall , John Kennedy, Cindy Hyde-Smith and, until she lost, Georgia Sen. Kelly Loeffler are all unindicted co-conspirators.
The January 6 committee has left quite a quandary for the Department of Justice. Attorney General Merrick Garland has stated he will prosecute any and all who tried to interfere with the 2020 electoral count regardless of how high the conspiracy goes.
It has been shown all of these congressmembers were aiding and abetting the planned coup, whether they knew all of the details of the insurrection or not. Under the Constitution, these members of Congress must be expelled and may never hold public office again.
That brings us to 2022. If and when a trial and conviction of these individuals does take place, no matter who wins the Senate or the House, many members would be automatically expelled.
McConnell and McCarthy would be short of the majority needed to take power in the House and Senate.
Finally, and most importantly, the number of defendants in the dock on the conspiracy to commit sedition charge would include: Trump, his lawyers Rudy Giuliani, Michael Flynn, Sidney Powell, Jenna Ellis, John Eastman, Jeffrey Clark, Trump leaders Steve Bannon, Roger Stone, the Proud Boys and Oath Keepers, then Lindsey Graham, and the other senators and House members listed above — many whom asked for preemptive pardons. They knew what they did was illegal.
No wonder Garland is calling this “the most wide ranging investigation in history.”
Garland will probably have to break up the gang for court efficiency purposes, putting the lawyers in one trial, the insurrection leaders in another, the congressmembers in another and probably leave Trump as a single defendant.
Whatever he decides to do, he no longer has the option of not indicting Trump given the evidence.
And we can thank Zoe Lofgren and the other members of the January 6 committee for making the evidence we know so far widely available.
Finally, the January 6 committee has taken the partisan charge out of the equation. Those testifying against Trump are his own people — former Attorney General Bill Barr, Pat Cipollone, numerous Republican state and local elected officials, White House Staff and it appears the Secret Service will have to testify as to crimes committed by Trump while in office. They are not exempt as witnesses to a crime.
Leading the questioning has been Republicans Liz Cheney and Adam Kinzinger, who while being attacked by their own party are leading the effort to educate Americans on the truth of what happened.
I have never agreed with Liz Cheney, but I admire her desire to stand for something other than reelection. Her truth and integrity are more important than public office.
In the meantime, Democrats on the committee have provided some of the most damning questioning, especially Lofgren and Congressman Adam Schiff. As former impeachment managers they have lots of practice — and we can be proud our representative is pursuing truth.
Trumpism isn’t going away, but it is finally on the defensive. Let’s hope Trump and his cabal are put in prison for a very long time.
San José Spotlight columnist Rich Robinson is a political consultant, attorney and author of “The Shadow Candidate.” His columns appear every fourth Wednesday of the month.