Exactly fifty years ago today the infamous Watergate burglars were arrested and, twenty six months later, President Richard Nixon resigned. Interestingly, almost every scandal since gets the “gate” tag. One that didn’t, however, was the January 6th riot. Now, after a yearlong probe and over 1,000 interviews, we’ve just finished the first week of the televised January 6th Congressional hearings investigating Donald Trump’s alleged attempted coup, considered by man far more dangerous to democracy than Watergate.
Among the surprising revelations was how many Trump advisers, on election night, opposed his baseless voter fraud claims. “Team Normal” wanted Trump, like every outgoing president in history, to assist in a peaceful transition of power. “Team Crazy,” however, which propagated the “Big Lie” was led by Rudy Giuliani who was allegedly intoxicated. (With Rudy it can be hard to tell the difference.)
For example, Rudy repeated unfounded voter fraud claims at the Four Seasons Landscaping. (This gave way to the joke “Make America Rake Again.”) Rudy also held another memorable press conference unaware that black hair dye was oozing down his face. In hearing testimony Rudy was described as “erratic, toxic, buffoonish” and “a threat to the republic.”(Fall from grace Rudy has gone from “America’s Mayor” to “Trump’s Chump.”)
Another hearing revelation came from Ivanka Trump, whom once said he’d probably be dating were she not his daughter. Ivanka testified she didn’t believe the “Big Lie”and “was affected” by former Attorney General Bill Barr’s view that Trump was “detached from reality” and his “claim of election fraud was pure bullsh*t.”
The following day Trump responded that Ivanka didn’t follow the elections and “had checked out long ago.” In a boorishly written statement that smacks of Santa Monica native and ideal “Batman” villain, Steven Miller, Trump said of Barr “He sucked.”
After Ivanka’s testimony, pundits joked Trump was looking for a new oldest daughter and Marjorie Taylor Green was suggested that the Donald/Ivanka kerfuffle could finally give Tiffany a chance to be “daddy’s fave.” Meanwhile “New Yorker” satirist Andrew Borowitz reported “Eric Trump requested he be given Ivanka’s swanky room at Mar-a-Lago.”
That brings us to Kimberly Guilfoyle, Don Jr.’s fiance and the seemingly mad woman who shrieked “The best is yet to come!” at the 2020 Republican Convention. Guilfoyle was reportedly paid $60,000 at the “Stop the Steal” rally that acted as a precursor to the deadly Capitol riot. (Her speech was two minutes or $500 per second and who knows, maybe that’s what she meant by “the best was yet to come?”)
It appears Guilfoyle was paid out of Trump’s “Official Election Defense Fund” which collected $250 million from small dollar donors. Except no such fund existed and the quarter billion haul made the infamous Trump University scam look like petty cash. Mark Meadows, Trump’s former Chief of Staff, allegedly got $1 million for his “personal foundation” and a paltry $200,000 was skimmed for Trump hotels.
The prime time televised hearings on Thursday drew twenty million viewers even though Fox News refused to carry it. In fact, Fox was so worried viewers would flip channels and inadvertently see the truth, they didn’t have any commercials! Meanwhile, the twenty million viewers was five times Donald Trump’s “Celebrity Apprentice” finale ratings. (Always “the victim,” to this day Trump foolishly complains he was cheated out of an Emmy for “The Apprentice.” )
From various testimony it’s clear Donald Trump knew he had lost the 2020 election. He was told by his campaign staff, by the Department of Justice, by election administrators, by his daughter and son-in-law, and by the attorney general. And yet he persisted in propagating the big lie to the American people which led directly to the insurrection by his supporters at the Capitol.
Trump’s bogus case was heard by sixty-three judges, including many of his own appointees, and all ruled against him. In states and counties that held recounts Biden actually got more not less votes. Trump’s only hope was to foment a deadly nob insurrection on the Capitol and pressure Vice-President, Mike Pence, in the chaos, to refuse to certify the election.
To his credit Pence refused and, after a gallows was erected, he became the target of “Hang Mike Pence” chants to which Trump allegedly told aides “Pence deserved it.” Trump gleefully watched the brutal riot from the White House and, despite pleas from Ivanka and Sean Hannity among others, it took 187 minutes before Trump asked his followers to go home. (Dereliction of duty, anyone?)
Perhaps the most profound hearings statement came from Vice Chair Liz Cheney to her Republican colleagues who propagate the Big Lie. “There will come a day when president Trump is gone,” she said, “but your dishonor will remain.”
Meanwhile, I hope your Father’s Day is happier than Trump’s who’s likely still fuming about Ivanka.