Countless pundits have intoned that the hearings of the U.S. House Select Committee to Investigate the January 6th Attack on the United States Capitol (the “Committee”) have put former President Donald Trump “on trial,” at least in the court of public opinion. While there is no question that the Committee has established that Mr. Trump had more knowing complicity – “aforethought” – in the attempt to overthrow our democracy than even I, who has made regular references to Fascism in relation to Mr. Trump’s activities, had appreciated before the hearings began, with no background in criminal law I cannot assess whether learned criminal counsel consider the evidence that the Committee has put forth sufficient to convict Mr. Trump of seditious conspiracy (even assuming that a jury of twelve unbiased citizens could be found). However, I would venture this: if nothing more, last night’s hearing – the last of the first series, with further hearings to be conducted in September – unquestionably “convicted” Mr. Trump of unspeakable dereliction of duty.
Although less than 50% of self-described Republicans are reportedly paying significant attention to the hearings, and I understand that alt-right outlets are now seeking to discredit the Committee’s efforts by asserting, in addition to other claims, that Mr. Trump and his cohort haven’t had the opportunity to cross-examine witnesses, I thought that one reminder by Committee Vice-Chairwoman U.S. WY Rep. Liz Cheney near the conclusion of the hearing was the most telling observation of the night: that virtually all of the testimony presented against Mr. Trump has been provided by Republicans, and the notion that any counsel for Mr. Trump would be able to effectively shake the testimony of former Attorney General William Barr (she could have listed any number of other Committee witnesses in addition to Mr. Barr) is simply not credible.
(Not significant but the most fun moment of the evening was watching the clips of U.S. MO Sen. Josh Hawley — who both instituted the Congressional initiative to obstruct the Electoral College vote count that in turn led to the insurrection and was pictured stirring up the crowd on the morning of the uprising — running for his life through the halls of Congress once the rioters actually broke in. Since the Committee presented some evidence last night that contained what it called “harsh language,” I feel that it is within my purview to coarsen this post to this extent: Mr. Hawley is not only a traitor but a gutless pissant.)
The Committee’s work has reached the point that I no longer consider Mr. Trump really its main subject; it is we who are. While only the Almighty can judge morality, the nation-state is a human construct [which one might argue actually creates boundaries and loyalties antithetical to His (please excuse the male pronoun for a Being without gender) teachings], and thus I feel free to pass judgement to this extent: anyone who maintains fealty to Mr. Trump despite the evidence presented by the Committee, or – in my view, every bit as bad – is remaining loyal to Mr. Trump after willfully refusing or negligently failing to take note of the evidence presented by the Committee, is guilty, notwithstanding all of the pledge of allegiance reciting, flag waving, and national anthem singing, of being … Un-American.