On Tuesday, 45 of the 50 Republicans in the US Senate voted to quash the impeachment trial of Donald Trump. The motion was introduced by Rand Paul of Kentucky, a far-right libertarian, who made the legally false argument that the Senate trial, scheduled to begin February 9, is unconstitutional because Trump is no longer in office.
Paul said the trial would “drag our great country down into the gutter of rancor and vitriol, the likes of which has never been seen in our nation’s history.” He called it “deranged.”
Marco Rubio, the anti-communist zealot from Florida, told Fox News that the trial was “stupid.” He said his vote in defense of Trump was motivated by a desire to unite the country, citing Gerald Ford’s pardon of Richard Nixon as a positive example of allowing the country to “move forward.”
Mitch McConnell, who recently acknowledged that Trump had “provoked” the insurrectionists who forced their way into the US Capitol on January 6, and was singled out for praise by President Joe Biden, voted for Paul’s motion without offering any explanation.
This overwhelming vote by the Republicans—only five GOP senators joined with the 50 Democrats to oppose Paul’s motion—came less than three weeks after thousands of armed fascists, with the encouragement and open support of Trump, broke into the Capitol with the aim of taking lawmakers and possibly Vice President Mike Pence hostage, carrying out executions, and using the siege to halt the official certification of the election victory of Joe Biden, which was taking place at the time of the attack.
As Trump and his family approvingly watched news video of the insurgents overwhelming the handful of police deployed to guard the Capitol and occupying the Senate chamber and lawmakers’ offices, members of Congress and their staff went scurrying for safety, fearing for their lives.
It was a fascist coup d’etat, an event without precedent in American history, and it came within seconds of succeeding.
Its enablers included not only Trump and his co-conspirators within the police and the military, but the vast majority of the Republican Party, including then-Senate Majority Leader McConnell and House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, who had provided the political framework for the coup by promoting Trump’s lying claims that the election had been stolen. Just hours after the insurrectionists were removed from the Capitol, 138 Republicans in the House and seven in the Senate voted against the certification of Joe Biden’s election victory.
Had the fascists succeeded in taking hostages, they would have demanded a halt to the certification and the nullification of the vote in key swing states contested by Trump. Negotiations would have ensued, and the vast majority of Republicans, in the name of averting further bloodshed and “uniting” the country, would have supported the demands of the fascists. There is little doubt that the Democrats would, in the end, have agreed to some filthy deal that allowed Republican-controlled state legislatures to overturn the popular vote in their states and return the presidency to Trump.
In any politically healthy system, the Republican Party would have been irreparably discredited and disgraced. Yet less than three weeks later, it arrogantly and defiantly reasserts its defense of Trump and his fascist supporters.
How is this to be explained? It is the product of the utter fecklessness of the Democratic Party. With his endless appeals for “unity,” Biden has reassured Trump and the Republican Party, their Wall Street sponsors and their co-conspirators within the military, the police and the intelligence agencies that they will face no consequences for attempting to overthrow the Constitution and establish a police state.
Biden and the Democrats are far more frightened of the events of January 6 igniting the social tinderbox that is America, where the death toll caused by the ruling class’ herd immunity policy is climbing rapidly toward 500,000, than they are of an overturn of what remains of democratic processes.
Hence Biden’s defense of a “strong” Republican Party and his opposition to any measures to hold Trump and the Republicans accountable. He has made it clear he has no stomach for impeachment, and Democratic leaders in Congress have promised a brief, merely token Senate trial, perhaps foregoing even the calling of witnesses.
Meanwhile, new information emerges daily about the far-reaching scale of the conspiracy that culminated in the attack on Congress, and the direct involvement of Trump, his family, his aides and Republican lawmakers in the preparation and organization of the fascist insurrection.
Independent journalist Seth Abramson on Tuesday posted an article, including social media photographs, documenting the fact that 15 members of Trump’s inner circle met in his private residence at Trump International Hotel in Washington DC on the evening of January 5 to discuss the next day’s events.
Those in attendance included Donald Trump, Jr., Eric Trump, Rudy Giuliani, Michael Flynn (who had publicly called for Trump to declare martial law and force a revote in six critical swing states), Peter Navarro (who had declared that Vice President Mike Pence had the unilateral power to overturn the election results), Alabama Republican Senator Tommy Tuberville, former campaign aides Corey Lewandowski and David Bossie, Adam Piper (executive director of the Republican Attorneys General Association), Txtwire CEO Daniel Beck and MyPillow CEO Michael Lindell. Also present were organizers of the January 6 rally and march on the Capitol.
Beck posted a statement on Facebook saying: “Fifteen of us spent the evening with Donald Trump, Jr., Kimberly Guilfoyle, Tommy Tuberville, Michael J, Lindell, Peter Navarro and Rudy Giuliani… TRUMP WILL RETAIN THE PRESIDENCY!!
The Washington Post on Tuesday published an interview with DC National Guard Commander Gen. William J. Walker, in which Walker revealed that in the days preceding the January 6 attack on Congress, the Pentagon stripped him of his authority to dispatch troops to secure the Capitol. Walker told the Post that he had to wait for approval from Secretary of the Army Ryan McCarthy as well as recently appointed acting Secretary of Defense Christopher Miller, preventing him from dispatching forces to counter the storming of the Capitol for hours.
The Republican Party has become the incubator of fascistic forces and their integration into the political establishment. It is a party that welcomes neo-Nazis, white supremacists and anti-Semites and promotes them to positions of power.
Newly elected North Carolina Representative Madison Cawthorn posted photos on his Instagram page showing his 2017 visit to Adolf Hitler’s vacation house in Germany known as the “Eagle's Nest.” The caption refers to Hitler as the “Fuhrer” and says that a visit to the site had been on Cawthorn’s “bucket list for awhile” and “did not disappoint.”
House members Marjorie Taylor Greene of Georgia and Lauren Boebert of Colorado are open supporters of the fascist QAnon conspiracy and make a practice of trying to sneak guns onto the House floor.
Biden and the Democrats argue that they have to unite with the Republicans to get their agenda passed. That poses the question: What kind of agenda requires the support of fascists and their allies?
The Democrats’ abject cowardice and complicity serve to dull the consciousness of the masses of people, burnish the image of Trump and the Republicans and spread the fatal illusion that all is well. All of those who seek to minimize the fascist assault on the Capitol, incited and supported by the US commander in chief, are guilty of politically disarming the working class and strengthening the neo-fascist right.
These developments underscore the urgency of the demand for a full, public investigation into the events of January 6 and the conspiracy of which they were a part—and which continues today. The working class must intervene into the political crisis as an independent force. No confidence can be placed in the Democratic Party to oppose the danger of fascism.
The Socialist Equality Party calls on workers to demand a full and open investigation into the January 6 coup, including nationally televised and livestreamed congressional hearings, in which names are named, communications are revealed and the political motives of those who directed the conspiracy are brought to light. Those involved, beginning with Trump and his facilitators in the Republican Party, must be removed from office, criminally prosecuted and jailed.