The House Select Committee charged with investigating the January 6, 2021 coup attempt by former President Donald Trump will begin holding a series of six public hearings starting Thursday. The hearings are being conducted 17 months after Trump and his Republican allies led a fascistic assault on Congress aimed at blocking certification of the 2020 election results and overturning the Constitution.
Last week, the Justice Department announced that it would not seek charges against Mark Meadows, Trump’s former chief of staff and a leading architect of the coup plot, as well as Dan Scavino, Trump’s former deputy chief of staff. Then on Monday, Enrique Tarrio, the former chairman of the Proud Boys, and four other members of the far-right group were indicted on charges of seditious conspiracy.
This is how the Democrats hope the hearings will proceed: While a handful of fascist foot soldiers, small fry in the coup, will be charged, leading figures in the Republican Party who organized and led the conspiracy are to go free.
The Democratic Party’s main political objective in the January 6 hearings is to uphold the Republican Party as a legitimate instrument of class rule by presenting a narrative that omits the role of virtually the entire GOP, along with significant sections of the police, military and intelligence apparatus in facilitating the attack on Congress. The aim, as both President Joe Biden and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi have repeatedly insisted, is to maintain a “strong Republican Party.”
Both Meadows and Scavino have for months refused to comply with the committee’s subpoenas and were deeply involved in Trump’s coup. They now join Trump and his Republican co-conspirators in escaping any accountability, over a year and a half after the fact, for attempting to overthrow the government.
While Meadows briefly cooperated with the committee last year, including turning over thousands of incriminating text messages revealing that Trump’s plot extended into Congress, the Supreme Court and major news networks such as Fox News, committee members such as Illinois Republican Representative Adam Kinzinger have publicly stated that there are huge gaps in the text messages.
Some of these gaps include messages exchanged between Meadows and lifelong Republican operative Virginia “Ginni” Thomas, wife of Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas. The fact that Ginni Thomas has not been subpoenaed by the committee demolishes any claim that its findings will represent a complete accounting of events.
The only high-level Trump aides to be charged by the Justice Department so far are former Trump advisers Steve Bannon and the recently indicted Peter Navarro. Like Meadows and Scavino, both have refused to comply with subpoenas issued by the January 6 Select Committee.
While the Democratic Party and sections of the Republican Party opposed to Trump have presented the hearings as a chance to expose the full extent of the attack, in reality their response to January 6 has been aimed at covering up the social and political roots of the coup and the complicity of large sections of the state apparatus. In one form or another, the committee will seek to perpetuate this cover-up.
In advance of the hearings, further details have emerged documenting the role of Georgia Republicans in supporting the coup. On Monday, the Washington Post revealed the existence of an email sent on December 13, 2020 by Robert Sinners, a Trump campaign staffer, to Georgia Republicans who were planning on meeting at the state Capitol the next day to submit a fraudulent slate of electors.
In the email, Sinners told the 16 Republicans that they should conduct their business in secret and exercise “complete discretion in this process.” Sinners said that at “no point should you mention anything to do with Presidential Electors or speak to the media,” the Post reported.
Georgia was one of seven states won by Biden in which Republican electors gathered on December 14, 2020 to sign certificates claiming Trump was the rightful winner, despite the actual vote count and the fact that election officials had already certified the election results for Biden. That Sinners was suggesting the Republicans not alert anyone to their activity speaks to the illegality of what was being carried out.
The existence of these bogus electors, in the minds of Trump and his Republican accomplices, was a sufficient pretext for then-Vice President Mike Pence to unilaterally and unconstitutionally reject Biden electors from those states. After the rejection of the electors had prevented Biden from gaining the necessary 270 Electoral Votes, the election would have been thrown into the House of Representatives, where Trump would have eventually been declared the winner.
In order to give Pence the “courage” to overturn the election, Trump and his Republican co-conspirators rallied far-right supporters to come to the Capitol for the “Stop the Steal” demonstration on January 6.
A separate article published Tuesday by the Post reported that the Secret Service “had rebuffed... nearly two weeks of persistent pressure from Trump... to devise a plan for him to join his supporters on a march to the Capitol.” While the Secret Service had apparently not yet devised a plan, once Trump declared his intention to join the crowd, the agency “sought to accommodate the president.”
The fact that Trump was badgering the Secret Service for at least two weeks to provide him a security plan that would allow him to march on the Capitol to help block the certification of the election is the latest exposure of the intelligence agencies’ lies that Trump’s coup was unforeseen.
The central theme of Biden and the Democrats since the events of January 6 has been the call for “unity,” by which they mean unity within the ruling class on the basis of war abroad and an assault on the working class at home. They continue to seek this unity even though the Republican Party voted against impeaching Trump and more recently voted to call the attack on the Capitol “legitimate political discourse.”
The refusal of the Biden government and the Justice Department to hold Trump and his accomplices accountable is rooted in their shared class interests. Both parties are beholden to Wall Street and the military industrial complex.
A central preoccupation of the Democratic Party is the prosecution of war. As Biden proclaimed in his State of the Union address in March, “Last year, COVID-19 kept us apart. This year, we are finally together again” in escalating the conflict with Russia over Ukraine.
While many American workers and youth voted for Biden due to their well-founded hatred of Trump and on the basis of Biden’s pledges to “end the pandemic,” since assuming office, Biden, a servant of the banks of Wall Street for his entire political career, has reneged on virtually all of his campaign promises.
Biden and the Democrats have adopted Trump’s “herd immunity” policies and ended all COVID-19 mitigation measures and pandemic-related unemployment programs. While there is supposedly no money for fighting the pandemic, Biden and the Democrats in “bipartisan” fashion with their ruling class partners-in-crime have appropriated billions this year to the police and military, including some $59 billion as part of the US/NATO-instigated war against Russia.
Since January 6, 2021, Biden and the Democratic Party have sought to whitewash the role of the entire Republican Party and large sections of the US government in Trump’s coup.
The Democratic Party’s inability to defend democratic rights against the increasingly fascistic Republican Party underscores that the only social force capable of stopping the danger of dictatorship is the working class, mobilized independently of the two parties of capital and armed with a socialist perspective.