Between 1:10 p.m. and 4:27 p.m. on January 6, 2021, 187 minutes passed. Just over three hours. Minute up or down, how long it lasts The Godfather. Since time is relative, it must have been an eternity for the agents who were defending the Capitol that day, especially for the 140 who ended up wounded, and for the congressmen and senators who had come to certify Joe Biden’s presidency and ended up hiding from the mob, fearing for their lives. Also, for Vice President Mike Pence, that he had to be evacuated twice as he heard the crowd screaming, as close as a dozen yards away, to hang him. Donald Trump, who had instigated his people to march towards the seat of American democracy even knowing that many of them were armed, spent those three hours, after unsuccessfully trying to place himself at the head of the march, dedicated three of his favorite pastimes: watching Fox News in the dining room next to the Oval Office, tweeting and ignoring the advice of his inner circle.
The congressional commission investigating those events dedicated this Thursday night, during prime time, 165 minutes to thoroughly analyze those 187 minutes during the eighth (and, for now, last, until September) of the sessions in which their nine members are sharing with the public the fruits of a year and a half investigation.
They showed that the still president “decided not to act” during that time to stop the assault on the Capitol, despite the fact that he was aware of the violence from the beginning and that he watched live on cable television the terror sown by his followers. They also proved that his relatives and collaborators implored him to send people home, given that he was “the only person in the world with the capacity for that”, that he poured “gasoline on the fire” without stopping and incited with a tweet the violence against his vice president and who ended the day by addressing his own with a speech in which he refused to read the script that had been written for him and told them. “You are special. I love you”. The next day, he recorded another video, with the same unmistakably Trumpian rhetoric, in which he surfed reality with half-truths. The committee first issued the outtakes of that clip. In one of them, Trump is reading a speech from a screen that he can hardly see, when he orders a stop. “No,” he says, “I’m not going to say that. I don’t want to say that the election is over.”
With another mountain of incriminating evidence like that, the committee ultimately proved that he reneged on his duty as commander-in-chief and committed a “supreme violation of his constitutional oath” by which he was bound to protect the integrity of the US legislature. Even his son-in-law, Jared Kushner, agreed to that, as could be seen in a recording broadcast on the screen of the hall of the Congress building where the sessions are held.
This Thursday, the commission returned to prime time, attention that they had claimed only once before, at the inaugural hearing. So at 8:00 p.m., in the midst of the greatest expectation to date and with the room filled to the brim, Liz Cheney, one of two Republicans on a committee of which she is vice-chairman and which is completed by seven Democrats, gave up The session started in the absence of the president, Democrat Bennie Thompson, who tested positive for coronavirus on Tuesday and appeared briefly on a small screen at the beginning and end. “Donald Trump chose not to respond to pleas from Congress, from his own party and from across the country to stop the violence,” Cheney said in her inaugural speech. “He refused to defend our nation and our Constitution. He refused to do what any American president should do.”
The congressmen chosen to take the reins of the questioning were Elaine Luria, a Democrat from Virginia, and Adam Kinzinger, a Republican from Illinois, who already took it during the fifth session. Perhaps not by chance, both are Army veterans (she became a Navy Commander; he served in the Air Force), like another of the stars of the evening, Matthew Pottinger, a former Marine. The two witnesses that the committee has saved for this last session, in a script typical of a series with its strategic hooks in which the mysteries are revealed little by little, were, again, two workers of Trump’s confidence in the throes of his term: Sarah Matthews, deputy spokeswoman for the White House and Pottinger, deputy national security adviser.
Both, who were in the West Wing of the White House that day, are united, in addition to being “lifelong Republicans”, and having repeatedly demonstrated their loyalty to the president, the reaction to a Trump tweet, one of the key pieces of January 6. He sent it at 2:15 p.m., in the middle of the fray (and deleted it at 7:15 p.m., when it was all over). He would say: “[El vicepresidente] Mike Pence did not have the courage to do what he should have done to protect our country and our Constitution by giving states the opportunity to certify a revised set of facts, not the fraudulent or inaccurate ones they were previously asked to certify. America demands the truth!” That message convinced the two witnesses of the need to resign so as not to be complicit in a coup.
Mike Pence and the future of the vice presidency
This week, a group of senators from both parties (a rare thing in Washington these days) have reached an agreement to advance a legislative change that clarifies the role of a vice president in the transfer of presidential power.
In the months that followed the November 2020 appointment, Donald Trump and his ilk tried to exploit the confusing wording of an 1887 law to pressure then-Vice President Mike Pence to block the certification of the 2020 election. in process, which is expected to be ready by the end of the year, would serve to degrade the role of the second in command in the counting of electoral votes to merely symbolic, and would tighten the requirements for a member of Congress to challenge a result.
Pence has taken an unexpected center stage during the committee’s Jan. 6 sessions, raising the stakes around his prospects for a potential presidential run in 2024.
Melissa Galbraith is the World News reporter for Globe Live Media. She covers all the major events happening around the World. From Europe to Americas, from Asia to Antarctica, Melissa covers it all. Never miss another Major World Event by bookmarking her author page right here.