Thursday Reads: January 6, One Year LaterPosted: January 6, 2022
President Joe Biden today specifically held his predecessor responsible for the violent attack on the U.S. Capitol one year ago today. Without naming him, Biden called Trump a liar who cares more about his own “bruised ego” than about our democracy or the Consitution.
The Washington Post provides excerpts: On Jan. 6 anniversary, Biden calls out Trump for ‘web of lies’ about 2020 election.
In a searing speech, Biden marked the first anniversary of the insurrection at the U.S. Capitol by painting in vivid detail the violence of that day — and, without naming Trump, by squarely blaming the former president for spreading “a web of lies” about the 2020 election.
“One year ago today, in this sacred place, democracy was attacked, simply attacked,” Biden said. “The will of the people was under assault. The Constitution, our Constitution, faced the gravest of threats.”
Throughout the speech, Biden did not mention Trump by name but constantly referred to him as the former president.
“For the first time in our history, a president had not just lost an election: He tried to prevent the peaceful transfer of power as a violent mob breached the Capitol,” Biden said. “But they failed.”
Biden said Americans must ensure such an attack never happens again.
“Here is the truth: The former president of the United States of America has created and spread a web of lies about the 2020 election,” Biden said. “He’s done so because he values power over principle … because he sees his own interest as more important than his country’s interest and America’s interest, and because his bruised ego matters more to him than our democracy or our Constitution. He can’t accept he lost.”
More excerpts from the speech at the WaPo: ‘I will allow no one to place a dagger at the throat of democracy,’ Biden says.
In his remarks at the Capitol Thursday morning, Biden vowed to defend American democracy and said that Jan. 6 represents not its end but rather a rebirth of “liberty and fair play.”
“You can’t love your country only when you win,” Biden said. “You can’t obey the law only when it’s convenient. You can’t be patriotic when you embrace and enable lies.”\Those who stormed the Capitol and those who called on them to do so, Biden said, “held a dagger at the throat of … American democracy.”
“They didn’t come here out of patriotism or principle. They came here in rage — not in service of America, but rather in service of one man,” Biden said.
He added: “I did not seek this fight brought to this Capitol one year ago today. But I will not shrink from it, either. I will stand in this breach. I will defend this nation, and I will allow no one to place a dagger at the throat of democracy.”
Trump has already responded to Biden’s speech. I won’t quote from his childish statement, but you can read it at The Independent.
More on this Biden’s speech from The Boston Globe: ‘We the people endured.’ Biden, Harris mark a year since violent insurrection.
President Joe Biden on Thursday delivered what he declared was the “God’s truth” marking the first anniversary of the U.S. Capitol insurrection, the violent attack by Donald Trump’s supporters that has fundamentally changed Congress and raised global concerns about the future of American democracy.
Biden’s criticism was particularly blistering of then-President Trump and his violent supporters.
“For the first time in our history, a president not just lost an election, he tried to prevent the peaceful transfer of power as a violent mob breached the Capitol,” Biden said. “But they failed.”
“I will stand in this breach,” he declared, his voice rising.
“Democracy was attacked,” Biden said at the Capitol. “We the people endure. We the people prevailed.”
The president and congressional Democrats started the day in Statuary Hall, one of several spots where rioters swarmed a year ago and interrupted the electoral count. Biden drew a contrast between the truth of what happened and the false narratives that have sprung up about the Capitol assault, including the continued refusal by many Republicans to affirm that Biden won the 2020 election.
“You and I and the whole world saw with our own eyes,” Biden said.
He asked those listening to close their eyes and recall what they saw that day, as he described the harrowing, violent scene, the mob attacking police, threatening the House speaker, erecting gallows threatening to hang the vice president — all while then-President Trump sat at the White House watching it on TV.
“Here is the God’s truth about Jan. 6, 2021,” Biden said. “They were looking to subvert the Constitution.”
“We must be absolutely clear about what is true and what is a lie. Here’s the truth,” he said. “The former president of the United States of America has spread a web of lies about the 2020 election.”
From Jonathan Karl, author of Betrayal, a book on the last days of the Trump administration: Beyond the riot, Jan. 6 was a dangerously close call. How Trump’s plot nearly succeeded: ANALYSIS.
Two weeks after the Jan. 6 insurrection , Donald Trump walked out of the White House and Joe Biden became the 46th president of the United States. Trump had attempted to use the full power of the presidency and his position as the leader of the Republican Party to stay in power, but he failed. Democracy succeeded. Joe Biden became president, on schedule and without incident, at noon on Jan. 20, 2021.
But this was a close call. Attempts by Trump and his followers to overturn the results of the 2020 election — multi-dimensional efforts of which the assault on the Capitol building was only one element — came dangerously close to succeeding.
Consider, for example, Donald Trump’s demand that Vice President Mike Pence act to nullify Biden’s victory on Jan. 6. Trump wanted Pence to use his power as the presiding officer during the joint session of Congress that day to toss out Biden’s electoral votes in states Trump had contested. On its face, the idea of giving one person the power to overturn the votes of millions of Americans was absurd. And outside of a few fringe lawyers advising Trump, constitutional scholars agreed that Pence had no authority to do what Trump was demanding.
But what if Pence had followed Trump’s order? What would have happened if he had brought the gavel down during the joint session on Jan. 6 and thrown out Biden’s electoral votes in the states Trump had contested? What if he had declared Trump the winner of those states?
J. Michael Luttig, a former federal appellate judge popular among conservatives, had advised Pence he would be violating the Constitution if he followed Trump’s order, and Luttig tells ABC News that if Pence had attempted to do it, he would have “plunged the country into a constitutional crisis of the highest order.”
While it may be clear that Pence did not have the authority to unilaterally reject electoral votes, it is unclear who would have had the authority to overrule him. Some have suggested the matter would simply have had to be resolved by the Supreme Court, but it is unclear the justices would have agreed to decide such a case because the Constitution arguably leaves it up to Congress to decide its own rules for counting contested electoral votes.
“It would have presented America, and the three branches of our government in particular, with what each branch would have viewed as seemingly irresolvable constitutional issues,” Luttig said.
Luttig believes the Supreme Court would have ultimately taken up the issue, but, he says, with no explicit constitutional authority to do so, it’s not certain the justices would have agreed to resolve the dispute.
“Had the Supreme Court refused to decide these issues,” Luttig told ABC News, “the country and our democracy would have spiraled into a chaos from which neither would have soon recovered, literally jeopardizing our national security. The legitimacy of our democracy would have been forever drawn into doubt and its luster could never have been restored.”
Read the rest at ABC News.
Yesterday former Trump family insider Stephanie Grisham appeared before the January 6 committee. This morning she was on CNN’s New Day talking about Trump and the gang.
From The Daily Beast: Trump Enjoyed Riot So Much He Rewound TV to Watch It Twice, Ex-Aide Says.
Donald Trump had such a good time watching the Capitol riot unfold on live TV that he rewound the coverage to watch it twice, according to his former press secretary Stephanie Grisham. Speaking to CNN from Washington, D.C. on the first anniversary of the riot, Grisham recalled that Trump was in the White House dining room as the insurrection unfolded. “He was in the dining room gleefully watching on his TV as he often did, [saying] ‘Look at all the people fighting for me,’ hitting rewind, watching it again, that’s all that I know,” said the former press secretary. Grisham also repeated her claim that former first lady Melania Trump did nothing to persuade her husband to call off his supporters from their attack on the Capitol and lawmakers inside, and announced that a group of unnamed ex-Trump administration officials plan to meet next week to talk about a plan to stop Trump in his quest to “manipulate people and divide our country.”
More from Grishom’s CNN appearance:
Mike Pence insiders are also speaking to the January 6 committee. Axios: Scoop: Mike Pence’s team helping Jan. 6 committee.
People in and around former Vice President Mike Pence’s office have been particularly cooperative as the Jan. 6 select committee focuses on what former President Trump was doing during the more than three hours the Capitol was under attack, sources familiar with the testimony tell Axios.
Why it matters: At the one-year mark of the insurrection, the committee is piecing together a definitive timeline of how Trump resisted pleas from his own advisers, allies, family members and lawmakers to halt the violence down Pennsylvania Avenue.
- The committee is ramping up its closed-door work with the goal of holding public hearings as early as this spring.
Some Pence-world witnesses have testified without a subpoena, according to one source with direct knowledge of the closed-door hearings.
- Both Pence’s former chief of staff Marc Short, and former press secretary Alyssa Farah, who later served as White House communications director, are among those cooperating with the committee.
- Keith Kellogg also has given a deposition.
- One source familiar with their involvement said Short, who was subpoenaed by the committee, would not have cooperated without the approval of Pence.
What we’re hearing: Some of the most helpful information has come from second- and third-tier administration staff who were not directly involved but were at the White House on Jan. 6 and had access to top administration officials, sources tell Axios.
- They’ve been integral to helping piece together exactly what happened that day, one committee aide said.
- Many of those officials met solely with the committee’s Republican members, Reps. Liz Cheney (R-Wyo.) and Adam Kinzinger (R-Ill.), two sources with direct knowledge said.
- Some also have testified together with their former colleagues.
What they’re saying: Farah, who spoke with the committee on several occasions last year, told Axios:
- “From the two I was in, you could see how much information they already had.
- “Those who are refusing to cooperate likely are doing so out of complete fealty to Donald Trump and not wanting to piss him off.
- “But, secondarily, because they’re realizing the committee has quite a bit more information than they realized. And their involvement is known to a much greater degree than they realized.”
Rep. Liz Cheney, the vice chairwoman of the House select committee investigating the January 6 insurrection, said Thursday she is looking forward to Vice President Mike Pence‘s cooperation and his team “continuing” their cooperation in the panel’s investigation.
The Wyoming Republican also called him a “hero” for his actions that day.
“Former Vice President Pence was a hero on January 6. He refused the pressure of the former President. He did his duty, and the nation should be very grateful for the actions that he took that day,” Cheney told NBC’s Savannah Guthrie on the “Today” show. “We look forward to continuing the cooperation that we’ve had with members of the former vice president’s team, and I look forward as well to his cooperation.”
Mississippi Rep. Bennie Thompson, chairman of the House select committee, has said he wants to hear directly from Pence, who certified the 2020 presidential election results. The Democrat also said he wants the former vice president to voluntarily speak to the committee about conversations he was privy to in the days leading up to the insurrection and what he witnessed on that day.
Various Pence aides have started engaging with the panel, including his former chief of staff Marc Short. Short’s cooperation is a significant development that gave investigators insight from one of the highest-ranking Trump administration officials and signals a greater openness among Pence’s inner circle.
One source previously told CNN the committee is getting “significant cooperation with Team Pence,” even if the committee has not openly discussed that. Another source also told CNN that Short’s help is an example of the “momentum” the investigation is enjoying behind the scenes.
This could be an interesting day. I haven’t been watching a lot of TV lately, but I may do so today. There is a lot going on.
What are your thoughts on the anniversary of January 6?