Former president Donald Trump’s supporters scrambled to defend him online in the hours after the Jan. 6 committee’s hearings began, seeking to sow doubt about his involvement via the same social media channels that had captured clear evidence linking him to the Capitol assault….


Still Life with Green Soup, Fernando Botero

Trump War Room, a Twitter account once run by his reelection campaign, tweeted, “Trump and the rally had nothing to do with the Capitol breach!,” defying the House committee’s effort to pin responsibility for the riot squarely on Trump.

On the message board — a spinoff of, where members had shared ideas on how to sneak guns into Washington before the riot — a popular thread Friday called Jan. 6 “the most patriotic thing I’ve ever seen” and said anyone who disagrees is “an enemy of the nation.”

And on pro-Trump channels on the chat service Telegram, supporters ridiculed the hearing as overly scripted or a partisan circus, if they mentioned it at all.

The outpouring of Trump support came in response to a hearing that brought together new testimony with previously unreleased footage to document both the gravity of the attack on the Capitol and Trump’s role in spurring it. It also underscored how the social media landscape has shifted in the 17 months since Trump was suspended by the leading online platforms for his role in fanning the violent attempts to overturn Joe Biden’s election as president.

For the most part, Trump and some of his most ardent backers were relegated to smaller platforms as they sought to respond.

Read more at the WaPo.

Also at The Washington Post, former GW Bush speechwriter Michael Gerson writes: History will accept only one Jan. 6 narrative. This committee has it.

The Jan. 6 committee’s riveting televised opening night might not have converted the pro-Trump revisionists, but it has left them without excuses. The evidence is overwhelming that a sitting president gathered a violent mob and charged it with intimidating members of Congress and his own vice president into illegally reversing the outcome of a presidential election on the basis of an obvious lie.

There is only one narrative about Jan. 6 that history will accept: the evidence meticulously gathered and presented by the House select committee.

In some ways, pressing the case against former president Donald Trump is not hard, because he confirms its general outlines. He still seems to regard the riot as the highest expression of MAGA loyalty to his person. He still insists he should be reinstated as president. He still seems to believe then-Vice President Mike Pence was a weak-kneed traitor for refusing to overturn the constitutional order. Because Trump can’t admit error, he often effectively admits guilt.

Cat and woman, Peter Harskamp, Dutch

Cat and woman, Peter Harskamp, Dutch artist

The response of congressional Republican leaders to Thursday’s hearing — that it is more important to focus on inflation than sedition — has demonstrated their vast political and moral shallowness. The juxtaposition of testimony by U.S. Capitol Police officer Caroline Edwards (“I was slipping in people’s blood”) and a tweet from Republicans on the House Judiciary Committee account (“All. Old. News.”) was telling.

One imagines a 20-something GOP staffer straining (and failing) to be clever. The contrast between the police officer’s sacrifice and the tweeter’s infantile partisanship raises some questions: Is anyone teaching young Republicans that public service can be honorable and costly? Why doesn’t some mature public official shake these shills and urge silence in the presence of patriotic virtues they don’t possess?

On the contrast between Trump’s and Pence’s behavior on January 6:

In his rambling, over an hour-long remarks to the “Stop the Steal” crowd, Trump pressured Pence to reverse the election’s outcome more than 10 times — then continued doing the same on Twitter. As the committee revealed, one of those tweets was relayed, via bullhorn, to the rioters, who took up the chant “Hang Mike Pence.” According to the committee’s vice chair, Rep. Liz Cheney (R-Wyo.), Trump was pleased by their stated intention….

For several hours on that fateful day, Trump ceased to be the American president. He was an insurrectionary leader watching his work unfold in coordinated violence. He refused to take the advice of some of his closest advisers, who urged him to recall his forces from their assault on the Capitol. The chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Gen. Mark A. Milley, noted Trump’s absence in the chain of command. At a key moment, Trump was interested only in serving his wildly implausible mission of retaining power, not protecting the legislators, staff and police officers at the Capitol. In contrast, Pence attempted to take charge and fill the gap of leadership.

It is hard to heap praise on Pence. He was the loyal lieutenant to the worst president in history. But beneath a quivering mass of compromise, there was a core of principle, particularly in defending the Constitution.

More on Pence from Betsy Woodruff Swan at Politico: Pence team couldn’t verify Trump campaign’s election fraud claims, new memo shows.

In the days before the Electoral College certification, then-Vice President Mike Pence’s legal team laid out that they found most of the Trump campaign’s assertions of election fraud minor or unverifiable, according to a previously unseen memo obtained by POLITICO.

The memo shows Pence’s legal team didn’t just track the barrage of wild legal arguments from former President Donald Trump’s lawyers and allies, but also meticulously monitored the allegations of election fraud and mismanagement. It specifically includes charges leveled by the Trump campaign itself in court.

The National Archives and Records Administration provided the memo to the select committee, according to a person familiar with the document.

Madamoiselle Mink breakfassts, Janet Hill

Mademoiselle Mink breakfasts, Janet Hill

The 10-page memo, titled “Unlawful Election Conduct in Six States,” is addressed to Pence from his White House legal team. It opens by summarizing that “the GOP and related plaintiffs” alleged procedural violations of election laws and substantive issues of election fraud in six swing states. It then notes that the alleged procedural violations worried Pence’s team, but that the actual accusations of voter fraud were mostly unpersuasive. Later in the memo, it singled out a host of month-old allegations from the Trump campaign itself as unverified.

“In general, there is strong evidence that state and local election officials committed numerous procedural violations that reduced transparency and/or favored Democrat candidates,” the memo reads. “However, most allegations of substantive voter fraud — defined to mean the casting of illegal ballots in violation of prevailing election laws — are either relatively small in number, or cannot be verified.”