As hotly partisan as the Jan. 6 committee has been from the start, it is right about one thing: The Capitol riot did not happen in a vacuum.
The 64 days between Election Day 2020 and Jan. 6, 2021, were the culmination of the most bizarre, surreal and absurd five years in modern American politics. By the time Jan. 6 rolled around, normal Americans were exhausted, bewildered, frustrated and had no idea who to believe anymore.
Certainly, the political press and politicians in Washington — even officials in the federal government itself — had completely destroyed every last shred of their own credibility.
And everything was happening at such hyper-warp speed that it was impossible to keep up with all the chaos. We were all reeling and shell-shocked from the constant, forced media diet of Trump-Russia-Impeachment-Pandemic-Lockdowns-Race Riots.
If we had turned on the TV on Jan. 6 and instead of a Capitol riot saw reports of dinosaurs roaming up and down the National Mall, most Americans would have shrugged, said that’s amazing and turned the channel.
It was all so deeply surreal.
Now the problem with this partisan committee in Congress is that it wants to focus entirely on the actions of former President Donald Trump and his supporters in Washington that day, as part of a political campaign to blame everything on its political adversaries in hopes of blunting the savage beating it faces from voters this November for wrecking the country. Of course, the political press is all too happy to go along and provide all the free commercials that the campaign demands.
Indeed, there were people who committed crimes on Jan. 6, and those individuals are being punished well beyond the full extent of the law. If only prosecutors were this zealous in pursuing all rioters, trespassers and criminals.
But the real culprits who caused Jan. 6 will never be held accountable. That’s because many of those very culprits are presently seated on the committee or are moderating coverage of the committee for television audiences around the country.
Rep. Adam Schiff, California Democrat, sits on the committee investigating Jan. 6 even though he is perhaps the single most responsible person in all of Washington for sparking the riot in the first place. For five years before Jan. 6, Mr. Schiff — a failed Hollywood scriptwriter — knowingly lied to the American people, including his own supporters, about fantastical tales he and others conspired to spin up against Mr. Trump.
Mr. Schiff and fellow Democrats in Congress — along with a handful of very dumb Republicans — colluded with the media to convince officials in the federal government to launch a sprawling investigation into their crazed fantasies about Mr. Trump.
We now know all those wild conspiracies were completely made up to destroy Mr. Trump, ruin his ability to govern and cheat the millions of Americans who had voted for him. In fact, Mr. Schiff’s lies were a rolling insurrection aimed at thwarting the 2016 election. It was a conspiracy among Democrats in Washington, the political press and corrupt government officials.
And it worked.
By the time Jan. 6 rolled around, beleaguered American voters would have believed just about anything. After all, 2020 had been the most dishonest American election since the invention of electricity.
Democrats across the country — particularly in key states — exploited the pandemic to dramatically overhaul how Americans voted. They installed unmanned ballot drop boxes. They lengthened the election to a period of time that we had never seen before.
Every one of these new voting tactics had been previously resisted because they made elections more vulnerable to fraud. All of the changes were made in the name of the pandemic. All of it benefitted President Biden and Democrats. And all of it hurt Mr. Trump.
The media’s role was as disgusting as it was dishonest. They shamelessly lied about Mr. Trump at every turn of his presidency. They peddled partisan fantasies and manufactured evidence to support the wildest claims against Mr. Trump.
Even more shamelessly, they became Mr. Biden’s unquestioning cheerleaders. And when Hunter Biden’s laptop exposed lurid sex tapes and galloping drug romps — not to mention confirmable financial corruption involving the Biden family and foreign governments — the media brazenly censored the coverage.
So, by the time Jan. 6 rolled around, Mr. Trump and his supporters had seen it all and been through it all. The notion that Democrats and the media had conspired to rig the 2020 election against Mr. Trump was among the most believable things about his whole presidency.
But don’t expect to learn about any of that from the partisan Jan. 6 committee.
• Charles Hurt is the opinion editor at The Washington Times.
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