- The Washington Times - Wednesday, June 29, 2022

The great philosopher Eric Hoffer once said: “Every great cause begins as a movement, becomes a business, and eventually degenerates into a racket.”

On Wednesday, the House Select Committee to Investigate the January 6th Attack on the United States Capitol finally reached its natural conclusion and degenerated into a racket. The special “surprise” hearing that day focused on the testimony from Cassidy Hutchinson, a former aide to Chief of Staff Mark Meadows.

There are several curious features of that testimony. First, Ms. Hutchinson had already offered testimony four times to the committee. Assuming that what she said in front of the cameras was not appreciably different than what she said in the previous four depositions, the committee — composed of a bunch of lawyers — must have known that almost the entire testimony was hearsay and would have been inadmissible in a court of law.



In none of the instances emphasized by the media did Ms. Hutchinson actually witness the activity to which she testified. She never heard former President Donald Trump say anything about Vice President Mike Pence on Jan. 6. She never saw Mr. Trump throw anything. She wasn’t in the car with Mr. Trump on Jan. 6.

Courts exclude hearsay because it makes a lot more sense for the court to get the person who actually saw or heard the action in question — rather than someone who didn’t see or hear it — testify.

In this instance, fortunately, all the immediate and actual witnesses to the supposed events are still alive and can testify. The committee already knows that. They already have testimony from Bobby Engel (Secret Service agent) and Tony Ornato (the deputy chief of staff for operations). It tells you everything that you need to know that the committee failed to produce any of that testimony to corroborate Ms. Hutchinson’s story about the SUV on Jan. 6. 

Their testimony almost certainly contradicts Ms. Hutchinson’s testimony. Indeed, the Secret Service has already indicated that Ms. Hutchinson’s story about Mr. Trump attempting to grab the wheel is inaccurate and unsupported by eyewitness testimony.

It seems reasonable to conclude that much of the hearsay Ms. Hutchinson offered up is similarly deficient. It is important to note — and goes directly to her credibility — that Ms. Hutchinson stayed on in the Executive Office of the President until Jan. 20, 2021, and repeatedly sought employment on Mr. Trump’s post-presidential team.

The problem, however, lies not with Ms. Hutchinson. Rather, the problem is with the committee members who were willing to cynically exploit an inexperienced former staffer. 

Wednesday’s hearing made clear the committee has been about three things all along. First, it wanted to disqualify Mr.Trump from running for public office again. 

More disturbingly, it wanted to marginalize those voters who supported and support Mr. Trump and make sure that they are disqualified from participating in the political life of the Republican Party specifically, and the United States more generally. The presence on the committee of legacy Republican Reps. Liz Cheney and Adam Kinzinger makes it clear that part of the mob that has organized against Mr. Trump’s supporters includes the sad and decayed remnants of your father’s Republican Party.

Third, the committee is designed to send an unequivocal message to any future aspirants to public life that transgression of policy norms — not behavioral norms — will be met with the harshest possible measures. If it were about behavioral norms, phenomena like Black Lives Matter riots, attempted assassinations of Supreme Court justices, and firebombing churches and pregnancy centers would be under the microscope. 

The problem with all of this, of course, is that a blind man can see through the charade with his cane. The ratings have been poor for this televised propaganda precisely because it is obviously propaganda. Rather than weaken the resolve of Mr. Trump’s supporters, and perhaps Mr. Trump himself, it is likely that all the show trial has done is make them dig deeper into their resolve to not be driven from the political life of the nation.

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