Abcarian: Scandal, villainy, treachery — the Jan. 6 committee report is replete juicy bits

The January 6 House Committee final report is a true gift to the American people.

In its 800+ pages, members have given us a compelling, chronological account of the events leading up to one of the most shameful events in American history: the storming of the Capitol by violent, misguided supporters of President Trump led by the US government operated on fallacy that he won the 2020 election.

Here’s proof, for those who missed (or chose to ignore) the committee’s televised hearings, that Trump knew he’d lost but couldn’t take the humiliation and set out to secure at least another four years in office. Who knows what other horrors he might have inflicted on our Constitution if his coup had succeeded?

Spotted portrait illustration of Robin Abcarian

opinion columnist

Robin Abcarian

The report is littered with somber but entertaining tidbits that ultimately blame Trump for the horrifying events.

For example, did you know that dirty political con man Roger Stone coined the phrase “stop the steal”? Not in 2020, mind you, but in 2016, when he pretended that this candidate was Trump republican Competitors tried to steal the nomination from him. Or that right-wing provocateur Ali Alexander, a frequent Stone collaborator, launched the now-defunct events website in December 2020, shortly after Trump tweeted his invitation to the Jan. 6 rally? Or that Julie Fancelli, the 72-year-old heiress to the Publix supermarket fortune, offered to spend $3 million to pay for speakers and bring protesters to Washington on Jan. 6?

These stories come from Chapter 6, “Be There, Will be Wild!” The chapter examines the fascist white nationalist groups — the Proud Boys, the Oath Keepers, the Three Percenters, the Groypers, QAnon supporters — who accepted Trump’s invitation to Washington as Seen as a call for violence and an opportunity to turn the United States back into a lunatic version of greatness that never existed.

They were, of course, completely delusional about many things — that the election was stolen, that Vice President Pence might refuse to confirm their results, that with their help Trump could stay in office, that they would escape the wrath of the justice system.

For example, Stewart Rhodes, the convicted rioter who founded the Oath Keepers, told the committee he believed Trump could have mobilized “disorganized militias” like the Oath Keepers to quell an insurgency if he had tried to be in power to stay after losing the election.

“This fantasy reflected a distorted sense of reality,” the committee wrote in its report. “The Oath Keepers themselves were the ones contemplating an uprising.”

Evidence: In a message to colleagues cited in the report, Rhodes wrote: “Either Trump jumps up and uses the Insurrection Act to defeat the Chicom puppet coup, or we must rise up in rebellion against Chicom puppet Biden . Make your choice.” (“Chicom” = Chinese communist.)

Reading Chapter 6, I realized that fake patriots like Rhodes, who faces up to 20 years in prison, are nothing more than ridiculously over-the-top drama queens. They’ve convinced themselves they’re saving the Constitution (from democracy, I guess), when in fact they line their birdcages with it. They see themselves as fighting forces of evil to inflate their self worth. They would be ridiculous if they weren’t so dangerous. (And well-armed: Rhodes, the report said, “amassed an arsenal of military-grade weapons and equipment in the days leading up to Jan. 6” and stashed it in a hotel outside the District of Columbia.)

In another example of the irony of destroyers posing as saviors, the report notes that the Proud Boys and their leader Enrique Tarrio envisioned re-enacting the 1917 Bolshevik Revolution. They took up the rallying cry “Storm the Winter Palace,” an allusion to the overthrow of the tsarist order in Russia. As the January 6 committee notes in its report, this event led to over 70 years of communist rule.

“No historical event was less American,” the committee stated wryly. (Jury selection in Tarrio’s seditious conspiracy trial is underway in Washington.)

Posts online about what would happen on January 6 were full of predictions of violence.

“You can go to Washington on January 6th and help storm the capital,” wrote a user on QAnon website 8kun. “We will storm government buildings, kill cops, kill security guards, kill federal employees and agents, and demand a recount.”

When I read about the blinded warriors of January 6th, I remembered one of the great literary figures: Don Quixote, the man from La Mancha.

It was invented four hundred years ago by Miguel de Cervantes, a minor nobleman whose love of romance and chivalry led him to imagine himself as a knight-errant, riding through the Spanish countryside on his old hag, whom he believes to be a noble steed rides, in search of offbeat adventures and fame. Among his many misguided exploits, he mistakes windmills for giants who must be slain with his sword.

He’s a great character, and he’s also a fool – paranoid and unable to distinguish between reality and his feverish imagination.

That kind of paranoia and self-importance, minus the endearing romance of Don Quixote, lives on in the Roger Stones, Stewart Rhodeses, Enrique Tarrios, and the many, many other stupid people who played a part in the January 6th riot.

As for the man from Mar-a-Lago, he’s still storming windmills, pretending to have won the election, and fantasizing about ruling the country again. We hope he can do that from prison.

@AbcarianLAT Abcarian: Scandal, villainy, treachery — the Jan. 6 committee report is replete juicy bits

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