On the fourth day of the House Special Committee hearings on Jan. 6, plenty of powerful evidence was presented showing how President Trump and his state-level allies coerced, bullied, and schemed to overturn the results of the 2020 election. Using the same formula that made much of the previous hearings a must-watch on Tuesday, the committee again weaved a narrative from its 10-month investigation.
But among all the bombs, something else remarkable rose out of the smoke: the sight of Republicans and Democrats treating one another with courtesy and respect on a public stage, no matter what radioactive material brought them together.
Rep. Adam B. Schiff (D-Burbank) questioned Arizona House Speaker Rusty Bowers, a Republican, about the pressure he was under from Trump and Attorney Rudy Giuliani to help them put their thumbs on the scales for to lay the former president. Schiff and Bowers addressed each other respectfully. They allowed each other to finish their thoughts. And above all, they worked toward the same goal: to expose dangerous lies and schemes to protect the future of American democracy.
Bowers testified for about 40 minutes and recounted how he was pressured to contest the election results: “I will not break my oath of office,” he told Giuliani. He emerged as a reliable and genuine witness whose powerful testimony made clear statements about the seriousness of his position in the face of corruption and his family’s emotional distress after public pressure was applied by Trump and his allies. He said supporters of the president camped outside his home and drove past in video-clad trucks with megaphones declaring him a pedophile. He spoke of an armed man arguing with his neighbor and the plight of his seriously ill daughter as a result of the harassment.
Like Bowers, nearly every witness who has testified about Trump’s role in the Jan. 6 riot has been a Republican or a self-confessed conservative. And they’ve been polled regularly by Democrats, who hold a 7-2 majority on the committee. In a bipartisan political environment, the faint glimmers of bipartisanship that show up — with Democrats and Republicans managing to work together under duress without bringing the building down — is one of the biggest revelations of the hearings ever.
When can you last remember the two parties sitting together somewhere in Washington, DC and engaging in calm, controlled, professional discourse? As viewers adjust to the rhythm of the proceedings, that courtesy and mutual respect between red and blue state officials remains refreshing to watch, even as the snippets of testimonies from Bill Barr, Ivanka Trump, and others tell a tale of putting party . and power, over land..
It seems the livestreams, coverage and memes from the hearings are also having an impact: an ABC News/Ipos poll released Sunday found that 58% of respondents believe Trump will be charged with a crime over his role in the hearing was supposed to attack Jan. 6, up 52% in an ABC/Washington Post poll earlier this year.
One reason the hearings haven’t emerged as a prime opportunity to humiliate the opponent may be the fact that House Minority Chairman Kevin McCarthy (R-Bakersfield) has already made all of his post-House Committee appointments Spokesperson Nancy Pelosi (D-San Francisco) repudiated Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio), who had spread disinformation, and Jim Banks (R-Ind.), who was directly involved in the push, opposed the finding to change. So there are no Trump apologists on the panel, just two staunch and courageous Republicans: Vice Chairwoman Liz Cheney (Wyo.) and Rep. Adam Kinzinger (Illinois), both victims of exactly the kind of harassment witness after witness testified Tuesday.
“What was it like competing with a president who had the biggest bully pulpit in the world?” Schiff asked Georgia election official Gabe Sterling, known for his late-2020 press conference in which he implored Trump, “Stop it, people to inspire potential acts of violence. Someone gets hurt, someone gets shot, someone gets killed. …” Trying to counter the misinformation “was like a shovel trying to empty the ocean,” he said. The statement also came from Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger, whom Trump famously asked to “find” enough votes to overturn Biden’s victory in a taped phone call.
Fulton County poll worker Shaye Moss and her mother Ruby Freeman have been publicly accused by Trump and his cohorts of participating in voter fraud. Except that the nefarious USB stick that Giuliani claimed was passed between mother and daughter was actually a breath mint. They, too, have been harassed by Trump apologists. Moss collapsed on the witness stand when she testified that her life was “severely affected in every way by lies.”
“I don’t feel safe anywhere. Nowhere‘ said Freeman, who described herself as a ‘small business owner, mom, proud American citizen.’ “You know how it feels when the President of the United States takes aim at you?”
Schiff gave Freeman the last word before apologizing to her and Moss for their ordeal. In his concluding remarks on the importance of defending democracy, he quoted George Washington and only one modern president: a Republican. He said Ronald Reagan was right when he described America’s peaceful transfer of power “as something of a miracle in the eyes of the world.”
The impartiality of the January 6 hearings felt like a miracle in itself.
https://www.latimes.com/entertainment-arts/tv/story/2022-06-21/jan-6-committee-hearings-schiff-bowers-sterling-moss-freeman Jan 6 committee hearings produce a ‘miracle’: bipartisanship