Yesterday, we got inconsistent, incomplete, and implausible testimony about what happened at the Capitol on January 6. Today, we will get more of the same. This morning, the talking heads talk about a new 1/6 Commission, to be modeled on the 9/11 Commission. I am moved to share a few thoughts.
The Vital Importance of Marshaling the Facts
People who pay attention to the actual news have pretty much exhausted the topic of what words Trump used or didn’t use in his January 6 speech, and whether those precise words either did or didn’t amount to illegal “incitement” of a riot. The question will probably be explored again—perhaps multiple times—in potential criminal or civil litigation. That is how litigation tends to be: it tends to go over and over and over the same ground, even after any legitimate intellectual interest has been fully satisfied.
But other vital issues remain only partially explored, including
- the extent to which Trump and his team coordinated with the rioters in advance of the riot,
- whether someone was, or someones were, throwing monkey wrenches into law enforcement authorities’ planning for the insurrection,
- the extent to which planning for the insurrection was botched by old fashioned screwups, and how to fix the situation, and, last but far from least,
- a full accounting of what the God Emperor was doing or not doing during the afternoon of January 6, 2021.
Where We are Now, and Where We Need to Go
We have enough information on these questions to form good working hypotheses, and to make good guesses about where the facts will ultimately lead us. But some organization with subpoena power needs to examine every relevant piece of paper, every relevant email, and every relevant witness.
When large organizations—Fortune 500 corporations, bit universities, etc.—find themselves in a mess, they will typically retain one of the major law firms to undertake an independent investigation. Something of that nature must happen here.
Don’t Tell ‘Em, Show ‘Em—and Ixnay on the Dverbsay and the Djectivesay
Some days ago I saw Governor Kean, the chair of the 9/11 Commission, talking on the teevee about how, to get to unanimity, his Commission had to get rid of all the adjectives and adverbs. I understood his point. Some of my former litigation colleagues could not bring themselves to say that our adversaries’ facts were wrong. No, they had to be absolutely and totally and categorically wrong. Wrong. If the facts were wrong, they were wrong. Being categorically wrong didn’t make ‘em one bit wronger.
The 1/6 case against the Mango Moroni and his coconspirators needs to be made fact by fact by fact, without embellishment, until any fair minded person will, herself, draw the right conclusions.
The Credibility of the Investigation Will be Judged by the Fruits of the Investigation, Not the Identity of the Investigators
Put another way, the facts will speak for themselves.
Charlie Brown, Don’t Fall for Lucy-and-the-Football
Kevin McCarthy and Moscow Mitch are not going to wake up tomorrow morning and decide to proceed in good faith in setting up a 1/6 Commission and naming responsible Republicans to that commission. And if I am wrong, and there is a snowstorm down in hell tomorrow morning, and McCarthy and McConnell do try to act in good faith, the fair minded Republicans who get named to the Commission would not be believed by the majority of remaining Republican voters. Conclusion:
Pursuing a 1/6 Commission is a Fool’s Errand
Find another competent person and organization to marshal the relevant facts. And just let the facts speak for themselves.