With just four months away from the November 8 polling for all of the 435-member house of representatives, most of the US media from reputed TIME to New York Times, Washington Post, and multitudes of blogs in America have started gauging the American mood, given the severe dent that the eighth hearings of the ‘January 6’ panel on Capitol Hills alleged insurrection has had on Trump’s larger than life image with aide after aide and his fellowmen going against him.
Former President Donald Trump’s poll numbers are suffering in the wake of several prime-time hearings held by the January 6 committee that revealed new details about the Capitol riot and Trump’s role in its 8th hearing with explosive footages of Trump’s speeches, twitters and his fellow republican photo of Hawke showing his fist as encouraging the riotous mob and later ducking for cover for his own Lifes safety from the oath keepers and proud boys, both ultra-right wingers and the former an amorphous group of militia men from army and police, who think they alone can protect American way of life.
Prominent TV news network, CNN, lists what it calls takeaways from the 8th final hearing of the Jan 6 panel. In its final public hearing until the fall, damning new evidence on Thursday highlighted then-President Donald Trump’s three-hour refusal to publicly condemn the unfolding insurrection at the US Capitol or to call off the violent mob. This would not have apparently not gone down well with the near 18 million viewers on prime-time TV who saw explosive footage of Trumps inaction during those 187 minutes of terror when police officers feared for their lives and sent good bye messages to their loved ones.
The prime time session — the eighth hearing so far this summer — focused on the “187 minutes” between Trump telling his supporters to march to the Capitol, and when he finally told them to “go home”, CNN said in its analysis of the January 6 events. The hearing was co-led by Rep. Elaine Luria, a Virginia Democrat, and Rep. Adam Kinzinger, an Illinois Republican. Two former Trump White House aides who resigned in the immediate aftermath of the attack — Matthew Pottinger and Sarah Matthews — testified in-person on Thursday. The former was a press aide and the latter the deputy national security advisor to Trump.
Here are takeaways from Thursday’s epic prime-time hearing that could dent Trump’s image and leave donors for his campaign funds indecisive. Whether they are backing the right horse. If Trump announces his decision to run for President in 2024 as he himself admitted he might before fall and in advance of the January 6 panel’s report, republicans feel that it might deflect much of the attention they have been building up against Joe Biden’s inability to take on challenges in the US economy like an impending recession and historic highs in inflation since the last four decades and soaring gas prices which have now shown some signs of descendancy since the tax breaks.
Trump’s decision not to act during those 187 minutes might severely affect his chances with the American population though die hard ultra-right wingers and republicans and select lobbies like the NRA might still support him. CNN says the committee used Thursday’s hearing to show how Trump not only failed to act, but chose not to as he watched the violent assault on the US Capitol unfold.
Several witnesses with first-hand knowledge of what was happening inside the White House on January 6 told the committee that Trump did not place a single call to any of his law enforcement or national security officials as the Capitol attack was unfolding, according to previously unseen video testimony played during Thursday’s hearing. The panel said it “confirmed in numerous interviews with senior law enforcement and military leaders, Vice President Mike Pence’s staff, and DC government officials: None of them — not one — heard from President Trump that day,” Luria said.
The committee used that testimony to make the case that Trump’s refusal to intervene amounted to a dereliction of duty. A president who is the commander of the armed forces being accused of dereliction of duty is not a good omen. A retired admiral in the navy castigated Trump for his inaction as a commander in chief of the forces. Former officials who were with Trump as he watched the riot unfold on television, including then-White House counsel Pat Cipollone and Trump’s body man Nick Luna, told the committee they had no knowledge of the former President making a single call to the heads of various agencies who could have responded to the violence, including the secretary of defense or attorney general.
Keith Kellogg, Pence’s national security adviser who was also with Trump that day, testified that he never heard the former President ask for the National Guard or a law enforcement response. These were not Trump’s enemies but his own party men, aides and officials in the west wing that tried to stop him from his unconstitutional act such as getting vice president Mike Pence not to certify Joe Biden’s election as a victory for the democrats and as new president of the USA just to retain his position in the white house. “Absolutely infuriating”, said an unnamed official of his actions.
Some feedback conducted recently shows a dip in Trumps larger than life popularity and an outsider to White House who had occupied the front pages of New York tabloids for 30 years despite not being in politics. Kellogg also reaffirmed that he would have been aware if Trump had made such an ask.
Matthews, the former White House spokeswoman, said she spoke with White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany during the riot, and McEnany “looked directly at me, and in a hushed tone, shared with me that the President did not want to include any sort of mention of peace” in a tweet that they were crafting.”To me, his refusal to act and call off the mob that day and his refusal to condemn the violence was indefensible,” Matthews said at the hearing.
All these exposures in the 8th hearings have made a section of republicans do a rethink on Trump’s candidacy for 2024 presidential run besides donors for campaign funds being rattled by the testimonies in the final hearing. That testimony fit with other evidence presented on Thursday, like the outtakes of Trump’s videotaped speech on January 7, where he tried to water down some of the prepared language and told his aides, “I don’t want to say the election’s over, OK?” ‘I don’t want to say the election is over’: This has not gone down well with most people.
Chairman of the Joint Chiefs Gen. Mark Milley told the House select committee that he was astonished by the fact that he never heard from Trump as the Capitol attack was unfolding — suggesting his failure to act amounted to an abdication of his duties as Commander in Chief, according to previously unseen video from his close-door deposition. Nothing could be more harmful than Mileys statement.
“You know, you’re the Commander in Chief. You’ve got an assault going on the Capitol of the United States of America and there’s nothing? No call? Nothing? Zero?” he said in the clip. The tape reveals Trump’s top general’s dismay over the former president’s conduct. Thursday’s hearing also featured new and disturbing video and audio showing how endangered Pence’s security detail felt he was as they tried to evacuate the vice president from the Capitol.
The committee painted the fullest picture to date of the danger facing Pence and his team as rioters called for hanging Pence when he refused to go along with Trump’s efforts to try to overturn the 2020 election. A committee witness testified that Pence’s detail was so concerned with what was transpiring that they “were starting to fear for their own lives”, and that there were calls “to say goodbye to family members.”The witness was an unidentified national security professional who worked in the White House on January 6, whose audio testimony was masked to shield the official’s identity.
“Is the VP compromised? Like, I don’t know. We didn’t have visibility, but if they’re screaming and saying things, like, say goodbye to family…. this is going to a whole other level soon,” the national security official said.
The House select committee also revealed, for the first time, Secret Service radio traffic as agents assessed the Senate stairwell where Pence would be evacuated, while rioters were confronting police in a hallway downstairs at the same time. The video played Thursday spliced together the surveillance tapes with the security footage and sound of Pence’s detail, bringing into focus how near a miss Pence and his detail experienced.
The Committee contrasted Pence’s presidential actions with Trump’s inaction saying how Trump did not try to call law enforcement or military officials on January 6, while Pence — whose life was endangered by rioters — “worked the phones” speaking to Milley and then-acting Defense Secretary Chris Miller. The committee played video of Milley’s deposition where he said he had “two or three calls” with Pence. “He was very animated, and he issued very explicit, very direct, unambiguous orders. Get the military down here, get the Guard down here, put down this situation.” That was Pence.
The committee’s comparison between Trump and Pence underscores how Trump is still angry with his vice president over January 6. Politically, Pence has gone against Trump in several primaries ahead of a possible 2024 presidential contest. The former vice president has endorsed Republicans who rejected Trump’s false claims of fraud, including Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp — who defeated a Trump-backed primary challenge — and Arizona Republican Karrin Taylor Robson, who is running in the state’s gubernatorial primary against a Republican who has embraced Trump’s “lies” about the election.
The committee, which counts two anti-Trump Republicans as members — Kinzinger and the committee’s vice chairman, Rep. Liz Cheney of Wyoming — has painted Pence as one of the key officials who stood up to Trump after he lost the 2020 election. The committee also included in its hearing Thursday a clip of Joe Biden on January 6 condemning the violence — in what was a subtle nod to Biden acting presidential before in comparison to Trump before he was inaugurated as president.
The committee threw several sharp elbows at congressional Republicans during Thursday’s hearing, taking on House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy and other allies of Trump. The committee played audio clips, which have been disclosed previously, where McCarthy spoke of his conversations with Trump after January 6 and said that he was considering advising him to resign.
The committee also played a video clip from the deposition of Trump son-in-law Jared Kushner in which Kushner said that McCarthy “was scared” amid the unfolding violence at the Capitol when the two spoke by phone on January 6. ‘Chilling’: GOP lawmaker describes Trump’s call with McCarthy. In addition, the panel spotlighted Sen. Josh Hawley, the Missouri Republican who led the Senate’s objection to the election results on January 6. The panel showed a well-known photo of Hawley raising his fist toward the rioters outside the Capitol the morning of January 6 and later ducking for cover from the same mob.
Immediately afterward, the panel played a video showing Hawley running out of the Senate chamber — and played it a second time in slow motion for emphasis. Later that night, Hawley forced debate on the Pennsylvania election results and voted against certifying them.
The panel’s two Republicans, Kinzinger and Cheney, have been vocal critics of McCarthy as they’ve been ostracized from the House GOP conference. Both could be out of Congress next year: Kinzinger is retiring and Cheney is facing a Trump-backed primary challenger in Wyoming. She could lose as she is facing party ire.
The January 6 committee on Thursday provided new evidence to back up the explosive testimony of former White House aide Cassidy Hutchinson, who publicly described Trump’s angry interactions with his Secret Service detail after Trump was told he could not go to the Capitol. Luria said the committee had information from two additional sources to partially corroborate Hutchinson’s testimony that Trump lunged at his Secret Service detail. One of the witnesses, Luria said, “is a former White House employee with national security responsibilities.”
While the individual was not named, Luria said that the official testified that Tony Ornato, then-Trump White House deputy chief of staff and a current member of the Secret Service, told him the same story that Hutchinson testified Ornato had told her — that Trump was “irate” when Robert Engel, the Secret Service agent in charge on January 6, 2021, would not take him to the Capitol. The second witness was retired Washington, DC, police Sgt. Mark Robinson, who was in Trump’s motorcade that day.
Robinson testified that the Secret Service agent responsible for the motorcade had said that Trump had a “heated” discussion with his detail about going to the Capitol. Robinson added that he had been in “over 100” motorcades with Trump and had never heard of that type of exchange before January 6.
California Democratic Rep. Zoe Lofgren, a member of the committee, told CNN that Ornato and Engel have both retained private counsel to engage with the panel.
Taken together, all the video clips and audio tapes created a compelling multimedia experience, which the committee hopes will capture the public’s attention and drive home their message. After all, the panel hired a prominent former TV executive to produce the hearings, and has worked aggressively with subpoenas and court battles to obtain mountains of new material. It’s all now coming together.
Lawmakers have said their investigation is ongoing. Earlier in the hearing, Rep. Bennie Thompson, the committee chairman, said, “We continue to receive new information every day.” The panel has conducted eight public hearings so far, and has seen impressive TV ratings while presenting substantial amounts of damaging new information about Trump and January 6. The next wave of hearings in September will come during the final stretch of the midterm campaign.
Committee members have said they intend to issue an interim report around that time as well.”We’ve proven different components of a criminal case against Donald Trump or people around him in every hearing,” Kinzinger had told CNN’s Jim Sciutto on “Newsroom” in response to a question about whether the committee had brought sufficient evidence for the Justice Department to indict Trump.
“I think, taken in totality, this represents the greatest effort to overturn the will of the people, to conspire against the will of the people, and to conspire against American democracy that we’ve ever had, frankly, since the Civil War,” Kinzinger continued. “So yeah, I think we’ve proven that. It’s up to Justice now to make a decision.”
So what’s the November 08 midterm 2022 polls look like for President Biden and ex Donald Trump. If Trump announces his candidacy before fall to influence the midterms, then Biden enjoys the advantage of not facing a referendum on his alleged inept administration to tackle the American economy’s challenges and if Trump does listen for once to the advice from his republicans to delay his announcement, then the democrats and the republicans are in a tight race for the 435-member house of reps and senate were democrats have a wafer thin majority now.
If republicans fail to retake the congress house of reps, then Rino De Santis, Florida governor could be the republican candidate for presidency, but no candidate opposing Trump has ever beaten him in the GOP primaries head-to-head. As for Joe Biden, his prospects will become better if the US economy does not sink into recession, sanctions are lifted against Russia , Russia stops the war against Ukraine, and inflation reels down. Russian Gas supply to Europe has resumed ahead of the winter season, an encouraging sign.
(Ashok Nilakantan can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org)