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GOP Picks America's Sweetheart Elise Stefanik To Lead Response To Jan. 6 Hearings
It's a bold strategy, Cotton.
Thursday night at 8 p.m. ET, the January 6 Select Committee will kick off the first of its public hearings to present the evidence it's gathered in the past 11 months of investigating the events leading up to to Capitol Riot. With at least six hearings scheduled this month, CNN reports that Thursday night will be a broad overview of the Committee's findings, before further broadcasts on June 13, 15, 16, 21 and 23.
When asked if she believed the plot to overturn the election was a conspiracy, GOP Rep. Liz Cheney told CBS's Robert Costa, "I do. It is extremely broad. It's extremely well-organized. It's really chilling."
“The select committee has found evidence about a lot more than incitement here, and we’re gonna be laying out the evidence about all of the actors who were pivotal to what took place on January 6,” Raskin told the Washington Post Live .
Meanwhile the GOP is losing its shit, trying to counter-program the hearings and keep the old man happy — two strategies that may not be entirely compatible. Last week Vox got its hands on an RNC memo seeking to balance "RNC goals" and “Requests from FPOTUS."
“Not one size fits all. We won’t provide air cover for all but don’t want to be seen as speaking for FPOTUS," it reads, a tacit acknowledgment that the RNC is perhaps not ideally suited to argue that the January 6 Committee is "partisan" and “Democrats [are] the real election deniers.”
Axios reports that "Republicans are plotting to compete with wall-to-wall cable coverage by using their own platforms to argue the committee is a partisan fishing expedition that lacks legal legitimacy." And by their own platforms, they mean "Fox News, Steve Bannon's 'War Room,' 'Real America’s Voice,' Facebook and Trump's own Truth Social and Save America PAC."
Sean Hannity is already priming the pump to call the Committee's findings illegitimate, which is pretty funny since they've got his texts to Mark Meadows urging Donald Trump to concede the election and retire to Florida before the Capitol riot, and calling for Trump to make a statement "urging people to peacefully leave the Capitol" when the violence was underway.
“Sean Hannity doesn’t want people to watch the J6 hearings: “This is a waste of your time and money. They have a predetermined outcome and, by the way, it lacks any serious investigation.””
— Ron Filipkowski 🇺🇦 (@Ron Filipkowski 🇺🇦) 1654536572
The problem for the GOP, though, is that it has literally no idea what the Committee is holding, since Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy stomped off and yanked all his members after Speaker Nancy Pelosi refused to seat Reps. Jim Banks and Jim Jordan, who was a leader of the effort to mount an Electoral College coup. They can only be reactive and accuse the Committee of rank partisanship, an activity that might be more difficult if, as seems likely, the investigators got their hands on more Republican texts and have been saving some particularly damning ones for primetime.
Trump, as usual, is concentrated on his own political needs above all else, and has drafted New York GOP Rep. Elise Stefanik to lead the charge, as she did during the first impeachment. He appears to be under the impression that Stefanik is likeable, which is ... a take.
But according to CNN, many Republicans may choose to simply ignore the hearings, and instead hammer away at issues their own base cares about, such as inflation, migrant "caravans," and the dangers of trans girls playing peewee soccer.
"Most Americans don't like what happened on January 6, but rate it pretty low on their importance list when compared to inflation, cost of gas, the border and crime," Nebraska Rep. Don Bacon told CNN. "Once Pelosi kicked off two members on GOP side, which prior to this Congress has never been done in the history of the House, the perceived legitimacy of the Select Committee by our side is zero."
Meanwhile, the GOP's efforts to portray the hearings as a partisan witch hunt may run into difficulty because so many of the witnesses will be actual Republicans. Vice President Mike Pence's chief counsel Greg Jacob and chief of staff Marc Short have been invited to testify, as has former federal judge J. Michael Luttig, a staunch conservative Ted Cruz has said was "like a father to me," to testify. Judge Luttig ridiculed coup-curious lawyer John Eastman's plan for Pence to unilaterally reject electoral votes, and advised Pence not to have anything to do with the plot.
In fact, most of the witnesses the Committee interviewed and on whose testimony they will be relying are Republicans, because frankly there weren't so many Democrats trying to overturn Joe Biden's massive win. Right-wing rabble-rouser Ali Alexander, who claimed to have planned the protest with Reps. Mo Brooks, Paul Gosar, and Andy Biggs, is hardly a member of the Blue Team. Ditto for former Justice Department leaders Bill Barr, Jeffrey Rosen, and Richard Donoghue, who had a front row seat for Jeffrey Clark's machinations to get the Justice Department to announce fake investigations of fraud and thus allow swing state legislatures to claw back their electors. And speaking of electors, a whole raft of those cosplay electors who swore themselves in and submitted fake certificates to the National Archives bellied up to the bar and told Adam Schiff and Liz Cheney what they knew. As did Ivanka Trump, Don Jr., and his lady-friend Kimberly Guilfoyle.
So, unless Republicans are going to pretend those people are all RINOs, they may run into a wee messaging problem claiming this is all a "Democrat witch hunt." But you know those sumbitches are going to give it the old college try! And so will Your Wonkette, which is planning to liveblog the shit out of these hearings.
Don't forget to hang out with us Thursday night. All the cool kids will be there!
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