Source: C. Douglas Golden
So many days in this country feel like Feb. 2.
We’re all like Bill Murray’s character in “Groundhog Day,” stuck in Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania. We wake up at 6 a.m., “I Got You Babe” is on the radio. “Don’t forget your booties, because it’s cold out there today,” the announcer says.
Monday was one of those days. “Democrats say GOP lawmakers implicated in Jan. 6 should be expelled,” the headline at The Hill read.
That’s funny, I thought to myself, that happened months ago. Missouri Democrat Rep. Cori Bush drew up a resolution within hours of the Capitol incursion calling for the expulsion from Congress of those who “incited this domestic terror attack through their attempts to overturn the election” — i.e., didn’t vote to certify the results of the 2020 election.
Democrat Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse of Rhode Island tweeted on Jan 11., “The Senate Ethics Committee … must consider the expulsion, or censure and punishment, of Sens. [Ted] Cruz, [Josh] Hawley, and perhaps others” for similar reasons.
I believe the Republican members of Congress who have incited this domestic terror attack through their attempts to overturn the election must face consequences. They have broken their sacred Oath of Office.— Congresswoman Cori Bush (@RepCori) January 6, 2021
I will be introducing a resolution calling for their expulsion. pic.twitter.com/JMTlQ4IfnR
The Senate needs to oversee federal investigation of the attack and ransacking of our national Capitol, through Judiciary and perhaps Homeland Security. We may also be the client in federal civil suits for damages and for restraining orders, likely also under Judiciary purview.— Sheldon Whitehouse (@SenWhitehouse) January 11, 2021
But wait, I was promised: This was new!
Two men involved in the Jan. 6 rally in support of then-President Donald Trump — one described as an organizer, the other as a planner — spoke to Rolling Stone for a piece published Sunday.
According to that publication’s Hunter Walker, they “detailed explosive allegations that multiple members of Congress were intimately involved in planning both Trump’s efforts to overturn his election loss and the Jan. 6 events that turned violent.”
The publication also “separately confirmed a third person involved in the main Jan. 6 rally in D.C. has communicated with the committee. This is the first report that the committee is hearing major new allegations from potential cooperating witnesses.”
Spoiler alert: This all isn’t as explosive as you might think.
Nowhere in the article are any of the Republican representatives tied to planning the riot at the Capitol. Instead, the sources said, they were in on planning briefings regarding the protests and rallies that happened in Washington on Jan. 6 with Republicans lawmakers who planned to vote against certifying the election.Related:Capitol Police Officer Allegedly Helped to Hide Evidence of What Really Happened on Jan. 6
The two sources said there were “dozens” of briefings involving a number of pro-Trump Republicans who either participated or sent staffers: Reps. Andy Biggs of Arizona, Lauren Boebert of Colorado, Mo Brooks of Alabama, Madison Cawthorn of North Carolina, Louie Gohmert of Texas, Paul Gosar of Arizona and Marjorie Taylor Greene of Georgia.
At only one point in the piece was something genuinely untoward alleged, at least on the part of representatives themselves: The sources told Rolling Stone that Gosar “dangled the possibility of a ‘blanket pardon’ in an unrelated ongoing investigation to encourage them to plan the protests.”
One of the sources, described as an “organizer,” said the two received “several assurances” about the “blanket pardon” from him and that their “impression was that it was a done deal … that he’d spoken to the president about it in the Oval.”
They quoted Gosar as saying, “I was just going over the list of pardons and we just wanted to tell you guys how much we appreciate all the hard work you’ve been doing.”
It’s entirely unclear what these pardons refer to, however, only that they were unrelated to the events of Jan. 6. It’s worth noting no official quid pro quo for pardons was alleged in the article. In fact, no claim of incitement or illegal behavior is made at all.
Buried all the way down in the 51st paragraph of the story — not a typo — is this:
“Heading into Jan. 6, both sources say, the plan they had discussed with other organizers, Trump allies, and members of Congress was a rally that would solely take place at the Ellipse, where speakers — including the former president — would present ‘evidence’ about issues with the election. This demonstration would take place in conjunction with objections that were being made by Trump allies during the certification on the House floor that day.”
None of these discussions involved the Capitol riot. No one encouraged it. Even if we were to assume all these representatives took part — several have denied involvement outright, The Hill noted, and none has gone on record as confirming the sources’ version of the story — there’s still no allegation they did anything illegal by liaising with rally planners.
And yet, this revived calls for the members of Congress mentioned in the article to be expelled.
Democrat Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York, for example, implied Sunday those named in the article “helped plot a terrorist attack on our nation’s Capitol” and “must be expelled.”
Any member of Congress who helped plot a terrorist attack on our nation’s capitol must be expelled.— Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (@AOC) October 25, 2021
This was a terror attack. 138 injured, almost 10 dead. Those responsible remain a danger to our democracy, our country, and human life in the vicinity of our Capitol and beyond. https://t.co/D0qLlaFjTh
(As my Western Journal colleague Michael Austin pointed out, the “almost 10” people who died actually numbered four, and most of them were Trump supporters.)
“Every member of Congress takes an oath to defend our Constitution against all enemies, foreign and domestic,” wrote Rep. Norma Torres of California. “Any member who helped plan or was complicit in the Jan. 6 insurrection violated that oath, and should be immediately removed from office.”