Jan. 6 Committee will reconvene after Labor Day — Republicans should be scared

Jan. 6 Committee will reconvene after Labor Day — Republicans should be scared
© Greg Nash

More than six months have passed since Joe Biden took office after a fair election, and still, most of Donald TrumpDonald TrumpJan. 6 panel faces double-edged sword with Alex Jones, Roger Stone Trump goes after Woodward, Costa over China Republicans seem set to win the midterms — unless they defeat themselves MORE’s supporters believe the election was stolen and that their fallen hero won. Three in 10 Americans even think he’ll be reinstated this year.

Several recent events illustrate the firm grip that the unpopular former president still has over die-hard conservatives. Last week, Trump’s former White House Chief of Staff Mark MeadowsMark MeadowsRepublicans seem set to win the midterms — unless they defeat themselves Jan. 6 organizers used burner phones to communicate with White House: report Trump allies leaning on his executive privilege claims MORE told Newsmax that he has been meeting with Trump and his “cabinet members” about plans “to move forward in a very real way.” He was specific in saying they’re moving ahead with Trump at the head of “that ticket.” His comment was bizarre since the only president with a cabinet is President BidenJoe BidenSouth Africa health minister calls travel bans over new COVID variant 'unjustified' Biden attends tree lighting ceremony after day out in Nantucket Senior US diplomat visiting Southeast Asia to 'reaffirm' relations MORE and the old president has no executive powers.

Republicans in Arizona are still counting ballots and probably will keep tabulating votes until they come up with the results they want.

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The Washington Post published the notes from a telephone conversation the former president had with then-Acting Attorney General Jeffrey Rosen and his deputy, Richard Donoghue, asking them to invalidate Biden’s hard-earned victory.

According to notes taken by Donoghue, Trump asked the Department of Justice (DOJ) to declare the election corrupt and illegal. When the two officials said they couldn’t overturn the election results, Trump responded, “Don’t expect you to do that, just say the election was corrupt + leave the rest to me and the R[epublican] Congressmen.” 

As if a sitting president presenting a threat to democracy wasn’t enough to cause concern, about two weeks later, an angry mob — most of whom were Trump supporters — attacked the U.S. Capitol to contest the outcome of the election.

In what became known as the Jan. 6 insurrection, four Capitol police officers offered graphic testimony this week of the invasion. Since the day of the ugly episode, four of the police officers who fought valiantly and suffered trauma trying to defend democracy have taken their own lives.

The attack on the Capitol was more than a riot. It was an atrocious assault against the American way of life. The extremists who attacked Congress tried to prevent the certification of the results of the election in which Biden earned a decisive popular and electoral vote victory. If the invaders had succeeded, they would have tragically upended more than two centuries of democratic traditions.

The long-term implications of the attempted coup are horrifying. The short-term political consequences should trouble Republicans.

The controversy over the composition of the special investigatory committee demonstrates House Speaker Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiFive reasons for Biden, GOP to be thankful this season Bipartisan success in the Senate signals room for more compromise The GOP's post-1/6 playbook is clear — and it's dangerous MORE’s (D-Calif.) legislative genius.

Senate Republicans left their House colleagues high and dry when they killed the creation of a joint committee to investigate the attack. That left the House in charge and House Republicans subject to the tender mercies of the speaker.

The House under Pelosi’s leadership voted to act alone, and the majority gave her the final say on the composition of the committee.

The speaker vetoed two of Minority Leader Kevin McCarthyKevin McCarthyWith extreme gerrymanders locking in, Biden needs to make democracy preservation job one Greene: McCarthy 'doesn't have the full support to be Speaker' Christie: McCarthy, not Trump, will be the next Speaker MORE’s (R-Calif.) nominations, Reps. Jim JordanJames (Jim) Daniel JordanWith extreme gerrymanders locking in, Biden needs to make democracy preservation job one Jim Jordan reveals he had COVID-19 this summer The Memo: Gosar censured, but toxic culture grows MORE (R-Ohio) and Jim Banks (R-Ind.), who are ardent Trump acolytes.

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At that point, the GOP Leader punted under pressure instead of going or a first down. Instead of choosing replacements, he chose to withdraw GOP participation from the panel.

The speaker returned the kick quickly, saw the opening and ran right through it. She already had used one of her choices to bring Trump antagonist Rep. Liz CheneyElizabeth (Liz) Lynn CheneyThe GOP's post-1/6 playbook is clear — and it's dangerous Trump allies leaning on his executive privilege claims Two Fox News contributors quit over Tucker Carlson's Jan. 6 documentary MORE (R-Wyo.) on board. She raised the stakes by adding another GOP critic of the 45th president, Rep. Adam KinzingerAdam Daniel KinzingerThe GOP's post-1/6 playbook is clear — and it's dangerous Kinzinger on possible governor bid: 'I'm the only candidate that can win' against Pritzker McBath to run in neighboring district after GOP redrew lines MORE (R-Ill.).

McCarthy’s decision to take his ball and go home created the best of both worlds for the Democrats. The panel stayed bipartisan with two Republicans but there was no one left to defend Trump or the fanatics who assaulted the police and the Constitution in the sacred temple of American democracy. 

The GOP hopes to weaponize the rising crime rate against Democrats to win back control of Congress next year. But memories of Trump enthusiasts attacking the Capitol police will become 30 second TV ad nightmares for Republican congressional candidates next fall. The carnage and chaos from the Capitol coup could seriously undermine the party’s law and order image.

If Republicans do manage to take control of the House after the midterms, they should worry about McCarthy’s capacity to act as speaker after Pelosi served him up on a silver platter for breakfast, lunch and dinner.

Trump admirers should also be concerned about the next stage of the committee deliberations because the police testimony this week was simply an appetizer for the main course to be served when the special panel reconvenes after Labor Day. 

Brad Bannon is a Democratic pollster and CEO of Bannon Communications Research. He is also the host of a radio podcast “Deadline D.C. With Brad Bannon” that airs on the Progressive Voices Network. Follow him on Twitter @BradBannon.