The subtext of the House Select Committee report, tasked with investigating the 6 January 2021 attack on the US Capitol, must be that Donald Trump had strained every nerve in the aftermath of the presidential election in November 2020 to keep himself in office. Yet another critical facet that was revealed on Thursday is that his contrived claims of a “stolen election were false”. The former President quite palpably has his back to the wall, not the least because he must be acutely aware that there can be no feeble defence of the ugly truth on the day of Joe Biden’s inaugural as the President of the United States of America.
The session kicked off an ambitious effort by the nine-member committee, which was formed after Republicans blocked the creation of a non-partisan commission to expose the full story of a remarkable assault on America’s democracy, one that a serving President had orchestrated and that led to a deadly riot, an impeachment and a crisis within the political system. “Donald Trump was at the centre of this conspiracy,” is the immediate response of Bennie Thompson, the Democrat from Mississippi and chairman of the committee. “And ultimately, Donald Trump, the President of the United States, spurred a mob of domestic enemies of the Constitution to march down the Capitol and subvert American democracy”.
The prime-time hearing presented a dramatic video of the Proud Boys, so-called, a Rightwing extremist group that spearheaded the assault on the Capitol. “What I saw was a war zone, the officer, Caroline Edwards, one of the more than 150 officers in the rampage testified. “I saw officers on the ground. They were bleeding, they were throwing up. I was slipping on people’s blood. It was carnage. It was chaos.” It was by all accounts a calibrated assault on the force that holds up the established order.
The committee has publicly recounted the story of how a sitting President undertook unprecedented efforts to overturn a democratic election. Small wonder that it has been remarked that Trump had tested the guardrails of American democracy at every turn. He and his allies challenged President Biden’s victory in the courts, at state houses, and finally in the streets.
He and his advisers knew that he had in fact lost the election, said Representative Liz Cheney of Wyoming, the vice-chairwoman and one of the two Republicans on the panel. “But despite this, President Trump engaged in a massive effort to spread false and fraudulent information to convince huge portions of the US population that fraud had stolen the election.” It has been a dark chapter in American history. Trump had endangered democracy. And while the writing on the wall is blurred, it seems he might get another chance to do so.