Former President Donald Trump put out a furious 12-page tirade about the House Jan. 6 Select Committee on Monday night, a sign that the committee’s hearings might be getting under his skin just a little bit.
Trump’s tirade, including footnotes, runs to around 5,800 words—about as long as the combined opening statements that were delivered by Select Committee chair Rep. Bennie Thompson and vice-chair Rep. Liz Cheney during the committee’s opening hearings last Thursday, which took a half-hour to get through on live TV.
In the lengthy memo, Trump repeats numerous false claims that the election was stolen from him and complains the only criminality he sees was not the violent insurrection he incited at the U.S. Capitol, but the “obvious signs of criminal activity throughout the election” —which his campaign failed to prove in more than 60 lawsuits.
“This entire charade of the Unselect Committee is a brazen attempt to detract the public’s attention from the truth. The truth is that Americans showed up in Washington, D.C. in massive numbers (but seldom revealed by the press), on January 6th, 2021, to hold their elected officials accountable for the obvious signs of criminal activity throughout the Election. Those who are supposed to be public servants are using the power of government against the people who entrusted them with the power. We’ve been betrayed,” Trump ranted.
Trump likely didn’t write the whole thing himself—he’s not exactly the type to use footnotes. But he clearly felt the need to push back against the committee, whose first two hearings have featured damning testimony from some of his own top aides and his own daughter.
Trump takes particular aim at the committee’s lack of “equal representation”—which is the result of Republicans backing out of a bipartisan agreement for a blue-ribbon commission that would have had equal numbers of Democrats and Republicans. The committee itself also has two Republicans on it, and its Democrats have bent over backwards to keep them happy. Some of the most blistering criticism of Trump has come from Cheney, the committee’s leading Republican.
Trump also conflates the idea of equal representation—one person, one vote—with the legal concept of equal protection under the law. The latter would of course apply if this were a legal trial, which it’s not.
“The January 6th Unselect Committee is disgracing everything we hold sacred about our Constitution. If they had any real evidence, they’d hold real hearings with equal representation. They don’t, so they use the illegally-constituted committee to put on a smoke and mirrors show for the American people, in a pitiful last-ditch effort to deceive the American public…again,” Trump wrote.
Trump calls the committee a “sham,” a “kangaroo court,” an “unselect pseudo-committee,” “ridiculous and treasonous.” And he ticks through a plethora of already-disproven claims that the election was rigged against him. Many of those claims are taken from the documentary 2,000 Mules, produced by conservative provocateur and former felon Dinesh D’Souza, who Trump pardoned for his crime of making illegal campaign contributions back in 2018. Others come from the debunked so-called “audit” produced by a conservative Wisconsin Supreme Court justice, and conspiracy theories pushed by Trump attorney Matt DePerno, who is now the GOP’s nominee for Michigan attorney general.
“This is merely an attempt to stop a man that is leading in every poll, against both Republicans and Democrats by wide margins, from running again for the presidency,” Trump declares.
That’s one of the few semi-plausible claims in the 12-page screed. Trump has led his potential primary rivals by wide margins in polling—and has narrowly led President Biden in some recent surveys, due to Biden’s sagging approval ratings.
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