The Jan. 6 hearings begin

By Letters to the Editor,

Regarding the July 26 front-page article “Capitol riot inquiry to start amid controversy”:

House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy’s (R-Calif.) repeated efforts to appease former president Donald Trump and his threats to “retaliate against Republican members who participate in the investigation” into Jan. 6 has Americans pining for past GOP leadership. 

Though prior Republican legislators passionately disagreed with their Democratic colleagues, they shared basic principles and a common reality. Would former House speaker John A. Boehner (R-Ohio) have tethered the GOP caucuses to Mr. Trump’s election lies to gain or maintain power? The answer is easy: No. He cared too deeply about the institutions he led to emulate Mr. McCarthy’s embrace of Trumpian mendacity. 

In Shakespeare’s “Henry VI, Part 2,” as nobles scheme for ascendancy, Gloucester warns his king “these days are dangerous: Virtue is choked with foul ambition.” If only U.S. democracy mattered more to congressional Republicans than becoming speaker of the House or facing a Trump-backed primary challenger. 

Maryellen DonnellanFalls Church

Rep. Jamie B. Raskin (D-Md.) blew it. His impeachment committee had the opportunity to expose the origin and falsity of the cause of the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol. Mr. Raskin concentrated on the attack itself, not how it was caused over the preceding months. The huge number of Republican dupes who now believe the “big lie” now is the biggest threat to democratic government.

The “big lie” ought to be exposed from its beginning, and all claimed evidence of election fraud must be exposed and refuted. The big lie is more important than the Jan. 6 attack. The current investigating committee can do it.

Thomson von Stein, Aspen Hill

Regarding Dana Milbank’s July  28 Washington Sketch column, “As hearings begin, Republicans side with the terrorists,”  and Karen Tumulty’s July 28 op-ed, “The heroes of Jan. 6 expose the lies that Republicans keep telling us”:

Last Tuesday, four police officers and, at a separate location, six members of Congress publicly expressed their opinions of the events on Jan. 6. Our Constitution, which all 10 have sworn to uphold and defend, protects their right to do so whether they have evidence to support their words or even if they truly believe what they say. 

The significant difference is that the four officers were testifying under oath with the weight of prison for perjury for not speaking truthfully. When these six members of Congress testify under oath to the committee, as the officers did, I will grant them equal credibility.

David Kriebs, Bowie

The July 27 editorialThe Jan. 6 panel needs answers” was optimistic that a congressional investigation could get to the bottom of who is responsible for the Jan. 6 insurrection.  

There are three major reasons assigning responsibility will not succeed.  First, the people who know the answers will not talk voluntarily because many are defendants in criminal cases and speaking truthfully would be harmful to their defenses. They also have a Fifth Amendment right to remain silent. Granting them immunity could be very harmful to the criminal prosecutions.

Second, former president Donald Trump, his family and others, including members of Congress and former vice president Mike Pence, will refuse to appear unless under court order. The Justice Department is theoretically available to take these defendants to court. If the committee wants to hear from Mr. Trump and many others, it should expect to have to go to the Supreme Court first.

Third, even if all the needed witnesses appeared, there is zero chance that those who are open-minded on the issue of responsibility for the insurrection will be convinced by a panel dominated by Democrats, including three former impeachment managers against Mr. Trump.

A better option for getting to the truth: The attorney general should sue Mr. Trump, the militia groups and others who led the call for the invasion of the Capitol, seeking to recover money spent for building restoration and security costs for the inauguration and beyond. Perhaps most important, the conclusions of federal judges and juries are more likely to be accepted by those who need persuasion.

Alan Morrison, Washington

More Stories
Austria: man kept mother’s body in basement to draw pension