Democrats continue to simmer over their GOP counterparts for advocating Trump’s efforts to discredit the elections, accusing them of contributing to the atmosphere that inspired the mob. Republicans have largely bypassed this debate, but as Democrats began stepping up their tactics of marginalizing the 138 House Republicans who voted to oppose some of the 2020 results, some are starting to be more reluctant. And the dam broke at the hearing on Thursday.
Rep. Mike Johnson (R-La.) Accused the Democrats of “outrageous abuse of power”, “starting a political war” and trying to “criminalize” GOP dissent. He compared the relations between the parties in the house to a “cold war” which would lead to a “mutually assured destruction”.
When it was his turn, Rep. Jamie Raskin (D-Md.) Scoffed at the “waterfall of fake indignation and outrage” and underlined that no legislature had actually been punished for his words or votes, but that this was certainly a violent one Raising a riot was different from making objectionable comments.
Raskin characterized the modern Republican Party as a “religious cult” skewed in the service of Trump, whom he referred to as a “snowflake” for attempting to “cancel” the 2020 election while his GOP allies after “break culture” screamed.
“They invented the culture of cancellation,” he said. “This right-wing demolition culture has run amok.”
Johnson responded by asking Raskin to pull back on his attacks on Trump, particularly the Snowflake Neck.
“The naming of the former president … obviously against the rules,” said Johnson.
The exchange symbolized the entire hearing, with the testimony of four witnesses being largely an afterthought. Witnesses largely agreed that the House has the power to punish and even expel its own members under the Constitution, but that the process should only be used in extremely rare and clear-cut cases when a super-major – and not just a political one Group – believes this is necessary.
Republicans viewed the hearing itself, however, as part of an increasingly clearer effort by the Democrats to find ways to punish those they hold responsible for the January 6 uprising. That effort began late last month when Rep. Zoe Lofgren (D-Calif.) Released a 2,000-page dossier of tweets from GOP lawmakers questioning the integrity of the 2020 elections. Johnson accused Lofgren, who sits on the Judiciary Committee but not on the subcommittee that met Thursday, of “outrageous abuse of power,” saying it may have broken house rules as she had her personal office staff do the effort.
“This is a Rubicon that is being crossed here,” he said.
He and other Republicans on the panel also argued that Democrats seemed intent on punishing Republicans who voted to question the results in certain states, even though many of them, including Raskin, did the same in 2017.
Democrats vigorously rejected this argument.
“No sane person can in good faith compare what happened on January 6, 2017, to what happened on January 6, 2021, when the President of the United States, supported and supported by members of Congress, instigated a riot This resulted in an armed attack on the United States Congress that killed 6 people, “said Rep. Hank Johnson (D-Ga.). “Today, on January 6, 2021, many of us personally experienced how fragile our democracy is. But here we are today, some of us pretending that what happened on January 6th, 2021 never happened. “
Hank Johnson then read a definition of “seditious conspiracy,” a federal crime, and asked if a member of Congress who committed the crime should be expelled from the house.
In a statement after the hearing, Lofgren declined to characterize her report as implicit Republican criminal misconduct. An analysis she said was beyond the purview of Congress.
“If members of Congress were to similarly violate this section of the Constitution through their actions and rhetoric, it would be the most serious matter for any member of Congress,” said Lofgren. “The constitution seems clear.” The facts can be examined. “
One of the most tense conversations came when Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio) accused the panel chairman Rep. Steve Cohen (D-Tenn.) During a CNN interview with Rep. Lauren Boebert (R-Colo.) Connect with and possibly help some of the Capitol rioters explore the tunnels. Cohen interjected that he never said he was sure he saw Boebert with some of the potential insurgents but saw them in a tunnel with a group of people in the days leading up to Jan. 6. Boebert has fiercely denied leadership potential rioters through the Capitol complex.
Jordan refused to accept Cohen’s statement.
“You know what you did, Mr. Chairman,” he said.
Rep. Cori Bush (D-Mo.), A progressive freshman lawmaker who has drawn some of the toughest attacks from Republicans, accused some of her colleagues of making death threats against them.
“It became clear to me very early on that not all members agree when it comes to doing the people’s work in the people’s house,” she said. “Many are here to distract, distract and disturb.”
As the hearing neared its end, Cohen returned to Mike Johnson’s complaint that Raskin broke the rules by attacking Trump. He noted that this rule may have been applied while Trump was President.
“If you’re a jet, you’re a jet all the way,” he said, quoting the West Side Story as saying. But now that he’s out of office, Trump added, Trump is a fair game for Raskin’s toughest comment.
That theater aside, ironically, pulled one of the only glimmers of the hearing of bipartisan good humor.
“I don’t want to mess up the hearing,” said Rep. Michelle Fischbach, a newly minted Republican from Minnesota, “but I just want to say how much I appreciated your West Side Story reference.”
The comment caught a hearty laugh from Cohen, who ended the hearing with a Louisville Slugger mini baseball bat hammered.