Donald Trump’s White House chief of staff, Mark Meadows, is at risk of prosecution and imprisonment. Meadows refuses to testify about what happened before, during, and after the January 6 storming of Congress.
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A majority in the House of Representatives voted, 222 to 208, Wednesday night to recommend convicting Meadows for contempt of Congress. The case was referred to the Ministry of Justice. In November, on the same basis, charges were brought against Steve Bannon, Trump’s former chief strategist.
Meadows first chose to work with a congressional committee to investigate the events of January 6th. He gave the commission access to 9,000 documents before suddenly changing his mind and refusing to appear as a witness. Among the documents are text messages Meadows received from Trump allies in the media and politics during the dramatic hours of January 6.
Messages reveal. Those close to the president realized that it was up to him to stop the bullying. Subsequently, large parts of the Republican Party, supported by a cheering crowd from the right wing of the press platform, did their best to conceal and explain the attack on Congress. But the January 6 messages reveal a deep fear.
Trump sent a message: – It hurts us all
One of them came from the son of President Donald Trump Jr. Then the congressional storming began: – It went too far and out of control, Jr. wrote. He wanted his father to “condemn this shit as quickly as possible.”
– I’m pushing hard. I agree, Meadows wrote again.
Meadows also had to deal with Trump’s favorite Fox News anchors who were visibly concerned about watching TV images from Capitol Hill.
Mark, the president has to tell his people in the Capitol to go home. This hurts us all. Host Laura Ingraham wrote that he is destroying his legacy.
Brian Kilmaid, host of the popular morning show “Fox and Friends,” asked Meadows to make sure Trump speaks on television. What was happening, he wrote, “destroyed everything I had achieved.” Sean Hannity, who in addition to his job at Fox, asked Trump if the president could ask his people to leave Congress.
They may have heard the mob shout: Hang Pence! Vice President Mike Pence couldn’t reject a legitimate election result, no matter how hard Trump pressured him.
Meadows also received text messages from Republican politicians trapped on Capitol Hill: “It’s really bad here.” The president must stop this as soon as possible.”
Everyone realized that this was in Trump’s power.
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Trump Jr. What was released is believed to have gotten out of control. This was not an automatic act by a few thousand followers. Trump brought thousands into the capital with false claims that the elections had been stolen. He incited them to march toward Congress and “fight like hell.” When he finally asked his supporters to go home, he repeated the same baseless allegations of election fraud. Trump is not responsible.
Republican Representative Liz Cheney has been suspended from her party for daring to speak out against Trump. She is one of the leaders of the inquiry and has read aloud in the final days of text messages Meadows received on a dramatic January day. It notes that Trump did not act for 187 minutes during the attack.
Democracy is under threat
It is clear that supporters in the media fear the irreparable harm that Trump supporters could do. But only shortly after it was all over, they claimed that it was Trump’s opponents who were behind, or at least implicated in, these crimes.
Trump and his allies immediately began to rewrite history. The mob was really patriotic who only wanted to save the country from destruction. Wasn’t what happened during the Black Lives Matter protests that year much worse? If anyone is to blame, it is the Democrats. Those arrested, accused and convicted of the attack were described as victims of political persecution.
The message is for those who already believe in false claims that Trump won the election.
The congressional committee is working to uncover what really happened. 300 witnesses have already testified. But the committee faces strong opposition from the former president, who resorted to the court to stop the release of documents from the White House. His closest associates refuse to testify. Perhaps they fear Trump more than the judiciary.
If Bannon, Meadows, or other of the president’s silent men are found guilty of showing contempt for Congress, he could be sentenced to prison. There are very few examples of similar criminal cases. But Trump is also the only president to have been impeached twice and later acquitted.
January 6 will go down in history as the most dangerous attack on American democracy in modern times. Or as a warning of bigger crises. Yesterday, the attack was repulsed. What will happen the next time democracy is tested? Previously, the answer was reassuringly clear. Today, it is worryingly uncertain.
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