In another example of Washington’s inexorable slide into banana republic territory, Senate Majority Leader Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) took to the floor of the U.S. Senate on Tuesday to call for the removal of an American journalist.
“I don’t think I’ve ever seen an anchor treat the American people, and American democracy, with such disdain,” Schumer said during his seven-minute authoritarian tirade. “And he’s going to come back tonight with another segment. Fox News should tell him not to. Fox News, Rupert Murdoch—tell Mr. Carlson not to run a second segment of lies. You know it’s a lie.”
Schumer later reiterated his demand to a group of journalists who, rather than denounce one of the most powerful government officials in the country attempting to silence an influential member of the media, dutifully reported Schumer’s bleating without question.
Republican senators including Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) and Senator Mitt Romney (R-Utah) joined the fray, echoing Schumer’s faux concerns over “national security.”
Clearly, it’s panic time. The White House, Congress, and the Democratic Party propaganda arm that is the corporate media realize their carefully engineered narrative about January 6 is imploding in real time. Which is why they’re accusing Carlson of “whitewashing” and “rewriting” the events of January 6. Anything less than total fealty to regime-approved talking points about what happened before and after that day now is considered a “threat to democracy.”
But facts are facts. And no amount of pearl-clutching by the hags on “The View” or threats made by U.S. senators can alter the reality of January 6. Between video recordings, witness testimony, court filings, and news reporting, the undeniable truth about January 6 cannot be willfully wished away even by the most skilled spinmeisters.
Here’s what we know:
- Some people acted badly. A handful came ready for a fight while others admit they were caught up in a mob mentality that unfolded over the course of the afternoon.
- The overwhelming majority of protesters did not act badly or violently. Not only do security footage and other video sources demonstrate that is indeed true, the Justice Department’s own data supports it. “Parading” in the Capitol, a class B misdemeanor, is by far the most common charge in the Justice Department’s sweeping investigation. According to an update published this week, 919 out of 1,000 defendants face trespassing charges. Of the 518 who accepted plea agreements, 385 pleaded guilty to misdemeanors and 133 pleaded guilty to a felony.
- The most common felony is not “insurrection” but rather obstruction of an official proceeding. Fewer than 20 people face seditious conspiracy charges.
- Roughly 100 defendants are accused of attacking police officers with a dangerous weapon. No one is charged with carrying or using a firearm inside the building.
- Speaking of police, body-worn camera and independent video show outrageous misconduct by law enforcement. D.C. Metropolitan Police launched an aggressive and unnecessary offensive against the crowd assembled on the west lawn. Even though protesters were respecting police lines at the time, footage shows officers throwing stun grenades into and other devices containing rubber bullets into the crowd beginning shortly after 1:00 p.m.
- Video and testimony by Capitol police officers at trial confirmed how that activity enraged the crowd. Other officers shoved women down stairs and shoved one man off the upper terrace balcony.
- This conduct continued inside the building. Some officers shoved and hit individuals inside the Rotunda and other areas. A brutal scene in the lower west terrace tunnel unfolded as police used their batons to beat at least two women on the head resulting in bleeding and injuries.
- Excessive force caused the deaths of four Trump supporters: Ashli Babbitt, Rosanne Boyland, Kevin Greeson, and Benjamin Phillips.
- On the flip side, despite persistent claims even by Attorney General Merrick Garland and White House spokeswoman Karine Jean-Pierre as recently as this week, no police officers died as a result of injuries sustained on January 6. Officer Brian Sicknick is on video walking around after he suffered a pepper spray attack; he died of a stroke the next day. There’s no evidence the reported suicides of other officers after January 6 were related to the protest.
- Further, the responsibility of sufficiently protecting the Capitol with enough officers fell to the Capitol Police board—staffed by the sergeant-at-arms for then House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and then Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell. Former Capitol Police Chief Steven Sund repeatedly testified that he requested additional help including National Guardsmen days before January 6. Even as the chaos unfolded that day, House Sergeant-at-Arms Paul Irving and Senate Sergeant-at-Arms Michael Stenger delayed pursuing the proper authorization of the National Guard.
- Irving told House Republicans that his staff as well as members of the House Administration committee began planning for January 6 weeks before the protest. Jamie Fleet, a security staffer for both Pelosi and the committee overseeing Capitol functions, told the January 6 select committee that he started preparations for January 6 in the summer of 2020.
- When the building was breached at around 2:15 p.m., Congress was not voting to certify the electoral college results at the time, a common misperception. Senator Ted Cruz (R-Texas) and Rep. Paul Gosar (R-Arizona) were in the process of disputing the election outcome in Gosar’s home state, a process permitted under the Electoral Count Act. The joint session of Congress technically had been adjourned an hour earlier so debate could begin.
- For all the wasted energy spent over the past two years that democracy almost died on January 6, the chaotic protest only delayed the certification ceremony for seven hours. Joe Biden officially was declared president at 3:00 a.m. the next day.
- The surveillance video viewed by Carlson’s team has not been made available to defense attorneys, arguably in violation of defendants’ constitutional rights.
- A separate trove of tapes that captured activity from the hours between noon and 8:00 p.m. was turned over to the FBI in early 2021 to use in its investigation. With few exceptions, all footage remains under protective orders. Defense attorneys consistently have complained that access to the full archive is constrained by the protective orders.
Plenty of other falsehoods and misrepresentations animate the fable of January 6. But for those honestly seeking the truth, consider this a cheat sheet for future use.