- DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE
- Rioters knock a police officer to the ground on January 6, 2021, at the U.S. Capitol, as captured on a police body cam.
A year ago today, a white nationalist mob, incited by a sitting President of the United States, launched a deadly attack against the U.S. Capitol in the hope of overturning a presidential election — the culmination of a months-long plot to enable that president to cling to power indefinitely. After the attack ended, that president issued a bizarre video in which he told the attackers that “we love you. You’re very special.”
It was an attempt to torpedo a basic pillar of American democracy: the peaceful transfer of power.
And yet the six Missouri members of the U.S. Congress who voted against certifying the election results have gone quiet or downplayed the attack.
Of the six, Senator Josh Hawley came the closest to addressing it head-on. He penned an op-ed published this week by Fox News that criticized Democrats and tried to equate insurrectionists who stormed the Capitol with police protests around the country.
Many years from now, historians will likely look upon Hawley, a Republican, as a pivotal, if indirect, player in the January 6 riot at the U.S. Capitol that nearly toppled America’s 245-year-old experiment in self-rule.
After all, Hawley was the first U.S. senator to announce he would object to certifying the results of the 2020 presidential election, in which Joe Biden clearly defeated incumbent Donald Trump.
More than 60 court decisions dismissed Trump's bogus claims of widespread voter fraud. Even so, Hawley claimed he was obligated to object on behalf of his constituents to object to the voting process, specifically in Pennsylvania.
Despite his key role in promoting Trump’s Big Lie that Biden had somehow stolen the election; and despite the starring role Hawley played in one of the worst crises to hit American democracy since the Civil War, Missouri’s junior senator is remembering the five people killed in connection with the January 6 attack, along with scores of injured cops, by choosing to remain silent about their suffering and the chain of events before and after the insurrection.
Check out Hawley’s U.S. Senate website.
Nothing about January 6.
Hawley’s Twitter feed?
Hawley’s official Facebook page?
Hawley’s Facebook page, however, does contain a heartwarming story about how Hawley led the effort to re-open the post office in Vichy, Missouri, three years after it had closed.
Brianna Herlihy, a Hawley spokesperson, did not reply to phone calls or emails seeking comment.
During an appearance Wednesday on the conservative-leaning Fox News, Hawley accused Democrats of exaggerating the severity of the Capitol attack a year ago to promote a power grab.
"The politics of fear that the Democratic Party has been pushing on this country for a whole year, it's the only thing they have to offer the country," Hawley said. "And what they're trying to do with it is consolidate their power."
Hawley accused Biden of attempting to "weaponize the FBI against parents" and claimed that leaders on the political left have "called demonstrators insurrectionists."
"It started last January 6 and they have used that event to try and consolidate their power and try and push this fear politics," he said. "And this is going to be the year ... where Americans reject fear."
- via U.S. House
- Today is a great day if you're one of these people. (L to R: Sam Graves , Vicky Hartzler, Blaine Luetkemeyer, Billy Long, Jason Smith, Ann Wagner.)
Hawley’s silence about the victims of the January 6 attack extends to the five other Missouri members of Congress
who were among 147 Republicans to object to certifying votes in either Arizona or Pennsylvania.
One Missouri member of Congress isn’t keeping quiet.
U.S. Representative Cori Bush, D-St. Louis, has sponsored a resolution to seek accountability from fellow lawmakers who played a role in planning or inciting the insurrection, which she had described as a “white supremacist coup.”
On January 3, 2021, Bush was sworn into her first term as a House member. Three days later, as violent rioters ransacked offices and fought police in the Capitol’s hallways and stairwells, Bush was sheltering in place in her office.
“We should commemorate the 1-year-anniversary of January 6th by passing (House Resolution 25) to investigate and expel the members of Congress who helped incite the violent insurrection at our Capitol,” Bush told The Nation
magazine for an article posted on its website Wednesday.
And in a statement issued Wednesday night, Bush observed that one year “after those insurrectionists stormed the U.S. Capitol, I can honestly say I feel less safe in this building with every passing day. We have a member depicting a fellow colleague, my sister-in-service, being murdered in a cartoon. We have a member using Islamophobic violence towards a Black, Muslim member of Congress who is being referred to in the most racist terms on the floor of the House of Representatives.”
Bush concluded her statement by noting that she’s “hopeful that with each text message and witness testimony that the January 6th Committee uncovers, more support will build to pass our bill, H.Res. 25, to finally investigate & expel any members that worked to overturn the election and incited an insurrectionist attack on our democracy.”
Missouri House representatives Sam Graves, Vicky Hartzler, Blaine Luetkemeyer, Billy Long, and Jason Smith, all Republicans, huddled for hours in safe rooms while attackers chanted death threats and ransacked offices, and then voted against certifying the election results.
The five today chose to mark the one-year anniversary of the January 6 insurrection by acting as if one of the most significant events in American history had never happened.
The five GOP House members declined to return calls seeking comment.
U.S. Representative Ann Wagner and U.S. Senator Roy Blunt, both Republicans, voted to certify the election results. Like almost all other Republicans, however, they voted against holding Trump accountable through the impeachment process that followed after Trump left office.
Neither Wagner nor Blunt commemorated January 6 on their official websites, though Blunt called it a “tragic day” in comments earlier this week at the Senate Rules Committee. Wagner, while sheltering in place during the attack a year ago, called it at the time “literally a coup attempt to try and overthrow our democracy, to disrupt the work of Congress, which was today to certify the election and the electors."
The January 6 insurrection gave the world a myriad of iconic, even surreal images that are now a permanent part of the American psyche.
Who can forget Jacob Chansley, the so-called “QAnon Shaman”? He’s the bare-chested young man who led the angry mob of extremists into the halls of Congress wearing a furred hat with horns.
Or how about the guy who paraded that giant Confederate flag through the Capitol Rotunda, the spiritual heart of America’s history of self government?
Or the chilling images of House members huddling fearfully in that chamber’s gallery while plainclothes Capitol Police cops brandished handguns, holding at bay a surging mob trying to breach the barricaded doorway?
Then there is one of the most iconic images of all: Hawley walking toward the Capitol’s east entrance on the morning of the sixth to vote on the Electoral College certification of Biden’s win over Donald Trump.
As he walks past the seething mob waiting to storm the Capitol, Missouri’s junior senator thrusts his left arm in the air, his fist clenched, in an unmistakable show of solidarity.
- Francis Chung/Courtesy of E&E News and Politico
- Sen. Josh Hawley (R-Mo.) gestures toward a crowd of supporters of President Donald Trump gathered outside the U.S. Capitol to protest the certification of President-elect Joe Biden's electoral college victory on Jan. 6, 2021. Some demonstrators later breached and stormed the Capitol.
The rest, as they say, is history: an orgy of mob violence and property destruction televised globally through which five people died and 140 cops were injured, many of them seriously. So far, more than 700 insurgents have been slapped with criminal charges, while the FBI is using crowdsourcing to hunt down 350 more suspected Capitol attackers.
None of the people suspected of planning and executing the attack, including Trump’s closest advisors, have been criminally charged for their suspected roles in the attack.
Meanwhile, a House select panel investigating the attack has been leaking bombshell revelations almost daily about the role of Republican members of Congress, media figures and the Trump White House in laying the groundwork for the attack with a relentless campaign of lies about election fraud, and then planning, funding and executing the violent attack.
The panel is expected to begin public hearings on their findings in the weeks ahead.
On Wednesday, Attorney General Merrick Garland defended the Justice Department’s strategy for prosecuting those who took part in the January 6 attack. Garland strongly suggested the insurrection’s organizers and ringleaders would soon be held accountable.
“The Justice Department remains committed to holding all January 6 perpetrators at any level, accountable under law, whether they were present that day, or were otherwise criminally responsible for the assault on our democracy,” Garland said. “We will follow the facts wherever they lead.”
As the DOJ and the January 6 select panel continue their investigations, the Republican Party keeps radicalizing around the notions that Trump really won the 2020 election and that violence is an acceptable way to return him to power.
The Trump wing of today’s Republican Party, which holds the rest of the party in an iron grip, “isn’t interested in building a big-tent party; it wants to maintain and expand the political army that showed up for him on January 6th,” wrote Amanda Carpenter, a columnist for the online magazine The Bulwark.
“And not just the randos in camo and sweatpants, but the famous people in Congress and the media, too. Those are the kind of Republicans Trump wants to elevate.”
Meanwhile, inspired by the near success of the January 6 insurrection, Republican-controlled legislatures in nineteen states have passed 33 laws to limit voting rights and ballot access, and to give GOP loyalists the power to determine which ballots count and which do not.
And despite the damage caused by the January 6 attack, the House has also become home to what has been described as “an insurrectionist caucus” dominated by the incendiary likes of Marjorie Taylor Green, Paul Gosar, Madison Cawthorn and Lauren Boebert. All four have used their congressional platforms to spread lies and disinformation about the January 6 attack and whether Trump truly won the election.
The lies and disinformation seem to be working, at least among the GOP faithful. A recent Ipsos/ABC News poll shows that 71 percent of Republicans told pollsters they believe Trump rightfully won the 2020 election. In the same poll, 52 percent of Republicans stated they believed the Capitol attackers were actually “protecting democracy.”
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