Capitol riots: Hearings reveal Trump’s malevolence


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Liz Cheney cleverly used the words of former Trump aides to show that, despite his malevolent bleating, Trump knew there was no fraud on a level that would have changed the election results.

“I made it clear I did not agree with the idea of saying the election was stolen and putting out this stuff, which I told the president was bullshit,” William Barr, Trump’s attorney-general, said.

Breaking from her father, Ivanka Trump – in a taped deposition – said she embraced Barr’s version of reality: “I respect attorney-general Barr. So I accepted what he was saying.”

(Her husband, Jared Kushner, won the prize for gall in his deposition. He was too busy arranging pardons for sleazeballs to pay attention to whether Trump aides were threatening to quit over the sleazeball in the Oval.)

Trump’s data experts told him bluntly that he had lost. But Trump just couldn’t stand being labelled a loser – his father’s bête noire. He maniacally subverted the election out of pure selfishness and wickedness, knowing it is easy to manipulate people on social media with the Big Lie.

Supporters of Donald Trump gathered outside the US Capitol before the January 6 insurrection. The committee has heard that Trump “summoned the mob”.Credit:AP

It was fine with him if his followers broke the law and attacked the police and went to jail, while he praised their “love” from afar. It’s amazing that no lawmakers were killed.

Everywhere you look there’s something that makes your blood run cold. The monster in Frankenstein is not the only one who has forsaken “thoughts of honour”.

Russia, also in the grip of a monster, is invading and destroying a neighbouring democracy for no reason, except Vladimir Putin’s delusions of grandeur.

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In Uvalde, Texas, the unfathomable story unspools about how police delayed rescuing schoolchildren for an hour because a commander was worried about the officers’ safety.

Greedy golf icons joined a tour underwritten by the Saudis, even though the Saudi crown prince ordered a journalist dismembered. (Kushner is under investigation about whether he traded on his government position to secure a $2 billion investment from the Saudis for his new private equity firm.)

As Bennie Thompson, the chair of the committee, noted, when the Capitol was attacked in 1814, it was by the British. This time, it was by an enemy within, egged on by the man at the heart of the democracy he swore to protect.

“They did so at the encouragement of the president of the United States,” Thompson said of the mob, “trying to stop the transfer of power, a precedent that had stood for 220 years.”

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It’s mind-boggling that so many people still embrace Trump when it’s so plain that he cares only about himself. He was quick to throw his daughter Ivanka Trump off the sled Friday, indicating her opinion did not count since she “was not involved in looking at, or studying, election results. She had long since checked out.”

Let some conservatives dismiss the hearings as “A Snooze Fest”. Let Fox News churlishly refuse to run them.

The hearing was mesmerising, describing a horror story with predatory Proud Boys and a monster at its centre that even Shelley could have appreciated. The ratings were boffo, with nearly 20 million viewers.

Caroline Edwards, a US Capitol Police officer injured in the January 6 riot, spoke during a hearing of the select committee to investigate the attack .

Caroline Edwards, a US Capitol Police officer injured in the January 6 riot, spoke during a hearing of the select committee to investigate the attack .Credit:Bloomberg

Caroline Edwards – the tough Capitol Police officer who suffered a concussion, was sprayed in her eyes and got back up to return to the fight – described a hellscape.

“I was slipping in people’s blood,” she recalled. “You know, I – I was catching people as they fell. I – you know, I was – it was carnage.”

In his dystopian inaugural speech, Trump promised to end “American carnage”. Instead, he delivered it. Now he needs to be held accountable for his attempted coup – and not just in the court of public opinion.

This article originally appeared in The New York Times.

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