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As the hearings probing the Jan. 6, 2021, riot at the Capitol got underway, we asked for your take with four prompts.
- What evidence has surprised you?
- Have you heard any evidence that has changed your perspective on Jan. 6? If so, how has it changed?
- If you were sitting in a jury, what would you be analyzing and thinking?
- What more would you want to know?
Your responses seemed to fall into the two camps. The most common opinion was confirmation, albeit with more detail than expected, that Donald Trump was involved in the planning and execution of the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol. The second opinion shared was that the committee is running a “witch hunt” (to quote one response). A few people noted nuanced possible outcomes and addressed legal concerns. We thank everyone for their replies, we read them all.
Below are a sampling of responses, edited for length and clarity.
Nuanced and legal responses
Here is what I think we the people need to know as the “evidence” is presented and re-presented during these hearings and seemingly the case is there – to charge and ultimately convict the former president as well as others who were involved in official positions as well as those hired and otherwise participating.
- What laws were involved? Chapter and verse, please.
- Who, exactly, will be charged and prosecuted?
- Who will prosecute? What is their authority?
- What evidence can and will be presented that is relevant?
- What defenses may be presented and how will these be countered?
As it is said, time to get down to brass tacks and see what case can be nailed.
~Arthur W. Rashap
The bottom line, the hearings are not going to change the minds of the far right or far left. However, there does seem to be some movement in the less extreme elements of the political parties as well as in independents. Many of these groups are watching the hearings with great interest and open minds. It is in these groups that the hearings may have the most profound political ramifications.
~J. Stephen Sadler
I would like to see a randomly selected cross-section of citizens (such as those who participate in projects sponsored by the Center for Deliberative Democracy at Stanford) pose their questions, and then get responses from the J6 committee, and spend some time deliberating about the way forward. I realize this is not practical in the short term, but I would like to see more engagement, rather than just evidence presented, in whatever form that might be practicable as soon as possible.
I have been thinking about the Jan. 6 hearings at two levels. First, at the most obvious, prosecutorial level, the hearings offer overwhelming evidence that President Trump (together with his cast of supporting actors) committed crimes that, by any reasonable standard, qualify as both impeachable and criminal. When viewed at this level, it is deeply troubling that the hearings are so widely being seen as nothing more than a partisan exercise intended to undermine Republican electoral prospects and Trump's chances of reclaiming the presidency.
Those who believe it is a partisan hack job
My “take” is the Democrats are really scared that the people are seeing them for what they are. So, folks like yourself are trying your damnedest to make something out of nothing. You sat on your thumbs as cities across this nation burned, in some cases encouraged it. Now you’re trying to blow up as much as possible a bunch of Americans who are fed up with our government acting like a bunch of spoiled children, in a bid to garner more control over the populace through fear, fear of their fellow Americans. ~Mike Dunn
Be the change you want to see in the world - Gandhi
Those who believe Trump must be held accountable
I have always followed the news and was very interested in this election. I was aware of how much Trump lied from the beginning of his rise, so I did not believe him about election fraud or any of his claims. All the lawsuits that he brought were ridiculous and I was not surprised that the judges found them so. I am glad to hear the testimony from Republicans that confirm what I suspected were more of his lies. Interesting to hear that former Attorney Geneal William Barr wondered if he was actually delusional.
I have not been surprised by the evidence so far, and my initial perspective was that the assault on the Capitol was totally influenced by former President Trump. What I would like to see exposed was how he systematically made people believe he was the greatest president ever (he said that often). Present all the times he claimed election fraud when Barack Obama won, when Sen. Ted Cruz beat him in one of the primaries and when he did not win the popular vote against Hillary Clinton. The constant bashing of mainstream media as “fake news”, saying he knew more than medical experts, scientists, generals, bankers you name it. By demonizing anyone who opposed him and saying they were low IQ people and that he was the only one who could solve every problem the country faced. Say these things loud enough and long enough it becomes the truth to his followers.
1. Unfortunately, none of the evidence has surprised me but seeing and hearing it presented in a dispassionate manner with clear emphasis on verifiable fact has added gravity to the very real threat we faced and still face. 2. Seeing and hearing the testimony of courageous individuals in Trump's inner circle has changed my perspective so that I see an even sharper focus on Trump as the sole ring leader implementing a contingency plan that he put into action as early as April 8, 2020. 3. Were I a juror I would simply be taking notes and searching for evidence that would prove Trump innocent of wrongdoing. 4. I want to know what legislation can be drafted to prevent a recurrence of this attempt to steal my vote. I want to know what actions Congress can take to compel members to testify when invited to do so since they can always avail themselves of the Fifth Amendment. I want to know what I can do to heal the deep wounds that Trump has added to those that extremists of all types have already inflicted upon our nation.
~Joe Bachofen Sr.
The only "surprises" I saw from the recent release of testimony and evidence were that many in Trump's inner circle were telling him that he lost and that the election was not affected by corruption. For me, the testimony and evidence simply confirm what I thought, that Trump was and continues to be a charlatan. The Republican Party allowed itself to be sucked into his mess and now is unable to disconnect itself from his fakery.
Probably the only thing that surprised me and still does was how did people get into the building in the first place (no tear gas or non-lethal force). I’m just shocked people got within window-busting distance and nothing much happened. But I’m going to guess some of the police officers were partial to what was going on? I felt it was wrong then and still do. I don’t think he should run again (and I liked his policies and was leaning red at the time). I’m a centrist by heart, and it's sad to see people that were otherwise the same have to pick sides when things clearly started to get exceedingly polarized. Center people exist for a reason.
I was surprised by how many people in his inner circle told Trump it was "bullshit" and he still pushed forward.
I heard confirmation that there was a planned insurrection.
If I were sitting on a jury, depending on who was on trial (Trump?) and what are the charges, I would be asking, “Who is guilty of what?”
I would want to know, what are we changing to make sure this never happens again? Especially the fact that law enforcement was not prepared to put this attempt to overthrow our government down!
The only thing that did surprise me is that his daughter Ivanka testified that she disagrees with Trump. Nothing I heard changes my view that Trump did this for his own purpose since this lunatic wanted to take over the country to remain president and in power forever or until he dies. If I was sitting in a jury, I would ask how come this person has not had a full on psychiatric evaluation. He is deranged and out of touch with reality. Reminds me of Jim Jones, who convinced 900 people to drink poison and die with him. Only this lunatic has created a revolutionary environment in this country with his lies and risk destroying 250 years of democracy.
My internal jurist craves the answer to one question: Who thought that riling up an already sensitive group of overly demonstrative voters — whose candidate just lost an election by the same “landslide” Electoral College margin he won by four years prior — was a good idea? These voters represent a part of the populace made to feel marginalized (and for some, they were brushed aside by both Democrats and Republicans for years, not just as “deplorables” but as unworthy of time and consideration given their lack of donatable funds). Once a self-serving “champion” gave them agency to speak their minds through rallies, social media interactions and alt-right groups, the latent “-isms” found throughout the messaging of the Trump administration became magnified, as did the raw emotions of this group of Americans. My “end-state” thinking would be along the lines of trying to determine if using these loyalists as a means to an end — interrupting the electoral process to keep then-President Trump in office — was honestly considered to be a legitimate tactic. If so, this could not have been the work of one individual. But, if deemed illegitimate by the vast majority of staff members, why were the fires stoked from several directions?
I think I, like a lot of people, knew the score before the hearing. I am watching the hearings to see if they have managed to collect enough evidence to prosecute Trump and the people who conceived and collaborated with Trump to attempt this coup.
~Ray A. Curtis