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How much have the 6 January hearings damaged Trump?

22 July 2022

10:16 PM

22 July 2022

10:16 PM

The congressional inquiry into 6 January’s storming of the Capitol is having a break. In its last prime-time hearing of the summer yesterday, the Committee – Donald Trump calls it the ‘Unselect Committee’ because none of his apologists are on it – gave him one more kicking.

‘In the end, this is not, as it may appear, a story of inaction in a time of crisis, but instead it was the final action of Donald Trump’s own plan to usurp the will of the American people and remain in power,’ said Democrat Elaine Luria, who co-led the hearing yesterday with Republican and fellow committee member Adam Kinzinger. The committee said Trump had watched the events of 6 January unfold from the White House dining room and that he had ignored pleas from his staff, advisers – and even his daughter Ivanka – to call off the protest.


Kinzinger added: ‘President Trump did not fail to act during the 187 minutes between leaving (a speech to his supporters) and telling the mob to go home. He chose not to act.’ And when Trump did issue a message to the rioters, he addressed them softly: ‘Go home. We love you. You’re very special.’

Trumpists can sound a lot like they are in denial about the harm that 6 January has done to their man’s reputation. A recent poll by Morning Consult found that half of registered voters felt that Trump’s behaviour amounted to a crime that he should be prosecuted for. Can a man facing such opprobrium really stand for the presidency and have a chance of winning? The curious thing about Trump is that the answer could well be yes (read more on the subject in my cover story for this week’s magazine).

What with Russiagate, Ukrainegate, two impeachments and various inquiries into his financial affairs, Donald Trump has been zealously prosecuted for about six years. What happened at the beginning of last year might be the most damaging moment of his political career. But what the writer Matt Taibbi called the ‘we’ve definitely got him now’ show has dragged on, perhaps for too long. The Democrats have made a mistake in not allowing Trump’s defenders to speak at the hearings.

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