GOP Bates Swing voters will also downplay the rebellion

They never panicked. Yet in nine months, congressional Republicans have backtracked on some of the initial concerns about the deadly January 6 attack on the Capitol – when their House leader, Kevin McCarthy, handed over power to then-President Trump – so that we can learn as little as possible. What happened that day.

There are a handful of exceptions to their rankings, as we learned last week when seven House Republican delegates joined Adam Kingsinger and Liz Cheney, who served on the Jan. 6 investigative select committee to support a contempt referral for Steve Bannon. Subpona but those members were told not to, and denied their will to lead.

The situation has changed since the attack on the Capitol, which could have killed nine people and injured 140 police officers. For Republicans, acknowledging the loss of that day is now a political danger. The event not only closed on the right, but a coverup is underway. Trump has successfully revived the uprising as a “demonstration” and marked the November 3 election last year as a “rebellion”. Polls show that Trump’s approval is back and GOP voters now increasingly see January 6 as a big issue and the fault of Democrats and President Biden. The more than 600 rioters accused of the attack, referring primarily to Trump as the inspiration for their participation, is – to Republicans – just another meaningless “alternative truth.” Trump has also instructed his allies, who know what he was and what he is not doing, in a plea to stop the violence that day and to halt the investigation.

Although McCarthy originally criticized Trump’s role in inciting “mob rioters” and expressed support for a 9/11-style commission to investigate the historic attack, he stepped back to appease Trump and instructed his rank-and-file members. . To do the same

Cheney – who has said countless times that his colleagues are spreading the Big Lie about Trump’s threats to democracy, his electoral defeat and the insurgency – reiterated last week that GOP members believe they will not be seen. Assisting in the January 8 exam.

“I’ve heard quotes from several of my colleagues over the last few days who have said, ‘I just don’t want this target on their backs.’ They are just trying to keep their heads down; They don’t want to upset Kevin McCarthy, who was particularly active in trying to block the January 6 investigation, although he has explicitly called for such a commission. “

Yet it should have been easier for any Republican to support Bannon’s contempt. All they have to say is that they want to preserve the power of an equal branch of government which, if they return to power in 2023, will carry out a strong check on the Biden administration and expect any subpoena to be issued to the executive branch officials. (Or ex) must comply. Representative Nancy Mess, one of nine, cited the reason for supporting the insult.

Republicans are well aware that Merrick Garland will not sue Bannon because no criminal contempt referral has been tried for decades. After all, they voted to insult Attorney General Eric Holder in 2012 while he was attorney general, but now object to insulting Bannon, who was fired from the Trump administration a few years ago on January 6th.

The committee’s report said: “Mr. Bannon’s contact with the President on January 6 does not constitute a plausible argument on which privilege can be guaranteed.”

Peter Meiser, the first Republican to support President Trump’s impeachment for inciting the uprising, tweeted after a majority vote last week: “There is no conceptual explanation of executive privilege that applies to anyone outside. Discuss private matters with government, senior government officials. The only way to protect the investigative power of Congress is to detain those who refuse to comply with congressional subpoenas. “

But Republicans knew that this vote was not about executive privilege, their role as members of Congress, right and wrong, or the rule of law. Representative Jim Jordan made it clear, “You know what it really is: going to President Trump.”

In order not to risk Trump’s wrath, Republicans in Congress would instead risk losing non-tribal, swing voters who see January 6 as a serious event and Trump’s revolt as a future threat to democracy. They are gambling that voters will remain indifferent to the committee no matter what about Trump and Bannon – all of whom will demand the protection of Trump Republicans.

If Republicans can win that bet and win next year, they can shut down the committee and revolt behind them – at least until the next certification of selectors in January 2025, when more violence can be expected. And we can conclude that in 2023, when they oversee the executive branch, congressional Republicans will not only be good at denying congressional subpoenas to officials in the Biden administration, but they will not try to insult disrespectful parties.


AB Standard is an associate editor of RealClearPolitics and a columnist.

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