Stoneage Ramblings

By John R. Stone

It’s probably hard for many to not see the Jan. 6 Committee hearings as anything but political theatre.

That is too bad because what is being talked about is an effort to say that the votes of millions of voters should not have counted in the 2020 election for President of the United States.

The hearings represent the collection and organization of a huge number of pieces of evidence about how allies of President Trump sought to coordinate efforts to overturn the 2020 presidential election results and led to the breach of the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021.

Peter Navaro was President Donald J. Trump’s economic advisor. In a book released this spring, written by him, he talks about a plan he and former Trump advisor Steve Bannon concocted called the “Green Bay Sweep.”

Under this plan, which was discussed at the highest levels of government and in the Oval Office according to multiple sources, Vice President Mike Pence on Jan. 6, 2021 would have rejected the electoral results from six states that Trump won in 2016. That would have sent the matter to the states’ Congressional delegations or legislatures, all controlled by Republicans, to select a new slate of electors who would vote for President Trump. That would change the electoral vote count in President Trump’s favor.

President Trump was entitled recounts where he felt counts weren’t correct and legal challenges over the vote count in 2020, in total or state by state. There were some recounts run by Republicans supporting Trump and none changed anything. Over 60 legal challenges were dismissed, some by Trump appointed judges, simply because nobody could provide evidence any fraud or accidental miscount occurred or would have changed the election results in a single state.

Even so President Trump refused to concede the election and continued to allege that the election was The Big Steal. He did that continuously up to and through Jan. 6 even though many close to him told him that there was no fraud, cheating or mistakes that would overturn the election outcome.

January 6 was to be the first step in the Green Bay Sweep. Vice-president Mike Pence didn’t play along. The Wall Street Journal editors, employees of Rupert Murdock who also owns Fox News, didn’t mince words about what happened January 6.

Saturday, June 11. 2022 they wrote: “He (Trump) riled up the crowd and urged it to march on the Capitol. After violence began, he dawdled instead of sending help. Mr. Trump bears responsibility for the mayhem.”

“Pity the people who went to Washington believing this nonsense, not least the more than 800 who have been charged with criminal offenses,” the piece says later.

The editorial concludes: “Mr. Trump betrayed his supporters by conning them on Jan. 6, and he is still doing it.”

It is not clear quite yet what the Jan. 6 Committee plans to do. There is talk of some criminal conspiracy charges that could stem from a variety of things. There are election laws, trying to subvert the result of an election is serious business at both the state and federal levels. There is the estimated $250 million Mr. Trump raised to challenge election results, or so he said. Very little of that money was spent for that purpose. Is that fraud? And there are other offenses like inciting a riot, especially when deaths and serious injuries occurred.

Personally I think trying to charge a past president with crimes in this day of such strong partisanship is a difficult choice. It would be seen as political not legal. On the other hand, when the wealthy and powerful get away with stuff the rest of us would face charges for that is not fair either.

What has made the United States work is faith in our election systems and peaceful transfer of power from one administration to another. As citizens, we need to insist that be restored by all elected officials, regardless of political affiliation. How that fits into Jan. 6 apparently remains to be seen.