Attempted U.S. coup televised: House hearings conceal more than they reveal

Voting rights still being eliminated

Trump coup supporters – fascists carrying the Confederate battle flag of slavery – stormed the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021.

The public hearings of the House Committee to Investigate the Jan. 6 Attack have dramatically confirmed that Donald Trump, former president of the United States, attempted a coup d’état.

Rep. Bennie Thompson of Mississippi, head of the committee and member of the Congressional Black Caucus, said clearly: “Any legal jargon you hear about ‘seditious conspiracy’, ‘obstruction of an official proceeding’, ‘conspiracy to defraud the United States’ boils down to this: Jan. 6 was the culmination of an attempted coup.”

Thompson added: “It represented Trump’s last, most desperate chance to halt the transfer of power.”

This is unprecedented. An overt coup attempt has not happened in any of the imperialist powers in the last century and exposes the bare threads of democracy in the U.S. The coup attempt also revealed the sharp instability in the U.S. ruling class.

The House hearings, however, conceal more than they reveal.

Pentagon played key role

The Pentagon played a key role in the Jan. 6, 2021, coup attempt, but the hearing has been silent on that.

The Pentagon was deeply involved. Members of the U.S. military, both active and veterans, as well as from numerous police forces across the country, were leading participants.

The “Insurrection Timeline – First the Coup and Then the Cover-Up,” published at “Moyers on Democracy,” details the central role played by Donald Trump and his new Acting Secretary of Defense Christopher Miller.

Miller had been put at the head of the Pentagon on Nov. 9, 2020, six days after the election, in a departmental “regime change” that embedded three fierce Trump loyalists as top Defense Department officials.

Washington Mayor Muriel Bowser asked Army Secretary Ryan McCarthy — who reports to Miller — for more federal help to deal with the mob that had broken into the Capitol. McCarthy and Miller denied the mayor’s request and blocked deployment of the National Guard until hours later, after the insurrection had already been put down.

The New York Times reported: “President Trump initially rebuffed and resisted requests to mobilize the National Guard to quell violent protests at the Capitol, according to a person with knowledge of the events.

“In the end, it was Vice President Mike Pence, defense and administration officials said, who approved the order to deploy. It was unclear why Mr. Trump, who is still technically the commander in chief, did not give the order.”

How then was it possible for Pence to deploy the troops, in opposition to Trump? That could only have been done if Trump had been secretly removed as commander-in-chief.

However, Trump and the Pentagon’s coup attempt shows that a section of the ruling class supported a presidential dictatorship. This is confirmed by the fact that Trump’s actions continue to have the overwhelming support of the Republican Party.

Promoting anti-Trump right wing

The House hearings on the Jan. 6 attack are a media spectacle through which they hope to restore some belief in the U.S. government. 

The Democrats have presented a program that’s primarily given voice to right-wing opponents of Trump. As one cartoonist put it, these hearings are biased; we’ve only heard from the Republicans.

At the head of the committee, side-by-side with Representative Thompson, is Wyoming Republican Liz Cheney, who sold out her lesbian sister, opposing gay marriage in order to win the Senate seat. 

Previously Liz Cheney held a patronage post in the State Department where she promoted her father Vice President Dick Cheney’s lies for invading Iraq.

The hearings have exalted Mike Pence, William Barr, Judge J. Michael Luttig and other Republican operatives.

What about voting rights?

The hearings are about a coup attempt. But they do not confront the grave issue of voting rights that the coup attempt played upon and which continue to be under assault. 

Jan. 6 was at root an attempt to eliminate voting rights. The 2020 presidential election had set the record for the highest voter turnout in 120 years – a massive popular vote to throw out Trump.

That was a real Constitutional crisis. The U.S. Constitution was written by wealthy landlords and bankers, many of them slaveholders, to insure their class rule. The Constitution declares that enslaved peoples are not fully people and excludes the Indigenous Peoples. 

At the time, voting rights were given only to white men who owned property. Not until 1919, with the passage of the 19th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, women won the right to vote. 

To protect the slavocracy, the Constitution imposed an Electoral College that chooses the president, not the popular vote. The slavocracy’s Electoral College was a form of voter suppression that’s continued to this day. In fact, the coup attempt used the legal vagaries of the Electoral College as part of its tactics.

Why has there been no call by the Democrats to abolish the anti-democratic Electoral College?

While staging of the House hearings has been an engrossing TV show, Congress is doing nothing about the crises of war, racism, racist police murder, sexual and gender repression and immigrant oppression. The economy is in crisis, with the threat of a recession or worse.

The hearings appear to have no goal other than to expose what is already known about Trump. They are devised to distract from the failure to implement any of the mildest solutions promised by the Biden campaign in the struggle for food, housing, healthcare, reproductive rights, education, livable incomes and the right to organize workers’ unions.

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