Not Playing Around

24 September 2021


Cogito Ergo Non Serviam

January 6 Committee Issues First Subpoenas


The House committee investigating the attempted overthrow of the American government on January 6 has issued its first subpoenas. The committee has summoned former White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows, his deputy Dan Scavino, former acting Chief of Staff at Defense Kash Patel and Steve Bannon (of Mr. Trump's inner circle). Each must testify in mid-October. While the subpoenas may be resisted, there is only one outcome. They will have to obey.

The LA Times noted, "The subpoenas are a significant escalation for the committee, which is now launching the interview phase of the investigation after sorting through thousands of pages of documents the committee requested from federal agencies and social media companies. The goal is to provide a complete accounting of the events related to Jan. 6, when Trump loyalists quickly overwhelmed police and interrupted the certification of Joe Biden's election victory -- and to prevent anything like it from ever happening again."

The events of January 6 were not spontaneous, organic results of a crowd that suddenly took it into their heads to storm the Capitol. The social media record is clear that there was organization and planning of the insurrection in advance. Each of the individuals under subpoena was in a position to know of the planning and may have participated in it. Their testimony will provide clarity on just what they knew and when.

The Trumpists have already said they would resist the orders. The former president has said that these people are covered under executive privilege. This is utter nonsense. That privilege does not extend to ex-presidents. Moreover, Mr. Bannon was not a member of the administration at the time, and therefore, could not possibly be covered by it under any circumstances.

Mr. Patel objected to the nature of the subpoenas. "I am disappointed, but not surprised, that the committee tried to subpoena me through the press and violated longstanding protocol -- which I upheld as a congressional staffer -- by resorting to compulsory process before seeking my voluntary cooperation," Mr. Patel said in a statement. "I will continue to tell the truth to the American people about the events of Jan. 6."

The reason for skipping the voluntary part is clear. The Trumpist approach is to appeal and appeal and appeal until the clock on the investigation runs out. The committee has decided not to allow time-wasting. If Mr. Patel does not like this, he can say so under oath in front of the committee.

Naturally, every one of these four would be within his rights to turn up, take the oath and immediately invoke his Fifth Amendment not to incriminate himself. That would look bad, but it would be entirely fair and proper.

The difficulty with this approach is that there is significant proof that these four were in a position to know things about the attempted coup that is already in the public domain. Moreover, it is very likely that the committee will uncover more. By remaining silent, the witnesses would be ceding the control of the narrative to the committee completely. That is a matter for the witnesses and their lawyers.

One only hopes the testimony will be televised.

© Copyright 2021 by The Kensington Review, Jeff Myhre, PhD, Editor. No part of this publication may be reproduced without written consent. Produced using Ubuntu Linux.

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