The Thursday Politics Thread: One Year Later

Mornin’ Politocadoes!

It has been one year since angry Trump supporters breached the walls of the Capitol. A feat not matched since the British invaded and burned it during the War of 1812. It was an ominous beginning to the Biden administration; one that could have killed it before it even began. Members of Congress were seconds away from encountering rioters who had constructed a gallows for some terrible purpose. We all thought at the time that this was too far. Following the attack, I, for one, really thought the sense of self-preservation would have moved even the most craven of congressmen to hold people accountable.

But it wasn’t. As soon as they realized they were safe, things continued for the most part to be split along partisan lines. When Trump was impeached for the second time for inciting an insurrection, he was acquitted with only 7 Senate Republicans voting to impeach. To even get the 1/6 Committee investigating the origins of the attack was a political knife fight. And that’s because it was far more than just rioters ginned up on Facebook.

There was a plan. There were multiple plans. The violent insurrection was, well, probably plan C? Plan A at least was an elaborate plan to de-certify the electoral results via Vice President Mike Pence and utilize arcane aspects of the Constitution to have the House vote by delegation, thereby securing a Trump “victory”. The protest, I think at least initially, was supposed to be a way to pressure Pence and members of Congress to do this.

So it seems to a lot of us very frustrating that there hasn’t been a lot of movement from the DOJ. There have been many arrests certainly, all of them insurrectionists, witting or unwitting. But no major figures. Listening to Robert Evans’ The Assault on America audiobook, there’s an indication that this is just too big of a thing to move swiftly on for an organization like the DOJ. The Oklahoma City Bombing, as devastating as it was, only had two people at its core to look into. This was a decentralized mass movement with thousands of people, many in power, many not, involved on encrypted apps and all had to be investigated properly, especially after a particularly lawless administration had weaponized it for its own ends. And perhaps, buffing up our national security apparatus after this is precisely the wrong approach.

I think there’s another part to it. I wouldn’t call it cowardice necessarily. Caution, perhaps? But, I think the DOJ is aware of what might happen, if say, Trump is indicted. Will that make things better or worse? How can you pursue Justice, when your country lives in two incredibly stark realities. Republicans refuse congressional investigations into the attack, congressional representatives call for a “National Divorce”, half of our legislators are an assumed No on upholding voting rights. We can’t even agree on an infrastructure bill! I do not envy Merrick Garland or Joe Biden.

It’s been a year since the attack and most people have come to agree that any sense that Trump would lose his grip on the GOP was momentary, at best. We will hear from President Biden today and *not* his predecessor on the anniversary of a day that resulted in the deaths of 9 people. Hopefully he has more than vague platitudes or echoes Garland’s recent remarks on the number of arrests. We shall see.

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