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Republican History of Their Treason

Sen. Josh Hawley (R-Mo.) gestures toward a crowd of supporters of President Donald Trump gathered outside the U.S. Capitol to protest the certification of President-elect Joe Biden’s electoral college victory Jan. 6, 2021 at the US Capitol in Washington, DC. Some demonstrators later breached security and stormed the Capitol. (Francis Chung/E&E News and Politico via AP Images)

Republicans are about as honest discussing the history of their January coup attempt as they are about discussing the history of the Civil War. Greg Sargent’s discussion of the Senate report on the January 6 coup attempt is quite damning.

It’s sometimes said that history is written by the victors, but if Republicans get their way, the history of the Jan. 6 insurrection will be written largely by the perpetrators and the enablers.

That’s the takeaway from a major new Senate report on security lapses at the Capitol that was released Tuesday. While the report is well executed on that topic, it’s also notable for what it does not cover: It does not officially describe the attack as an “insurrection,” instead opting for the word “attack,” and it avoids a frank discussion of the role played by one Donald J. Trump.

In short, the only history of the insurrection that Republicans will acknowledge is one that carefully sanitizes the role in inciting the mob played by the then-president — and by Republicans themselves.

What’s more, the only permissible history for them is one that buries another profoundly consequential truth: that Trump fully intended to disrupt the election’s conclusion by inciting a mob attack on duly elected lawmakers. Republicans refuse to reckon with this event as an act of mass political violence, one in which they are deeply implicated.

The scope and descriptions in the report — which bears the names of Republican and Democratic leaders on the Senate Homeland Security and Rules committees — had to undergo extensive discussions to get GOP buy-in, a Democratic aide on one of the committees says.

“To get bipartisan agreement, the language had to be carefully negotiated,” the aide told me.

The result was that the report minimized the importance of key topics. Among these were the extent of Trump’s lies about the illegitimacy of the election in the run-up to the attack, and the degree to which Trump-supporting rioters were driven by the express goal of subverting the outcome, the aide tells me.

For instance, in the section entitled “Events of January 6,” the report carefully notes that after the networks called the outcome, Trump “continued to assert that the election was stolen from him,” without noting explicitly that this was false, or that he’d told this lie relentlessly in previous days to whip up supporters to descend on the Capitol.

The report also notes that in his remarks inciting the mob that day, Trump’s “statements focused on” the electoral count in Congress, and carefully recounts that he “encouraged his supporters to go to the Capitol.”

Well, at least it’s bipartisan so Joe Manchin is cool with it.

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