The Media Let January 6 Committee Skate

The week is over with this headline The Washington Post:

Jan. 6, committee holds historic showdown

The PostThis is the story

The Jan. 6 committee’s decision Thursday to subpoena five House Republican lawmakers sets up a tense and historic showdown over Congress’ ability to force its members to participate in one of its own investigations – the outcome of which could have major political and legal ramifications.

…the chair of the committee, Rep. Bennie Thompson (D-Miss.) said the subpoenas were necessary because “several of our colleagues have information relevant to our investigation into the attack on January 6th and the events leading up to it.”

Is there anything unusual? Are you curiously missing anything?

It would involve serious media coverage on the January 6, Committee members and their activities in the days leading up to the day.

Note well that the Committee has already issued subpoenas to AT&T, Verizon, Sprint, T-Mobile and any other company that might have the texts, e-mails and phone records of Trump family and staff members, conservative members of the media (think: Sean Hannity and Laura Ingraham.) As expected, however, the Committee released the personal correspondence of many of these individuals to, and of course the media.

What about those who are investigating the Committee? Are they there? What are their media demands for the public release of text messages, e mails, phone records and other information from the 9 Committee members — 7 Democrats and Republican NeverTrumpers Liz Cheney and Adam Kinzinger. Is there a demand for the Committee staff to release all the communications?

One member of the Committee is Rep. Zoe Lofgren from California, while Jamie Raskin, a Maryland Democrat, serves as another. What is the significance of this? Lofgren and Raskin are, respectively, the Chair and  the second ranking Democrat on the House Administration Committee. This matters. Here is this description of that Committee’s responsibilities as listed on the Administration Committee website:

Since the attacks on Capitol Hill and the 2001 terrorist attacks, a major concern has been to improve security at the House complex. At the same time, citizens should have easy access. The committee’s oversight of House security has meant that it has been closely working with Capitol Police. The committee had to organize resources in order to protect the campus and facilitate evacuations where necessary. It also needed to suggest alternative locations for Congress to meet. The committee provided updated communication equipment for Members and Staff, as well as a network that was available across campus to allow emergency broadcasts.

This means that Lofgren was directly involved in the protection of Capitol security on January 6. And the media questioning and investigation of what the two did — or did not do —  in the days before and after the January 6 attack?

Rush Limbaugh would say, “Zip, Zero, Nada.”

You can find them all over here The Wall Street JournalKimberly Strassel, columnist, has written about a topic that is on the surface completely different from the January 6 Committee. But in writing about the machinations of the Hillary Clinton campaign and the Trump-Russia collusion hoax, she notes the game at work with the now-notorious Fusion GPS consulting firm and British spy Christopher Steele and his now equally infamous “Steele Dossier.” She writes:

Fusion GPS hired Mr. Steele. The Durham prosecutions show how the opposition-research firm operates — not by producing real research, but by shopping seamy claims to law enforcement, then browbeating journalists into covering the “investigations” Fusion inspires.

What’s that you say? Fusion took the “seamy” Steele “research” and shopped it to law enforcement and “then browbeating journalists into covering the ‘investigations’ Fusion inspires.”

Which in turn raises the obvious question of the January 6 Committee and both its shopping of leaked private correspondence to the media, but also the media’s refusal to investigate the Committee itself.

A follow-up article about the Committee will include the following: PostThese are the headlines

Jan. 6 panel’s historic subpoenas to House GOPers — and what’s next

This is the story:

In general, the House has three legal options and one administrative option if members refuse subpoenas.

1. Members who refuse to comply with subpoenas should be referred to the Justice Department in order for them criminally prosecuted.

2. For the witness to be compelled, you must go to civil courts.

3. The sergeant at arms should arrest the person and take them into custody.

4. The member can be punished with fines, or stripped of their committee assignment.

Where are the subpoena stories, which were noted to be addressed to January 6 Committee staff and members, about serving subpoenas?

Where are the stories on just how those “three legal options…and a fourth administrative option” would be used by the Committee members and staff to resist subpoenas served on themselves?

Second Post story focuses on the usefulness of the fourth option to “Punish the member through fines or by stripping them of committee assignments.”

If the GOP gains control of the January 6, Committee and its members resist subpoenas as McCarthy and four other GOP Members have been resisting, then the GOP will be in power. PostAlbert W. Alschuler from the University of Chicago, quotes in Lawfare a piece that he says is of option 4.

Daily fines would make it even better. These could go up for every week or day of noncompliance. One judge doubts that resurrecting the use of Congress’s inherent power to sanction contempt remains a realistic option. He worries that Congress would risk “physical combat with the Executive Branch” by “dispatch[ing] the Sergeant-at-Arms to arrest and imprison an Executive Branch official.” But ordering a contemnor to pay a fine to the sergeant at arms for every day of noncompliance would be unlikely to lead to a shootout.

The House could pass a resolution authorizing the sergeant use of all civil procedures to recover this fine. The contemnor could challenge the legality of Congress’s action by bringing an injunctive action against this officer. You could wait until you present your defenses to the House so that the House can recover the fines she has accrued in civil court. This is a risky option. If the contemnor refused to pay after a court ordered her to do so, the House could use the same collection procedures other judgment creditors employ — for example, garnishing the contemnor’s wages. Guns, handcuffs and hotel rooms wouldn’t be needed.

That is, they will be fined if the House regains control of the GOP. indignant Committee members resist the sauce-for-the-goose-sauce-for-the-gander treatment coming their way if the GOP wins back control of the House, they could be fined til the cows come home.

What if the Committee conducts itself? Trump-Russia collusion style 24/7 coverage

Don’t wait up.

However, you can be sure that media personnel will capture every word, smile, and grumble of the January 6 Committee’s June hearings. All of which will be choreographed to fit the larger Democrat plan to stave off the November Red Wave that so many – Democrats included – believe is coming their way.

This is where the media have problems.

The American people, thanks in large part to Donald Trump’s repeated calling out of the “fake news media”, are on to the game.

The second Post article is absolutely correct in describing what the January 6, Committee should expect when the Red Wave overwhelms Washington D.C. Swamp. Said the Post of the mindset of House Republicans: “Turnabout will be fair play.”

Bingo.

Now the question is, how will this be done?

My guess is that it’s not.

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