CSotD: What did we know, and when did we know it?

There are a ton of ketchup cartoons this morning, but Jack Ohman gets the prize not only for having this up within about an hour of yesterday’s hearings, but for managing to frame the bizarre moment in a larger context.

That is, many of the cartoons have the ketchup spelling out words, but Ohman shows the temper tantrum as a pure assault on the Constitution and thus the nation.

The fact that the President throws childish tantrums is not nearly as important as the fact that he knew many people in the crowd that day were armed, declared that he was in no danger from them, and persisted in encouraging their assault on the Capitol.


Ted Littleford does not paint with as broad a brush as Ohman, but he draws that connection between the Toddler-in-Chief’s tantrum and the death of a police officer at the hands of the presidential mob, and it was very much the president’s mob.

Not only did Hutchinson testify that Giuliani and senior staff knew there was something planned for the sixth, but indications are that we’ll hear more connections between the White House and the rioters in next month’s hearings.


And when I say “we’ll hear,” I do so advisedly. As Adam Zyglis noted before yesterday’s hearing, those who don’t want to know what happened are being offered not simply distractions — the GOP recommended Gunsmoke reruns — but propaganda intended to undercut and deflect from the evidence.

Reliable Sources has a massive set of links detailing reaction to yesterday’s hearing, including the somewhat gobsmacked reaction of the Fox journalists covering the revelations in real time.

But, as Oliver Darcy writes there, they got over it by the time the night crew went on air. Fox goes well beyond denial and distraction and is a clear example of shameless propaganda.


We might expect the Republicans to try to find the pony in the pile, as Matt Davies suggests, and a fair number of rightwing cartoonists really are focusing on gas prices and whatnot rather than addressing the insurrection.

“GOP Judiciary,” a combative, anonymous account many think is committee chair Jim Jordan, declared Hutchinson’s testimony “hearsay” and, aside from receiving an avalanche of mockery, was roundly schooled on what constitutes “hearsay” and in which contexts it is admissible.

The scene in the presidential vehicle was, for instance, not something Hutchinson witnessed, but that wasn’t her testimony: She described what she was told happened, in the presence of a party to the scene who neither corrected nor denied the story.

Testifying to a conversation is not hearsay.

There’s also a counter building, in which Secret Service agents are reportedly willing to testify that the president never seized the wheel. But that seems like some hairsplitting over what she reports being told.

It would be good to get the actual witnesses under oath and find out if he grabbed or lunged or tried to or whatever, but the details are less crucial than the intentions.

Let them produce eyewitnesses who will testify under oath that the President was not told of weapons in the crowd and that he never intended to go to the Capitol. Perhaps a few to testify about his desperate efforts to halt the mob before they breached the building.

And about how that plateful of food just slipped out of his hand.


And they’d better do it soon, because the the Incident in the Beast is already part of the story, as Michael de Adder‘s cartoon makes clear.

Trump’s tantrums may be something of a distraction from the more substantive elements of his attempts to subvert the system between Election Day and January 6, but presidential quirks can reveal much of the mood of an administration, whether it’s John-John and Caroline wandering into JFK’s meetings, Lyndon Johnson continuing a conversation through the open door of his bathroom or Obama shooting hoops.

In this case, Hutchinson is hardly the only source for stories of a president prone to tantrums and resistant to information he didn’t want to hear.

We can laugh at him offering lukewarm takeout burgers to college athletes in a White House once known for its cuisine or staring up into a solar eclipse, but there’s nothing funny about his ripping up official documents or about a staff that had to sneak papers off his desk to keep him from signing absurd executive orders.


As for those more substantive matters, we’ve arrived at a point where, as Bill Bramhall puts it, the presidential landscape is strewn with smoking guns.


Nor is Bramhall alone, and Liz Cheney has heard far more testimony than we have. The Trump-loyal GOP is opposing her re-election this fall, but maybe knowing she has no chance is what makes her more frank in pursuing the truth.

Or maybe her frankness in pursuing the truth is what makes it so unlikely she’ll be re-elected.


David Rowe ran this piece prior to yesterday’s hearing. Even before Hutchinson laid bare the world inside the White House, the smoking guns were piling up, and, as Rowe contends, Trump was brazenly riding it out. He continues to do so.

It’s not an issue of what we learned from Watergate. Nixon insisted that he was not a crook, but he only had the loyalty of the executive branch and, once the evidence clearly showed that he was a crook, and that his party would not back up his denials, he folded and resigned.

Not only is Trump bolder and more defiant, but he has the backing of the very congressmen and senators his mob wanted to kill, plus a packed SCOTUS in stark contrast to the court that unanimously ordered release of Nixon’s tapes.

Never mind what we learned from Watergate.

Consider, instead, what we learned from OJ Simpson: If you simply deny the plain evidence against you, if you mug and pretend you can’t get your hand into the glove, and — most important of all — if the jury decides to let you off the hook, you can get away with just about anything.

As Hutchinson testified, those inside the White House knew the stakes on January 6:

But if we let this go, all our hands will be stained.

And not with ketchup.


9 thoughts on “CSotD: What did we know, and when did we know it?

  1. All the J6 MAGA crowd got out of yesterday was
    “See, The President DID want to be with us!”
    None of the other testimony matters to them.

  2. As shocking as Ms Hutchinson’s testimony was, reading between the lines, I get the impression that “the beast” never pulled out of the White House garage.

  3. “and the death of a police officer at the hands of the presidential mob” -this is false. There was one death/murder- Ashli Babbitt was shot by Capital hill cop, Lt. Michael Byrd. -NBCNEWS

    “Capitol Police Officer Brian Sicknick Died Of Natural Causes, Medical Examiner Rules”

  4. Paul, he wasn’t in “The Beast.” He was in an SUV, apparently one of the backup Presidential vehicles. The repubs are saying it could not have happened because there’s a partition between the driver’s section and the passenger section in the Beast.” But they neglect to mention that he wasn’t using “The Beast” that day.

  5. According to the police union, 140 officers were injured on January 6, and many were hospitalized.

    “I’ve talked to officers who have done two tours in Iraq who said this was scarier to them than their time in combat,” acting D.C. police chief Robert J. Contee III said at a news conference earlier this month.

    And a further quote from the NPR story.
    “In a statement, the U.S. Capitol Police said it accepts the medical examiner’s finding. “This does not change the fact Officer Sicknick died in the line of duty, courageously defending Congress and the Capitol,” the statement said.”


  6. Conveniently enough, Lester, you have once again chosen to omit details that don’t play nice with the point you want to make – per the Washington Post:

    The chief medical examiner, Francisco Diaz, told the Washington Post that the autopsy had found no evidence that Mr. Sicknick suffered an allergic reaction to the chemical spray or evidence of internal or external injuries, but said “all that transpired played a role in his condition.”


    Meanwhile, Ashli Babbitt was not murdered. To legally be murder, the killing must be intentional, unlawful, and done with malice aforethought. Justifiable self-defense is not murder.

  7. One might also mention that the officer who shot Ashli Babbitt was cleared by an internal investigation. Perhaps Lester has a track record of skepticism toward internal investigations of officers who shoot suspects – but I rather doubt it.

  8. in re the beast or the suv, I’m just trying to figure out why Trump was in any vehicle at all.

    Was his security detail taking him to the Capitol, then turned around? Or were they taking him to the Undisclosed Location they maintain for 9/11 scale events? Did Trump tell his driver Hey, let’s hop in the van and pick up a bucket of KFC?

    I just can’t fathom anyone in the presidential security detail thinking that taking the F___ing President to the Capitol was a good idea at ANY point during the day of January 6.

  9. “I don’t care that they have weapons. They’re not here to hurt me” is the defining statement of January 6 and the entire Trump era.

    Makes a horrifying bookend to “I could stand in the middle of 5th Avenue and shoot somebody and I wouldn’t lose voters”

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