Sunday Reading: The January 6th Hearings

Donald Trump’s contempt for liberal democracy and the Constitution was evident from the moment he entered politics. The apotheosis of his cynicism, and his disregard for the law, arguably came at the end of his term, when he refused to concede the 2020 election and give way to an orderly transfer of power. His determination to inflame conspiracy theories and some of the most violent fringe elements in American life led to the catastrophe of January 6, 2021, the insurrection at the U.S. Capitol. For weeks now, hearings on Capitol Hill have patiently assembled a factual chronology of the misdeeds, deceptions, and potential crimes of the former President and his satraps. And those misdeeds appear to continue even now. This past week, the Wyoming representative Liz Cheney revealed that the House select committee has evidence that Trump attempted to contact a witness who has yet to testify publicly.

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This week, we’re bringing you a selection of pieces about these events unfolding in Washington. In “Among the Insurrectionists,” a remarkable, definitive on-the-ground piece of reporting, Luke Mogelson takes us behind the scenes of the Capitol riots, including inside the Senate chamber, where some of the extremists rummaged through legislators’ desks and brandished weapons. (In addition to reading the piece, it is worth viewing the accompanying video that Mogelson shot that day.) In “Dishonor, Trump’s and His Party’s, Is the Real January 6th Takeaway,” Susan B. Glasser considers the role of Cheney, the rare conservative Republican who has dared to confront Trump. In a related essay, “Who Was Willing to Stand with Donald Trump?,” Benjamin Wallace-Wells examines how, as Trump attempted to sell his story of a stolen election, Republican leaders considered their moral and political options. In “Weighing In on the Watergate Tapes,” from 1974, at the moment of another political scandal, various contributors offer their reactions to the release of startling evidence about the Nixon White House. Finally, in “What the January 6th Hearings Are Really About,” John Cassidy lays out the dangers inherent in Trump’s refusal to cede power. If there’s one thing the hearings demonstrate, Cassidy writes, “it’s that Trump will represent a mortal threat to American democracy until the day he retires from politics.”

David Remnick

Rioters at the Capitol

The Capitol was breached by Trump supporters who had been declaring, at rally after rally, that they would go to violent lengths to keep the President in power. A chronicle of an attack foretold.

Liz Cheney

Liz Cheney, defying the G.O.P., offered a searing indictment of the former President at Thursday’s hearing.

Former U.S. President Donald Trump is displayed on a screen during a hearing by the Select Committee.

The House select committee made a good start in explaining the insurrection and why American democracy can’t withstand a restoration of Donald Trump.

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Thirty-three reactions.

U.S. Representative Bennie Thompson and U.S. Representative Liz Cheney listen during the third hearing by the select committee that is investigating the January 6th attack on the Capitol.

The January 6th committee is exposing how unflinching loyalty to Trump remains the great schism in the Republican Party.

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