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Mick Mulvaney was former President Donald Trump’s acting chief of staff before becoming special U.S. envoy to Northern Ireland. He resigned Jan. 6, 2021 following the attack on the Capitol. He is currently co-chair of Actum, LLC and lives in Indian Land, South Carolina. This column was first published by The Charlotte Observer.
The significance of the recent congressional Jan. 6 committee hearings cannot be overstated.
For the first time, evidence was presented that former President Donald Trump knew some of the protesters were armed before encouraging them to go the Capitol, that right-wing extremist rioters communicated directly with the White House, that key Presidential advisers requested pardons, that the chief White House lawyer was concerned about getting “charged with every crime imaginable,” and that someone within Trump world may be trying to tamper with committee witnesses.
Serious stuff. But roughly half the country — the Republican half — isn’t watching. They object that the hearings are a made-for-TV show trial, designed to attack the former president and salvage the Democrats’ dismal prospects in the upcoming midterms.
They claim that the “Unselect Committee” is made up entirely of Trump-haters and that there is no cross-examination of witnesses. They complain that the committee has heavily edited the evidence, and that the full testimonies of the witnesses have not been released. They point out that some of the evidence presented is hearsay that would never see the light of day in a legitimate court hearing.
And they are correct. On every single point.
But they still should be paying attention.
That is because, despite all of the flaws in the structure of the heavily Democratic committee, almost all of the evidence presented so far is coming from eminently credible sources: Republicans.
Bill Barr is a two-time Republican U.S. attorney general. As recently as a few weeks ago he was still defending the former president against charges of criminal activity. When he swears, under oath, that he investigated almost every allegation of voter fraud — including those in the 2000 Mules movie — and found them to be completely worthless, Republicans should pay attention.
Rusty Bowers is the Republican Speaker of the House in Arizona. He campaigned for Trump and voted for him twice. And until a few days ago at least, said he would do so again. When he swears, under oath, that Rudy Giuliani tried to cajole him into intervening in the electoral count in Arizona, and told him “We have lots of theories, we just don’t have the evidence…,” Republicans should pay attention.
Cassidy Hutchinson worked for Sen. Ted Cruz and House Majority Whip Steve Scalise before working in the Trump White House. She started (working for me) in the Office of Legislative Affairs before becoming an aide to the Chief of Staff Mark Meadows.
She was a special assistant to the president of the United States. When she swears, under oath, that she was told that the president knew some of the Jan. 6 protesters were armed, that Meadows was in direct communication with the Proud Boys, and that Meadows and Giuliani asked President Trump for pardons, Republicans should pay attention.
Yes, it is possible that all of those life-long Republicans succumbed to Trump Derangement Syndrome. It is possible they decided to ignore a life-long political affiliation. It is also possible they chose to perjure themselves about what they saw, heard and know.
But if they didn’t, and half of the country isn’t paying attention, then that half of the country is clinging firmly to an opinion of Jan. 6, 2021 that is based on either false or incomplete information. And clinging firmly to a belief based on false or incomplete information can lead to disastrous results. January 6 itself is a stark reminder of that.
When Republicans start testifying under oath that other Republicans lost the 2020 election and then broke the law to try to change that, Republicans should pay attention.