January 6 Committee Final Report upholds “one-man coup” whitewash of Republican Party, Supreme Court, military-intelligence agencies

The World Socialist Web Site is planning a detailed analysis of the January 6 Committee’s Final Report in the coming days. This article presents an initial overview of the report, which has been endorsed by representatives of both parties of big business.

While the report conclusively establishes that former President Donald Trump led a conspiracy to overthrow the government, it downplays or conceals the significant support for the coup throughout the Republican Party and within the police, military and intelligence agencies, as well as on the US Supreme Court.

An audio recording of former President Donald Trump talking to Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger is played as the House select committee investigating the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol holds a hearing on Capitol Hill in Washington, Thursday, Oct. 13, 2022. [AP Photo/Jonathan Ernst/Pool Photo]

Less than two weeks before its dissolution, the House Select Committee charged with investigating the January 6, 2021, attack on the US Capitol published its Final Report on December 22.

The 814-page report, like the Executive Summary released three days earlier, includes several important and new revelations concerning former President Donald Trump and his Republican accomplices’ multifaceted conspiracy to overthrow the government, which culminated in the violent assault on Congress on January 6.

However, the report is chiefly characterized by the glaring contradiction between the damning findings laid out in its eight chapters and four appendices, and the “overriding and straight forward conclusion” (page 8) that “the central cause of January 6th was one man, former President Donald Trump, whom many others followed. None of the events of January 6th would have happened without him.”

In presenting the “one-man coup” theory, the committee seeks to whitewash the role of pillars of the US government that were deeply involved in the coup, including the Republican Party, the US Supreme Court, the police-intelligence apparatus and the military.

This false narrative underscores the committee’s political goal of marginalizing Trump while exonerating key institutions of the capitalist state that were implicated in the conspiracy and continue to plot against the democratic rights of the population. This effort at cover-up and deception is driven principally by the foreign policy and war aims of the Biden administration and the Democratic Party, which, in Biden’s words, desire a “strong Republican Party” to pursue a bipartisan policy of confrontation and war against Russia and China.

The first of the institutions to receive a pass from the committee in its report is the Republican Party. In seeking to rehabilitate the GOP—147 of whose members of Congress voted against certifying the election after the assault on Congress, and which would overwhelmingly support Trump if he was the 2024 presidential nominee—the committee’s report bends over backwards in every chapter to highlight the efforts of “good Republicans” who, in some cases, eventually resisted Trump’s dictatorial scheme.

These Republican “heroes” include Vice President Mike Pence and former Attorney General William Barr. Both men in the months leading up to the 2020 election and even afterward backed Trump’s lies that mail-in ballots were fraudulent and supported Trump’s refusal to recognize the results of the presidential vote. Both are quoted prominently and favorably throughout the report.

However, in seeking to construct this narrative, the committee was forced to acknowledge that other Republicans and their allies in the media and big business endorsed several aspects of Trump’s scheme.

Writing on the Trump campaign’s fake elector scheme in chapter two of the report, the committee acknowledges that following the election, it was not Trump, but “[t]hose around President Trump [who] were pushing this idea, and pushing it hard.”

Citing a few of the over 2,000 text messages turned over to the committee by former Trump White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows, the report notes that within a week of Biden being declared the winner of the 2020 election, Meadows was receiving and responding to texts from dozens of Republicans around the country advocating that Trump pressure Republican-controlled state legislatures to call special sessions and refuse to certify the election results in states he lost.

Republicans named in the report who lobbied Trump include former Texas Governor and Department of Energy Secretary Rick Perry, former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich, CEO of Newsmax Christopher Ruddy and several “Stop the Steal” congressmen such as Andy Biggs (Arizona) and Scott Perry (Pennsylvania). The report does not name other Republicans who texted Meadows, referring to them only as “sender.”

The report notes that these Republicans were joined by far-right lawyers who previously argued that state legislatures, not voters, decide how electoral college votes are allocated. These anti-democratic theories were first advanced in the 2000 Bush v. Gore Supreme Court case and endorsed by coup-supporting Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas.

Immediately following the election, coup lawyer John Eastman, himself a former clerk of Thomas, joined Cleta Mitchell, a longtime Republican lawyer and Board of Governors member of the Council for National Policy, in advising Trump, Meadows and others that Republican state legislatures could refuse to certify Biden electors.

Republicans backing the fraudulent elector scheme knew they had allies on the Supreme Court who would support the plan, including the aforementioned Justice Thomas. Thomas’s wife, Virginia Thomas, a prominent supporter of the alternate elector scheme and Council for National Policy Board of Directors member, emailed dozens of lawmakers in Arizona and Wisconsin in November 2020 asserting that they had the power to unilaterally give the election to Trump.

Virginia Thomas, as previously revealed in the Meadows text messages, was not only an endorser of the “stolen election” lie, she advocated repeatedly to Meadows that Trump appoint fascistic lawyer Sidney Powell to head his legal efforts to overturn the election.

Despite her proximity to multiple aspects of Trump’s coup, Virginia Thomas’s name is not mentioned once in the entire report. And while dozens of damning transcripts have been released from some of the over 1,000 witnesses interviewed by the committee, not a single member of the committee has indicated when Virginia Thomas’ transcript will be released. When Thomas was interviewed behind closed doors by the committee earlier this year, she said that she still believed that the 2020 election was stolen.

In focusing solely on Trump, the committee’s report offers a litany of absurd excuses to explain why the intelligence agencies, despite a cascade of violent threats from fascist militia groups following Trump’s December 19, 2020 call for a “wild” protest on January 6, failed to issue any warnings ahead of the attack.

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) failed to issue a single security assessment or “warning bulletin” prior to January 6, releasing its first report on the threat posed by the Proud Boys to Congress only on January 8. Meanwhile, the FBI, which had several high-level informants in the Proud Boys, did not issue a report warning about an attack on Congress until late in the evening on January 5, 2021.

This was not a failure to “connect the dots.” As the committee notes in Appendix 1, there were “49… right-wing events” held between the November 2020 election and January 6, 2021, nearly all focused on “Trump’s stolen election.”

While the committee lists only four, in reality five of these events resulted in “far-right extremists” launching “capitol incursions,” including in Michigan, Idaho, Arizona, Georgia and Oregon. Yet despite the fact that Trump-aligned fascists had already demonstrated their capacity and willingness to storm government buildings, sometimes with military grade weaponry, the committee attempted to exonerate the intelligence agencies’ role in the coup by claiming that the FBI and DHS “potentially could not” have anticipated that Trump would order an armed mob to attack the Capitol.

This is despite the fact that the committee notes in Appendix I that following Trump’s December 19 tweet, “the National Capital Region Threat Intelligence Consortium (NTIC) noticed a tenfold uptick in violent online rhetoric targeting Congress and law enforcement.”

Finally, in Appendix 2, the report buries the role of the military in Trump’s coup. The committee offers no plausible explanation for the 199 minute delay in deploying National Guard soldiers to the Capitol as it was under siege, writing that “[w]hile the delay seems unnecessary and unacceptable, it was the byproduct of military processes, institutional caution, and revised deployment approval process.”

To reinforce the political amnesty, the committee adds, “We have no evidence that the delay was intentional.”

This is an outright lie, as evidenced by the transcripts the committee released of the interview it conducted with then-DC National Guard Commander William Walker, who is now the House sergeant at arms. In his interview, Walker told the committee that the response he received from then-Secretary of the Army Ryan McCarthy during the George Floyd protests and the response from the Pentagon on January 6 were “vastly different.”

Walker described Trump-appointee and loyalist McCarthy as being by his side constantly during the summer protests and actively encouraging him to lobby Democratic Mayor Muriel Bowser to request the deployment of National Guard soldiers against anti-police violence protesters. In contrast, when Proud Boys and Oath Keepers were leading fascistic “Stop the Steal” rallies in Washington D.C. in November and December 2020, the “National Guard [was] not called,” Walker noted.

Walker said that at the end of December 2020, he and Mayor Bowser saw the same emerging threat and sent multiple requests to McCarthy to deploy National Guard soldiers prior to January 6. The requests were met with “tremendous resistance,” according to Walker.

Walker said that on January 6 as the attack on the Capitol began, he tried urgently to call McCarthy and was unable to connect with him. Instead of reaching his immediate boss, Walker received an automated message that said, “This phone is out of service.”

“Is January 6th the first time you realized that the phone that you had for Secretary McCarthy was out of service?” Walker was asked during his April 2021 interview.

“Yes,” he replied.