Commentary

Supporters of then-President Donald Trump gather outside the U.S. Capitol following their rally in Washington on Jan. 6.

Supporters of then-President Donald Trump gather outside the U.S. Capitol following their rally in Washington on Jan. 6. (Samuel Corum / Getty Images)

 By C. Douglas Golden  October 26, 2021 at 6:51am

So many days in this country feel like Feb. 2.

We’re all like Bill Murray’s character in “Groundhog Day,” stuck in Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania. We wake up at 6 a.m., “I Got You Babe” is on the radio. “Don’t forget your booties, because it’s cold out there today,” the announcer says.

Monday was one of those days. “Democrats say GOP lawmakers implicated in Jan. 6 should be expelled,” the headline at The Hill read.

That’s funny, I thought to myself, that happened months ago. Missouri Democrat Rep. Cori Bush drew up a resolution within hours of the Capitol incursion calling for the expulsion from Congress of those who “incited this domestic terror attack through their attempts to overturn the election” — i.e., didn’t vote to certify the results of the 2020 election.

Democrat Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse of Rhode Island tweeted on Jan 11., “The Senate Ethics Committee … must consider the expulsion, or censure and punishment, of Sens. [Ted] Cruz, [Josh] Hawley, and perhaps others” for similar reasons.

I believe the Republican members of Congress who have incited this domestic terror attack through their attempts to overturn the election must face consequences. They have broken their sacred Oath of Office.

I will be introducing a resolution calling for their expulsion. pic.twitter.com/JMTlQ4IfnR

— Congresswoman Cori Bush (@RepCori) January 6, 2021

The Senate will need to conduct security review of what happened and what went wrong, likely through Rules, Homeland and Judiciary. The Senate Ethics Committee also must consider the expulsion, or censure and punishment, of Sens. Cruz, Hawley, and perhaps others.

— Sheldon Whitehouse (@SenWhitehouse) January 11, 2021

But wait, I was promised: This was new!

Two men involved in the Jan. 6 rally in support of then-President Donald Trump — one described as an organizer, the other as a planner — spoke to Rolling Stone for a piece published Sunday.

According to that publication’s Hunter Walker, they “detailed explosive allegations that multiple members of Congress were intimately involved in planning both Trump’s efforts to overturn his election loss and the Jan. 6 events that turned violent.”

The publication also “separately confirmed a third person involved in the main Jan. 6 rally in D.C. has communicated with the committee. This is the first report that the committee is hearing major new allegations from potential cooperating witnesses.”

Spoiler alert: This all isn’t as explosive as you might think.

Nowhere in the article are any of the Republican representatives tied to planning the riot at the Capitol. Instead, the sources said, they were in on planning briefings regarding the protests and rallies that happened in Washington on Jan. 6 with Republicans lawmakers who planned to vote against certifying the election.

The two sources said there were “dozens” of briefings involving a number of pro-Trump Republicans who either participated or sent staffers: Reps. Andy Biggs of Arizona, Lauren Boebert of Colorado, Mo Brooks of Alabama, Madison Cawthorn of North Carolina, Louie Gohmert of Texas, Paul Gosar of Arizona and Marjorie Taylor Greene of Georgia.

At only one point in the piece was something genuinely untoward alleged, at least on the part of representatives themselves: The sources told Rolling Stone that Gosar “dangled the possibility of a ‘blanket pardon’ in an unrelated ongoing investigation to encourage them to plan the protests.”

One of the sources, described as an “organizer,” said the two received “several assurances” about the “blanket pardon” from him and that their “impression was that it was a done deal … that he’d spoken to the president about it in the Oval.”

Should these GOP members be expelled?

They quoted Gosar as saying, “I was just going over the list of pardons and we just wanted to tell you guys how much we appreciate all the hard work you’ve been doing.”

It’s entirely unclear what these pardons refer to, however, only that they were unrelated to the events of Jan. 6. It’s worth noting no official quid pro quo for pardons was alleged in the article. In fact, no claim of incitement or illegal behavior is made at all.

Buried all the way down in the 51st paragraph of the story — not a typo — is this:

“Heading into Jan. 6, both sources say, the plan they had discussed with other organizers, Trump allies, and members of Congress was a rally that would solely take place at the Ellipse, where speakers — including the former president — would present ‘evidence’ about issues with the election. This demonstration would take place in conjunction with objections that were being made by Trump allies during the certification on the House floor that day.”

None of these discussions involved the Capitol riot. No one encouraged it. Even if we were to assume all these representatives took part — several have denied involvement outright, The Hill noted, and none has gone on record as confirming the sources’ version of the story — there’s still no allegation they did anything illegal by liaising with rally planners.

And yet, this revived calls for the members of Congress mentioned in the article to be expelled.

Democrat Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York, for example, implied Sunday those named in the article “helped plot a terrorist attack on our nation’s Capitol” and “must be expelled.”

Any member of Congress who helped plot a terrorist attack on our nation’s capitol must be expelled.

This was a terror attack. 138 injured, almost 10 dead. Those responsible remain a danger to our democracy, our country, and human life in the vicinity of our Capitol and beyond. https://t.co/D0qLlaFjTh

— Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (@AOC) October 25, 2021

(As my Western Journal colleague Michael Austin pointed out, the “almost 10” people who died actually numbered four, and most of them were Trump supporters.)

“Every member of Congress takes an oath to defend our Constitution against all enemies, foreign and domestic,” wrote Rep. Norma Torres of California. “Any member who helped plan or was complicit in the Jan. 6 insurrection violated that oath, and should be immediately removed from office.”

Every member of Congress takes an oath to defend our Constitution against all enemies, foreign and domestic. Any member who helped plan or was complicit in the Jan. 6 insurrection violated that oath, and should be immediately removed from office. https://t.co/gl80J5JaPP

— Rep. Norma Torres (@NormaJTorres) October 25, 2021

The aforementioned Cori Bush used it as another opportunity to push her resolution.

“My resolution to investigate and expel the Members of Congress who helped incite the deadly insurrection on our Capitol is just waiting for a vote,” she tweeted on Monday. “It’s inexcusable to wait any longer.”

My resolution to investigate and expel the Members of Congress who helped incite the deadly insurrection on our Capitol is just waiting for a vote.

It’s inexcusable to wait any longer.

Pass H.Res 25. https://t.co/HimDSDNc1I

— Cori Bush (@CoriBush) October 25, 2021

California Rep. Ted Lieu didn’t outright call for expulsions, but it’s also worth noting he didn’t read the article carefully enough — since he asked “if pardons were indeed discussed in advance, why would that be? Because folks knew crimes were about to be committed.”

This Rolling Stone article about January 6 is highly disturbing. No one should be above the law, including Members of Congress and former White House Staff.

And if pardons were indeed discussed in advance, why would that be? Because folks knew crimes were about to be committed. https://t.co/3parDHebmL

— Ted Lieu (@tedlieu) October 25, 2021

Walker, of course, made it clear the vague claims regarding Gosar and alleged “dangled” pardons involved an unrelated investigation, but why let facts get in the way?

But then, you get the feeling not many of these representatives read the article carefully enough in a number of other respects — particularly when it comes to whether crimes were committed.

You may find these GOP politicians’ views distasteful. Those on the left certainly do.

You may also find the rally on Jan. 6 distasteful. It certainly turned into the GOP’s version of Altamont, except writ large.

However, until these Republicans have been proved to have broken the law or the Democrats can find enough votes to expel them — and good luck doing that on this evidence — it’s still up to their constituents as to whether or not the lawmakers serve in Congress.

The left didn’t understand it in January. They don’t understand it in October. And, given the House Democrats’ Jan. 6 committee’s endless search for someone — anyone — in a position of power to blame for this, they’ll be given plenty more opportunities not to understand it.

In the left’s Washington, Groundhog Day comes around fairly often.

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C. Douglas Golden is a writer who splits his time between the United States and Southeast Asia. Specializing in political commentary and world affairs, he’s written for Conservative Tribune and The Western Journal since 2014.

C. Douglas Golden is a writer who splits his time between the United States and Southeast Asia. Specializing in political commentary and world affairs, he’s written for Conservative Tribune and The Western Journal since 2014. Aside from politics, he enjoys spending time with his wife, literature (especially British comic novels and modern Japanese lit), indie rock, coffee, Formula One and football (of both American and world varieties).

Birthplace

Morristown, New Jersey

Education

Catholic University of America

Languages Spoken

English, Spanish

Topics of Expertise

American Politics, World Politics, Culture

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