Constitutional law professor Jonathan Turley suggested the House Jan. 6 committee is doing itself a disservice by now allowing for cross-examination of witnesses and is becoming more and more like a “show trial” under authoritarian regimes.
“By yielding to the temptation to exclude any opposing voices or views, the Committee seems intent on fulfilling the stereotype of the hearings as a show trial. It could be so much more but that requires politicians to do something that they are almost genetically resistant to: yielding time to opponents. It is the difference between creating a case for the next election as opposed to creating a record for history,” he wrote on July 22.
Even though Republicans and Democrats “have blamed each other for the absence of any Republican-appointed members, that is not a license for the Committee to then dispense with any need to offer the public a full and fair account of the underlying evidence and claims,” Turley continued.
As some Democrats “have admitted that the hearings do not appear to be changing many minds of conservative or Republican voters,” Turley argued that Republicans “tuned out weeks ago when they saw the hearings as presenting a single narrative rather than pursue a comprehensive record on what occurred from a variety of perspectives.”
The result of the public hearings, which have gone on for several weeks, is the “left telling largely Democratically aligned voters not to vote for Trump.”
Turley, a George Washington University Law School professor, has testified during congressional hearings in the past. Previously, he served as an impeachment witness during former President Donald Trump’s first impeachment in late 2019.
An alternative, the professor wrote in his blog, “was to secure a larger audience by allowing more balance” and “would not have altered the power” of public statements made by witnesses to the Jan. 6 panel.
“Instead, once again, the Committee simply edited out conflicting evidence. For example, the Committee again edited out the line of Trump where he said, ‘I know that everyone here will soon be marching over to the Capitol building to peacefully and patriotically make your voices heard.’” The former president made those comments during a Washington rally on Jan. 6, 2021, before protesters marched to the Capitol.
Responding to critics’ claims the panel hearings are akin to show trials, committee member Rep. Liz Cheney (R-Wyo.) told Fox News on July 24 that it’s, in part, because of House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy’s (R-Calif.) alleged failure to create a bipartisan commission.
“The notion now that somehow the committee is incapable of getting to the facts of what happened because Kevin McCarthy withdrew his nominees is nonsensical,” Cheney told Fox News host Brett Baier. “It also is a diversion.”
During the Jan. 6 panel’s last hearing on July 22, committee members accused former President Trump of inaction and being too slow to condemn the Capitol breach as it was happening. That included testimony from former White House counselor Pat Cipollone, who alleged Trump needed to issue “an immediate and forceful response” as protesters entered the Capitol.
Cheney, in another interview Sunday, suggested that her committee may issue a subpoena to Ginni Thomas, the wife of Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas, for reported texts in which she communicated with Trump administration officials about the electoral certification.
“The committee is fully prepared to contemplate a subpoena if she does not,” Cheney told CNN. “I hope it doesn’t get to that. I hope she will come in voluntarily.”