Donald Trump is helping cultivate at least some level of extra attention for the proceedings of the January 6 committee in the House with his repeated, public meltdowns over what’s going on. On Tuesday, ahead of another public hearing by the panel, he brought out a new series of harebrained arguments.
“Why isn’t the Unselect Committee of political Thugs, who have criminalized Justice to a level never seen before in our Country, going after the people who illegally SPIED ON MY CAMPAIGN?” Trump ranted Tuesday morning. “Why aren’t they calling Nancy Pelosi, or the D.C. Mayor, who are IN CHARGE OF SECURITY, to ask why they turned down 10,000-20,000 National Guard Troops, or Soldiers, prior to January 6? Why won’t they discuss the massive voter fraud and irregularities that took place in the Election, the reason Jan 6 happened?” There’s obviously a lot packed into that angry screed, which Trump posted on his alternative social media site Truth Social, but it’s all based in deception.
As for the so-called spying, that’s been intensively discussed elsewhere, but characterizing what happened as “spying” obscures the truth. There does not appear to be any evidence that the Trump campaign as an entity was targeted by federal authorities. “The FBI targeted four people with greater or lesser roles in the Trump campaign,” a 2020 PolitiFact article notes. The underlying investigation wasn’t “illegal,” as Trump insinuates. Former FBI attorney Kevin Clinesmith “pleaded guilty in September to altering a 2017 email that he had received from the CIA to say that Page was “not a source” for the agency even though the original message indicated that he had been,” the Associated Press recaps, and that altered email was used in the FBI’s obtaining of an extension of court approval for surveillance of Page — but it’s unclear the message was the linchpin that allowed the surveillance to take place.
Page’s relationship with the CIA could have potentially provided a sufficient explanation for connections with officers of Russian intelligence. As for the National Guard claims, PolitiFact reports there’s “no record of former President Donald Trump officially authorizing 20,000 National Guard troops for the U.S. Capitol ahead of the Jan. 6, 2021, attack,” adding: “There is no evidence that House Speaker Nancy Pelosi denied such an authorization, and experts said she doesn’t have the authority to do so in the first place.” (If no such authorization existed, the mayor didn’t block it either.)
And obviously, there remains no credible evidence of expansive fraud in the last presidential election, although it’s clear Trump is essentially never going to give this up. Some of his goons are facing consequences while he continues to push this nonsense: Rudy Giuliani and Sidney Powell have been accused of violating conduct rules for attorneys by bar authorities in D.C. and Texas, respectively, and there’s also the huge amount of defamation litigation tied to false claims about the presidential race.
And in a follow-up post Tuesday, Trump also showed himself as disconnected from reality: “A “PERFECT” PHONE CALL to discuss a Rigged and Stolen Election, and what to do about it, with many people, including lawyers and others, knowingly on the line. The second call was likewise “PERFECT.” Thank you to the Washington Post for their retraction of an incorrect story!” He’s talking about a phone call with Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger — who’s testifying in the House on Tuesday and who was unsuccessfully pressured by Trump to alter the 2020 Georgia presidential election outcome. The second reference is to a call with Georgia elections investigator Frances Watson; initial reporting from The Washington Post misrepresented a couple of quotes as direct quotes from Trump’s remarks on the call, but the misrepresented quotes — which were actually more like paraphrases — were not dramatically different in meaning from what Trump was later revealed to have actually said, and the Post corrected its reporting. They didn’t retract the story.