It’s the Super Bowl for the Democrats, the day to score touchdowns and field goals against Republicans and the former President Donald J. Trump. A day to show “Democrats-good, Republicans-bad.”
Jan. 6 is a day the D.C. media, leftist pundits, and Beltway insiders have been looking forward to for months. It’s a year to the day when an unruly mob of Trump supporters surged into the U.S. Capitol, when one of the protesters was killed by Capitol Police, and when numerous people, including law enforcement personnel, were injured. What makes it different from other moments in history is that it was all filmed in real time, and the footage is disturbing.
President Joe Biden, in a fully produced speech in Statuary Hall in Congress, squarely blamed the mob’s actions on former President Trump. He said Trump could not accept that he had lost or that 81 million Americans had voted for Biden, whose approval ratings have since slipped from 51 percent last April to 44 percent in December.
Protesters at the Capitol a year ago were objecting to the certification of the Electoral College vote that awarded the win of the presidential election to Joe Biden. The decisive final vote had Biden winning more votes than any other presidential candidate in history.
It’s a matter that still divides Americans. Many Republicans still believe the election was not held fairly. An NPR poll in November showed that just 58 percent of Americans think the nation’s elections are fair. The breakdown of that poll was 90 percent of Democrats trust U.S. elections, while 60 percent of independents and just 33 percent of Republicans do.
In today’s speech, Biden called Trump a liar and a sore loser. Vice President Kamala Harris and Biden used the cameo moment to push their legislative agendas. Harris compared the uprising to mass casualty events Pearl Harbour and the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks, unfazed by the fact that at Pearl Harbor, in 1941, at least 2,390 Americans lost their lives; on Sept. 11, 2001, 2,974 were slaughtered by terrorists, while on Jan. 6, 2021, only one person — protester Ashli Babbitt — was shot and killed by Capitol Police.
Today, U.S. Senator Lisa Murkowski issued the following statement, reflecting the trauma she experienced that day:
“Today marks one year since the U.S. Capitol was stormed by a mob incited by our former president. Those of us who were there to fulfill our constitutional responsibilities can never erase what we saw and heard, nor will we ever forget the desecration and violence that took place.
“A year later, the sadness and anger of knowing that it was Americans who breached the center of our democracy, to thwart certification of a lawful election, remains with me. There is not a day that goes by that I am not thankful to our Capitol Police officers, who attempted to hold the line on that awful day to protect Congress and those of us who serve as part of it. I mourn for the individuals we lost and for those who continue to stand watch with injuries, both visible and invisible. My heart is also heavy knowing that American institutions and ideals remain tarnished by this terrible event.
“We cannot ignore the riots of January 6th nor what led up to the insurrection at our Capitol. We must understand so that it is never repeated. Our nation – and especially those who would lead it – must also focus on healing our divisions instead of deepening them. That is the only way we will remain a country committed to civil discourse, the right to peaceably assemble, and, so importantly, the peaceful transition of power.”
Kelly Tshibaka, Murkowski’s opponent in the upcoming election, also issued a statement:
“The people who committed crimes and acts of violence are being held responsible for their actions by the judicial system, which is what is appropriate and constitutional. The January 6th Committee is a partisan witch hunt which is essentially the third attempt to impeach President Trump. It is nothing more than a rehashing of the second sham impeachment. If that committee wanted to be useful, it would examine ways to better protect the Capitol, which would actually be within its authority. The Senate has already acquitted President Trump on the question of January 6th, despite Lisa Murkowski’s vote to remove him from office after he was already gone. Democrats are trying to keep the issue alive in their desperation to hold onto power in Congress, and they have Murkowski as an ally.“
U.S. Sen. Dan Sullivan was measured in the statement released by his office today:
My statement from January 6, 2021 remains relevant today. The violence that transpired that day in the U.S. Capitol building was a disgrace and will go down as one of the sadder and more dispiriting days in our country’s history. Those who perpetrated that violence should be brought to justice. The world witnessed our Capitol under siege during the day, but by the evening, members of Congress fulfilled their constitutional duties, thus demonstrating the resiliency of American Democracy,” Sullivan said.
“It is important to point out that the vast majority of those who came to D.C. that day, including many Alaskans, did not commit violence or break the law. They were doing what we all have the right to do in America—exercising their First Amendment rights and peacefully protesting. This is a critical distinction that has not been fairly portrayed in media reports on that day. Further, when federal law enforcement makes mistakes, as they have in some instances during their investigation into those responsible, they need to acknowledge such mistakes and apologize.
“Finally, I am deeply troubled that some, including Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, are using the events of January 6 as a political springboard to fundamentally alter the very American institutions, like the U.S. Senate, that safeguard our Democracy. I will continue to vigorously fight against such attempts, as I believe most Americans and Alaskans want me to do,” Sullivan concluded.
During the year since Jan. 6, 2021, many Americans have seen their civil liberties trampled, including Alaskans Marilyn and Paul Hueper. The Huepers were in the nation’s capital to hear Trump speak that day, but did not enter the Capitol building. They remained outside, even while others went through the ultimately unguarded doors.
But on April 28, 2021, the door to their Homer, Alaska home was broken through by FBI, Capitol Police, and U.S. Marshalls, who handcuffed them and held them hostage for hours, while searching their home without producing a search warrant until near the end of their search. The lawmen said they were convinced the Huepers were in possession of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s laptop, which was apparently stolen when protesters took over her office. The laptop, if it has been stolen, has not been announced as recovered to this day.
It wasn’t until months later that the FBI arrested the actual subject of their search — a Pennsylvania woman.
A similar event happened to 69-year-old Joseph Bolanos of New York. Bolanos, a pillar in his Upper West Side community association and Red Cross volunteer after the 9/11 attacks, has his home raided and ransacked by the FBI.
“Yes, he attended then-President Donald Trump’s rally in Washington, DC, on Jan. 6, but he never entered the Capitol. He was in a friend’s room at the JW Marriott a 30-minute walk away when the Capitol breach occurred,” the New York Post reported.
“Nonetheless, he was raided in February by the FBI anti-terrorism task force, handcuffed, paraded and detained for three hours while his apartment was ransacked and all his devices confiscated. Four months later, he hasn’t been charged and doesn’t have his devices back, but his neighbors are shunning him, and he’s had two strokes from the stress,” the Post reported. His neighbors all think he is a domestic terrorist.
“It’s destroyed my reputation,” he told the reporter. “I’m not a violent invader … I do not condone the criminality and violence on [Jan. 6] whatsoever.”
The FBI told Bolanos, who is a registered Democrat, that a tipster in the neighborhood told the FBI hotline said he had boasted about being at the Capitol.
Back in Alaska, an Anchorage resident who never went to the Capitol that day, got a call from the FBI because of a tip that he was the kind of person who would have gone.
On Wednesday, the “eve of Jan. 6,” U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland said the Department of Justice will be relentless in its pursuit of all people associated with the entry into the Capitol, to hold them accountable.
“The actions we have taken thus far will not be our last,” Garland said Wednesday in his speech at the Justice Department’s Great Hall. “The Justice Department remains committed to holding all January 6th perpetrators, at any level, accountable under law — whether they were present that day or were otherwise criminally responsible for the assault on our democracy. We will follow the facts wherever they lead.”
Garland continued, “We build investigations by laying a foundation. We resolve more straightforward cases first because they provide the evidentiary foundation for more complex cases … “There cannot be different rules for the powerful and the powerless.”
Merrick made no mention of pursuit of the pipe bomber from Jan. 5, 2021, setting bombs at both Democratic National Committee and Republican National Committee headquarters in Washington, D.C. Nor did he apologize to those who, such as Paul and Marilyn Hueper, who had been wrongly detained and who have been put on TSA extra-scrutiny lists simply because they went to D.C. to hear a speech.
Liberal commentators repeated expected condemnation of what they called a violent insurrection and terrorist attack. Newspapers widely reflect that characterization.
Conservative commentators had varying remarks about the day:
“I wonder if history will view January 6, in retrospect, as America’s Tiananmen Square. Desperate protesters seeking to have their voices heard. Vicious government crackdown and prosecution. No-dissent policy enforced across society via mass censorship and one-party media,” wrote author and filmmaker Dinesh D’Souza in October.
“Today is the first anniversary of January 6, a riot predicated on a falsehood pushed by President Trump — a riot which did not prevent the certification of the 2020 election by Vice President Mike Pence and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell,” wrote conservative commentator Ben Shapiro.
Tucker Carlson, in an essay on Fox News, said, “It’s about feelings — how the survivors feel, especially the reporters who survived. The feelings of reporters in Washington matter a great deal in America. They certainly matter a lot more than how you feel at the moment. How you feel, as you’ve probably realized by now, is totally irrelevant to anyone. No one cares. But the journalists of Capitol Hill? They do care. And they’re upset. Many still haven’t recovered from what they saw that day. As they lie down to sleep at night, the horrible images replay on a loop on the back their eyelids: The deafening thunder of cannon volleys. The smoke from the remorseless artillery fire, blotting out the sun. The screams of the mortally wounded calling out for their loved ones, echoing like some demonic soundtrack against the walls of the speaker’s lobby. Hell in a very small place,” he said.
“Unless you were there, you cannot possibly understand what it was like. Imagine the Tet Offensive, plus Fallujah, plus the night before Thanksgiving at Whole Foods. On Jan. 6th, you couldn’t tell who the enemy was, unless you looked down and saw they’d bought their shoes at Walmart. Then you knew. But otherwise, it was the fog of war, my friends,” Carlson said, mocking the overreaction of the Left.
“Kasie Hunt was there that day. Hunt is now something called the ‘chief national affairs analyst’ over at CNN. As a veteran of the siege of the Capitol, Hunt took to Twitter today to give hope to her fellow survivors. ‘Tomorrow is going to be a tough one for those of us who were there or had loved ones in the building. Thinking of all of you and finding strength knowing I’m not alone in this….#January6th'” Carlson continued, sarcastically.
“That was just a tweet. But, someday, you’ve got to believe, because this is a hopeful country, Hunt and her fellow survivors of the insurrection massacre of Jan. 6 will come together in some more formal way: Annual reunions, held in the shadow of Washington’s certain-to-be-built Jan. 6 memorial, the one they’ll have to bulldoze the Washington Monument to construct. Hunt and graying grizzled veterans of the Washington Post and Bloomberg News, and Politico, and The Daily Beast and the Atlantic Magazine will raise their White Claws as one, and remember how they cheated death that terrible day,” he said, continuing in the vein of mocking the media.
“Ok, we’ll stop. It’s way too embarrassing. We’re feeling shame even making fun of it. And in fact, as a political matter, the anniversary of Jan. 6th is not a joke. It’s a very serious thing. Pretending that a protest was actually a failed coup is the Democratic Party’s entire strategy to win this year’s midterm elections. At this point, it’s all they’ve got. Governing didn’t work. That’s why today, the attorney general of the United States, one of the most political men in Washington, announced the Department of Justice will continue to harass and arrest people voted for Donald Trump,” Carlson said.
“Be sure to check the FBI website,” Carlson advised, as the FBI continues to post photos — but not of its own agents who were in the crowd that day.
“They’re not only posting photos, they’re taking them off the site, including the most wanted list. Remember Ray Epps? He’s on video several times encouraging crimes, riots, breaches of the Capitol on January 6th. He was on the FBI website. Now he’s gone. Hasn’t been charged with anything, apparently. Why is that? That’s a real question. No one in Congress seems to care, even supposedly conservative Republican senators,” Carlson said.