On Tuesday the House Select Committee investigating the January 6th insurrection that Donald Trump incited held a previously unscheduled hearing. It featured jarring testimony from Cassidy Hutchinson, a top aide to Trump’s chief of staff, Mark Meadows, who Trump incredulously claimed he hardly knew.
Hutchinson revealed that Trump was aware that weapons were present at his January 6th rally speech, and that he “didn’t f—ing care” because “they aren’t here to hurt me.” She also disclosed Trump’s seething anger that erupted into food flinging tantrums. And she told the Committee that White House lawyers were worried about criminal charges and that several members of Congress had sought pardons from Trump. These revelations and more have triggered Trump to whine about the Committee not presenting his side of the story. But that’s primarily because he has been too cowardly to show up and defend himself under oath, as all of the Republican witnesses have done.
Contrary to Trump’s repeated lying, the Committee’s televised hearings have been watched by millions of concerned Americans. And Hutchinson’s testimony drew even more viewers than all of the other sessions, with the exception of the first one that aired in primetime. According to the Los Angeles Times…
“Cassidy Hutchinson testimony set audience record for a daytime Jan. 6 hearing.”
“More than 13 million Americans tuned in to watch bombshell testimony from a former White House aide this week, making the Jan. 6 committee’s latest hearing its second-most-viewed thus far.
“The Tuesday afternoon hearing, which the committee announced just a day ahead of time, featured 25-year-old Cassidy Hutchinson, who served as an aide to former White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows. Her dramatic testimony attracted 13,231,000 viewers across all major networks, including ABC, CBS, NBC, CNN and MSNBC, according to numbers from Nielsen, a ratings firm. This total topped the previous four hearings, which won audiences of about 10 million to 11 million people. The first Jan. 6 hearing, on June 9, drew about 20 million viewers, but it aired in prime time.”
Notably absent from the list of networks above is Fox News. That’s because it barely contributed to the viewing totals. Fox’s audience is apparently so attached to the lies that shape their alternative reality, that they will even tune out Fox News – the source of the lies that shape their alternative reality. Then, when the frightening truth-telling is over, they stream back to watch Sean Hannity and the network’s other propaganda pushers.
The hearings are being closely followed by a majority (58%) of Americans. And they are having a noticeable impact on public opinion. When asked in a recent poll if “misleading Americans about the outcome of an election” is a crime, a massive majority of 69% said definitely/probably “Yes,” including 59% of Republicans. The numbers were almost identical when respondents were asked whether “the Department of Justice should bring legal action against” the offending elected officials.
What’s more, the L.A. Times quoted pollster Celinda Lake saying that…
“The support for the hearings has increased over time. And what is emerging very, very strongly from the hearings is not just that [former President] Trump was responsible, but there was a faction of the Republicans, Trump Republicans, who were responsible as well. And that this was about overturning the will of the people, overturning the elections.” […and that…]
“There is an evolving narrative. People see it as a crime, but they also see it as a criminal conspiracy. They demand accountability, and they’re very serious about what they consider accountability. And we are seeing these numbers increase quite dramatically over the course of the hearings.”
As for Trump, he has been behaving in precisely the deranged manner that is expected of him. Throughout the hearings he has flung flagrant falsehoods about the blowout ratings. His gaslighting lies included…
- “Really BAD T.V. Ratings for the Unselect Committee.”
- “…a total lack of interest leading to very poor television ratings.”
- “…the T.V. Ratings are absolutely abysmal.”
- …the good news is a lot of people aren’t watching.”
It remains among the most puzzling aspects of the Trump era that he can so shamelessly foster such easily provable lies, and that there are still people so indoctrinated into his cult that they believe him.
And that’s what makes him so dangerous. What’s next? Will Trump merely continue with his grifting and the fleecing of his followers? Will he attempt to start a civil war? Will he pass out cups of “Kool-Aid” at his next rally? Unfortunately, there is no way to predict what depths Trump might sink to. Nor is there any way to calculate the bottom. After trying to violently overthrow the U.S. government, He is literally capable of anything.
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This is a Creative Commons article. The original version of this article appeared here.