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Jonathan Turley: Adam Schiff promises that what 'you will see on Thursday will be significant'

We all knew that the January 6 select committee was a sham from the beginning — that’s why only losers like Rep. Liz Cheney and Rep. Adam Kinzinger are participating. We could almost understand the point of the committee is it was to determine how security was breached on January 6 … were Capitol Police letting people into the building? What convinced them to shoot and kill Ashley Babbitt of all the people who were there? You know … real questions. But instead, it’s just turned into a trial of Donald Trump — it’s a rerun of the impeachment trial. Is Trump guilty of inciting a riot? Obviously, they want him tried and convicted to prevent him from holding office again.

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Law professor Jonathan Turley has a piece in The Hill on Rep. Adam Schiff’s promise that what you’ll see at Thursday’s hearing “will be significant.” But Schiff’s been known to lie. So what does he have that’s so special?

Turley writes:

It is difficult to make a criminal case over what an official failed to do. Yet the last hearing seemed to focus on a number of things that did not occur, from a draft tweet that was not sent to an executive order that was never signed. There were discussions of appointing Trump attorney Sidney Powell as a special counsel, seizing voting machines or replacing the Justice Department’s leadership. As unnerving as these proposals were, they also were not carried out.

It is the type of evidence used to show mens rea — “guilty mind.” However, crimes generally require both guilty minds and guilty acts. Building a criminal case on the failure to act to stop the violence is a notoriously difficult case to make. It has been raised in various contexts without success even when officials had direct law enforcement duties, as in Seattle with the CHOP zone in the summer of 2020. It is even more difficult when the House committee has blocked any serious investigation into the potentially contributing failure of Congress to take better precautions before the riot, another costly act of omission.

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Turley concludes that the committee “has made a case against Trump personally and politically. It has not done so criminally.” If they’re going to do that, they’d better do it Thursday.

Which is what it’s become, if not what it was to begin with.

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They should have scheduled this one for prime time as well if they’ve got something good they’ve been hiding.


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