Donald Trump’s advisers have proved to be the strongest witnesses against him. In the course of seven hearings over the past five weeks, the House select committee investigating the January 6, 2021, attack on the US Capitol has presented a parade of loyalists from Trump’s inner circle eviscerating Trump’s excuses. On Tuesday, those offering scorching testimony about the President they served included his Attorney General, his campaign manager, his lawyers, his press secretary, two of his deputy press secretaries, his daughter, and, notably, his White House counsel, Pat Cipollone.
They knew—they all knew—that Trump’s lies about the “rigged election” were, as former Attorney General William Barr so memorably put it, in a deposition shown at an earlier hearing, “bullshit” and “complete nonsense.” They tested that they told Trump so, too. And they were under no illusions about the damage the President was wreaking in disregarding the evidence, the courts, the Electoral College, and the Constitution itself to pursue his quest to overturn the 2020 election and remain in power.
On Tuesday, the committee released a text message from Trump’s former campaign manager Brad Parscale, which he sent to another adviser, Katrina Pierson, after watching the President’s inflammatory speech on January 6th: it was, Parscale wrote, nothing less than “a sitting president asking for civil war.” In another text to Pierson on that awful day, Parscale wrote, “I feel guilty for helping him win.” But not too guilty, apparently. Not only has Parscale not broken publicly with Trump; since January 6th, his firm has received hundred and fifty thousand dollars in payment from Trump’s PAC.
If there was any doubt about the goal of the hearings, it’s now become all too clear: to put the blame for