“If a hit man is hired and he kills somebody, the hit man goes to jail. But not only does the hit man go to jail, but the person who hired them does. It was an attack carried out on Jan. 6 and a hit man sent them. I want you to get to the bottom of that.” So spoke Capitol police officer Harry Dunn when he testified before the House special committee that is supposed to be investigating the lynch-mob capitol invasion of January 6. He was referring to who stood behind and helped organize that would-be lynch mob.
“What Happened on that day”
However, all the indications are that it is exactly this question that the House special committee will be avoiding. There was, for example, the July 28 CNN interview with committee member Mikie Sherrill. She was asked if she wants (Republican) members of congress questioned. Her response was that she wants everybody, presumably including congress members such as Mo Brooks and even members of the Trump administration, questioned about what happened “on that day”. Not in the lead-up to January 6. Just on that day.
Yet there is plenty of reason to believe that Republican congress members may have helped coordinate and plan the capitol invasion. In particular, there are numerous reports of some Republican congress members giving guided tours of the capitol building in the day or two before January 6.
The Washington Post reports ‘Ali Alexander, who organized the “Stop the Steal” movement, said he hatched the plan — coinciding with Congress’s vote to certify the electoral college votes — alongside three GOP lawmakers: Reps. Andy Biggs (Ariz.), Mo Brooks (Ala.) and Paul A. Gosar (Ariz.), all hard-line Trump supporters. In fact, Alexander recorded a video (since deleted) in which he said referring to these three congress members “We four schemed up of putting maximum pressure on Congress while they were voting…” The plan was to “change the hearts and the minds of Republicans who were in that body…”
House Democrats’ Letter
On January 15, 34 House Democrats sent an open letter to the House and Senate sergeants at arms plus the capitol chief of police. They request an investigation into “suspicious activity” on January 5 – the day before the lynch mob invasion. It is worth quoting that letter extensively:
“Many of the Members who signed this letter… witnessed an extremely high number of outside groups in the complex on Tuesday, January 5. This is unusual for several reasons, including the fact that access to the Capitol Complex has been restricted since public tours ended in March of last year due to the pandemic.
“The tours being conducted on Tuesday, January 5, were a noticeable and concerning departure from the procedures in place as of March 2020 that limited the number of visitors to the Capitol. These tours were so concerning that they were reported to the Sergeant at Arms on January 5. The visitors encountered by some of the Members of Congress on this letter appeared to be associated with the rally at the White House the following day…. Given the events of January 6, the ties between these groups inside the Capitol Complex and the attacks on the Capitol need to be investigated.”
The letter concludes by asking a series of detailed questions about log books for visitors, whether facial recognition software is used for visitors, and finally: “Are any of the individuals recorded in the Capitol complex on January 5 being investigated for their role in the insurrection the following day?” They request a prompt reply but there has been no response reported so far.
In fact, Mikie Sherrill herself (quoted above) on January 15 wrote about “Those members of Congress who had groups coming through the Capitol that I saw on Jan. 5, a reconnaissance for the next day”.
Foremost among those who reportedly guided people around the Capitol building on January 5 is QAnon supporter Marjorie Taylor Greene, Republican congresswoman from Georgia. A close ally of hers, Anthony Aguero was among those who participated in the January 6 Capitol invasion.
There is also the question of pre-planning with members of the Trump administration. For example, Roger Stone was seen surrounded by members of the Oath Keepers in the day or so leading up to January 6. This was one of the main groups that evidently organized the invasion itself and Stone has close ties with Trump and his inner circle. What communication was there between the Oath Keepers and Stone and from him to members of Trump’s inner circle – maybe through Stephen Miller or Donald jr. or even Trump himself?
USAToday reports “Some have argued that the Capitol building layout is so dizzying that no one could have navigated its halls, finding the offices of Pelosi, [Jim] Clyburn and others that quickly, without help.” (Clyburn has explained that he’s almost never in his official office. Rather, he’s usually in another unmarked office. The lynch mob went directly to that unmarked office. How would they know that that’s where he would more likely be, if somebody had not told them?)
The investigation may delve into these questions but to date there is no indication that it will. So far, they have indicated they merely want to investigate what happened on January 6 itself, nor have the signatories to this letter apparently followed it up.
FBI and Department of Homeland Security
The other question is why was the security so poor for January 6. The Republicans are trying to pin the blame on House Speaker Nancy Pelosi. Why she should be any more responsible than then Senate leader Mitch McConnell is ignored, of course. But in fact, neither of them is responsible. The main responsibility lies with the FBI.
NPR reports that the FBI received specific threat assessments. This includes plans for some of the violent fascist groups to rendezvous on January 5 outside Washington DC, passing around of online maps of the tunnels underneath the Capitol building, and other clear warning signs. The FBI failed to provide a clear threat assessment for January 6 to either the Washington DC or the Capitol police or the sergeants-at-arms for the House and Senate. The FBI excused this by claiming that they didn’t want to seem to be suppressing freedom of speech, although how a meeting of known violent fascist groups or discussion of the underground tunnels has anything to do with free speech is unclear. As NPR comments “three law enforcement officials told NPR that this didn’t stop DHS [Department of Homeland Security] and the FBI from issuing intelligence bulletins ahead of mostly peaceful demonstrations in Portland, Ore., after the killing of George Floyd last May, before Black Lives Matter marches in Washington in early June or in anticipation of an annual convention of the Islamic Society of North America.”
The only explanation is that the FBI and DHS don’t take seriously the threats of violent, mainly white, racist groups and individuals. Yet there is no indication that this special committee will be looking into this aspect either. In other words, it will be a cover-up, one which follows the cover-up of the Mueller investigation and the following House Intelligence Committee “investigation” into Trump’s ties with Putin.
Trump Money Launderer and Felix Sater
The key to understanding this issue is Trump’s role as a money launderer for the Russian mafia capitalist class. Oaklandsocialist has reported extensively on this. An absolutely key, central figure in Trump’s money laundering was Felix Sater. We explained ‘In 1992, Sater joined [Russian mobster] Ivankov’s White Rock group where several years later he was convicted of fraud. He served no time in prison and only paid a $25,000 fine in exchange for agreeing to serve as an FBI informant. In 2001, he joined Bayrock investment company. Through that role, he partnered closely with Trump, with his business card advertising himself as a “senior advisor to Donald Trump.” and “ Bayrock became one of the most important links between Trump and big-money sources from the former Soviet Union,” according to WhoWhatWhy. Bayrock partnered with Trump in projects in Toronto, Florida,” and elsewhere.’
Yet Mueller never questioned Sater nor any of the other figures involved in Trump’s money laundering. Kenneth Foard McCallion explains in his book Treason and Betrayal that Mueller’s “investigation” into Trump’s collusion with the Russian mafia capitalist class and its capo di tutti capo – Putin – involved the most narrow view of that term. It was merely an investigation into the nuts and bolts of the election campaign. Mueller made a conscious decision not to investigate Trump’s finances themselves nor to look at the reasons behind Trump’s conscious and systematic role in tilting US policy towards aligning with Putin & Co.
Following the Mueller Report, the House Intelligence Committee took up the “investigation”. As we said, a serious investigation would have involved questioning Felix Sater. In fact, the committee did question Sater in early June of 2019. According to all reports (such as this one from Reuters ), the questioning was confined to asking Sater about his knowledge of Trumps abortive attempt to build a Trump Tower in Moscow. Nothing was asked about Trump’s money laundering.
It is impossible that the committee members had not heard about Sater’s involvement in Trump’s money laundering. In fact, one committee member, Democrat, Jackie Speier, had received a detailed memorandum about Trump’s money laundering, and in December of 2018 Speier herself published an article in the SF Chronicle based on this memorandum. (For a more detailed chronology of the reports of Trump’s money laundering, see Money-Launderer-in-Chief Trump, the capitalist media and socialism: a timeline)
Why has the January 15 House Democrats’ letter apparently written in the heat of the immediate aftermath of January 6, apparently fallen by the wayside? Why would the Democrats from Biden on down want to want to cover up for the Republicans when they are engaged in a fierce battle to preserve “our democracy” as well as to defend their own partisan interests?
The answer lies in Biden’s commitment to “bipartisanship”.
For over 150 years, the US capitalist class has ruled through bourgeois (or capitalist) democracy, whose stability has depended on the “two party system”. Under this system, two capitalist parties compete with each other for influence and the opportunity for their members to dip their snouts in the public trough. At the same time, they have provided a platform for different capitalists and different wings of the capitalist class to express their ideas and strategies. In other words, for them to influence and largely control the thinking and thereby the actions of the working class. Picture two large, strong men pushing on each other. Yes, they are pushing in different directions but at the same time they are resting on each other. If one collapses or completely shifts its orientation, then the other will do so also.
That is why both the Democratic Party and the mainstream capitalist media such as CNN and MSNBC put so much time and space into trying to revive the “traditional conservatives” in the Republican Party. The fact that these now boil down to Liz Cheney and Adam Kinzinger in the House of Representatives, and the fact that Cheney was recently removed by her fellow Republicans from her leadership position says it all. That wing of the Republicans might possibly survive barring some new shock or crisis, although even that seems unlikely. But even if it does, a new crisis such as inflation taking off will seal the Republican mainstream conservatives’ fate.
As with the refusal of the Democrats to mount a mobilization against Republican voter suppression and real fraudulent vote counting, the Democrats are simply struggling to retain stable capitalist rule. Revelations about Trump’s money laundering would threaten to open the issue of the real estate’s general money laundering for the drug cartels. Likewise, revelations of Republican pre-planning with groups like the Proud Boys and the Oath Keepers for January 6 would dash once and for all any hopes of reviving any faith in “bipartisanship”. The Democrats’ are committed to retaining “our democracy” American style above all else. In the longer run – and maybe even in the shorter run – it cannot succeed.
Role of Working Class Socialists
Both the non-profits and the union leadership represent the Democratic Party within the working class and are covering for them. The ultra left sectarians ignore it because they are so fixated on and terrified of being labeled as supporters of the Democrats. That is why serious socialists in the working class had better start explaining these issues and doing what they can to organize a working class resistance.