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6 Jan. August committee recipe for success with the public: marinate, salt to taste

6 Jan.  August committee recipe for success with the public: marinate, salt to taste

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There is no “secret sauce” in the investigation by the House panel investigating last year’s riots at the Capitol.

But, without hearings expected until sometime in September, the commission’s recipe now calls for their story to be marinated in the public for a while.

In other words, the committee collected its story. The panel released the information. It is now up to the storyline to develop in the minds of voters.

Memorable phrases from the hearings have now been added to America’s historic stew — right up there with other iconic quotes from other Congressional hearings. “Have you no sense of decency?” of attorney Jack Welch during the McCarthy hearings of the 1950s. “What did the president know and when did he know?” drafted future Senate Majority Leader Howard Baker, R-Tenn., during the Watergate hearings in the 1970s. “This is a high-tech lynching,” then Supreme Court nominee and current Judge Clarence Thomas declared at his own hearing in 1991.

Former Philadelphia Police Chief Al Schmidt testifies before the Jan. 6 commission. The committee has collected her story. The panel released the information. It is now up to the storyline to develop in the minds of voters.
(Jabin Botsford/Pool via REUTERS)

JAN. 6 COMMITTEE TRYING TO SHOW TRUMP INTENTIONALLY IGNOREED CALLS FROM STAFF TO DE-ESCAL THE SOLUTION

The 1/6 committee hearings infused the American political experience with some new sound bites and quotes.

“Donald Trump and his allies and supporters pose a clear and current threat to American democracy,” former federal judge Michael Luttig warned at a hearing in mid-June.

“I don’t want to be a winner by cheating,” said Arizona Republican House Speaker Rusty Bowers. “I took an oath.”

“Do you think it looks like we’re winning?” asked former White House deputy press secretary Sarah Matthews.

But unlike notable Congressional hearings decades ago, tweets, memes, TikTok videos, and blogs will saturate the 1/6 committee hearing record.

This is the “salt to taste” section of the panel’s cookbook. In other words, the committee allows the general public to add their own garnishes and sauces to the main courses served over the past two months.

The committee stays out of the kitchen here. It just lets the internet “do its thing”. That’s why videos appeared on social media of Senator Josh Hawley, R-Mo., fleeing the Senate Chamber. Hawley rushes off to musical performances ranging from the theme to “Chariots of Fire” to “Yakety Sax” – Benny Hill’s theme song.

And so the storyline will be bathed in this political brine until the fall. That alone will affect the flavor profile of the 1/6 commission dish. The aromas. The textures. The flavours.

At last week’s hearing, the top GOPer on the panel, Rep. Liz Cheney, R-Wyo., noticed more and more information pouring in.

“The dam is broken,” Cheney said.

There is talk of persecution.

FILE — Vice President Liz Cheney, R-Wyo., speaks as the House select committee investigating the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol in Washington, June 28, 2022.

FILE — Vice President Liz Cheney, R-Wyo., speaks as the House select committee investigating the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol in Washington, June 28, 2022.
((AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite, File))

“I think the president is definitely known to be criminal,” said commissioner Rep. Adam Kinzinger, R-Ill. “If you look at what we presented tonight, and in all these hearings, that cannot be acceptable for a president of the United States.”

Late summer or fall hearings are possible in September. But we offer a word of warning.

Congress would soon be holding its vaunted “August recess.” The House will complete its work on Friday. The Senate will cut off the city a week later. And unlike other Augusts, Congress isn’t paralyzed by any major “must-do” legislation. Yes. There is a great rush to complete negotiations and pass the House and Senate a $52 billion bill to boost the chip and semiconductor industries in the United States. Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo wants it approved before lawmakers leave the city for the recess. The Senate is likely to pass the bill this week. The House may have to hang around a bit in August to sync up with the Senate. But this is not the same as trying to hit last year’s infrastructure bill or a package of domestic spending. Attempts to push forward a leaner version of “Build Back Better” are on hold for now.

And so Congress is supposedly cruising relatively free of legislative drama in August compared to other years.

But, as we often write in this space, “Beware of the Ides of August.”

August is one of the strangest political months on the calendar. Strange things happen in August. President Nixon resigned in August 1974. Iraq invaded Kuwait in August 1990, sparking the first Gulf War a few months later. Hurricane Katrina devastated New Orleans in August 2005, drastically changing former President George W. Bush’s second term.

And so it is possible that there will be news leaks and important developments from the 1/6 committee in August.

Several audio tapes of House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., were leaked this spring ahead of the hearings. McCarthy was caught on tape speaking out against former President Trump and his guilt for the riots — a stark contrast to much of what McCarthy has said publicly. There may be other information about missing Secret Service text messages. Or could the committee organize another “quick” hearing in August like it did a few weeks ago?

At the end of June, the commission was expected to be dark for a few weeks until after the July 4 recess. The committee advised the TV channels not to expect anything. And then, with less than 24 hours notice, the 1/6 committee abruptly called a hearing with a new key witness: former White House aide Cassidy Hutchinson.

It would be difficult to find a precedent for Congress to schedule a hearing of this magnitude at such short notice — in the midst of a House or Senate recess.

But with the 1/6 commission — and what we know about the August political drama — you never have that now.

House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., walks through the Rotunda at the US Capitol in Washington on Nov. 17, 2021.  Several audio tapes of McCarthy leaked this spring ahead of the 1/6 hearings — he was caught on tape speaking out against former President Trump and his guilt for the January 6 riots.

House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., walks through the Rotunda at the US Capitol in Washington on Nov. 17, 2021. Several audio tapes of McCarthy leaked this spring ahead of the 1/6 hearings — he was caught on tape speaking out against former President Trump and his guilt for the January 6 riots.
(REUTERS/Elizabeth Frantz)

MELANIA TRUMP SAYS SHE “FULFILLED” OFFICIAL DUTIES ON JAN AS THE FIRST LADY. 6: ‘I ALWAYS CONDEMN VIOLENCE’

That said, there will already be a seismic shock bouncing around the political universe if GOP challenger Harriet Hageman defeats Cheney in the Republican primary in Wyoming on Aug. 16.

A potential loss – or victory – of Cheney will inevitably have consequences for the 1/6 committee investigation. And possibly even further when it comes to Cheney.

So, as we say, beware of the Ides of August. That primary is almost right with the “ides,” right in the middle of the month.

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August is the slow cooker for the 1/6 committee as the panel aims to finish its work in the fall. Then it is “ordering” before the court of the commission.

And it’s still unclear what Americans are consuming from the commission’s evidence and whether it pleases the political palette.