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The House Select Committee on Jan. 6 launched the public phase of its proceedings Thursday night in a prime-time hearing with all the fanfare of a Soviet show trial, complete with production assistance from a former president of ABC News.
Just as the communists gathered in Moscow between 1936 and 1938 to purge their political opponents in public show trials, nine members of the lower chamber filed into the Cannon House Office Building to demonize their political opponents as domestic enemies.
“I’m from a part of the country where people justify the actions of slavery, Ku Klux Klan, and lynching,” Chairman Bennie Thompson of Mississippi said in his opening. “I’m reminded of that dark history as I hear voices today try and justify the actions of the insurrectionists on January 6th, 2021.”
Thompson went on the brand today’s political opposition as modern-day Confederates and “domestic enemies of the Constitution,” cloaking his own authoritarian admonishment under the moral righteousness of preserving American democracy.
“The world is watching what we do here,” Thompson said. “America has long been expected to be shining city on the hill, a beacon of hope and freedom, a model for others when we are at our best.”
The hearing, however, possessed all the signature hallmarks of the infamous Moscow Trials nearly 100 years ago, in which opponents to Joseph Stalin’s regime were hauled before the public and charged with treason and sedition. And those who stormed the Capitol on Jan. 6 are far from the only targets of the witch hunt spearheaded by Wyoming Rep. Liz Cheney and Rep. Thompson.
Legitimate political opposition on Thursday was absent from the hearings. No counternarrative was allowed by the regime, which barred the opposing party’s selected representatives as every cable network except Fox News carried the programming live. Members conducting the show trial accused their opponents of conspiracy to topple the U.S. government, just as the Soviets accused Old Bolshevik leaders of plans to terminate Stalin. Never mind that American institutions held on Jan. 6, and the federal government came nowhere close to collapse when congressional proceedings were interrupted.
The trials in Moscow culminated in the “Great Purge” of dissidents to the incumbent regime, with defendants given death sentences. The Jan. 6 proceedings are aimed at the ultimate purge of former President Donald Trump and his supporters, albeit through societal exile and jail sentences as opposed to execution. According to whistleblowers in the FBI, a purge within the federal law enforcement agency has already begun.
On Tuesday, Ohio Republican Rep. Jim Jordan sent a letter to FBI Director Christopher Wray detailing allegations of multiple whistleblowers who reported they were terminated for their dissident (conservative) views from the agency.
“[He is a] decorated Iraqi War veteran being run out of the FBI,” Jordan said on Fox News Tuesday night of one whistleblower. “His allegiance to the country is being questioned because he had the gall to say something that offended the FBI leadership about the Jan. 6 investigation.”
The other [individual] is also having the same thing happen to them simply because, on an anonymous questionnaire, they said something that the leadership disagreed with them about Jan. 6.
Six in total have come forward, Jordan told Fox News’s Laura Ingraham.
Meanwhile, the Jan. 6 Committee’s prime targets have included prominent members of the prior administration, just as Stalin’s deputies prosecuted leaders of the old regime. On Friday, former Trump Trade Advisor Peter Navarro was taken by the FBI in handcuffs and charged with crimes stemming from the committee’s work. On Thursday morning, hours before the Jan. 6 Committee’s prime-time show trial, lead Michigan GOP gubernatorial candidate Ryan Kelley was arrested by the same agency.
Of the more than 100 subpoenas issued by the Select Committee ostensibly established to probe the Capitol riot, less than 10 percent, according to a Federalist analysis, have targeted individuals directly involved in the chaos. The rest have gone after Americans who committed the now-apparent crime of holding a peaceful demonstration at the White House and espoused unacceptable views in the eyes of the incumbent regime.
Tristan Justice is the western correspondent for The Federalist. He has also written for The Washington Examiner and The Daily Signal. His work has also been featured in Real Clear Politics and Fox News. Tristan graduated from George Washington University where he majored in political science and minored in journalism. Follow him on Twitter at @JusticeTristan or contact him at Tristan@thefederalist.com.