The Call Is Coming from Inside the House (of Representatives)
As democracy-ish recorded this week, the President had just been impeached for a second time. And still, real threats remain “from right-wing terrorist maniacs,” says Toure.
Donald J. Trump was impeached again by the House of Representatives, this time for incitement of insurrection.
The domestic terror attack on the U.S. Capitol was worse than we thought –– especially because there’s the possibility Congress members were in on it.
With less than a week to go before Biden’s Inauguration Day, Trump is dumped by corporations and even a few of his own party. But it’s too late for a “peaceful transition of power.”
The more we learn about the January 6 insurrectionist attack on the U.S. Capitol, the more terrifying (and worrying) it is to live in the waning days of Donald Trump’s presidency.
The deranged MAGA terrorists weren’t the disorganized rioters they first appeared to be. They came bearing firearms, knives, ropes and law-enforcement-grade zip ties. Alt-right social media posts (and their own livestreams) include threats of assassinating Speaker Pelosi, other lawmakers and Vice President Pence. Security sweeps turned up improvised explosive devices, like pipe bombs and Molotov Cocktails, near the Capitol complex.
The response by Capitol Police was suspect from the start: How were they so easily overwhelmed? Why weren’t they more prepared in spite of warnings by the FBI and other law-enforcement agencies? And what the fuck was up with the selfies, gentle escorts off the steps and opening doors for the mob?
But it gets worse. Reports have surfaced that some members of Congress aided and abetted the attackers beyond “stop the steal” rhetoric. New Jersey Rep. Mikie Sherrill is demanding an investigation into "suspicious behavior and access given to visitors” she observed firsthand on January 5, suggesting Republican Congress members were giving “reconnaissance tours” of the Capitol.
“This thing could have been way worse quite easily,” says Toure. “When you see what they did to the body of a police officer, you should have no doubt they would have drawn and quartered an elected official, especially one they recognized.”
“It was through the grace of God and divine intervention from the universe that this week we are not inundated with funeral processions,” says Danielle.
That’s about all we can hope for in the final week of Trump as commander-in-chief.
Episode Highlights –– 1/6
How’d the terrorists find their way around? It’s suss.
Danielle worked on Capitol Hill for years both as a Congressional staffer and as a lobbyist. She still gets turned around in the labyrinthine Capitol complex.
So the fact that an unhinged group of Trump terrorists found their way into the unmarked private offices of leaders like Nancy Pelosi of Jim Clyburn, “is on some fucking bullshit,” she says.
“They were not acting alone. The call came from inside the house. They got help from inside the House. And until we root out those members of Congress were and the 10 to 15 members of the Capitol Police who were involved in this insurrection, America ain't healing anytime soon.”
“The call was coming from inside the House with a capital H,” says Toure.
Identifying the ‘inciters-in-chief’
Danielle and Toure both watched Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s Instagram Live on Tuesday night, in which she talked about fearing for her life during the Capitol siege.
“There was definitely some luck that kept many, many members from getting assassinated by the mob,” says Toure.
Danielle hopes the “Trump terrorists” are providing intel to law enforcement so we can “start to get the breadcrumbs that lead us back to the inciters-in-chief.”
We cannot rest “with the convictions of these low-level pieces of shit,” she adds, without investigating and/or prosecuting “the Cruzes and the Hawleys and the Trump juniors” –– as well as the president’s lawyer, Rudy Giuliani, who spoke at the infamous Ellipse event of “trial by combat.”
She says “every single one of these people is complicit. People have to understand: This didn't happen on its own. Every time white people do something crazy, it's like, well, they're just acting alone; they're deranged. No, hundreds of people told [rioters] to come to Washington, DC.”
The ‘Fringe of America’ in every state
Of course, the insurrection began with a “direct, purposeful, conscious incitement from Trump, who told them exactly what to do,” Toure notes. “He said, we must go to the Capitol as a group. I will go with you. And we must fight for what is ours, what is right, to save our country.”
He reiterates that it’s “truly traumatizing” to watch tens of thousands of “crazed white people just whipped up into a mob. I mean, that's what lynch mobs were like.”
Danielle agrees: “I feel for the Black people who were there reporting that day, who held their ground. I imagine at some point I might have said, No, I can't –– I have to go. Because there's no reason why one of them did not get beaten up.”
Meanwhile, much of this “extremely dangerous, detached from reality, fringe of America” is planning attacks on all 50 state capitals. Even if the immediate future is peaceful, she fears violence perpetrated by individuals –– “another Dylann Roof, another Kyle Rittenhouse, a lone shooter who goes after an elected official, a Capitol, whatever.
“Trumpism has been a violent, malignant cancer on America this whole time. And now the violence inherent in Trumpism is only increasing.”
‘Who's never caught off guard? Black people.’
Daniele continues to be pissed off by folks who say: I didn't know this could happen. I'm so shocked.
She’s not. As she watched the attack unfold on TV, Danielle thought about our history: the “violent white mobs that murdered thousands of Black people through lynching, burned down cities, burned down homes.”
Plus, Donald Trump had touted the event for weeks, saying January 6 would be “wild.” So why didn’t Capitol Police have the proper personnel, armor and tactics to protect our elected officials?
“How is it you were caught off-guard when Donald Trump all but took to a press conference to tell you hot shit was gonna happen? Why are people still acting surprised and shocked or bewildered? You know who's never caught off guard? Black people.”
Black people “always have their eyes open,” she adds. “You know why? Because we know what crazy capable white people are capable of doing to us at all times.”
Gallows humor (too soon?)
As the crisis unfolded, Mike Pence was presiding over the Senate as Congress attempted to certify the Electoral College votes while the mob chanted hang Mike Pence. That same mob erected a gallows on the Capitol grounds.
“I couldn't bring a water bottle into the Capitol when I worked there,” Danielle says.
Even so, the MAGA mob breached the building and hunted the Vice President with all the tools to assassinate him.
But when countless Americans (and the majority of Congress) urged Pence to invoke the 25th amendment, he refused.
“The word spineless does not even begin to describe the sickness that is Mike Pence,” says Danielle. “Your boss tried to have you killed.”
The Capitol lockdown was a super-spreader event
And yet, dozens of lawmakers –– the “sedition caucus,” if you will –– attempted to overthrow the government, but when they were rushed to a secure location, refused to wear a mask, “because it wasn't enough to try to sic a mob on their colleagues,” says Danielle.
“But they were like, let me cough on you with the COVID.”
Now three members (and counting) are infected, “one of whom is a cancer survivor,” she notes. “How the fuck?”
Any prosecutions moving forward “shouldn’t be about vengeance for a Congress that needs to expel the Qanon lady, Hawley and Cruz,” says Toure.
This is what you do with sedition, with treason. It's about how we can't have treasonous people in power in your government. Either they should be in prison or in another country. Because clearly, you're not down with this one.”
He adds: “You can't just try to overthrow America and continue to be in leadership in America. Where do they do that?”
“I don't know,” says Danielle. “But it's not the fucking norm for America.”
Republicans’ ‘yadda yadda’ mode
On the House floor Wednesday, only 10 Republicans voted to impeach the president. It was the most support a president’s party has ever given to impeachment, but then again, we’ve never had one incite insurrection before.
“195 Republicans voted to not hold Donald Trump accountable for anything,” says Danielle. “Just so folks remember: They wanted Bill Clinton removed for a blow job. They believed a blow job was the most offensive fucking thing a president could do ever do –– so much that he needed to be removed from office. But an insurrection? We're good.”
Toure doesn’t understand it either.
“Republicans go into yadda-yadda mode, both-sides and what-about-ism on everything but violent insurrection,” he says. “And they're immediately like, we need healing. We can't anger the crazies anymore. [Right-wing podcaster] Ben Shapiro's like, everybody's got zip ties. What's the big deal?”
“Who's everybody?” Danielle asks.
“I own no zip ties. I don't know,” Toure responds. “People are clearly going there to set bombs, to handcuff people –– but the right is like, we can't rush this impeachment. We need a slow, due process trial.”
Tech tosses Trump
Turns out insurrection isn’t cool with Big Tech. “Every imaginable social media platform, from Twitter to TikTok and YouTube, has said, you talk no more,” Toure says.
He thinks Twitter “is a much nicer place without Trump screaming his lies from the top of the mountain.”
But it’s telling Trump is being abandoned en masse –– by business, banking, the PGA, and even New York City, which terminated any contracts it had with the Trump organization.
“It's extraordinary,” says Toure. “Trump is a loser.”
Businesses, banks and civic organizations all over the world have dumped Trump, “including his main lender, Deutsche Bank in Germany,” he adds. “Jim Acosta of CNN said there's a very real possibility Trump could go broke in his post-presidency.”
Watching what’s next in unsafe mode
As he watches the high-profile leaders of the Capitol attack arrested one by one around the country, “the catharsis I feel is extraordinary,” says Toure. “But I don't feel safe yet.”
Danielle doesn’t either.
“I think this is the most unsafe America has been post 9/11. This is the most unsafe I've ever felt in this country. The repetitiveness of the [mob] videos are kind of hitting me in the same way Black murder videos did, which is like, just having to relive it over and over again. The acting U.S. attorney in Washington D.C. said we don't even really know the half of it [through the videos we see]. It's worse.”
So, next week, “will there be a country or will there not? We can't be certain,” says Toure. “We may move on to a new president. Or the whole thing may burn up in flames. Who knows? Tune in next Thursday.”
“Here's hoping,” says Danielle. (That we have a country, that is.)
Keep praying about it, y’all.
Get your weekly rundown of the presidential election from a Black progressive point of view on democracy-ish. Consider Danielle Moodie and Toure as your tour guides, flight attendants and/or therapists as we move through this dumpster fire of an election cycle — together!