The congressional investigation into the January 6 insurrection is in full swing, and it seems there is no end in sight. That’s because of recent testimony unearthing new details from those inside the Trump White House with prior knowledge of the leadup to the insurrection.
Prying the door open to more intimate information about the day and its leadup was Cassidy Hutchinson, an assistant to former Trump Chief of Staff Mark Meadows. Hutchinson was rushed to testify due to the intense pressure she was receiving from former President Donald Trump and his circle. She testified to many things, including how Meadows did nothing to stop Trump from leading the insurrection, and to hearing that Trump grabbed the steering wheel from his Secret Service staff to get to the insurrection at the Capitol building.
Since Hutchinson gave testimony, other shoes have dropped, including new testimony from folks like former White House Counsel Pat Cipollone. Former White House chief strategist Steve Bannon agreed to testify, then changed his mind and landed in contempt of Congress. Also, two anonymous sources from the Secret Service backed Hutchinson’s testimony and it was recently found that the Secret Service deleted text messages on Jan 5 and 6.
It seems like the case against Trump is opening up to where he may actually be held accountable. Make no mistake, Trump and others including conservative activist Ginni Thomas, wife of Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas, belong behind bars.
Some are calling Hutchinson and others in the Trump administration heroes for testifying—specifically Hutchinson. To be clear, it’s a good thing they are testifying. Their testimony will help reveal what happened on January 6, as well as the leadup, so that justice can be served. But Hutchinson is no hero. Neither is anyone from the Trump orbit who testifies.
None of those who testified to the committee are heroes because they willingly worked for Donald Trump, some, to the very end. They believed in him and his racist politics. These individuals were part of a racist administration.
It’s highly plausible that these individuals disagree with defunding the police, increasing the minimum wage to a living wage, eliminating student loan debt, making abortion legal, and establishing universal healthcare and child care for all — policies that would help Black people, people of color and the poor. None of them spoke out against the corruption of Trump or the racism that accompanied it. They were complicit.
But in the case of January 6, their reticence to out Trump was a level of complicity tantamount to serving as accomplices in a coverup, making them potentially criminally liable. Were it not for a congressional committee investigating the matter, more than likely folks like Hutchinson would have remained quiet… unless a book deal convinced them to speak up.
Therefore, one can reason their testimony is less about saving the country and more about saving themselves.
But here’s why the hero narrative is ascribed to them and their action: because what matters to those invested in the American empire is that nothing compromises the power and influence of the empire itself. If that means forgiving and restoring racists and white nationalists to the empire’s sphere of power and protection in exchange for speaking against those who’ve betrayed the empire, so be it.
So, let’s not call these folks heroes. Call them what they are: self-preservationists. Let’s not call the committee heroes or patriots. Call them what they are: the keepers of the empire.
Photo: U.S. Capitol Police Sgt. Harry Dunn listens to testimony before the House select committee investigating the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol, July 21, 2022. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)
Rann Miller is the director of anti-bias and DEI initiatives as well as a high school social studies teacher for a school district located in Southern New Jersey. He’s also a freelance writer and founder of the Urban Education Mixtape, supporting urban educators and parents of students in urban schools. He is the author of the upcoming book, Resistance Stories from Black History for Kids, with an anticipated release date of February 2023. You can follow him on Twitter @UrbanEdDJ .