The January 6th Committee public hearings have been nothing short of devastating to Donald Trump and his top allies, in terms of proving them guilty in the court of public opinion, and in terms of laying the groundwork to prove them guilty in a court of law. If anything the public hearings have almost been going too well for the committee, given that each new hearing seems to prompt yet another new witness to come forward and cooperate.
The unspoken question surrounding these hearings of late has been how the committee was going to keep up with the new witnesses and escalating evidence that keep pouring in. Now we may be getting our answer: a second season. Per The Guardian’s Hugo Lowell, the committee is considering doing an entire additional “series of hearings” starting in late August.
What would be the point of this? For one thing, it would let the committee catch up with the evidence. For instance we still haven’t seen a public hearing about the highly touted Trump 2020 campaign documentary footage, presumably because it keeps getting preempted by bigger bombshells such as the sudden emergence of the Cassidy Hutchinson testimony. And now the committee apparently has a heretofore unseen witness lined up for its next hearing who’s so important that Donald Trump just got caught trying and failing to tamper with this witness.
By laying the groundwork now for a second set of hearings starting in late August, the committee is giving itself breathing room. It can spend the next month parsing new evidence and testimony behind the scenes as it comes in, and then figure out what the most compelling narratives should be for “Season Two” so to speak.
Waiting until the end of August also allows some more real world progress to take place. For instance, Steve Bannon could be convicted and on his way to prison by then, and perhaps finally ready to cut a deal and cooperate. The DOJ could move on the likes of Eastman and Clark by then, thus giving the committee the credibility of top Trump henchmen having been indicted for crimes they committed with Donald Trump.
The one thing we’ve learned in “Season One” of public hearings is that when an investigative committee takes the time to properly work its way up the witness hierarchy, pit them against each other, circle back to hostile witnesses after it’s caught them in a lie, and so on, the result is an overwhelming payoff. These public hearings have thus far exceeded the highest expectations that anyone in the audience might have had coming in. If the committee now needs more time behind the scenes to ensure that “Season Two” packs the same punch, then so be it.
It’s also now becoming clear that in spite of all the silly cries of “the committee is running out of time” earlier this year from the peanut gallery, what we’re actually seeing is that these hearings are dovetailing nicely with the run up to the midterm elections. Another round of public hearings starting at the end of August would set the stage heading to election day in November. It seems this is all just getting started.
Bill Palmer is the publisher of the political news outlet Palmer Report