The House select committee investigating the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol has been holding public hearings for two weeks now, but take a look at right-wing media and its personalities and you’d hardly know it.
Right-wing and far-right activists have largely ignored the hearings or, when they have addressed it, painted the hearings as “propaganda” or a “partisan witch hunt.” Others, still, haven’t been able to resist criticizing those Republicans they feel betrayed by.
Here’s how a few right-wing activists, many of whom have been subpoenaed for their role in the efforts to overturn the 2020 election, have responded.
Mike Cernovich—a far-right activist and conspiracy theorist with the so-called Stop the Steal campaign—had this to say about the Jan. 6 hearings: “Nobody cares, dude!”
Cernovich had joined former Trump White House adviser Steve Bannon a day before the opening hearing on the June 8 episode of Bannon’s “War Room” podcast. Asked how right-wing media, including the “War Room,” should respond to the Jan. 6 hearings—whether or not they should mention it or launch counterprogramming—Cernovich offered some counterintuitive advice.
“Whatever we can do to get Democrats to talk more about Jan. 6 we should do, so whatever gets them hyperventilating, crying—oh, seven people died that day? Yeah, they were Trump supporters,” Cernovich said.
In fact, five police officers died and about 150 were injured as a result of Trump loyalists’ attack on the Capitol. Another four in the crowd died.
“But what we don’t want to lose sight of is that they are beclowning themselves, so the key for us is to stay on message. Yeah, a woman was shot in the neck and bled out,” he said. “The key to keep in mind is the Democrats look like unserious people, unfit to govern because they’re hyperventilating over an event they compare to 9/11.”
Cernovich has since called the hearings “propaganda.”
Bannon—who was indicted for refusing to respond to a Jan. 6 committee subpoena—referred to the Jan. 6 hearings as a “show trial” and lambasted Fox News for its coverage.
While major news networks carried the first primetime hearing live on June 9, Fox aired counterprogramming by Tucker Carlson, who took no commercial breaks less his viewers be tempted to tune into the hearing. But since then, the network has covered the Jan. 6 hearings held in non primetime hours, and network analysts were so moved by Republican testimonies during Tuesday’s hearing that one said it suggests Trump “may be guilty of a crime” and that it “shows his unfitness” for office. And that Bannon finds to be sinful.
“Fox News shows their hand—all in on taking down President Trump—now it’s out in the open—IF YOU WATCH FOX U ARE ONLY AIDING AND ABETTING THEIR ANTI-TRUMP HATE,” Bannon wrote in a June 21 post on GETTR.
Last Tuesday, Bannon had Trump lawyer Cleta Mitchell on his show. Mitchell—who was on the infamous call on which Trump asked Georgia Republican Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger to find votes for him—lashed out at Raffensperger. Raffensperger had testified to the Jan. 6 committee that same day about Trump’s efforts to pressure him to overturn the election results.
“All Raffensperger cared about was getting good press from the liberal media and having all of the left-wing reporters fawning over him, and that’s why they were there today, because that’s his number one priority,” Mitchell claimed.
“If this was a real committee, they would have another panel of witnesses like me!” said Mitchell—who was subpoenaed by the Jan. 6 committee for her role in Trump’s effort to overturn the 2020 election. She went on to call the Jan. 6 committee a “kangaroo committee.”
Other political operatives involved in the so-called Stop the Steal disinformation campaign to keep Trump in power were clearly watching.
Ali Alexander—the leader of the so-called Stop the Steal campaign with a penchant for violent rhetoric—doubled down on his criticism of former Vice President Mike Pence. “Pence betrayed us,” he declared on June 16, the day after the committee detailed Trump and his allies’ pressure campaign on Pence to illegally overturn the election. The committee also illustrated how this pressure campaign led rioters to call for Pence’s hanging on Jan. 6 when he refused to do Trump’s bidding.
“Mike Pence is WRONG,” Alexander wrote in the June 16 Telegram post. “No one asked him to overturn the election.”
“Pence was the presiding officer,” Alexander continued. “He could do nearly anything he could justify. The body could overrule him with a 2/3rds vote but that’s it. Pence betrayed us and is lying about the law and the rule.”
The second hearing featured prominent Republican voices, like former Attorney General Bill Barr, who said that Trump’s claims of voter fraud were false, as was Dinesh D’Souza’s “2000 Mules” video, whose claims of voter fraud were so preposterous it elicited laughter from Barr during his testimony.
D’Souza fumed. “Bill Barr is the stereotypical small-town sheriff, overweight and largely immobile, whose rank incompetence results in the whole town being robbed from under his nose,” he wrote on Twitter, adding, “Fatso.”
Trump confidant Roger Stone, meanwhile, slammed fellow Trump ally Jason Miller, calling him a “lying scumbag” for his testimony. Miller testified that Trump lawyer Rudy Giuliani encouraged Trump to falsely declare victory on election night and that he was intoxicated while doing so.
Some, like Alexander, made it clear they stood by their actions on Jan. 6, 2021.
As Trump loyalists stormed the Capitol behind him, Ali Alexander pointed to the unfolding scene and said, “I do not denounce this.” While he once tried to claim the video published on his campaign’s page (and captured by Right Wing Watch) was a “deep fake,” he reversed his stance this week and said he stood by his comments on the roof that day.
“If I had stood on this rooftop and denounced our movement instead of doubling down on it, I would’ve saved myself a lifetime of grief and $100,000 in legal bills,” Alexander wrote in a June 20 post. “And I would’ve lost my soul. I have no regrets. … a government for and by the people.”
That didn’t stop him from claiming persecution. After the June 23 hearing, which revealed the lengths to which Trump and Republican members of Congress went to corrupt the DOJ, Alexander took to Telegram. “We’re being persecuted by the Security State (SS) and our ‘team’ doesn’t even have a response,” Alexander wrote.
When on Monday, reporters briefly speculated that Alexander might be the select committee’s “surprise witness” for Tuesday’s hearing, Alexander released a statement that he would not be testifying publicly but that he would like to do so. Alexander—who spread disinformation about the 2020 election and Jan. 6—then had the gall to declare that “Misinformation is polluting the January 6th narratives.”
Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene is urging Trump to sue Cassidy Hutchinson over her damaging testimony today before the Jan. 6 Committee. pic.twitter.com/LI0Sbvuzt3
— Right Wing Watch (@RightWingWatch) June 28, 2022
During Tuesday’s hearing, Cassidy Hutchinson, the top aide of White House chief of staff Mark Meadows, presented damning testimony about Trump’s knowledge of the potential for violence on Jan. 6 and painted an unhinged portrait of the president who went so far as to lunge at his own Secret Service detail. Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene urged Trump to sue her, while white nationalist Nick Fuentes, who has been subpoenaed by the select committee, applauded Trump’s alleged violence, declaring “choking a guard and throwing food at the wall” an “EPIC REACTION.”