Destroying a Democracy to Save it: Democrats Call for the Disqualification of Dozens of Republican Members

Below is my column in The Hill on the continued calls to disqualify Republican members of Congress to prevent them from running for reelection. What is maddening is that Democratic groups and commentators are seeking to remove as many as 120 Republicans from the ballots in the name of democracy. It is like burning books in the name of literacy. Yet, on this anniversary of the January 6th riot, members of Congress and Democratic groups want to block voters from reelecting their preferred representatives. Like villages in Vietnam, it appears that some members and activists believe that you have to destroy democracy to save it from itself.

Here is the column:

This year, the Biden administration joined many in the United States in criticizing the mass disqualification of 583 candidates in Iran by the Guardian Council. The Iranian elections (like elections in other countries like China and Venezuela) are democratic only in the most artificial sense: You can freely vote from a pre-selected list of candidates.

Electoral disqualification systems are generally anathema to democratic values, but some in the United States are now toying with the idea for the 2022 or 2024 elections. While more modest than the Iranian model, the Democratic calls for disqualification are just as dangerous. What is most maddening is that this anti-democratic effort is cloaked in democratic doublespeak.

This week, Democratic lawyer Marc Elias predicted that 2022 would bring a renewed interest in disqualifying Republican members from office based on an obscure Civil War-era provision. Elias — the former Hilary Clinton campaign general counsel — is a well-known figure in Washington who has been prominently featured in the ongoing investigation of Special Counsel John Durham. Elias has founded a self-described “pro-democracy” group that challenges Republican voting laws and pledges to “shape our elections and democratic institutions for years to come.”

In the age of rage, nothing says democracy like preventing people from running for office.

Elias and others are suggesting that — rather than defeat Republicans at the polls — Democrats in Congress could disqualify the Republicans for supporting or encouraging the Jan. 6 “insurrection.” Last year, Democratic members called for the disqualification of dozens of Republicans. One, Rep. Bill Pascrell (D-N.J.) demanded the disqualification of the 120 House Republicans — including House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy(R-Calif.) — for simply signing a “Friend of the Court brief” (or amicus brief) in support of an election challenge from Texas.

These members and activists have latched upon the long-dormant provision in Section 3 of the 14th Amendment — the “disqualification clause” — which was written after the 39th Congress convened in December 1865 and many members were shocked to see Alexander Stephens, the Confederate vice president, waiting to take a seat with an array of other former Confederate senators and military officers.

Justice Edwin Reade of the North Carolina Supreme Court later explained, “[t]he idea [was] that one who had taken an oath to support the Constitution and violated it, ought to be excluded from taking it again.” So, members drafted a provision that declared that “No person shall be a Senator or Representative in Congress, or elector of President and Vice-President, or hold any office, civil or military, under the United States, or under any state, who, having previously taken an oath, as a member of Congress, or as an officer of the United States, or as a member of any State legislature, or as an executive or judicial officer of any State, to support the Constitution of the United States, shall have engaged in insurrection or rebellion against the same, or given aid or comfort to the enemies thereof.”

By declaring the Jan. 6th riot an “insurrection,” some Democratic members of Congress and liberal activists hope to bar incumbent Republicans from running. Even support for court filings is now being declared an act of rebellion. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) helped fuel this movement — before Jan. 6 even occurred — by declaring that the Republicans supporting election challenges were “subverting the Constitution by their reckless and fruitless assault on our democracy which threatens to seriously erode public trust in our most sacred democratic institutions, and to set back our progress on the urgent challenges ahead.”

Jan. 6 was a national tragedy. I publicly condemned President Trump’s speech that day while it was being given — and I denounced the riot as a “constitutional desecration.” However, it has not been treated legally as an insurrection. Those charged for their role in the attack that day are largely facing trespass and other less serious charges — rather than insurrection or sedition. That’s because this was a riot that was allowed to get out of control by grossly negligent preparations by Capitol Police and congressional officials. While the FBI launched a massive national investigation, it did not find evidence of an insurrection.

With an ominous mid-term election approaching, much of the effort among Democrats on the Hill and in the media has been to keep the enmity alive from Jan. 6. In what seemed almost a hopeful plea, the New York Times recently declared “Every Day is Now Jan. 6.” It made this tragedy sound like the political equivalent of a year-round Christmas store: Every day should involve a renewed gift of reminiscence and rage.

The saddest aspect of this politicization of the Jan. 6 riot is that many of us wanted a full, transparent, and apolitical investigation. House Republicans rejected that idea, but there remain many questions to be answered — which has not happened. Instead, we have an effort to encode the notion of an actual insurrection through mantra-like repetition.

The Constitution fortunately demands more than proof by repetition. In this case, it requires an actual rebellion. The clause Democrats are citing was created in reference to a real Civil War in which over 750,000 people died in combat. The confederacy formed a government, an army, a currency, and carried out diplomatic missions.

Conversely, Jan. 6 was a protest that became a riot.

That is not meant to diminish the legitimate outrage over the day. It was reprehensible — but only a “rebellion” in the most rhetorical sense.

More importantly, even if you adopt a dangerously broad definition of “insurrection” or “rebellion,” members of Congress who supported challenging the electoral votes (as Democrats have done in prior years) were exercising constitutionally protected speech.

Moreover, the Democrats cannot simply use their razor-thin majority to disqualify opponents willy-nilly. Punishments like expulsions take two-thirds votes, and any disqualifications can be challenged in the court.

Indeed, not long after ratification in 1869, Chief Justice Salmon P. Chase ruled in a circuit opinion that the clause was not self-executing. He suggested that allowing Congress to simply bar political opponents from office would be a form of punishment without due process and would likely violate the prohibition on bills of attainder.

As Democrats push to federalize elections and negate the laws in a couple dozen states, figures like Elias are now suggesting that Republicans could also be listed as “rebels” and barred from the ballot. Congress would then control not just how states conduct their elections but even who can appear on such ballots.

The renewed calls for disqualifications may be simply reckless rhetoric timed for the anniversary of the riot. After all, every day would not be Jan. 6 without the requisite rage. However, it is reason — not rage — that we need right now.

A recent poll showed that one in three Americans believes that violence against the government can be justified. It often seems like some want to trigger an actual rebellion by disenfranchising parts of our population. The fact is that there are people who traffic and profit in rage, and we are all the poorer for it.

Jonathan Turley is the Shapiro Professor of Public Interest Law at George Washington University. You can find his updates on Twitter @JonathanTurley.

154 thoughts on “Destroying a Democracy to Save it: Democrats Call for the Disqualification of Dozens of Republican Members”

  1. Did they immediately go to work setting-up their own government based on their own constitution after storming the capitol? No. It was just political theater, kind of like the “Occupy This and That” movement. Insurrection? Hardly.

    1. Exactly. It was mostly taking selfies and wanting to yell at Congress.

      If it was BLM, anti-Trump, or handmaids, they would have had fawning media coverage.

      1. Karen,

        On the anniversary of 1/6, you Trumpists should be reminded what Never Trumper Turley said on 1/11/21. Everyone, repeat Professor Turley’s statements altogether:

        “Many of us have denounced Trump’s speech as reckless and wrong. Indeed, I was tweeting my objections to the speech as it was being given. Moreover, I opposed the congressional challenges to the electoral votes from the outset, rejected Trump’s claim that the electoral votes could be “sent back,” and praised Vice President Pence for defying Trump. Yet, none of this is license for Congress to rampage through the Constitution with the same abandon as last week’s rioters did in the Capitol.
        “I testified against the first Trump impeachment — and I stand by that testimony today. I believe, however, that he warrants congressional condemnation, and that a censure resolution could help repair some of the damage that he has caused in this national tragedy.
        “Such a joint statement of condemnation by the two houses could be based on three grounds.
        First, Trump — as well as his son, Donald Jr., and his lawyer, Rudy Giuliani — whipped the Jan. 6 crowd into a frenzy before the rioting in the Capitol. While Trump’s speech would not constitute criminal incitement, it was inciteful and unpresidential. Before that, on Twitter, he called thousands to the city for a “wild time,” and then worked some into a frothing mob.
        “Second, Trump repeated clearly false statements about the constitutional process and made the unconscionable demand that Pence should usurp that process by “sending back” electoral votes. As many of us said repeatedly for weeks, Pence had no such authority and could not unilaterally act as Trump demanded. Yet, Trump continued to tell his followers that such authority existed — leading many of them to launch a hashtag campaign to “#hangmikepence.”
        “Third, Trump was conspicuously silent as this riot engulfed the Congress. It was not until the next day that he clearly denounced all of the violence and called for the prosecution of those responsible. On the day in question, he gave a widely ridiculed statement thanking his supporters and saying he understood their anger. It may not have been criminal incitement — but it was an outrageous failure to denounce the violence, immediately and unequivocally.
        “Censure is not a substitute for impeachment. It is not even mentioned in the Constitution. However, it would serve a greater purpose in this instance: It would allow both parties to speak as one in condemnation of the actions — and the omissions — of the president. It would be a unifying act that allows us to state our expectations of a president, a statement made all the more important with the approaching inauguration of a new president.”

        You think that “it was mostly taking selfies and wanting to yell at Congress.

        Is that how Turley sees it?

  2. This is akin to a religion test, which is unconstitutional. Anyone who would do something so unconstitutional should be disqualified from holding public office.

  3. Everyone, repeat Professor Turley’s statements altogether:

    “However, it has not been treated legally as an insurrection. Those charged for their role in the attack that day are largely facing trespass and other less serious charges — rather than insurrection or sedition. That’s because this was a riot that was allowed to get out of control by grossly negligent preparations by Capitol Police and congressional officials. While the FBI launched a massive national investigation, it did not find evidence of an insurrection.”

    Anyone calling Jan 6 an insurgency, or treason, is not truthful. It was wrong. It interrupted Congress. They were totally out of line and only harmed their cause. It was not an insurgency. These people should not have been in solitary for 9 months. The silly man wearing buffalo horns and face paint was a trespasser taking selfies. He would have fit right in at a football game. What the heck was he doing in jail for so long over trespassing? He served 8 months and was sentenced to 41 months. When you Google him, most of the articles said he was found guilty “of a felony” for “his role in the January 6 riot.” Most of the articles fail to state what charges he was found guilty of, leading the reader to surmise some terrible crime. You know what he was found guilty of? “Obstruction of an official proceeding.” Got that? He’s going to spend about 4 years in prison for interrupting an official proceeding. He could have faced up to 20 years. That guy should never have been in solitary, never been held without bail, especially for so long, and never served that kind of time. He should have also been referred to mental health care. Yes, what he did was seriously wrong and an affront, but the punishment did not fit the crime.

    Do women who dress up as handmaidens get thrown in solitary for 8 months, and then serve 41 months? Did members of Congress serve time for their sit in regarding gun control? Do you hear of BLM protestors serving that kind of time?

    Why ever could that be? Stalin has taken control of the justice system.

    We will not forget when Democrats burned and looted and assaulted America for a year, while Democrat politicians cheered them on and bailed them out of jail, going all the way up to Joe Biden and Kamala Harris.

    1. Turley is NOT a prosecutor, nor is he privy to what they’re doing, but legal analysts who aren’t on Fox’s payroll say that SOP is to go after the small fish first. Turley is part of the Fox lie machine that is trying to make the case that there wasn’t an insurrection. I really don’t know how he can do this, given the revelations about Hannity’s direct involvement in knowing about the insurrection in advance, and begging Trump to get it stopped. Only 1/4 of those who have been charged have pleaded, and the investigation is ongoing. Everyone hasn’t even been arrested yet. Turley is wrong to misuse his credentials to try to create a lie that there wasn’t an insurrection, or that January 6th was just a protest that got out of hand. Trump lied to his supporters, and that’s why there was a riot.

      Turley is dead wrong by blaming the Capitol Police. I am ashamed for him as a member of the legal profession. When, in recent history, was there: 1. a losing presidential candidate who went on “stop the steal” rallies, telling his supporters that his “landslide victory” was stolen with no proof and despite all proof to the contrary?; 2. a losing presidential candidate who told his supporters to come to the Capital and to “fight like hell or you’re not going to have a country any more, told them he “hoped” Mike Pence would “do the right thing” (meaning rejecting valid votes, which he had no authority to do) promised to join them, and then stood by for hours, letting a full-blown a riot unfold while police officers were beaten and abused trying to protect our democracy and the right for the peoples’ voices to be heard? Afterwards, instead of praising the brave police who fought to protect members of Congress, he told the disciples that he “loved” them. Nothing like this has happened in recent history, so this was not foreseeable. In any event, Trump is to blame for lying and stirring up his gullible disciples, not the Capitol Police who were overpowered, beaten and abused by the Trump mob.

      It has been explained to you many times that the judge decides on bail and that a jail administrator (warden or whatever) decides whether it is safe or desirable for a prisoner to mix with the general population. A jail administrator has a duty to use reasonable care to keep inmates safe, and if there is a risk of fighting or whatever, he or she has discretion to maintain a prisoner in secluded confinement. Neither Nancy Pelosi or any Democrat has any control over either the judges who decided against bail or the actions of jail administrators, but it makes a good argument on Fox to blame them and to portray the Trump insurrectionists as victims because the gullible disciples don’t know any better. It keeps the hatred for Democrats stirred up. I’m not even going to dignify your false comparison to BLM protests, because I don’t think you are capable of grasping the extent to which Trump tried to have himself installed as a dictator despite being rejected by the majority of Americans, even if it meant the murder of Mike Pence.

    2. Karen says:

      “He should have also been referred to mental health care. Yes, what he did was seriously wrong and an affront, but the punishment did not fit the crime.”

      You sound like a bleeding heart liberal! You Trumpists are supposed to be tough on crime.

      1. Karen S.,
        I think it is Magritte-ish, another artist’s nod to Magritte’s style. I could not find any other information on it. There were other painting I wanted to include, but the link limit is 2.

        This painting and a few others made me think of The Looking-Glass by Lewis Carroll and, for some reason, the line in The Hollow Men: “the hope only of empty men”. I haven’t quite decided why that line bubbled up.

          1. Karen+S,
            A sinister chord. I’ve been puzzling over that line and the sense we’re in a surrealist painting or spending time with Alice. I hope we’re jus spending time with Alice and can return to the real world.

            It bothers me that that line from The Hollow Men bubbled up in relation to the surrealist paintings. I do not think living in a surrealist painting is “the hope only of empty men”. That line in that context can be read several different ways. Is it a comment on the Metaverse? Living in a surreal world something only empty men would hope for? Or, was it a cynical perspective that the best hope for empty men is to have them live in the fantasy of a surreal world. Or, hopefully, could it be read as a salvation, a way to get “empty men” to startle them into facing reality?

            I protest living in surrealism, desiring instead to follow Henry David Thoreau. “And not, when I came to die, discover I had not lived.”

  4. Democracy is not all it is cracked up to be, anyway. There is the old adage about two wolves and a sheep voting on what to eat for dinner, and then there was the fact that Hitler was elected into power by a democratic process.

  5. Grima Sqeakersen: Nice commentary, thanks. (I thought the House had hung its hat on (2),–saying that findings would be used to create legislstion ” so that this will never happen again.

  6. 1. If Democrats succeed in disqualifying Republicans they are too frightened to face at the polls, then all Democrats who supported, encouraged, and bailed out of jail violent riots and arsonists should be disqualified. This would disqualify Joe Biden and Kamala Harris, as well.

    2. Does anyone have any questions now about the Democrat Party’s Fascist actions?

    3. What “insurrection?” No one who participated on Jan 6 has been charged with treason or attempting to overthrow the government. Most of them were charged with trespassing and illegally parading. Keeping them in solitary for nearly a year is damning evidence of Democrats politicizing the criminal justice system. They were wrong to trespass and interrupt Congress, just like those dressed as Handmaidens, et al, were wrong to interrupt the Brett Kavanaugh hearings, Congress, etc. Protesting Congress has a long history. Any crimes should be charged justly. Abusing the criminal justice system for political purposes is the hallmark of a banana republic. Should Democrats start wearing green berets, wearing aviators, and chomping cigars for the full effect? Since no one from Jan 6 has been charged with treason, then claiming Trump incited an insurrection is similarly politically motivated and spurious. Trump urged people to peacefully protest and make their voices heard. Remember when protesting was considered a civic duty by BLM supporters? Remember when school kids were encouraged to protest? The worst that can be fairly said about Trump was that encouraging a peaceful protest at Congress had a strong likelihood of trespassing and interruption occurring. In addition, he might have been slow to acknowledge that the protesters had crossed boundaries. By contrast, Kamala Harris told us all to beware, because the violent protests she referred to should and will continue. Burning cities, destroying police precincts, attacking cops, smashing cop cars, and creating autonomous zones is actual insurrection, especially when accompanied by threats if court verdicts or politics don’t go their way.

    1. Several people have been jointly charged with conspiracy. The investigations are ongoing.

      Those who’ve been kept in jail pending trial are there because judges ordered it, many of them appointed by Republicans, including Trump.

      Trump betrayed his own oath to uphold the Constitution by urging Pence to act unconstitutionally, and then Trump sent people to the Capitol to further pressure Pence to act unconstitutionally.

      THAT — Trump’s betrayal of his oath and attempted self-coup –is much worse than you are willing to admit.

      1. Anonymous:

        Turley: “it has not been treated legally as an insurrection. Those charged for their role in the attack that day are largely facing trespass and other less serious charges — rather than insurrection or sedition. That’s because this was a riot that was allowed to get out of control by grossly negligent preparations by Capitol Police and congressional officials. While the FBI launched a massive national investigation, it did not find evidence of an insurrection.”

        “The FBI has found scant evidence that the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol was the result of an organized plot to overturn the presidential election result, according to four current and former law enforcement officials.

        Though federal officials have arrested more than 570 alleged participants, the FBI at this point believes the violence was not centrally coordinated by far-right groups or prominent supporters of then-President Donald Trump, according to the sources, who have been either directly involved in or briefed regularly on the wide-ranging investigations.”

        So, I would ask you, what do you believe there was a conspiracy for? There was no insurrection, per Turley and the actual charges brought against the Jan 6 participants. The FBI said that almost all of the participants were “one offs”, and that the few remaining didn’t seem to have any plan as to what to do once they broke inside.

        Conspiracy to trespass? Conspiracy to break a window?

        Why are you ignoring actual insurrection and domestic terrorism perpetrated by BLM and Antifa for a year? In my opinion, rioting, looting, and arson could be considered domestic terrorism, when it’s done for political purposes. Seizing entire city blocks and claiming it as an autonomous zone, guarding it with guns, and keeping cops and ambulances out, could be considered an insurrection, because it was violent, and agains the government. Even if you disagree that it met the threshold of insurrection or domestic terrorism, surely you have eyes and could see Democrats looting, burning businesses, police precincts, apartment buildings, and other targets, assaulting cops, killing cops, rolling police cars? One of my friends is black, and lives in Los Angeles. He had his guns out and ready in his apartment building, because he thought BLM might torch it or assault people. He’s black, and he said BLM supports criminal activity and hates cops.

        I think you have a warped double standard.

        At least I’ve always acknowledged that the Jan 6 protestors committed crimes, like trespass, and should have been punished accordingly. It’s the solitary confinement, held without bail, long prison sentences for minor crimes, and false accusations of insurrection that I dispute. I also don’t think anyone should do jail time for “illegally parading.” That should have been a community service sentence.

        1. Karen,

          You keep ignoring the central issue:  Trump betrayed his oath to uphold the Constitution, and he attempted a self-coup, including by pressuring Pence to act unconstitutionally.

          Until you are willing to address that, what’s the point of discussing anything else?

          You ask “what do you believe there was a conspiracy for?” when the answer should be obvious to you: a conspiracy to unconstitutionally prevent the certification of the Electoral College vote.

          You should also be more careful with your own claims. You imagine that “The FBI said that almost all of the participants were “one offs.”” The FBI did not say that. An unnamed “former senior law enforcement official” said it, and you don’t know if he or she even worked for the FBI. S/he said  “Ninety to ninety-five percent of these are one-off cases,” which leaves 5-10% that are NOT “one-off cases.” 5-10% of over 700 cases is DOZENS of cases. DOZENS of people have already been charged with conspiracy.

          You’re lying when you say “The FBI determined that around 99% of the participants were one-offs.” The FBI did NOT determine that, and even the person who claimed it didn’t say “around 99%.” You quote things but don’t pay attention to their meaning: “the FBI at this point believes the violence was not centrally coordinated by far-right groups or prominent supporters of then-President Donald Trump, according to the sources.” It’s a quote from sources in August. The investigation is ongoing. You have absolutely no idea what the FBI and DOJ themselves thought in August, much less what they think NOW, much less what they’ll conclude by the time they finish.

          You talk about “an official proceeding” as if it’s just any official proceeding. It is the single-most important official proceeding in our democracy: the peaceful transfer of power via Congress’s certification of the EC vote. The people who broke into the Capitol — many violently attacking law enforcement — attempted to obstruct that and add their pressure on Pence to act unconstitutionally.

          Doesn’t it bother you that Trump betrayed his oath and personally attempted to pressure Pence to act unconstitutionally and then enlisted hundreds of supporters to go to the Capitol to further pressure Pence?

          “You keep talking about a “self coup”. That would require an overthrow of the entire government, and gain control.”

          No. It only requires that Trump convince Pence to act unconstitutionally and reject certification of the EC vote and Republicans awarding the presidency to Trump despite Trump having lost the election. That’s what a self-coup is: a President illegally remaining in power beyond the term to which he was legally elected. Can you deal with the fact that that was Trump’s goal?

      2. Anonymous – has anyone been charged with a conspiracy to do anything more than obstruct an official proceeding? The only thing I’ve found, recently, are the two Oath Keepers, and they were charged with coordinating the obstruction of an official proceeding. That’s it. Not to steal a nuke. Not to stage a military coup. To interrupt the proceeding. If they’d been wearing red capes and white bonnets, they would have had fans in the media.

        As far as I’ve read, they haven’t been charged with treason, or conspiracy to overthrow a government.

        The FBI determined that around 99% of the participants were one-offs, with the remainder being members of organizations like the Oath Keepers. They did not find evidence that they had any plan to do anything particular once they gained entry.

        Do you have any data to support a conspiracy to overthrow and seize control of the United States of America, for example? Or were they conspiring to illegally parade?

        Protests are part of the First Amendment. Trespassing, of course, is not, which is what most of them were charge with.

        Democrats obstruct and interrupt Congress. Are they insurrectionists?

        You keep talking about a “self coup”. That would require an overthrow of the entire government, and gain control. How were people taking selfies trying to actually control the entire country?

        There is a difference between investigating, bringing legal suit, and objecting or protesting, with an actual overthrow of the government. The latter didn’t happen. Democrats routinely file lawsuits when they lose elections, including presidential elections. They routinely call such lost elections stolen.

        Stop pretending that the Jan 6 protestors were trying to take control of the entire country. With what? Face paint? Phones? A bullhorn?

        You are to recall that the PA lawsuit never was heard on its merits, as it went off the rails from its original premise. Ballots were subjected to totally different standards in different counties, in violation of the equal protection clause of the 14th Amendment, and affecting all of the millions of voters in PA. Democrat activists sent death threats to the attorneys. Rudy Giuliani barged into the case and took it off on a tangent that only affected a small percentage of voters, and included allegations he couldn’t substantiate. That meant that they ignored the same core of the case that was successful in Bush v Gore, and drove the case into a ditch. The actual merits of the original complaint were never adjudicated.

    2. Karen says:

      “Trump urged people to peacefully protest and make their voices heard.”

      Then why did his followers not listen to him?
      Why did they “fight like hell”?

      1. Jeff:

        Why does anyone refuse to listen? Actually, although the protest did devolve into trespassing and illegally parading, it was not really violent, not like a BLM rally that devolves into looting, arson, and the murder of police. I do not pretend to know the mindset of 500 people.

        As for rhetoric like “fight like hell”, do you recall when the media tried to claim that Sarah Palin’s terminology, keeping Congressional seats in their sights, was an incitement to violence? For weeks, the media tried to refrain from war rhetoric in regards to elections. They stumbled repeatedly over war room, sights, target, enemy, advanced guard, and all the other warlike rhetoric in the war of politics. It got so they could barely speak for a minute straight without saying something warlike, and apologizing. It was so enjoyable to see them act ridiculous.

        Meanwhile, there’s the lovely pacifist rhetoric of Democrats, such as Kathy Griffin holding Trump’s severed head in effigy, the Caesar’s play of Trump getting assassinated, calls for his assassination, calls for the military to throw him out, and on.

        -“Democrats need to go for the gut”
        -“Finish the battles over legislating as quickly as possible”
        -“The naivete of the strategy nicely encapsulates why Republicans have been winning the message wars for years: Democrats don’t know how to fight.”
        -“The Clintons were among the dirtiest fighters in politics — just ask anyone who dared get in their way. Dems turned mild-mannered Mormon Mitt Romney into a woman-hating, dog-killing monster in the 2012 election, before deciding he’s actually a hero for voting to convict Donald Trump in both of his impeachment trials.”
        -“good deeds won’t win the day”

        No, tell me again how “fight like hell” combined with “peacefully protest” is metaphorical rhetoric that is beyond the pale. No, wait. Don’t bother. You won’t tell the truth.

        1. Karen says:

          “I do not pretend to know the mindset of 500 people.”

          You don’t have to pretend not to know what was in their heads. They are confessing:

          “I Trusted the President and That Was a Big Mistake’’: Jan. 6 Rioters in Their Own Words”

          Again, I ask you why the mob stormed the Capitol after Trump told them to be peaceful? Could it be that they knew what he really meant- “Stop the Steal”?

    3. You are such a joke, Karen. It’s the Republicans who fear losing to Democrats, and for good reason, because they consistently are losing the support of the American people, which is why they are frantically passing every kind of law they can think of to suppress the vote in various states. First, they’re kicking Democrats off election boards to make it easier for the next Big Lie to go through–have hand-picked stooges simply reject votes based on no evidence whatsoever, and appoint Republicans. Next, they’re limiting voting places and times to make it less convenient to vote, especially in urban areas that are more Democratic.

      You stupidly ask “what insurrection”, and then repeat the Fox News talking point that the nature of the charges up to now have not been for insurrection. That’s because they’re going after the small fish first. Everyone saw what your fat hero did. And, if the rioters are not released on bail, it’s because some judge wherever their case is pending has decided they don’t qualify for bail. If they are not mixed in with the general population, it’s because the jail administrator determined that it’s not safe to do so. That has been explained to you several times, but you keep implying that somehow Nancy Pelosi and the Democratic Party are keeping rioters locked up and in solitary confinement because that’s what you heard on Fox. Many of the judges who have denied bail were appointed by Trump, or are Republican. No, Ingraham, Tucker and Hannity won’t tell you that, either.

      There is no comparison between the Trump Insurrection and Kavanaugh’s confirmation hearing. The Trump insurrectionists had no right to force their way past the Capitol Police to try to prevent Biden’s victory from being accepted and/or to lynch Pence. Kavanaugh was up for a lifetime appointment to the court of last resort, and there were literally dozens of witnesses who demanded to testify but were blocked from doing so by REPUBLICANS. The public has a right to be heard on the qualification of a candidate for the highest judicial office in the land, which is why hearings are held. Republicans didn’t want more evidence of Kavanaugh’s drinking, carousing and assaulting of women, to make it easier for Christine Blasey Ford to be the object of their attacks. And, Karen, when is Dr. Ford going to go on the book tours and talk show circuit like you claimed she would, to cash in on her fame?

  7. HELL is coming in 2023 and 2025 and revenge is coming with it.

    Democrats are doing everything the can to push civil war.

    ATF says 700 million guns in circulation.

    We don’t want to go there so what the HELL is wrong with these people???

  8. Giocon1 says:

    “too stupid for analysis, thought and reasoning, and have opted to go with emotional appeals…”

    Do you mean like the “Lock her up” chants?

    Is that the kind of thoughtlessness and emotional appeal you are talking about?

    1. Hillary Clinton illegally kept a bootleg server in her house, kept top secret information on it, and lied about it. People without any security clearance whatsoever had physical access to that server, from cleaning staff to tech support. She pretended that 5,000 emails were about yoga. While under subpoena, she destroyed phones and laptops. She wiped the sever clean with BleachBit, and then shrugged her shoulders, saying she wiped it with a cloth. Some of her emails were found on Abedeen’s laptop in the possession of convicted sex offender Anthony Weiner.

      She backed it up to the Cloud. That’s like yelling the information to spies from Russia, China, North Korea, and even MI6.

      Comey admitted she broke the law, but then claimed no one would prosecute her. The heck they wouldn’t. There are people charged or rotting in jail for mishandling classified information. Remember the sailor charged for taking a selfie on a nuclear sub?

      My father used to handle classified information in a SCIF. They put the fear of God into you if you make any mistakes.

      Hillary Clinton signed a document that she’d turned over all communications to the State Department on her exit interview. She signed documents acknowledging she’d been trained in the handling of classified information.

      It was outrageous that the law did not apply equally to her. So, yes, “lock her up” was very popular. It wasn’t based on hyperbole or false rhetoric. She quite literally, and provably broke laws.

      1. Karen says:

        “She quite literally, and provably broke laws.”

        No kidding? When was the trial? I didn’t hear about it. Again, you are grossly exaggerating. Nothing has been proven.

        If there is sufficient evidence of her criminal wrongdoing, prosecute her! Do you think I care if she goes to jail?

        The difference between you and I is that I will not question Clinton’s conviction, but you Trumpists will call Trump’s prosecution a “witch-hunt” and regard his conviction as a “sham.”

        Tell me I’m wrong….

        1. Karen repeats what she heard on Fox, and no quantum of facts will dissuade her from her beliefs. Of course, all of this is a smoke screen for the anniversary of the Trump insurrection.

        2. , but you Trumpists will call Trump’s prosecution a “witch-hunt” and regard his conviction as a “sham.”

          You can’t even name a crime, but you already have a prosecution and and conviction.
          Stupid is as stupid does.

          1. Wait for it, friend. Judgement day is coming. Turley will not be on your side. He’ll be on mine. Wanna bet?

            1. Wait for it, friend. Judgement (sic) day is coming.

              Youre a “Jew”. You do not believe in Judgment Day, unless if you converted to Catholicism. Let me know, as I keep an excel sheet file that tracks my converts and submit regularly to God almighty. I am working on keeping my stay in Purgatory short

              1. Estovir says:

                “Youre (sic) a Jew.”

                I’m an atheist. I don’t believe in a Judgment Day, but most Trumpists do I dare say. It’s coming for both Trump and Turley.

                We are not going to “move on” until there is punishment for lying in Trump’s case and silence in Turley’s.

      2. Karen+S,
        You are correct on all counts.
        I held a TS/SCI for 15 years.
        What Clinton did, and Comey, was show us there are two sets of laws. One for the rich and powerful, and one for the rest of us.
        Just like the Hunter Biden laptop, or the Hunter Biden purchasing of a handgun.

  9. I suggest you calmly read President’s Trump speech again, Prof. Turley. Nothing egregious there. Grounds for condemnation may always be found by those who cannot see through legacy media’s disdain and hatred.

    1. Johannakirwin says:

      “I suggest you calmly read President’s Trump speech again, Prof. Turley. Nothing egregious there. Grounds for condemnation may always be found by those who cannot see through legacy media’s disdain and hatred.”

      Turley is not a Trumpist. Don’t you know that? By his own admission, he did not vote for Trump. Turley does not call government investigations “witch-hunts” as do Trumpists. He criticizes the MSM, but he has never called it “the enemy of the people” as do Trumpists.

      Turley condemns Trump because he is not a lying Trumpist. Clear?

      1. Turley has his issues with each President including Obama. Let me quote the question and Turley’s response so it is clear to you that Turley doesn’t like the concentration of power when anyone does it. Today Biden has increased that concentration of power that Turley criticized Obama for.

        Turley: Obama’s “Become The Very Danger The Constitution Was Designed To Avoid”
        Posted on December 4, 2013

        REP. BOB GOODLATTE (R-VA): Professor Turley, the constitution, the system of separated powers is not simply about stopping one branch of government from usurping another. It’s about protecting the liberty of Americans from the dangers of concentrated government power. How does the president’s unilateral modification of act of Congress affect both the balance of power between the political branches and the liberty interests of the American people?

        JONATHAN TURLEY: Thank you, Mr. Chairman. The danger is quite severe. The problem with what the president is doing is that he’s not simply posing a danger to the constitutional system. He’s becoming the very danger the Constitution was designed to avoid. That is the concentration of power in every single branch.

        This Newtonian orbit that the three branches exist in is a delicate one but it is designed to prevent this type of concentration. There is two trends going on which should be of equal concern to all members of Congress. One is that we have had the radical expansion of presidential powers under both President Bush and President Obama. We have what many once called an imperial presidency model of largely unchecked authority. And with that trend we also have the continued rise of this fourth branch. We have agencies that are quite large that issue regulations. The Supreme Court said recently that agencies could actually define their own or interpret their own jurisdiction. (House hearing, December 3, 2013)

  10. It’s always been a strained marriage between the Republican and Democratic parties. But they’ve always been able to work through their differences for the sake of the household (country) and the children (citizens). That relationship no longer exists. Democrats no longer care about preserving our House and they’ve made it their mission to sow irreconcilable division with the Children. We are headed for a divorce and the Democrats will burn down everything, even if that means they will be standing on the ash heap, just to declare victory.

    1. Not sure will you live but in Richmond, VA, these sentiments have been expressed by locals ever since ANTIFA BLM literally set fire to Richmond in 2020 several times. Civil War is no stranger to us

      1. I’m in North San Diego county. We have been largely spared the violence, but we share those sentiments of your locals.

        1. Ive attended a couple of med conferences in La Jolla. Beautiful. La Jolla Institute for Immunology is one of the finest.

          Carry on for me Ollie. My New Year’s Resolution was to stop visiting news sites. Today’s news cycle was a reminder to cut the cord.

          Pax Christi

          1. My New Year’s Resolution was to stop visiting news sites. Today’s news cycle was a reminder to cut the cord.

            Estovir, you don’t strike me as someone that will refrain from reading the news. Your contributions to this blog are often what I would consider news as well. Keep it coming and God’s peace to you as well.

  11. Well, now, Turley’s all in for the Fox News lie machine. Turley claims that January 6th was a protest that became a riot. NO, it wasn’t, Turley, it was an attempted coup fomented by the Big Liar in Chief who exhorted the faithful to: “Fight like hell or you’re not going to have a country any more.” Evidence is being uncovered daily about the extent of plotting to try to keep Trump in office despite the will of the American people, including dozens of frivolous court challenges based on no evidence whatsoever, trying to bully state election officials into awarding Trump votes he didn’t receive, lying about voting machines being manipulated by the Chinese or others, lying about mail ballots being fraudulent, concocting a plot to have Pence reject valid, certified votes, multiple “Stop the Steal” rallies, in which the faithful were lied to when they were told that Trump won by a landslide, and encouraging them to storm the Capitol to force Pence to “do the right thing”. Despite the invasion of the Capitol and calls to “hang Mike Pence, Trump supporters trespassing into Congressional offices, stealing papers and laptops, smearing human waste on walls and urinating on floors and defacing the John Lewis memorial, certain Republican members of Congress still objected to certification of the election. All based on nothing other than the bruised ego of a narcissist who continues to refuse to accept defeat and still has absolutely no evidence of a stolen election. All political show and to curry support of the Trump faithful. All a violation of their oaths to support and defend the Constitution. These members of Congrees DO deserve to be disqualified. Disqualifying members of Congress who disregard their oath to the Constitution is in no way comparable to book burning.

    The media are not the ones keeping division going–it’s Republicans who won’t speak out against the Big Lie. We as a nation cannot put January 6th behind us until or unless there is accountability for telling, promoting and supporting the Big Lie. Turley supports the Big Lie by attempting to blame the Capitol Police for not being better prepared. That’s like blaming a murder victim for not knowing in advance that they were going to get shot and arming themselves in order to shoot back. The Capitol Police are not to blame for the invasion of the Capitol–Trump and the Republicans are.

    1. Natacha says:

      “We as a nation cannot put January 6th behind us until or unless there is accountability for telling, promoting and supporting the Big Lie.”

      True. Turley must denounce the “Big Lie” as well as resign from Fox News like so many others. Until then, he will be a disgrace.

      1. You’ve hit the nail on the head, Jeff. Turley cannot, with any conscience, ever again criticize mainstream media in light of the revelations about the Hannity’s direct involvement by advising Trump and advance knowledge that the insurrection was coming and begging Trump to get it stopped. Ingraham also begged him to stop. Ingraham and Hannity are not journalists.

        1. Natacha,

          I force myself to watch Ingraham, Hannity and Carlson. There is no mention of Hannity’s texts exposing that he says one thing in private and another in public. How can they mention it? Hannity’s two-facedness cannot be defended. They ignore the scandal.

          But what about our objective, impartial and principled Professor Turley?


          1. I do the same thing, Jeff, just to keep myself informed, along with occasionally tuning in News Max and OAN, but it’s so hard to stomach the lying and fawning worship of Trump.

            1. I mostly scan Fox News prime time because the lies and false narratives are rampant.

              If only we could force Turley to watch these liars on any given night in our presence, he would not be able to deny their “advocacy journalism.” It would be humiliating.

              The only way Turley gets away with his silence about Fox is due to the fact that he will not take ANY questions because he knows that he would be called on his hypocrisy. He will not be held accountable because he knows he cannot defend his silence about Hannity, Ingraham, Carlson and Levin.

    2. “. . . it was an attempted coup . . .”

      Now you’re just hyperventilating.

      Catherine the Great was a coup. As were Napoleon and Franco.

      This was a case of some aimless, purposeless individuals who, in a fit of rage, got violent. You give them too much credit by calling it a “coup.”

  12. While you’re at it, disqualify anyone who has ever expressed any level of support or sympathy for participants in the BLM or Antifa violent demonstrations (which were arguably actual “riots”, and possibly “insurrections”) from ever holding Federal office.

  13. Democrats call for so many asinine things now that people have stopped paying attention. Can’t wait till November.

  14. Did they really? How many participants have been charged with possession of firearms in the Capitol building?

  15. Prof. Turley in a previous essay documented a very sould case that the House has no Constitutional authority to pursue the Jan. 6 investigation currently in progress. Congressional authority to investigate is limited to an example that is directed and directly pertains to: (1) the conduct of a sitting officer of the Federal government to determine if grounds exist to impeach or otherwise remove that person from office; (2) discovery of information required to formulate legislation. His essay amply demonstrated that neither justification exists here. I am somewhat disappointed that he didn’t allude to that in the current essay, as it directly colors any rational discussion of the investigation.

    Re the January 6 event itself; I’ve viewed several of the videos, and my characterization of it would be a demonstration that got out of hand. There has (more than once) been worse and more violent mayhem, resulting in more injuries and deaths, at a rock concert. I don’t recall any of those incidents being characterized as “riots”. I do agree with Turley that a thorough, non-partisan investigation of the incident, conducted by a duly authorized party (preferably an independent counsel investigation such as the one currently directed by John Durham) should be conducted, That investigation, to have any credibility whatsoever, must (among other tasks) perform an in-depth examination of the extent to which the FBI and its informers in various right-wing organizations instigated what happened in the Capitol on January 6, 2021.

    Also, in the interests of historical context, there were over 20 incidents of violence at the Capitol prior to 1/6/2021, beginning in 1814 (not counting the assumed attempt to crash United Flight 93 into it on 9/11/2001.

    Timeline of violent and dangerous incidents at the United States Capitol:

  16. Question: Will there be another bully who enjoys committing atrocities?

    Like William Quantrill & his raiders.

  17. Today’s Democrats continuously prove that they are authoritarians, much like Hitler, Stalin and Mao. They seek to get rid of anyone in their path, and they will use whatever methods are available at the time.

    1. Have you ever heard of January 6th? Now that group did use whatever methods at the time.

    2. S.Meyer,
      Much of the woke and cancel culture we are seeing on college campuses, and on social media does remind me of Mao’s Culture Revolution.
      And they seem perfectly fine with that level of intimidation, fear, hate they create.
      I have noted the increase in rhetoric from MSM fearmongering of democracy being under threat. Declaring “Every Day is Jan 6th.” Really? Looking around, and as noted by Professor Turley, if democracy is under threat, it is the Dems who are doing the threatening

      1. “Much of the woke and cancel culture we are seeing on college campuses, and on social media does remind me of Mao’s Culture Revolution.”

        Upstate, you hit the nail on the head. Unfortunately, too many left-wing ideologues on this blog are ignorant and have no respect for the truth or themselves.

    3. You have described Trump perfectly. What Democrat presidential candidate ever plotted with a hostile foreign power to direct a social media lie campaign against their opponent, using insider polling information? What Democrat presidential candidate ever threatened not to leave office if they lost an election and then refused to attend their successor’s inauguration? What Democrat presidential candidate ever lied about losing an election, went on “Stop the Steal” rallies (“stop”–how? What were they being told to do to “stop” the election?), filed dozens of frivolous lawsuits trying to overturn election results based on lies, tried to bully state election officials into awarding votes they didn’t receive, and then held a rally in which they told supporters to “fight like hell or you’re not going to have a country any more”? What Democrat ever sat by and watched in awe while his supporters ransacked the Capitol, threatened to hang the VP because he wouldn’t break the law, and let the rioting go on for hours without telling them to stop, and when he finally did, told them that he loved them? What Democrat has ever doubled down on lying about a “landslide victory” being stolen? Name one.

      1. One cannot argue with a person that has no mind and cannot provide the facts. When you make up the facts it is impossible to debate.

        The Dems have permitted continuous assaults on federal property, defacement and violence. History is loaded with leftist activists that have used violence. Kavanaugh and the Democrat sit in of the House are examples of Democrats doing more of the same. You are spouting ignorance.

        If you want a debate on the subject bring one subject with your facts and proof. That you cannot do because little that you say is true.

  18. “In what seemed almost a hopeful plea, the New York Times recently declared “Every Day is Now Jan. 6.” It made this tragedy sound like the political equivalent of a year-round Christmas store: Every day should involve a renewed gift of reminiscence and rage.”

    Or, more Narnia-like: always Winter but never Christmas.

  19. Question for the Professor…….

    The US Code states the President can Federalize the National Guard to suppress an Insurrection upon the request of either the Governor or Legislature of a State.

    In the case of the District of Columbia and City of Washington DC… does the US Code address that situation…..and did ANY lawful authority (person or government) announce an Insurrection and request the President to act?

    The follow-up question is……Must the President comply with the request or does the President have the legal discretion to decide whether the declaration of Insurrection alone triggers the President having to order up the National Guard?

    Folks….the Constitution and Federal Code does not disappear with the first puff of smoke blown its way.

    Unless and until the January 6th Select Committee determines what Laws apply to the President, Congress itself, and the Executive Branch itself……it is not conducting a proper investigation.

    Going after the Pillow Man’s phone records and texts is of no relevance…..the actions and legal obligations of those having specified duties are where the focus needs to be.

    As an example….if President Trump offered to call up the National Guard in advance of January 6th and that offer was refused… does that play into the mix?

    If President Trump ordered/approved the positioning of extra security forces be on site ahead of January 6 th……how does that play into the mix?

    Did Pelosi implement all of the security measures recommended by the House Sargent at Arms, the Capitol Police Chief of Police, the Adjutant General (Commander) of the DC National Guard, and other advisors… does that fiigure into the events of that day?

    Has the Select Committee demanded Pelosi’s Phone Records, the Capitol Police Chief’s phone records, the DC National Guard Commander’s phone records?

    Will Pelosi have to testify under Oath about her decisions, actions, and conduct re January 6th and the preparations in advance of that day?

    The American People deserve honest answers….otherwise this is just yet another Kangaroo Court run by Pelosi and partisan Democrats.

    1. Will Pelosi have to testify under Oath about her decisions, actions, and conduct re January 6th and the preparations in advance of that day?

      You correctly identify the chain of command ie, Capital security.
      Sargent of Arms
      Senate Majority leader
      Speaker of the House.

      Pelosi’s calendar and phone records are not yet put in evidence. There is a reason for that. The President does not enter into the discussion. Separation of powers.

      On a side note, remember just months ago, Pelosi established satellite offices of the Capital Police in cities across America. BUT, DC Capital Police is short staffed, by 400 officers. Pelosi has a priority problem.
      Short staffed….Satellite offices.

      1. “Senate Majority leader
        Speaker of the House.”

        A slight clarification: Those two offices *alternate* control of the CHP (via the Sergeant at Arms). At the time in question, the House Speaker (Pelosi) was in control.

          1. YW.

            The important point here, of course, is that you and Ralph are spot on. The focus should be on Pelosi’s (and Bowser’s) role in the lack of security, and specifically the failure to authorize the use of the National Guard.

            The NG in DC has a convoluted chain of command. The upshot here is that such a request must be approved by the House Speaker (via the Sergeant at Arms). Pelosi refused to authorize that request, and now refuses to release any communication about those requests. On the flip side, the White House *granted* such requests, numerous times.

            Pelosi is an evil power-luster, but she is not stupid. She knew that she could make political hay out of an uncontrolled mob at the Capitol Building. Her refusal to authorize the National Guard was her stoking a Reichstag Fire. And out of that fire, she is trying to enact the Democrat’s version of “The Reichstag Fire Decree.” (Which fascist doctrines we see unfolding before our eyes.)

    2. Uh, just how many members of the Trump Administration implored him to call off the faithful while he sat, mesmerized at the love and devotion of the faithful who were fighting to overturn the election he just lost? That evidence is just coming to light, and includes Ivanka, Mark Meadows, and even Sean Hannity and Laura Ingraham. Trying to blame Nancy Pelosi is a non-starter. That phony Fox News narrative has been debunked.

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