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Until Thursday, I was under the impression that the January 6 committee hearings portrayed former President Donald Trump as a perversely corrupt egomaniac who was willing to sacrifice democracy and the votes of millions of Americans to stay in power. power.

But something new came out of the latest hearing, which featured former top Republican officials who served in the Justice Department under Trump, testifying, in precise and painstaking detail, about how the former president pushed the ministry to back up its widespread voter claims. fraud

Former Acting Deputy Attorney General Richard Donoghue, relying on his own contemporary notesrecalled a meeting in which a series of voter fraud conspiracy theories were debunked by Justice Department officials, prompting Trump to say, “You may not follow the internet like I do.

“Leave the rest to me and the Republican members of Congress”

Wow. It’s not something I had considered before. Yes, more than a dozen Republicans who served in the Trump administration have now testified under oath before the committee that there is no evidence the election was stolen in any way. On the other hand, it’s possible that the former president followed the internet harder than all of these other people, and therefore knew things that those who followed the internet more weakly did not.

Richard Donoghue, a former acting deputy attorney general, said he told President Donald Trump that the Justice Department could not interfere in state elections.

This explains why, as Donoghue recalled in his testimony, Trump told him that the DOJ should “just say it was corrupt and leave the rest to me and the Republican members of Congress.”

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Without knowing the extensive internet tracking capabilities of the Mar-a-Lago man, this quote might sound like the most powerful person in the world telling the law enforcement branch of the US government to do du hooey to give him, as well as his boring- witty congressional prow tricks hiding to lie and steal an election.

I can’t blame Trump for the January 6 riots and election lies.  It was just “following the internet”.

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President Donald Trump and Republican Senate leaders in 2019.

But clearly, that was not the case. Trump’s voracious appetite for online knowledge must have led him to know something everyone else lacked. It’s like the days when I knew next to nothing about how the active high frequency aurora borealis research program in Alaska is a mind control device, then I read on the internet and I learned that it was definitely a mind control device and not a research center that studies “the properties and behavior of the ionosphere”, as the program’s website would have you make it believe.

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I “followed the internet” and it helped me “find out the truth”, so the fact that these DOJ guys weren’t following the internet like Trump does raises some pretty serious questions about their testimony. I mean, if the internet says something is real, who are we to ask? Without the internet, I would never have met my Nigerian friend who was once a prince and was able to help him with his legal bills by sending him my bank account and social security numbers.

“Sheer madness” – or was it?

Witnesses at Thursday’s hearing testified to what has become known as “ItalyGate”, a belief, based on social media videos, that an Italian defense contractor used satellites to change the Trump votes to Biden votes.

That really doesn’t make you think, does it?

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This internet theory, which Donoghue called “pure madness” and testified by former acting attorney general Jeffrey Rosen “had been debunked”, made its way to the Justice Department and then to the Department of defense. There, according to testimony, then acting Secretary of Defense Christopher Miller called an official in Italy and asked that the matter be investigated.

I can’t blame Trump for the January 6 riots and election lies.  It was just “following the internet”.

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Rep. Adam Kinzinger, R-Ill., addresses the January 6 committee hearing on June 23, 2022.

Adam Kinzinger, R-Ill., a House committee member on Jan. 6, said, “This is one of the best examples of how far President Trump would go to stay in power, scour the internet to support his conspiracy theories.”

Respectfully, Rep. Kinzinger, Donald Trump was “not monitoring the internet.” He was “doing his own research,” and those of us who gargled horse wormer to ward off COVID-19 and only ended up in the hospital 11 times know that’s a smart way. to find THE TRUTH.

Seeking forgiveness, just in case

We also learned on Thursday that a number of Republican members of Congress had such confidence in the netizens followed by the former president that they sought pardons for their attempts to nullify the election before he left. its functions.

Former aides to the president, in depositions, said Trump was considering granting a “blanket pardon” to anyone involved in activities leading up to Jan. 6, 2021. A Jan. 11 email from Rep. Mo Brooks, R -To the. , was shown during the hearing. In it, Brooks asked for forgiveness for “every congressman and senator who voted to reject the Arizona and Pennsylvania Electoral College ballot submissions.”

I can’t blame Trump for the January 6 riots and election lies.  It was just “following the internet”.

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From left, Steven Engel, Jeffrey Rosen and Richard Donoghue are sworn in on June 23, 2022, before testifying before the committee investigating the attack on the US Capitol on January 6, 2021.

If you do a bit of tracking on the internet, you will see slanderous suggestions that anyone asking for a pardon needs to know they did something illegal.

But if you’re a more dedicated internet savvy like me or former President Trump, you’ll find things like this Tweeter which I sent on Thursday: “Hey, who among us has not participated in a mild coup at various times in our lives?”

You just can’t blame Trump for telling millions and millions of Americans that the election was stolen and that they should immediately send him money they don’t have. Nor can you blame Brooks or Rep. Matt Gaetz or Rep. Louie Gohmert or Rep. Scott Perry or Rep. Andy Biggs for seeking coup-related pardons for a coup they didn’t. certainly did not.

They follow the Internet, friends. If you can’t trust that, what can you trust?

Follow USA TODAY columnist Rex Huppke on Twitter @RexHuppke and Facebook: facebook.com/RexIsAJerk

You can read various opinions from our committee of contributors and other writers on the Opinion homepage, on Twitter @usatodayopinion and in our Daily Opinion newsletter. To respond to a column, submit a comment to letters@usatoday.com.

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: January 6 hearing: Donald Trump was just ‘following the internet’



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