I cannot blame Trump for the January 6 riots and election lies. He was just ‘following the internet’.

Until ThursdayI had a feeling that the January 6 committee hearings made former President Donald Trump look like a perversely corrupt egotist who was willing to sacrifice democracy and the votes of millions of Americans to stay in power.

But something new was bubbling up the last hearingin which former senior Republican officials serving at the Justice Department under Trump testified in specific and meticulous detail about how the former president prompted the Department to substantiate its claims of widespread voter fraud

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

‘Leave the rest to me and the Republican congressmen’

Wow. That’s not something I thought about beforehand. Yes, more than a dozen Republicans who served in the Trump administration have now testified under oath before the committee that there was no evidence whatsoever that the election was stolen in any way. On the other hand, it’s possible that the former president followed the Internet harder than all those other people, and so knew things that those who followed the Internet less did not.

Richard Donoghue, former deputy deputy attorney general, says he told President Donald Trump that the Justice Department cannot run in state elections.

Richard Donoghue, former deputy deputy attorney general, says he told President Donald Trump that the Justice Department cannot run in state elections.

That explains why, as Donoghue recalled in his testimony, Trump told him the DOJ should “just say it’s corrupt and leave the rest to me and the Republican congressmen

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Without knowing anything about the man from Mar-a-Lago’s extensive internet-tracking capabilities, that quote may sound like the most powerful person in the world telling the US government’s law enforcement department to come up with some hooey to cover him and his dull-witted congressional kowtowers. to lie and steal an election.

President Donald Trump and Republican Senate leaders in 2019.

President Donald Trump and Republican Senate leaders in 2019.

But that was clearly not the case. Trump’s voracious appetite for online knowledge must have led him to know that everyone was missing something. It’s like the time when I knew next to nothing about how the high-frequency active Auroral research program in Alaska is a mind control device and then i read internet and taught that it is definitely a mind control device and not a research facility that studies “the properties and behavior of the ionosphere,” such as the website of the program want you to believe.

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I “followed the internet” and that helped me “get the truth”, so the fact that those DOJ guys didn’t follow 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 questions? Without the internet I would never have met my Nigerian friend who was once a prince and helped him with his legal bills by sending him my bank account and social security numbers.

‘Pure madness’ – or not?

The witnesses at Thursday’s hearing testified about what came to be known as “ItalyGate‘, a belief, based on social media videos, that an Italian defense contractor used satellites to turn Trump votes into Biden votes.

Really doesn’t make you think, does it?

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That internet theory, which Donoghue called “pure madnessand former Acting Attorney General Jeffrey Rosen testified”had been debunked”, made its way through the Department of Justice and then to the Department of Defense. There, then-acting defense secretary Christopher Miller, according to testimonies, called an official in Italy and asked to investigate.

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

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

Jan. 6 MP Adam Kinzinger, R-Ill., said, “This is one of the best examples of the efforts President Trump would make to stay in power. scouring the internet to support his conspiracy theories

With respect, Rep. Kinzinger, Donald Trump was not “exploring the internet.” He did “his own research”, and those of us who have gargled horse wormers to ward off COVID-19 and only ended up in the hospital 11 times know this is a smart way to find THE TRUTH.

Looking for some forgiveness, just in case

We also learned on Thursday that a number of Republican members of Congress had so much faith in the former president’s Internet following that they forgiveness asked regarding their attempts to undo the election before he left office.

Former aides to the president, in statements, said Trump was toying with giving a “general pardon” to anyone involved in activities leading up to Jan. 6, 2021. e-mail on that January 11 from Rep. Mo Brooks, R-Ala., was shown during the hearing. In it, Brooks sought a pardon for “every congressman and senator who voted to reject the Electoral College ballot entries of Arizona and Pennsylvania.”

From left to right, Steven Engel, Jeffrey Rosen and Richard Donoghue are sworn in on June 23, 2022, before testifying before the commission investigating the attack on the United States Capitol on January 6, 2021.

From left to right, Steven Engel, Jeffrey Rosen and Richard Donoghue are sworn in on June 23, 2022, before testifying before the commission investigating the attack on the United States Capitol on January 6, 2021.

If you follow the internet a bit, you will see rough suggestions that anyone seeking pardon should know that they have done something illegal.

But if you’re a more devoted internet follower like me or former president Trump, you’ll find stuff like this tweet which I sent on Thursday: “Hey, who among us hasn’t committed a mild coup at different 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. neither can you blame Brooks or Rep. Matt Gaetz or Rep. Louie Gohmert or Rep. Scott Perry or Rep. Andy Biggs for asking for coup related pardons for a coup that they certainly didn’t do.

They follow the internet, folks. 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 different opinions from our Council of Contributors and other writers on the Opinion front pageon Twitter @usatodayopinion and in our daily opinion newsletter† To comment on a column, send a comment to [email protected]

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

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