The “return” of America and its internal breakdowns (two years after the storming of the Capitol)

Of Joseph Sarcina

The anniversary of January 6 reminds us that the entire American democracy has not yet come to terms with the vulnerabilities of the institutional structure

Two years after the assault on Capitol Hill, American justice has still not answered the key question: Donald Trump fomented, if not planned and organized, the riots? The FBI and federal prosecutors they arrested and charged 964 people. About half so far, 465, have pleaded guilty. The courts have convicted some of the leaders on the ground. Jacob Chansley, first name Jake Angeli, the bare-chested shaman complete with horns and a fur headdress, is serving 41 months in prison. Stewart Rhodes, founder and leader of the Oath Keepers, a far-right paramilitary organization, was convicted of seditious conspiracy and faces up to 20 years in prison. Timothy Hale-Cusanelli, former military man, white supremacist and Nazi sympathizer, sentenced to four years behind bars.

The list goes on with the names of other fanatics, possessed, sometimes ex-soldiers or ex-policemen. The Justice Department has been investigating for months now, but the alleged control room has not been scratched. Nobody touched the collaborators of the last act, the darkest, in the Trumpian season:
Rudy Giulianiformer mayor of New York, The Donald’s personal attorney; John Eastman, the jurist who came up with the craziest of theorems that Vice President Mike Pence had the power to nullify the electoral victory of Joe Biden. On the morning of January 6, the day Congress ratified the results of the presidential elections, Giuliani and Eastman took turns on the stage set up on the Mall, Washington’s monumental strip. Both excited the crowd, preparing the field for Trump, the coup leader with the blue coat and black gloves, as journalist Bob Woodward commented.

From direct experience, we can testify that many of those activists had not arrived with the intention of attempting a coup. Over the past two years, meticulous reconstruction conducted by federal agents and prosecutors has managed to distinguish between the militancy of the gullible (the theft of the election) and the danger represented by the most violent (fights, weapons). However, the Justice Department, led by Merrick Garland, has not taken the last fundamental leap: to establish whether the former president had criminally prosecutable responsibilities. The material available is impressive, in terms of quantity and quality. first with theimpeachment, then with the Commission of Inquiry, Congress collected a mass of films, testimonies, documents. Sure, the ethical-moral conclusions are one thing, it’s another to collect irrefutable evidence that supports them the most serious accusation leveled against Trump by the Parliamentary Commission: inciting and supporting an insurrection.

The operation is clearly late with respect to the political dynamic. In midterm elections last November, the Trumpian candidates, the supporters of the big lie (the stolen election) were defeated. But, and perhaps this is the novelty of this anniversary, this delay also clashes with the new course desired by Joe Biden. In the first two years of his mandate, the US president tried to detoxify the internal climate, presenting himself as a great peacemaker, evoking, not without some exaggeration, the examples of Abraham Lincoln or Franklin Delano Roosevelt. Then he tried to project the image of an America back at the helm of the world democratic front, as opposed to the autocracies, that is essentially China and Russia.

Putin’s attack on Ukraine added substance to these slogans. He pushed the USA back into Europe; he has restored centrality to the overwhelming military supremacy of the stars and stripes army. In 2022 Biden gradually descended into the role of Commander in Chief, the commander in chief, not only of his country, but of the entire West. For the White House it was the year of the great recovery of international credibility. The catastrophic withdrawal fromAfghanistanin August 2021, cannot be cancelled, but was then balanced by the intervention in defense of a sovereign state, a mortally threatened democracy.

January 6, however, reminds us that the Biden government and the entire American democracy have not yet come to terms with the internal breakdowns, with the vulnerabilities of the institutional structure. Many in Washington think that Trump will eventually be held accountable for his actions. But, in the meantime, back on track for the 2024 presidential elections: a challenge also to the judicial system.

January 5, 2023 (change January 5, 2023 | 23:10)

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The “return” of America and its internal breakdowns (two years after the storming of the Capitol)

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