Letter: Jan. 6 committee must have access to all relevant documents

Published 8:30 pm Tuesday, January 4, 2022

The following three paragraphs are from a letter I wrote last January regarding the Jan. 6 attempt to overthrow our democracy. It is still accurate and true:

“I watched on multiple stations: CNN, MSNBC, Fox and CSPAN. I watched other videos afterward on television and online.  

This is what I saw. The president spoke to supporters. He had urged them to come to Washington, D.C., to stop Vice President Pence and Republican Congresspeople from approving the results of an election that Joe Biden had won by more than 7 million votes and by a 306-232 vote in the electoral college. That is the first fact one must know: Joe Biden won the election as verified and certified by election officials in 50 states and multiple federal and state courts.  

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At the Washington rally, Mr. Trump told his supporters that they needed to march to the Capitol Building to stop the certification of the election. Donald Trump Jr. spoke warning non-supporters that “We’re coming for you.” Mr. Giuliani, Trump’s, spokesperson and lawyer, told the crowd to engage in “trial by combat.” The crowd marched to the Capitol Building, fought police, pushed over the barricades at the perimeter and swarmed up the Capitol steps. Some carried American flags, some carried Trump flags and some carried Confederate flags. At the Capitol Building doors, a mob physically overwhelmed the police and used weapons or whatever was at hand to smash windows to get inside.  Some cops fought the mob, some stepped aside, and one, Eugene Goodman, lured the mob up steps to protect Congress members. One cop was beaten by insurgents with an American flag. At this time, those police were all that was left to separate the angry mob from the members of Congress meeting to certify the election. I saw some members of the mob carrying ropes and chanting “Hang Mike Pence.”  Some invaded the offices of House members. Some carried zip ties and could be heard talking of capturing Congresspeople. While House and Senate members of both parties hid under desks or were rushed to safe places, the mob sacked the Capitol.”   

Since I wrote the above letter, we have learned that this was not a riot, but a coup attempt by a defeated president. Trump put pressure on Mike Pence to illegally not certify the election, pressured state election officials to “find votes,” lied about election fraud when none was to be found, and he watched the attempted coup as his subordinates and Fox News commentators begged him to call the mob off.  

Two things must happen: The House committee investigating Jan. 6 must have access to all relevant documents and witnesses to reveal the truth.  And Congress must pass a law to use the Guarantee Clause of the Constitution to overrule anti-democratic state laws and guarantee that every vote counts in all elections going forward. 

Ted Hinnenkamp

Albert Lea