Regional political experts split on real impacts of Jan. 6 hearings

Chairman Bennie Thompson, D-Miss., center, speaks as the House select committee investigating...
Chairman Bennie Thompson, D-Miss., center, speaks as the House select committee investigating the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol continues to reveal its findings of a year-long investigation, at the Capitol in Washington, Thursday, June 23, 2022. Rep. Adam Kinzinger, R-Ill., left, and Vice Chair Liz Cheney, R-Wyo., right, listen.(AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)
Published: Jun. 30, 2022 at 11:45 PM CDT
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DAVENPORT, Iowa (KWQC) - As the House Committee on the Jan. 6, continues to subpoena former associates of President Donald Trump, experts are debating where the hearings are heading, and the ultimate impact they’ll have.

The hearings wrapped up for June with a last-minute addition on Tuesday. Tim Hagle, a political science professor at the University of Iowa, said both parties are marketing the hearings for November’s midterm elections.

“According to democrats, [the purpose] is to find out sort of what went on in particular in terms of President Trump and his communications with various officials and aides,” Hagle said. “From the Republicans’ perspective, it’s political theater, and basically is no more than an attempt to try to energize the Democratic base.”

As Keith Boeckelman, the chair of the political science department at Western Illinois University explained, the committee doesn’t have the power to bring together criminal charges against President Donald Trump.

“They’re not, you know, a law enforcement body or prosecutorial body,” Boeckelman said. “However, what they can do is ... put this out in the public. They may put pressure on the Justice Department, for example, to issue an indictment, as more information comes out.”

A house committee like this isn’t unprecedented, Both agree it has similarities to the committee formed after the Watergate Scandal. However, even with Republicans Liz Cheney and Adam Kinzinger on the committee, Hagle said it has an issue with partisanship.

“They’re both picked by the democrats, they weren’t picked by the republicans,” Hagle said. “So this is kind of a one-way street sort of thing. That can cause some problems and has caused problems for the Democrats, where they put on witnesses that aren’t challenged in any way.”

According to Boeckelman no matter what comes out of the hearings, Trump’s base will still vote for the candidates he endorses.

“I don’t think that we’re looking at a situation where Donald Trump is out of the picture by any stretch,” Boeckelman said. “We live in a political age where more people have their minds made up, and it seems like fewer will change their minds.”

In terms of what has come out from the hearings, Hagle said the committee isn’t revealing too big.

“We know, of course, that there were communications going on and who said what to whom,” Hagle said. “There really hasn’t been that so-called smoking gun, so to speak.”

Meanwhile, Boeckelman points to former chief of staff aide, Cassidy Hutchinson’s testimony as damaging to President Trump’s case.

“She revealed that he tried to get the magnetic devices, that check for weapons, dismantled,” Boeckelman said. “I think that’s probably pretty damning legally.

The committee announced Tuesday that it subpoenaed Pat Cipollone, who served as White House Counsel to Trump. The committee is expected to take a few weeks off, and has not yet announced when the next hearing will be held.

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