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Texas Matters: Behind SB7 And The Capitol Insurrection

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Police clear the U.S. Capitol Building with tear gas as supporters of U.S. President Donald Trump gather outside, in Washington, U.S. January 6, 2021. REUTERS/Stephanie Keith
Police clear the U.S. Capitol Building with tear gas as supporters of U.S. President Donald Trump gather outside, in Washington, U.S. January 6, 2021. REUTERS/Stephanie Keith

As Senate Bill 7, the Texas Voter restriction bill, worked its way through the state legislature, we were told by state leaders like Gov. Greg Abbott and Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick that this drive, to make voting more difficult in the name of election security, was all a Texas effort. They said it not connected to a national agenda or even a response to President Trump’s re-election defeat.

That claim was shaky to begin with because so many Republican controlled states were driving the same kind of bills, using the same language and public justifications. It looked coordinated.

Now we know it was coordinated and who was calling the tune.

Leaked video from a dark money group tells us how they did it. Jessica Anderson, the executive director of Heritage Action for America, a sister organization of the Heritage Foundation is on camera bragging about writing these GOP voter suppression bills and controlling the optics to get them passed into law.

This scoop comes from Ari Berman, a senior reporter at Mother Jones, covering voting rights. He’s the author of Give Us the Ballot: The Modern Struggle for Voting Rights in America.

This week during a congressional hearing Republican Representative Pat Fallon of Texas described what happened that day:

“The Jan. 6 insurrection could it be more accurately described as a mob of misfits, committing disorderly conduct, violent entry, civil disorder, vandalism, unlawful entry, et cetera. You know, the crimes that these people were actually charged with,” said Fallon.

This is starkly different to how he explained that attack immediately after the event to WFAA TV.

“They breached right through the doors of the chamber and they started banging on the doors. They're standing their ground. They're not going anywhere. And... they just said, 'We're not leaving.' I said, 'All right, I'm joining you.' And then we started literally breaking off pieces of furniture to make us clubs,” he said.

On Wednesday Fallon joined other Republican congressmen who revised the history of Jan. 6.

“It was Trump supporters who lost their lives that day. Not Trump supporters who were taking the lives of others. There was an undisciplined mob. There were some rioters and some who committed acts of vandalism. But let me be clear. There was no insurrection and to call it an insurrection, in my opinion is a bold face lie. Watching the TV footage of those who entered the Capitol and walked through statuary hall, showed people in an orderly fashion, staying between the stanchions and ropes, taking videos and pictures. You know, if you didn't know, the TV footage was a video from January the sixth, you would actually think it was a normal tourist visit.”

But here are the facts: On Jan. 6, following a Trump-attended "Stop the Steal" rally, a violent mob attacked the U.S. Capitol with the intent to overthrow the results of fair election that Trump lost. Had they been successful it would have ended American democracy and ushered in a Trump dictatorship.

And that battle to save American democracy continues to this day as the Justice Department pursues those individuals in the mob.

Washington Post National Security Reporter Devlin Barrett joins us to explain an analysis of those charged in the Jan. 6 Capitol Attack

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David Martin Davies can be reached at dmdavies@tpr.org and on Twitter at @DavidMartinDavi