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Making sense of the Jan. 6 hearings, Day 3

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An image of former Vice President Mike Pence on the night of Jan. 6 is displayed during the third hearing of the House select committee to investigate the attack on the U.S. Capitol.

WASHINGTON, DC - JUNE 16: An image of former Vice President Mike Pence on the night of January 6th is displayed during the third hearing of the House Select Committee to Investigate the January 6th Attack on the U.S. Capitol in the Cannon House Office Building on June 16, 2022 in Washington, DC. The bipartisan committee, which has been gathering evidence for almost a year related to the January 6 attack at the U.S. Capitol, is presenting its findings in a series of televised hearings. On January 6, 2021, supporters of former President Donald Trump attacked the U.S. Capitol Building during an attempt to disrupt a congressional vote to confirm the electoral college win for President Joe Biden (Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images) Drew Angerer/Getty Images

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During today’s Jan. 6 committee hearing, we learned about the role former Vice President Mike Pence played in responding to the insurrection at the Capitol. On the show, the hosts breakdown some of the key testimony and look to history as a guide for what they hope might come next in the hearings. Plus, we’ll introduce you another TikTokker with ridiculous geolocating skills. And good news for the ship that inspired the film “The Goonies”!

Here’s everything we talked about today:

If you’re watching the Jan. 6 hearings, tell us what your biggest takeaways have been so far. We’re at and (508) 827-6278 or (508) U-B-SMART.

Make Me Smart June 16, 2022 transcript


Note: Marketplace podcasts are meant to be heard, with emphasis, tone and audio elements a transcript can’t capture. Transcripts are generated using a combination of automated software and human transcribers, and may contain errors. Please check the corresponding audio before quoting it.


Kai Ryssdal: Oh, I guess we’ll start. Hello. That must be Juan Carlos Torrado driving, the guy who never gives any notice. Hi everybody I’m Kai Ryssdal, welcome back to Make Me Smart. Make Me Smart is a podcast, making the day make sense is what we do, no matter who is driving, no matter…


Kimberly Adams: Yes. And we love them all. I’m Kimberly Adams, thank you for joining us. It’s Thursday. We’re gonna keep it simple this news, share some make me smiles, and then leave you to go on your merry way. And with that, let us do the news. We’re going to talk about the same thing again, why don’t you take your points first?


Kai Ryssdal: Okay, so we’re going to talk January 6, and the hearing today, which I think the actual title of the hearing was Hang Mike Pence. You know, the the committee has themed each of their hearings. Today was the third, right third?


Kimberly Adams: Yes, it’s third because they can’t … Wednesday.


Kai Ryssdal: Right. Today was the third hearing, the theme was Hang Mike Pence, and they spent something like three hours minus a recess, I think, talking about how the President and his minions had pressured the Vice President corruptly to try to overturn the election. And I want to make three points. Number one is that I am still waiting for that moment when Republicans in positions of leadership – and you can call me just naive and innocent for saying this – but I’m waiting for that moment where we have the Hugh Scott, the Barry Goldwater and the John Rhodes of the modern era. And and I say that because…


Kimberly Adams: For people might not recognize the names…


Kai Ryssdal: I was about to do that. I was about to do that. I’m the history guy. I have context. Come on. So here’s why I mentioned that. So Hugh Scott in 1974, was the minority leader in the United States Senate. John Rhodes of Arizona was the House Minority Leader, the Republican in the House. And Barry Goldwater was probably the most influential Republican in the country who wasn’t named Richard Nixon. And in August of 1974, they went out of the White House and told Richard Nixon that he had lost the Congress, and that it was time for him to go. And some short number of days later, Richard Nixon, in fact, resigned. I am waiting for that moment when Republicans in leadership, and I don’t think I mean elected office leadership, because they have shown themselves not to be of that caliber, but Republicans in leadership to go to a microphone, right, not the White House, but to go to a microphone and say, Look, Donald Trump is corrupt. He corruptly tried to overthrow the election, and we simply cannot have that. And I’m still waiting. That came to mind today, because I think what we saw


Kimberly Adams: Can I pause you for a second?


Kai Ryssdal: Yes, of course, of course you can.


Kimberly Adams: When you say Republicans in leadership, but not elected leadership, because they haven’t done it. Who else are you talking about? What other Republicans?


Kai Ryssdal: I don’t know. Republicans of name? I can’t think of any off the top of my head.


Kimberly Adams: Liz Cheney.


Kai Ryssdal: Yeah, well, so. Go ahead. No, go ahead. Go ahead. No, I’m sorry.


Kimberly Adams: I just feel like a lot of Republicans have spoken out against Trump and been ostracized from the party as a result. And many of them, maybe they were in public service, but they aren’t anymore, because Trump-backed candidates forced them out, or they’ve been kind of shut down or walked away from politics altogether. So I don’t know who’s left other than the people who were brave enough to sit on this committee, and then the other folks who you were just talking about, who aren’t brave enough to acknowledge the truth.


Kai Ryssdal: Excellent point. Let me rephrase it. Not Republicans leadership, but leading Republicans. How about leading Republicans, right? Because there are lots of them out there. I unfortunately can’t come up with any names right now, off the top of my head. But we – and when I say we, I mean, the country – needs someone who can speak to people who are not already convinced by what the January 6 committee is saying, right? I happen to believe that they’re making a fairly persuasive case, right? But there are millions and millions and millions and millions of people who don’t believe that and we need people who can talk to them. Here’s wh…


Kimberly Adams: I mean, short of Tucker Carlson, I don’t think anybody is going to convince them because I mean…


Kai Ryssdal: You know what? Actually actually actually actually, Bridgette you should write this down. We should have a conversation about the media disadvantage that Democrats are under, right? Because Republicans have an enormous megaphone with Tucker Carlson and Fox News. Democrats, for all they’re trying, just don’t have that. And that is a competitive disadvantage and a politically divided time. So I think we should do something about that. But here’s why I bring up the Barry Goldwater moment, right? I think we saw a hint of that today in Mike Luttig in his testimony, and here’s why I say that. Michael Luttig, Judge Luttig, was – and is – an extremely conservative jurist. He is a “conservative” conservative, he was on George W. Bush’s shortlist for the Supreme Court. And he’s the guy who came out today and said out loud in front of Congress and the nation, Donald Trump and his associates are clear and present danger to the Republic. And I think that matters, that that is being said out loud, we need more people of even greater public stature than Luttig, who, you know, unless you happen to know who he is, you don’t know who he is, right. But there are others in this country who could be saying the same thing and have not yet. And I’m waiting for that moment. And then here comes a really controversial thing that I want to say about the hearing today. And I’m not the first person to say this by any means. But I think it has to be said out loud. I disagree with Michael Pence’s politics, as much as I can disagree with anybody’s politics, full stop. But as we saw today, it was an act of both moral and political courage and also physical courage to do what he did on January 6. And I think we have to acknowledge that. What he did was brave.


Kimberly Adams: Yeah, I mean, what really stood out to me, was the reconstruction of the evacuation of Mike Pence and his team from the Senate chambers. And at one point in that evacuation, they were 40 feet from the crowd of insurrectionists, who had just been shouting “Hang Mike Pence”, and there was documentation and people openly saying that they were ready to murder him, because of the things that Donald Trump had said. And this really hammers home what Kyle was telling us on Tuesday, we were so close, we were so close. And we’re still close. I have been watching all of these primaries as they’ve been happening all over the country, and there are a lot of candidates running and a lot of candidates who have won, that believe or either purport to believe the big lie. And these people are heading to Congress. And so the problems that we have now, in terms of people not speaking up, they’re about to get worse. This is one of the reasons why House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy is so hesitant to repeat what he said at the time, which was that Donald Trump lost the election. And that, you know, Joe Biden won the election. Because he’s got more people coming into his party that may not vote for him as speaker if they get the majority if he says out loud the truth.


Kai Ryssdal: Yes, yes. Sorry. Let me just interject real real quick on Kevin McCarthy. That’s part of what I don’t understand here, is the sacrificing of democracy for straight up political ambition. Kevin McCarthy being exhibit A, and Mitch McConnell being a not too distant exhibit A1, right, because McConnell wants to be Majority Leader in the Senate again, I don’t get it, truly I cannot understand it.


Kimberly Adams: I understand it as much as I understand any other element of human nature that makes you sad. Why do people harm each other? Why do people lack empathy? You know, I was just talking to Bridget about this today. She was saying how the goal of journalism, if you inform people about something, and they’ll care about it, and they’ll do something. And I had a gut punch a while back, and I think I processed it on the show when that report came out that said, once white people found out that COVID was more likely to impact communities of color, they were less likely to take safety measures. And you see versions of that repeating all over the place in our society, that once a certain group of people that lacks empathy in a particular way, sees that on a given issue, it may not affect them, they might lack empathy for those that it does affect. And I have to believe that this is a version of what we’re seeing. That people who value power are able, over all other things, are able to diminish the damage it will do to others because it’s not going to happen to them. And I had Bridget go back (and I think Marissa helped) to look up a show that we did, sometime between the election and January 6. And you and I were talking about all of the legal cases that were going on and on and on. And you had said something to the effect of they need to let it go and just move on. And I said no, they need to pursue every single legal avenue they want to, because if they don’t, the violence is going to, or the outcome and the backlash is going to affect more people, certain people more than others. And so this is why I’m so curious as to who could speak up, that would change people’s minds at this point. Because short of Donald Trump and Tucker Carlson doing a joint statement, “my bad, we were wrong”, I just don’t think certain people are willing to be convinced. I was stuck in an Uber last year with somebody who was going on and on and on about how Antifa was actually responsible for January 6, and it wasn’t as bad as everyone said. And I said, Well, here’s this bit of evidence. And he says, No, here’s this other thing. And I don’t believe that. And I was just giving him point after point. And, like fact after fact, and he just was like, no, no, no, that’s not true. You’re biased. And this, that and the other. And finally I said, what piece of information could I give you that would make you think differently about this? And he got really quiet. And he acknowledged there was really nothing! So then what do you do?


Kai Ryssdal: So what are we gonna do?


Kimberly Adams: Sorry, I went on a rant.


Kai Ryssdal: No, look. But that’s where this conversation inevitably leads, right? Because there are tens of millions of people in this country who you could sit them down and make them watch all seven sessions of the Joint Select Committee, or the select committee rather. And it wouldn’t change their mind. And I don’t know who the person is you could get to change their mind except that joint statement from Trump and Tucker Carlson.


Kimberly Adams: And so how do we adapt as a country to that? And I don’t know yet. But while we think of an answer…


Kai Ryssdal: I don’t think that’s adaptable. I don’t think we can adapt to that and stay the country we are. I don’t think we’re gonna adapt to that and stay relevant representative democracy. I don’t think that works.


Kimberly Adams: So here’s why I think we can. This country survived the Civil War, when people killed hundreds of thousands of our fellow Americans. Racism was such a huge part of it and continued to be a part of it. And the way that the nation was stitched back together definitely was at the expense of black people. But the country survived. Maybe not great, but it did. You’re the historian. What do you think of that?


Kai Ryssdal: Yeah, so look, I see your point. But I don’t think that a civil war is adapting, right?


Kimberly Adams: Sorry that’s a terrible example, actually. Oh gosh, that’s an awful example.


Kai Ryssdal: There’s a book by Garry Wills called Lincoln at Gettysburg, in which he lays out how through that speech we basically started over. So I don’t know that civil war is adapting. And also I think civil war today would just be completely different. It would just be orders of magnitude different.


Kimberly Adams: Actually, I totally retract that. That was a terrible example.


Kai Ryssdal: All right. Let’s get out of here.


Kimberly Adams: I was trying to grasp at straws there for hope. Save us from ourselves.


Kai Ryssdal: So the other day. The other day I talked about a thing that I had seen go by on my Twitter feed, about this guy who is a Google Maps savant, and he could look at this piece of video and tell you within a not long period of time, like exactly where the video was shot. Well, I followed this other person on Twitter named @Trung Phan, and his handle you can look him up he’s fascinating. Trung T-R-U-N-G-P-H-A-N, right? We’ll put this on the show page. And he does these really interesting threads and he goes down rabbit holes, and you can get lost if you’re not careful about what you click on from him. But anyway, he did a whole thread about how this guy and others who play this game, do what they do. And it’s about like memorizing street signs and knowing on which side of the road various countries drive and license plates and power poles and all kinds of crazy things. We will put this on the show page. It’s a really welcome diversion, a little palate cleanser on your timeline to get us away from January 6 and all that stuff. It’s just cray cray. It’s amazing.


Kimberly Adams: I’m just skimming through some of it now. It’s really cool. All right. I’m taking a risk here. Have you seen the movie Goonies?


Kai Ryssdal: I appreciate the preface. No, I have not, why do you ask.


Kimberly Adams: Okay. So Goonies is a movie about a bunch of kids who basically discover a hint to a secret pirate ship that includes all of this sunken treasure, that’s like near their neighborhood. And they finally find a way to get to it, but the whole time they’re trying to get to this pirate ship with all this sunken treasure, there’s this band of criminals that’s also trying to get to it at the same time and following them. And then the way to the pirate ship is like booby trapped and they’re getting around all these things and friendship and all this other stuff, right? It’s a really fun movie. It was inspired, apparently, by a real story of a lost Spanish galleon or something that’s been missing since 1693 off the northern coast of Oregon. Well, now, archaeologists, law enforcement personnel, and search and rescue teams, have apparently discovered wooden timbers that they believe were part of this ship. It was a Santo Cristo de Burgos. And so National Geographic has a piece on this. And it’s basically like. I mean, I doubt it’s gonna be like loaded up with treasure and all the other accoutrements of the movie, but it’s really cool that this story that seems to have inspired the Goonies if this ship has actually been found, or at least I think this ship has been found. Yeah, that’s my smile.


Kai Ryssdal: Good stuff. Good stuff. And so we’re done! On this, where are we, Thursday? We were a little heavy, but then you know, we brought some light at the end. So that’s good. We are back tomorrow with Economics On Tap. YouTube live stream. Standard Time 6:30, Eastern 3:30 out here on the Pacific coast. Join us for more. We’ll have a game. We’ll have drinks. We’ll have some news and then we’ll get you into your weekend.


Kimberly Adams: Indeed, so please keep sending us your thoughts and questions. Our email is, or leave us a message at 508-U-B-SMART. Oh birds chirping in the background.


Kai Ryssdal: Make Me Smart is produced by Marissa Cabrera. Olivia Zhao is our intern. Today’s episode was engineered by Jayk Cherry. Stealthily.


Kimberly Adams: Bridgette… hm?


Kai Ryssdal: Stealthily, he’s stealthily letting me know what’s going on.


Kimberly Adams: Bridget Bodnar is the senior producer. The director of On Demand is Donna Tam.

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