US Capitol riot hearing subpoenas Trump
The House Jan. 6 committee voted unanimously on Thursday to subpoena Donald Trump, demanding the former president’s personal testimony as he unveiled a startling new video of his closest aides outlining his multi-tiered plan. parties to reverse his 2020 election defeat that resulted in Jan’s assault on the United States Capitol.
« We need to request the sworn testimony of the central actor from January 6, » said Republican Rep. Liz Cheney of Wyoming, vice chair of the committee.
Trump is almost certain to fight the subpoena and refuse to testify. He did not immediately comment.
At the committee’s 10th public session, just weeks before the congressional midterm elections, the panel summed up Trump’s « staggering betrayal » at his oath of office. That’s how Democratic President Bennie Thompson put it, describing Trump’s unprecedented attempt to block Congress from certifying Democrat Joe Biden as a winner.
With startling new details and evidence, including from the former President’s Cabinet Secretaries and the US Secret Service, the panel showed that Trump was repeatedly told by those around him that the election was over. over, but he still orchestrated the high-profile effort to keep Biden from taking office. Several former aides testified that Trump said privately that he knew he lost to Biden.
In another striking new video, the panel showed never-before-seen footage of congressional leaders phoning officials for help during the Capitol siege.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer can be seen talking to the governors of neighboring Virginia and Maryland. Later, it shows Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell and other GOP leaders as the group asks Trump’s acting attorney general for help.
« They’re breaking the law in different ways — quite frankly at the instigation of the President of the United States, » Pelosi said at one point. “Do you believe that? she exclaims.
The video is from a documentary produced by Pelosi’s daughter, according to two people familiar with the matter who were granted anonymity to discuss it.
Earlier, in never-before-seen Secret Service messages, the panel produced evidence that extremist groups provided the muscle in the fight for Trump’s presidency, planning weeks before the attack to send a violent force into Washington.
The Secret Service warned in a December 26, 2020 email from a tip that members of the right-wing Proud Boys were planning to outnumber police on a march in Washington on January 6.
« It was like the calm before the storm, » a Secret Service agent wrote in a group chat.
The House panel warned that the insurrection on Capitol Hill was not an isolated incident but a warning of the fragility of national democracy in the post-Trump era.
“None of this is normal or acceptable or legal in a republic,” Cheney said.
« There is no defense that Donald Trump was duped or irrational. No president can defy the rule of law and act that way in a constitutional republic, period. »
Thompson’s and Cheney’s statements were laden with language frequently used in indictments. Both lawmakers described Trump as « essentially » involved in the Jan. 6 events. Cheney said Trump acted « premeditatedly. »
To illustrate what it called « deliberate lies, » the committee juxtaposed repeated instances in which senior administration officials recounted telling Trump the real facts with clips of him repeating the exact opposite while speaking. his pre-riot rally at the Ellipse on January 6.
The committee may well make a decision on whether to make a criminal referral to the Department of Justice.
Thursday’s hearing opened in a mostly empty Capitol complex, with most lawmakers at home campaigning for re-election. Several people who were among the thousands around the Capitol on Jan. 6 are now running for office, some with Trump’s backing. The police who fought off the crowd occupied the front row of the courtroom.
In a taped interview, former White House official Alyssa Farah Griffin said Trump looked up at a television and said, « Can you believe I lost to this (expletive) guy? «
The committee is also relying on the trove of 1.5 million documents it received from the Secret Service, including an email from December 11, 2020, the day the Supreme Court dismissed one of the main lawsuits. that Trump’s team had brought against the election results.
« Just FYI. POTUS is pissed, » the Secret Service wrote, according to documents obtained by the committee.
White House aide Cassidy Hutchinson, a top aide to then-chief of staff Mark Meadows, recalled that Trump was « livid » and « excited » about the court’s decision.
Trump told Meadows « something to the effect of, ‘I don’t want people to know that we lost, Mark. It’s embarrassing. Understand that.’
Cabinet members, including former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, Attorney General William Barr and Labor Secretary Eugene Scalia, also said in interviews broadcast at the hearing that they believe once the tracks lawsuits exhausted, that should have been the end of Trump’s efforts to stay. in power.
“In my opinion, that was the end of the matter,” Barr said of the Dec. 14 Electoral College vote.
But rather than the end of Trump’s efforts to stay in power, the committee signaled it was just the beginning – as the president summoned crowds to Washington for a rally to fight the Jan. 6 election.
Thursday’s session served as a closing argument to the panel’s two Republican lawmakers, Cheney of Wyoming and Adam Kinzinger of Illinois, who were essentially shunned by Trump and his party and will not return to the new Congress. Cheney lost his primary election and Kinzinger decided not to run.
The committee, after conducting more than 1,500 interviews and obtaining countless documents, produced a thorough investigation into Trump’s activities from his November election defeat to the attack on the Capitol.
« He used that big lie to destabilize our democracy, » said Rep. Zoe Lofgren, DN.Y., who was a junior House staffer during the 1974 impeachment inquiry of Richard Nixon. When did this idea occur to him and what did he know while he was doing this? »
This week’s hearing was to be the lawmakers’ last presentation before the midterm elections. But staff members say the investigation is continuing.
The Jan. 6 committee has been meeting for more than a year, set up by the House after Republican senators blocked the formation of an outside panel similar to the 9/11 committee set up after the 2001 terror attacks Even after launching its high-profile public hearings last summer, the January 6 committee continued to gather evidence and interviews.
Under committee rules, the Jan. 6 panel must produce a report of its findings, likely in December. The committee will disband 30 days after the publication of this report, and with the new Congress in January.
House Republicans are expected to drop the Jan. 6 inquiry and turn to other probes if they win control after the midterm elections, focusing primarily on Biden, his family and his administration.
At least five people died in the Jan. 6 attack and its aftermath, including a Trump supporter shot dead by Capitol police.
Police engaged in often bloody hand-to-hand combat as Trump supporters broke through barricades, stormed the Capitol and roamed the halls, sending lawmakers fleeing for safety and temporarily disrupting the joint session of Congress certifying Biden’s election.
More than 850 people have been charged by the Justice Department in the attack on the Capitol, some have been sentenced to lengthy prison terms for their roles. Several leaders and associates of the extremist Oath Keepers and Proud Boys have been charged with sedition.
Trump faces various state and federal investigations into his actions in the election and its aftermath.