Jump to content
Please Register For Full Access To Merlin Warez ×
Sign in to follow this  
dvernb

January 6 hearing: Trump accused of attempted coup

Recommended Posts

Former US President Donald Trump orchestrated last year's Capitol riot in an "attempted coup", a congressional inquiry has heard as a hearing opened into the raid.

Liz Cheney, the Republican vice-chair of the committee, said Mr Trump had "lit the flame of this attack".

Bennie Thompson, a Democrat, said the riot endangered American democracy.

Trump supporters stormed Congress on 6 January 2021 as lawmakers met to certify Joe Biden's election victory.

After almost a year of investigation, the Democratic-led US House of Representatives select committee opened on Thursday evening by showing clips from interviews it conducted with members of Mr Trump's inner circle.

The timing was geared to reach huge evening TV audiences across the US.

Footage was aired of testimony by former US Attorney General Bill Barr saying he had repeatedly told the former president that he had lost the election and his claims of fraud were wrong.

"We can't live in a world where the incumbent administration stays in power based on its view, unsupported by specific evidence, that there was fraud in the election," said the former attorney general.

The hearing also featured a recording of testimony by Ivanka Trump, the ex-president's daughter, saying she "accepted" Mr Barr's rejection of her father's conspiracy theory.

And there was an audible gasp in the committee room as Ms Cheney read an account that claimed Mr Trump, when told the rioters were chanting for Vice President Mike Pence to be hanged for refusing to block the election results, suggested that he "deserves it".

Before the House inquiry opened on Thursday evening - the first of six hearings expected this month - Mr Trump dismissed it as a "political HOAX".

The former president has been publicly hinting about another White House run in 2024. He continues to peddle unsubstantiated claims that the last election was rigged by mass voter fraud.

The congressional committee is led by Democrats, who formed the panel after Republicans blocked attempts to set up a full independent inquiry. Just two Republicans - the staunchly anti-Trump Reps Adam Kinzinger and Liz Cheney - are taking part.

The goal of the committee is to provide a comprehensive account of not only the 6 January riot but the "coordinated, multi-step effort" to "overturn" the results of the 2020 presidential election.

Members plan to produce a report and possibly hold another hearing in September to outline their findings and offer suggestions for reforms to the US electoral process.

Mr Thompson, the committee's chairman and a Mississippi lawmaker, told the hearing: "Jan 6 was the culmination of an attempted coup, a brazen attempt, as one writer put it shortly after Jan 6, to overthrow the government.

"The violence was no accident. It was Trump's last stand."

Ms Cheney, the vice-chair of the committee and a Wyoming congresswoman, said: "Those who invaded our Capitol and battled law enforcement for hours were motivated by what President Trump had told them: that the election was stolen and that he was the rightful president.

"President Trump summoned the mob, assembled the mob and lit the flame of this attack."

Running just over two hours, the unprecedented prime-time congressional hearing on the Capitol attack was a decidedly mixed bag.

The video evidence of the 6 January events, and the dramatic personal testimony of officer Caroline Edwards, were powerful reminders of the pain and suffering that day.

The extended statement by Liz Cheney - who has put her career in jeopardy with her criticism of the former president - was full of allegations and accusations but overly dense.

An American sitting down to watch the proceedings instead of their regular Thursday night entertainment may have not received the slickly packaged production that was promised.

But if they had forgotten what it was like on 6 January - the desperation and the drama - there was plenty to remind them.

What they do with that reminder, however, remains to be seen.

Caroline Edwards, the first police officer injured in the attack, testified that she was called a "traitor" and a "dog" by the rioters before she was knocked unconscious.

She described later encountering amid the melee a "ghostly pale" Officer Brian Sicknick, who died a day following the attack after suffering two strokes.

"I was slipping in people's blood," Officer Edwards told lawmakers. "It was carnage. It was chaos."

"Never in my wildest dreams did I think that as a police officer, as a law enforcement officer, I would find myself in the middle of a battle," she added.

A British documentary filmmaker, Nick Quested, who was tracking the Proud Boys, a far-right group, on the day of the attack, also gave evidence.

He described his surprise at the anger and violence of the rampaging "insurrectionists".

Four people died on the day of the US Capitol riot: an unarmed woman shot by police and the others of natural causes.

More than 100 police officers were injured. Four other officers later died by suicide.

Republicans have dismissed the televised inquiry as a ploy to distract Americans from the political headwinds Democrats face with five months to go until the US mid-term elections.

Opinion polls suggest Democrats may lose control of the House and even potentially the Senate when the nation votes in November.

As Americans grapple with galloping inflation, soaring petrol prices and a baby-formula crisis, US President Joe Biden, a Democrat, has seen his popularity with voters dip below Mr Trump's approval rating at the same point in his tenure.

House Republican leader Kevin McCarthy - who was initially critical of Mr Trump in the aftermath of the Capitol riot, but has since shifted his tone - called the committee a "smokescreen" for Democrats to overhaul voting laws.

House Democrats impeached Mr Trump following the riot, with barely a week left in his presidency. They accused him of inciting insurrection, but he was acquitted in the Senate.

https://www.bbc.com/news/world-us-canada-61753870

 

  • Thanks 2
  • Check 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Press: How McCarthy blew it on Jan. 6

Aside from Fox News, there’s been almost universal praise in the media for the work of the Jan. 6 select committee. And rightfully so. Its first public hearing, on June 9, was a real tour de force. It was a compelling, made-for-television portrayal of the violent assault on the Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021 — and a powerful indictment of former President Trump, the man at the heart of it all.   

Most importantly, it was done with utmost gravity. No grandstanding. No playing for the camera. Just the indisputable facts, backed up by testimony from leaders of Trump’s own White House: After lying about election fraud for months, the outgoing president summoned his supporters to Washington, in an apparent attempt to stage a coup against the United States government.  

Monday’s second hearing, though less sensational, was equally powerful, with top Republican aides testifying that Trump knew he’d lost the election but lied about it anyway. He spread the lie among state legislatures in attempts to reverse the electoral vote count — and used the lie to raise millions of dollars from loyal but clueless supporters.  

Again, there are plenty of kudos for what a great job the Jan. 6 committee is doing. Unfortunately, there’s too little attention paid thus far to what a pathetic job House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) and House Republicans have done responding to the events of Jan. 6. From Day 1, it’s been a series of embarrassing mistakes.  

At first, in a rare moment of truth-telling, McCarthy said Trump was responsible for what happened on Jan. 6, “no ifs, ands or buts.” In a leaked audio recording, he said, “Nobody can defend that, and nobody should defend it.” That didn’t last long. After rushing to Mar-a-Lago to kiss Trump’s ring, McCarthy 180’d back to defending Trump, and has been doing so ever since.  

McCarthy’s next big mistake was refusing to agree to a bipartisan commission to investigate Jan. 6. Such a commission would have had an equal number of Republicans and Democrats, with equal authority to subpoena and interrogate witnesses. It would have joined the prestigious ranks of the Warren, Kerner, and 9/11 commissions. But McCarthy, ever fearful of offending Trump, dismissed the Jan. 6 insurrection as not worth an investigation — thereby handing Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) the opportunity to create the House select committee.  

Next, McCarthy tried to sabotage the committee by appointing Reps. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio) and Jim Banks (R-Ind.), both of whom were actively involved in Trump’s efforts to overturn the election. Again, McCarthy was outplayed by Pelosi, who rejected Banks and Jordan and offered committee seats to Republican Reps. Liz Cheney (Wyo.) and Adam Kinzinger (Ill.).  

Then McCarthy and House Republicans proceeded to undermine the Jan. 6 committee in a series of arguments that border on the absurd: that what happened on Jan. 6 was “no big deal”; that it was nothing more than a typical tourist visit; that it was another Democratic “witch hunt” against Trump; that it was all Pelosi’s fault; or, most despicable of all, that the blame lies with Capitol police officers, five of whom died following Jan. 6. Some even called the rioters who trashed the Capitol “patriots.”  

And that’s McCarthy’s shockingly inept response to the worst attack on our Capitol since the British burned the Capitol in 1814 and the most serious threat to our democracy since the Civil War. If I were a Republican, I’d sue McCarthy for malpractice.  

In the end, Cheney summed it up best. In a blistering statement that should be etched over the door to McCarthy’s office, she warned: “There will come a time when Donald Trump is gone, but your dishonor will remain.”

Press is host of “The Bill Press Pod.” He is the author of “From the Left: A Life in the Crossfire.”

https://www.msn.com/en-ca/news/newspolitics/press-how-mccarthy-blew-it-on-jan-6/ar-AAYrvBz?li=AAggNb9

 

  • Thanks 2
  • Check 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Capitol riot hearing: Vote workers detail death threats

Trump supporters threatened election officials and their families after they refused to quash his 2020 defeat, a congressional panel has heard.

The speaker of Arizona's statehouse, Rusty Bowers, told the committee probing last year's Capitol riot that the harassment continues to this day.

A Georgia voter counter said she was afraid to leave home after ex-President Donald Trump specifically targeted her.

The House of Representatives panel accuses Mr Trump of an attempted coup.

The select committee has conducted a nearly yearlong investigation into how Trump supporters invaded Congress on 6 January 2021 to disrupt lawmakers as they certified Democrat Joe Biden's election victory.

On Tuesday, in the fourth public hearing so far, the panel heard from election workers in the states of Arizona and Georgia. Mr Biden defeated Mr Trump in both states, which had previously backed Republicans for the White House.

"We received... in excess of 20,000 emails and tens of thousands of voice mails and texts, which saturated our offices and we were unable to work, at least communicate," Mr Bowers, speaker of the Arizona House of Representatives, told the select committee.

The witness - who campaigned for Mr Trump in 2020 - said the threats and insults have continued with protesters outside his house attempting to smear him as a paedophile.

"It was disturbing, it was disturbing," Mr Bowers said.

He recalled Trump lawyer Rudy Giuliani at one point telling him: "We've got lots of theories, we just don't have the evidence."

The panel also heard testimony from Shaye Moss and her mother, Ruby Freeman, who became the targets of conspiracy theories in their jobs as election workers in Fulton County, Georgia.

Although Mr Biden won the state by nearly 12,000 votes, Mr Trump and his supporters spread unfounded claims of mass voter fraud.

In recorded messages, Mr Trump had called Ms Moss "a professional vote-scammer and hustler", alleging the mother-daughter duo cheated to help Democrats.

"I've lost my name, I've lost my reputation, I've lost my sense of security," Ms Freeman said through tears, in video presented by the committee on Tuesday.

"Do you know what it feels like to have the president of the United States target you?"

Ms Moss said she faced "a lot of threats wishing death upon me", and that the harassment - including racial abuse - had "turned my life upside down".

"I no longer give out my business card. I don't want anyone knowing my name."

Ms Moss said she is reluctant to go anywhere, including the supermarket, and has gained about 60lb (27kg) in weight.

She told the committee that Trump supporters had visited her grandmother's home, looking for her and hoping to make a "citizen's arrest".

Lawmakers also heard from Republican poll organisers in Georgia about their difficulty in stamping out conspiracies fanned by Mr Trump.

Gabriel Sterling, a top election official in Georgia, told the committee that fighting the election scam claims "was like a shovel trying to empty the ocean".

His boss - Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger, whom Mr Trump repeatedly pressed to "find" the votes he needed to win the state - ticked through a laundry list of allegations made by the Trump team in legal action against the state.

"In their lawsuits, they alleged 10,315 dead people [voted]," Mr Raffensperger said, but a thorough review found a total of only four.

The secretary said further investigation had debunked other claims about illegal votes by underage and non-registered voters, as well as convicts.

"We had many allegations and we investigated every single one of them."

https://www.bbc.com/news/world-us-canada-61889593

 

  • Thanks 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Trump team didn't have the evidence and 4 other takeaways from the Jan. 6 hearing

Former President Donald Trump's team not only pressured GOP state officials to overturn the results of the 2020 presidential election he lost, but they knew there was no authority to do so, a key Republican witness said in testimony Tuesday.

"We've got lots of theories, but we just don't have the evidence," Trump lawyer Rudy Giuliani told Arizona House Speaker Rusty Bowers, according to Bowers, who testified to that Tuesday under oath before the Jan. 6 committee.

That was one of the eye-opening findings of the Jan. 6 committee's fourth hearing that showed the depth and breadth of Trump and his allies' pressure on local and state officials. But there was more.

Here are five takeaways from the hearing:

1. Trump's team knew it had no evidence or authority for its schemes

Bowers, a Republican who voted for Trump, said Giuliana wanted him to decertify the election by replacing the slate of popularly elected Biden electors with fake Trump ones.

Bowers, whose testimony was arguably the most compelling of any Jan. 6 witness so far, said he didn't know if Giuliani's comment that he had no "evidence" was a "gaffe," but that the multiple witnesses to the comment "afterwards, kind of laughed about it."

Bowers also testified that lawyer John Eastman, who was advising Trump and was at the center of the schemes to help him hold onto power, urged Bowers to decertify the electors – even if they didn't think or know if it defied the Constitution.

"Just do it, and let the courts sort it out," Bowers said Eastman told him.

2. Pressure was widespread, institutional and helped destroy personal lives

Bowers testified that Trump asked him to entertain the idea of replacing Biden's slate of electors and replace them with people who were pro-Trump. He said he didn't "want to be used as a pawn," and told the president, "You are asking me to do something to break my oath and I will not break my oath."

Bowers refused to bow to the pressure, citing his faith and oath to the Constitution, but he paid a price for that. He described a "new pattern in our lives" when groups would come to his home on Saturdays and sometimes issue threats.

He said his "gravely ill daughter" was upset by what was happening outside.

"So it was disturbing, just disturbing," he said.

The pressure was widespread, from a multimillion-dollar ad campaign and the institutional help of the Republican National Committee to Trump meeting with state lawmakers in person, making threatening phone calls, as well as delivering public speeches and tweets that spurred threats, protests at houses and doxxing of personal information.

Trump targeted Wandrea "Shaye" Moss, an election worker in Georgia, and her mother, Ruby Freeman. Moss testified that when that happened, she was inundated with threats, including one on Facebook Messenger in which someone wrote "Be glad it's 2020 and not 1920." Moss is Black.

Moss tearfully testified that her life has been turned "upside down." She said she won't tell people her name anymore, hand out her business card, even go to the grocery store. She said she's gained 60 pounds and doesn't "want to do anything" or "go anywhere."

"It's affected my life in a major way," she said, adding, "all because of lies."

All this, in a desperate attempt by Trump and his allies to help Trump hold onto power.

3. Members of Congress were in on the pressure campaign

One area that will see more follow up is spelling out just how involved certain members of Congress were. Tuesday's hearing revealed, for example, that Arizona Rep. Andy Biggs and Sen. Ron Johnson played roles.

Bowers testified that Biggs urged him to sign on to the decertification of electors. The committee also showed text messages between an aide to Johnson, Sean Riley, and Vice President Mike Pence's head of legislative affairs, Chris Hodgson. The text exchange revealed that Johnson wanted to hand new slates of electors for Michigan and Wisconsin to Pence on Jan. 6, but Johnson's staffer was rebuffed. Here's the exchange:

RILEY: "Johnson needs to hand something to VPOTUS please advise."

HODGSON: "What is it?"

RILEY: "Alternate slate of electors for MI and WI because archivist didn't receive them."

HODGSON: "Do not give that to him."

For its part, Johnson's office is now trying to distance the senator from the scheme. A spokesperson says the senator "had no involvement in the creation of an alternate slate of electors and had no foreknowledge that it was going to be delivered to our office."

These aren't the first members of Congress to be shown as somehow involved in the pressure campaign. It was also previously reported that Ohio Rep. Jim Jordan sent a text to Mark Meadows forwarding a theory that could be used to pressure Pence to throw out votes on Jan. 6.

There are also questions about a tour Rep. Barry Loudermilk, R-Ga., gave the day before the riot – with people who wound up storming the Capitol and who were taking photos of hallways and stairwells.

And committee Vice Chair Liz Cheney has said the panel learned that Pennsylvania Republican Rep. Scott Perry and "Multiple other Republican congressmen also sought presidential pardons for their roles in attempting to overturn the 2020 election." Perry denied the allegation.

4. Democracy is fragile, relies on people and their willingness to do what's right

The American elections system has long been revered around the world. As compared to other countries, the United States has had (largely) clean elections free of corruption. America's long history of peaceful transfers of power – until 2021 – has become a model.

That was attacked Jan. 6. The institutions survived, but only because of people.

"We say our institutions held," Thompson said. "But what does that really mean? Democratic institutions aren't abstractions or ideas. They're local officials who oversee elections. Secretaries of state, people in whom we've placed our trust that they'll carry out their duties. But what if they don't?"

That was made clear Tuesday. What if Bowers, for example, had gone along with Trump's ruse? What if, facing threats, lawmakers and elections officials in Georgia or Michigan or Pennsylvania or Wisconsin went along?

The lynchpin that holds the democratic system together is people willing to do what's right. How long can and will that last, if those people who want to do what's right are not supported by party leaders and elected officials in both parties and especially when their side loses?

5. Polarization on the right has become poisonous

Imagine a world in which Joe Biden lost reelection and in the transition period did even a tenth of what witnesses are saying Trump did – the phone calls, the arm-twisting, the denial of reality, the pressuring of state elections officials and spurring threats of violence.

Imagine that then dozens of Democrats who worked in his White House and on his campaign trying to get him reelected and state officials who wanted Biden to win all then testified to that pressure campaign.

Do you think Republicans would be sitting on their hands, complaining about the lack of cross examination?

Cheney implored people watching at home to "focus on the evidence. Don't be distracted by politics. This is serious. We can't allow America to become a nation of conspiracies and thug violence."

But there's little evidence any of this will change most conservatives' minds. Trump supporters have long been selling themselves a narrative of Trump that they have internalized. That has become nearly impossible to pierce, especially with facts.

Georgia election official Gabriel Sterling got to this point well. He noted that he argued with family members who were believing what Trump was telling them about a stolen election that wasn't.

"The problem you have is you're getting into people's hearts," Sterling said.

He relayed a story about a lawyer he knew sympathetic to Trump. Sterling took him through allegations they investigated and showed him, one by one, that they didn't stand up to scrutiny.

"I just know in my heart that they cheated," Sterling said was the lawyer's response. "And so, once you get past the heart, the facts don't matter as much."

When facts don't matter, that's a scary place to be.

https://www.npr.org/2022/06/21/1106344831/recap-jan-6-committee-hearing

 

  • Winner 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Right from the start of him standing for office I knew Trump was a wrong un. I had him pegged as a parasite and I've not been proved wrong.

Thanks dvernb for keeping up with this... next hearing is Thursday 23/6/22

I wonder why it's only you and I are interested in this political eruption?

  • Thanks 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Key takeaways of Jan. 6 panel Day 5: Trump wanted DOJ to promote his interests

After four years in power, Donald Trump never grasped that government isn’t supposed to be a tool for promoting personal interests, the Jan. 6 committee argued as it presented evidence Thursday about his efforts to overturn the 2020 election.  

Witnesses described Trump’s desperate efforts to rope the Justice Department into a plot to overturn the election — trying at every turn to persuade government attorneys to act as an extension of his campaign. 

Senior officials whom Trump had appointed testified that they tried to explain the department’s unique role to him: They worked for the American people and represented the federal government. The message never stuck. 

Frustrated that the department’s leadership wouldn’t falsely claim the election was “corrupt,” Trump nearly replaced the acting attorney general with a loyalist, backing down when he was told the move would trigger a cascade of resignations. 

He sought to use the department’s prestige and power to plant doubts about the election’s validity, the committee showed. Lost on Trump was the department’s singular purpose: enforcing the law — not doing his bidding.

“He wanted the Justice Department to help legitimize his lies, to baselessly call the election corrupt, to appoint a special counsel to investigate alleged election fraud, to send a letter to six state legislatures urging them to consider altering the election results,” said the committee chairman, Rep. Bennie Thompson, D-Miss.

 A few takeaways from the hearing:

Government officials repeatedly debunked conspiracy theories for Trump 

The Justice Department looked into various allegations of voter fraud and found nothing that would have overturned the results. 

Trump never let up. 

He browbeat department leaders, growing more insistent that they weren’t looking hard enough for fraud as Jan. 6, 2021 neared and Congress would certify Joe Biden’s victory. 

Jeffrey Rosen, the acting attorney general, testified that from Dec. 23, 2020, to Jan. 3, 2021, he heard from Trump virtually every day, with the president taking a break on Christmas. Trump would fixate on meritless allegations. 

Richard Donoghue, the acting deputy attorney general, described multiple meetings in which Trump pointed to a report alleging voter fraud in Antrim County, Michigan. The report contended that the error rate in the county was 68 percent. Trump wanted the Justice Department to use the report to show that the results “weren’t trustworthy,” Donoghue said. 

Donoghue said that the report was wrong and that the actual error rate turned out to be less than 0.01 percent. He said he told Trump it was an example “of what people are telling you is not true and you cannot and should not be relying on.” 

On another occasion, Trump told him about allegations of voter fraud in Pennsylvania, where there had been about 200,000 more votes than there were voters.

Donoghue said he asked a U.S. attorney in Pennsylvania, Scott Brady, to investigate. Brady concluded that there was no wrongdoing — merely a state election website that hadn’t been updated.

“In the weeks leading up to Jan. 6, the Department of Justice was fielding almost daily requests from the president to investigate claims of election fraud,” said committee member Adam Kinzinger, R-Ill. “Each claim was refuted time and time again, an effort [former] Attorney General Barr described as ‘whack-a-mole.’” 

Trump never found his Roy Cohn

Early in his term, Trump would complain that he didn’t have an attorney general in the mold of Roy Cohn, his onetime personal lawyer, who worked for red-baiting Sen. Joseph McCarthy of Wisconsin in the 1950s. Trump soured on his first attorney general, Jeff Sessions, for appointing a special counsel to investigate Russia’s involvement in the 2016 presidential election. Barr quit. And Trump nearly fired Rosen for failing to produce evidence of voter fraud.

Rosen told the committee that “the common element” of his meetings with Trump “was the president expressing his dissatisfaction that the Department of Justice had not done enough, in his view, to investigate election fraud.”

One person ready to accommodate Trump never got the job. Jeffrey Clark was a Justice Department environmental official whom the president considered elevating to acting attorney general in the final weeks of his term, in place of Rosen. The committee showed how Clark was ready to send letters inviting officials in Georgia and other swing states to throw out Biden’s victory because of “significant concerns that may have impacted the outcome of the election.”

In a job audition of sorts, Trump met with Clark and other senior Justice Department leaders on Jan. 3, 2021.  Sitting before Trump, Clark made an argument for why he should get promoted. He told the president that he would “conduct real investigations that would, in his view, uncover widespread fraud” and that he had the “intelligence and the will and the desire to pursue these matters in the way that the president thought most appropriate,” Donoghue said. 

Trump was tempted. Pointing at Donoghue and Rosen, he said: “‘You two haven’t done anything,’” Donoghue recalled.

In the end, Trump backed down and kept Rosen in place. Elevating Clark would have triggered mass resignations, crippling the department. 

Even as DOJ stayed publicly mum, a battle was brewing

As the battle brewed behind the scenes at the Justice Department, the officials who testified Thursday were silent publicly. After Barr resigned in December 2020, the new leadership kept quiet as Trump and his campaign spread falsehoods about the election and worked behind the scenes to bend the Justice Department to his will.

Justice Department leaders typically try to stay out of politics, and the officials may have thought their best bet was to say nothing publicly and try to ensure a smooth transition. 

But the silence of the FBI and the Justice Department at the time allowed Trump’s claims to gain steam in the conservative media.

That the Justice Department officials stayed silent for so long made Thursday’s hearing more revealing. Speaking out publicly gave their testimony added drama.

https://www.nbcnews.com/politics/congress/key-takeaways-january-6-panel-day-5-department-justice-trump-rcna34972

 

  • Thanks 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

'Just say it was corrupt' and 3 other takeaways from Thursday's Jan. 6 hearing

A president desperate to retain power and enmeshed in fringe internet conspiracies engaged in a multi-layer conspiracy, pressuring top Justice Department officials and grasping for straws of legitimacy for his election lies – facts be damned.

"Just say it was corrupt and leave the rest to me and the Republican congressmen," former President Trump said, according to testimony Thursday from Richard Donoghue, former acting deputy attorney general, in the fifth Jan. 6 committee hearing.

Donoghue, who took contemporaneous notes on that conversation, and several others with the former president, emphasized that it was an "exact" quote. Trump made the remarks in the transition period between the 2020 presidential election he lost and the Jan. 6 insurrection.

It was just one of many dramatic moments from the hearing that painted — in vivid color — scenes that seemed straight from a Hollywood political thriller.

But this was no movie.

It was the last days of the Trump presidency – and these hearings have shown just how thin a string was holding together American democracy.

Here are four takeaways from the hearing:

1. The details of the pressure on the Justice Department showed Trump crossing all over the lines of the department's independence.

Justice Department officials serve at the pleasure of the president, but presidential interference in the department's investigations and inner workings have long been frowned upon in the American tradition.

None of that seemed to matter to Trump, according to multiple witnesses Thursday.

Trump called and met nearly every day after Election Day with top Justice Department officials, peppering them with false allegations to investigate. But when he was told there was no evidence for conspiracy theory after conspiracy theory, it wasn't enough for him, witnesses said.

"We have an obligation to tell people that this was an illegal, corrupt election," Donoghue recalled Trump telling him, his notes shown on the screen behind committee members.

The clock was ticking on Trump, and the committee showed Trump to be a man who would do nearly whatever it took to stay in power — and saw the Justice Department as a key vehicle.

He publicly disagreed with his attorney general, Bill Barr, who quit under the pressure. Trump wanted Barr to appoint a special counsel. Conspiracy theorist lawyer Sidney Powell testified on camera that Trump asked her to be that special counsel.

Trump leaned on the new acting attorney general, Jeffrey Rosen, calling or meeting with him nearly every day with the exceptions of Christmas and New Year's Eve, Rosen testified. And Trump threatened to replace Rosen with someone who would act on his election lies.

2. If senior DOJ officials wouldn't go along, Trump would find someone who would.

Trump threatened to install Jeffrey Clark, a lower-level DOJ environmental lawyer, in the top job. Rep. Scott Perry introduced Clark to Trump, and Clark was ready to do Trump's bidding.

Clark was going behind his superiors' backs to meet with the president, violating department protocols, the officials said. Clark had drafted a letter pressuring state officials to take steps to overturn the election, citing evidence he didn't have for problems with the voting.

"This other guy just might do something," Trump told Rosen, Rosen recalled, noting Trump's frustration with Rosen for not pursuing his election lies as legitimate.

Donoghue, for the record, said he and others in the department investigated each of Trump's far-flung conspiracies. All were without merit, he said. He and Rosen testified to that and that they told Trump so – repeatedly correcting him "in a serial fashion," as Trump went from one allegation to another.

Trump and his chief of staff Mark Meadows even bandied about a far-flung conspiracy theory that Italian satellites had been rigged to switch votes from Trump to Biden. This went so far that, despite Donoghue calling the theory "pure insanity" and "patently absurd," acting Defense Secretary Christopher Miller, at Meadows' request, called the Defense attache in Rome, who also knocked down the conspiracy.

Trump, though, thought there was something there. Why? "You guys may not be following the Internet the way I do," Trump said, per Donoghue's notes.

Frustrated, Trump very nearly appointed Clark attorney general. He only balked when Donoghue emphatically noted in a high-pressure Oval Office meeting that he and many others would resign if Trump took that drastic step.

"What do I have to lose?" Trump said at one point, per Donoghue. Donoghue tried to convince him he, personally – and the country – had quite a bit to lose.

Donoghue told Trump that Clark's promises were hollow, that he could not deliver what Trump wanted and do so in a matter of days, especially because the allegations had already been investigated – and proven false.

"It's absurd," Donoghue said he told Trump. "It's not going to happen, and he's going to fail."

3. Several members of Congress sought pardons

Another striking element of Thursday's hearing was the revelation that several right-wing Republican members of Congress, who were in one way or another involved in Jan. 6, sought pardons.

Multiple witnesses, including lawyers and White House staff, testified that at least five, perhaps six, Republicans asked for pardons – Reps. Matt Gaetz, R-Fla., Mo Brooks, R-Ala., Louie Gohmert, R-Texas, Andy Biggs, R-Ariz., and Scott Perry, R-Pa.

There was some question as to whether Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, R-Ga. asked for one, as well, as a White House staffer testified that she heard Greene did, but didn't know firsthand. Greene denies that she asked for one.

All have denied wrongdoing.

"The only reason I know to ask for a pardon is if you committed a crime," Rep. Adam Kinzinger, R-Ill., who led the questioning Thursday, said.

Of course, it's also possible that these members, so deeply enmeshed in conspiracy, in their minds, felt a newly minted Justice Department under a Democratic president, would go after them.

"It's not a crime to request a pardon in the United States of America," said Rep. Jamie Raskin, D-Md., a member of the committee, on CNN after the hearing of his colleagues who asked for pardons. "No one can be prosecuted for that, but I think if we use our common sense, if we use our Tom Paynian common sense, then it would indicate some consciousness of guilt or some fear that you could be prosecuted for what you did."

4. No one was too big or too small for Trump's pressure campaign in his desperate attempt to stay in power.

These five days of hearings have revealed just how far Trump would go to hold onto power.

His pressure was unrelenting and multifaceted. And no one was immune, from people as high up in the government as his vice president and top Justice Department officials to others doing the work of implementing elections, like Wandrea "Shaye" Moss.

Moss testified on Tuesday that her life had been turned upside down, that her personal life had literally been destroyed because of Trump's no-holds-barred bid to cling to the White House.

He pressed diligent local election officials, who don't normally get any attention – let alone death threats – to go along with schemes he and those around him concocted to upend the American election system.

It has to pain Trump that it didn't work, that for all of his effort, he couldn't pull it off. With all this cast into a bright light, it will be notable to see how Americans move after this. Does Trump continue to wield the kind of influence in the Republican Party, or will he seem more vulnerable if he decides to run again in 2024?

https://www.npr.org/2022/06/23/1106701188/just-say-it-was-corrupt-and-3-other-takeaways-from-thursdays-jan-6-hearing

 

  • Thanks 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Jan 6 hearings: Ex-aide paints devastating picture of Trump

Up until now, the congressional committee investigating the 6 January attack on the Capitol was missing a key piece of the puzzle - the testimony of someone who could offer a firsthand account of the situation in the White House in the hours before and during the attack.

Cassidy Hutchinson, a former top aide to White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows, filled in the blanks. And she has painted a devastating picture.

A threat of violence ignored

Very early in the proceedings, the committee went to lengths to establish how the White House, and the president himself, knew that there was a very real threat of violence on 6 January - and did nothing to stop it.

Ms Hutchinson testified that Mr Meadows told her he thought, days before the attack, that things "might get real, real bad".

She spoke of how White House officials were warned of the potential for violence. And, in perhaps the most damning testimony so far, she said Donald Trump personally knew that members of the crowd at his morning rally near the White House were armed because they were being turned away by Secret Service officers - and directed them to the Capitol anyway.

"I don't [expletive] care that they have weapons. They're not here to hurt me," Ms Hutchinson said she heard the president say. "Let my people in. They can march to the Capitol from here."

A president enraged

Some of Ms Hutchinson's most damning testimony came secondhand, however. She recounted how a White House official told her that the president had insisted on traveling to the Capitol after his White House rally - something he said he would do during his speech. When he learned the motorcade was going back to the White House, he attempted to grab the steering wheel and wrestled with a Secret Service officer.

"I'm the [expletive] president," Trump said, according to Hutchinson. "Take me up to the Capitol now."

Later in the day, Ms Hutchinson recounted hearing Mr Meadows say that, upon learning that rioters were calling for Vice-President Mike Pence to be hanged, Mr Trump expressed approval.

"He thinks Mike deserves it," Ms Hutchinson said she overheard her boss say. "He doesn't think they're doing anything wrong."

In a trial court, such evidence would be considered hearsay and treated with scepticism. In the hearing room, however, it was explosive - and will be used by the committee to pressure senior Trump officials who have so far refused to testify, like White House top lawyer Pat Cipollone, to come forward and either corroborate or refute her accounts.

"If you heard this testimony today and suddenly you remember things you couldn't previously recall, or you discover some courage you had hidden away somewhere, our doors remain open," committee chair Bennie Thompson said at the conclusion of the day's hearing.

A composed witness

The January 6th committee, with its surprise announcement of a mystery witness and new evidence unearthed, set a glaring spotlight on Ms Hutchinson during her in-person testimony on Tuesday.

For a 25-year-old woman who four years ago was a White House college intern, she held up to the pressure remarkably well.

She answered the committee's questions in a calm, methodical voice, noting how and under what circumstances she gained the information she was recounting. The committee made a point of showing how Ms Hutchinson's office was just a few doors down from the president's Oval Office and how she controlled access to Mr Meadow's office, giving her a prime position with which to witness - and, at times, overhear - conversations between key figures in the run-up to the Capitol attacks.

Her meticulous recollection of events and account suggest she may have kept a record of the events during her time at the White House or, at the very least, has an electronic record of texts and emails that supports her claims.

Donald Trump's rebuttal

As Ms Hutchinson was giving her at times damning account of the president's actions before and during the 6 January attack, Mr Trump took to his social media platform and began trying to undercut her claims.

Much of it was typical of the way he has responded to past critics, saying that he hardly knows Ms Hutchinson but hears "very negative" things about her. He called her a phony and a "leaker" and suggested she was bitter because he didn't give her a job after leaving the White House.

He went on to deny many of the episodes Ms Hutchinson described and, once again, noted that he said in his rally speech that the crowd should march on the Capitol "peacefully".

It's always an open question whether any negative stories of Mr Trump's behaviour will dent his popularity among his supporters. Tuesday's testimony, and the five hearings before it, however, may remind some Republicans of the kind of chaos that frequently swirled around the Trump presidency and that, while he had some conservative accomplishments while in office, he also presided over his party losing both chambers of Congress and the White House.

Given that a potential 2024 opponent, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, is rising in head-to-head-polls against Mr Trump, these hearings may have caused real damage to the former president's political power.

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Takeaways from Day 7 of the Jan. 6 panel: Trump can't be 'willfully blind' in defending assembling the mob

No “rational or sane man” could possibly reach that conclusion given the dearth of evidence that the election was stolen, Rep. Liz Cheney said.

As it builds a case that Donald Trump plotted a coup, the House Jan. 6 committee is painstakingly seeking to undercut his argument that the 2020 election was stolen.

No “rational or sane man” could possibly reach that conclusion given the dearth of evidence and the abundance of top White House advisers who believed that he lost and needed to concede, Rep. Liz Cheney of Wyoming, the panel’s top Republican, said at the hearing Tuesday. 

Trump “cannot escape responsibility by being willfully blind,” she added.

Cheney’s argument seemed to be directed as much toward federal prosecutors as to the television audience watching the panel’s seventh public hearing; she has publicly said she thinks the evidence exists to charge Trump with a crime. One potential defense Trump could offer if he were to face charges is that he was genuinely convinced that he had won a second term and was simply trying to respect the will of the voters. Cheney argued otherwise, and the committee spent a sizable chunk of Tuesday’s hearing detailing all the aides and advisers who told him as much.

The latest star witness to rebut Trump’s claim of a stolen election is Pat Cipollone, the former White House counsel, who didn’t appear in person Tuesday. He gave an eight-hour videotaped deposition last week, parts of which were played at the hearing. 

In his testimony, Cipollone said he, too, believed there was no widespread fraud sufficient to overturn Joe Biden’s victory. What’s more, Cipollone said that in private conversations, White House chief of staff Mark Meadows said Trump would eventually depart the White House gracefully.

That didn’t happen. 

Takeaways from the hearing:

Cipollone agreed with Pence that he had no power to overturn the results

Vice President Mike Pence, who presided over the electoral vote count on Jan. 6, 2021, was under great pressure from Trump not to certify Biden’s win. He refused to comply, telling Trump the Constitution didn’t give him such sweeping powers. That act of defiance angered Trump. 

Testimony on Tuesday revealed that Trump was advised not to single out Pence in his Jan. 6 speech. But he ignored the advice. 

As the mob breached the Capitol that day, Trump tweeted that Pence lacked the “courage to do what should have been done to protect our country and the Constitution.”

Not only did Pence show “courage,” Cipollone said, but “I suggested to somebody that he should be given the Presidential Medal of Freedom for his actions.”

No medal came.

Twitter loved Trump

Twitter suspended Trump’s account two days after the attack on the Capitol. But a surprise witness — an ex-Twitter employee — testified that if Trump were anyone else, he would have been banned much earlier. 

Obscuring the person’s voice to preserve confidentiality, the committee played audio in which the former employee said: “Twitter relished in the knowledge that they were also the favorite and most used service of the former president and enjoyed having that sort of power within the social media ecosystem.”

In a tweet on Dec. 19, 2020, Trump told his followers about the rally planned for Jan. 6, promising it would “be wild.” He tweeted it as other options fell through and he shifted his focus to assembling a mob on Jan. 6, the panel argued.

The former Twitter employee feared that the tweet would lead to violence. 

“It felt as if a mob was being organized and they were gathering together their weaponry and their logic and their reasoning behind why they were prepared to fight,” the person said.

Trump’s former campaign manager feared ‘civil war’

Brad Parscale worked on both of Trump’s presidential bids, serving as campaign manager in 2020 for a time before he was replaced. Parscale traded text messages with Katrina Pierson, a former campaign spokeswoman, on Jan. 6. In his speech, Trump repeated the falsehood that the election had been stolen and that he had won “by a landslide.”

Parscale wrote to Pierson: “This is about Trump pushing for uncertainty in our country.”

“A sitting president asking for civil war,” he added.

Parscale went on to say he had “lost faith” in Trump.

After he told Pierson that he felt “guilty” about having helped Trump win, she wrote: “You did what you felt right at the time, and therefore, it was right.”

“Yeah, but a woman is dead,” Parscale wrote, referring to Ashli Babbitt, a Trump supporter who was killed during the riot. He added, “If I was Trump and knew my rhetoric killed someone.”

“It wasn’t the rhetoric,” Pierson wrote. 

“Katrina. Yes, it was,” Parscale replied.

Panel contacted DOJ after Trump tried to call a witness

At the end of the panel’s previous hearing, Cheney warned that Trump allies could be engaging in witness tampering and intimidation. 

At the close of Tuesday’s hearing, she said that Trump himself had tried to contact a witness and that the committee had alerted the Justice Department.   

“After our last hearing, President Trump tried to call a witness in our investigation, a witness you have not yet seen in these hearings,” Cheney said in her closing remarks. “That person declined to answer or respond to President Trump’s call and instead alerted their lawyer to the call; their lawyer alerted us. 

“And this committee has supplied that information to the Department of Justice,” she continued.  “Let me say one more time: We will take any effort to influence witness testimony very seriously.”

Cheney has said the panel routinely asks witnesses whether they have been contacted by Trump administration or campaign officials seeking to shape their testimony. Tuesday’s revelations now suggest there have been multiple efforts by those in Trump’s orbit to influence testimony.

At its June 28 hearing featuring former White House aide Cassidy Hutchinson, the committee highlighted two messages that witnesses had received. One phone call urged a witness to “continue to be a team player” and to keep “protecting who I need to protect” to “stay in good graces of Trump World.”

In another call, a witness was told that someone “let me know you have your deposition tomorrow.”

“He wants me to let you know that he’s thinking about you,” the witness said the person said. “He knows you’re loyal and you’re going to do the right thing when you go in for your deposition.”

NBC News and other outlets have reported that Hutchinson, a former top aide to Meadows, received one of those calls.

The Oval Office fight

The incredibly colorful descriptions of a “hot-blooded,” expletive-filled Oval Office meeting in December 2020 may someday be depicted in a TV drama series. 

But it’s the raw substance of the meeting that had the Jan. 6 committee really on edge. It was there that panel members believe Trump and his ragtag team of informal advisers plotted a coup to stay in power.   

During the impromptu gathering, conservative attorney and conspiracy theorist Sidney Powell, former national security adviser Michael Flynn and others had presented Trump with a draft executive order that would have directed the Defense Department to seize voting machines. The trio also wanted the president to appoint Powell as special counsel in charge of overseeing the operation and investigating allegations of widespread election fraud that the courts all across the country said didn’t exist.

White House counsel Pat Cipollone; Eric Herschmann, a senior adviser to the president; and others were livid over the harebrained proposal. Cipollone testified that the federal government had no authority to seize voting machines — “a terrible idea” — and that he viewed Powell as unqualified for any formal role.

“I was vehemently opposed — I didn’t think she should be appointed to anything,” Cipollone told the committee in a videotaped deposition Friday.

Powell told the committee she believed that Trump had, in fact, deputized her as special counsel during the meeting. But the gathering went on for hours with no resolution, and a frustrated Trump never pursued the plan further. 

Instead, an hour after the meeting broke up, he fired off a tweet urging his millions of followers to come protest the election results on Jan. 6. 

“President Trump turned away from both his outside advisers’ most outlandish and unworkable plans and his White House counsel’s advice to swallow hard and accept the reality of his loss,” said Rep. Jamie Raskin, D-Md.

“Instead, Donald Trump issued a tweet that would galvanize his followers, unleash a political firestorm and change the course of our history as a country.”

https://www.nbcnews.com/politics/congress/takeaways-day-7-january-6-panel-trump-extremist-riot-rcna36735

 

  • Thanks 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Jan. 6 panel shows evidence of coordination between far-right groups and Trump allies

The House select committee investigating the attack on the U.S. Capitol tried to make the case Tuesday that far-right groups and the effort to overturn the 2020 presidential election are inextricably linked, detailing the mobilization of extremist groups after then-President Trump sent a tweet on Dec. 19, 2020, calling for supporters to protest in D.C. on Jan. 6.

Near the end of the committee's seventh hearing investigating the insurrection, Vice Chair Liz Cheney revealed Trump had attempted to contact a witness who had not yet appeared in its public hearings. She said that person did not take the call and instead alerted their lawyer, who informed the committee.

The committee plans to hold its eighth hearing on Thursday, July 21, at 8 p.m., a source familiar with the planning but not authorized to speak publicly before the committee's official announcement told NPR. The committee has said that hearing will focus on Trump's inaction to stop the attack on the Capitol.

Trump's tweet spread like wildfire among extremists

Trump's Dec. 19 tweet, which read: "Statistically impossible to have lost the 2020 election. Big protest in D.C. on January 6th. Be there, will be wild!" spread like wildfire among far-right groups, said Rep. Jamie Raskin, D-Md.

In the hours after that tweet was posted, Kelly Meggs, the head of the Florida Oath Keepers, posted a message on Facebook pledging that his group would "work together" with the Three-Percenters and Proud Boys, two other right-wing extremist groups.

In a clip of video testimony, Donell Harvin, former D.C. homeland security chief, said his agency had intelligence of "very, very violent individuals" from these groups organizing to come to Washington, D.C. on Jan. 6.

"These non-aligned groups were aligning, and all the red flags went up at that point," he said. "When you have armed militia collaborating with white supremacy groups, collaborating with conspiracy theory groups online, all for the common goal, you start seeing what we call in terrorism a blended ideology, and that's a very, very bad sign."

The committee laid out evidence that people in Trump's orbit were involved with these extremist groups.

The panel pointed to one-time Trump National Security Advisor Michael Flynn being photographed with members of the Oath Keepers outside the Capitol six days before he was in an Oval Office meeting about overturning the election.

The committee also revealed an encrypted chat called F.O.S. (Friends of Roger Stone), a Trump associate, that included leaders of the Proud Boys and Oath Keepers as well as the organizer of Trump's Jan. 6 rally.

A Twitter employee who testified anonymously said that in the aftermath of Trump's tweet, "It felt as if a mob was being organized, and they were gathering together their weaponry, their logic and their reasoning behind why they were prepared to fight."

Trump kept march to the Capitol under wraps

The committee shared evidence that Trump planned to tell his supporters to march on the Capitol, but instead kept it under wraps until the day of his speech.

The committee shared a draft tweet that wasn't sent, urging attendees to arrive early and march to the Capitol afterwards. The committee also shared a Jan. 4 text message from rally organizer Kylie Kremer, in which she told election conspiracy theorist Mike Lindell that Trump would "call for [the march] unexpectedly" but they didn't want word to get out in advance to avoid a countermarch.

The panel noted that despite the intention to keep the march plan largely quiet, people connected to far-right groups did have advance knowledge of it.

"Ellipse then US Capitol. Trump is supposed to order us to Capitol at the end of his speech but we will see," read a text displayed by the committee from "Stop the Steal" founder Ali Alexander, whom Rep. Stephanie Murphy called an "activist known for his violent political rhetoric."

Message proliferated across right-wing media

The committee detailed how Trump's Dec. 19 tweet spread across right-wing media platforms and among right-wing personalities.

"He is now calling for we the people to take actions and to show our numbers," said far-right radio host Alex Jones.

Another pro-Trump Youtuber said Jan. 6 would be a "red wedding," which Raskin noted is tantamount to "mass slaughter."

The panel pointed to one-time Trump National Security Advisor Michael Flynn being photographed with members of the Oath Keepers outside the Capitol six days before he was in an Oval Office meeting about overturning the election.

The committee also revealed an encrypted chat called F.O.S. (Friends of Roger Stone), a Trump associate, that included leaders of the Proud Boys and Oath Keepers as well as the organizer of Trump's Jan. 6 rally.

A Twitter employee who testified anonymously said that in the aftermath of Trump's tweet, "It felt as if a mob was being organized, and they were gathering together their weaponry, their logic and their reasoning behind why they were prepared to fight."

'We were basically doing what he said'

Stephen Ayres, who pleaded guilty to one charge of disorderly and disruptive conduct for his actions on Jan. 6, was part of the crowd that marched to the Capitol. He testified he had not planned to go to the Capitol, but decided to after Trump "got everybody riled up, told everybody to head on down."

"We basically were just following what he said," Ayres said.

He added that he thought the president would be marching alongside his supporters.

"I think everybody thought he was going to be coming down," he said. "He said it in his speech, you know, kind of like he's gonna be there with us. I mean, I believed it."

Asked by Rep. Murphy what made him decide to leave the Capitol that day, Ayres cited a tweet from Trump telling his supporters to "go home."

"We literally left right after that came out," Ayres testified. "To me, if he would have done that earlier in a day — 1:30 — you know, maybe we wouldn't be in this bad of a situation or something."

In the committee room, Ayres approached a group of police officers who were attacked by the violent pro-Trump mob and offered his apologies.

Also testifying before the committee in-person was Jason Van Tatenhove, a former spokesman for the Oath Keepers.

He described the group as a "violent militia."

Van Tatenhove said over time, the group "drifted further and further right into the alt-right world, into white nationalists and even straight-up racists, and it came to a point where I could no longer continue to work for them."

"The best illustration for what the Oath Keepers are happened Jan. 6. We saw that stacked military formation going up the stairs of our Capitol," he said.

He said the group's president, Stewart Rhodes, asked him to "create a deck of cards" identifying people the group should target, including "different politicians, judges, [and]Hillary Clinton as the Queen of Hearts."

"You may remember back to the conflict in the Middle East where our own military created a deck of cards, which was a who's who of kind of the key players on the other side that they wanted to take out," he described. "This is a project that I refused to do."

Rep. Raskin said the committee learned Rhodes stopped to buy weapons on his way to Washington, D.C. and shipped roughly $7,000 worth of tactical gear to a Jan. 6 rally planner in Virginia before the attack.

Van Tatenhove said the public was "exceedingly lucky that more bloodshed did not happen."

"All we have to look at as the iconic images of that day with the gallows set up for Mike Pence, the vice president of the United States," he said.

Van Tatenhove warned: "I do fear for this next election cycle because who knows what that might bring.

'I feel guilty for helping him win'

Former Trump campaign manager Brad Parscale blamed his former boss' incendiary rhetoric during his speech at the Ellipse for the violence that ensued at the U.S. Capitol.

"This week I feel guilty for helping him win," he said in excerpts from texts he exchanged with rally organizer Katrina Pierson that the committee shared.

Pierson responded that Parscale did what he felt right at the time, to which Parscale replied, "Yeah. But a woman is dead," adding: "If I was Trump and knew my rhetoric killed someone."

"It wasn't the rhetoric," Pierson responded.

"Katrina. Yes it was," Parscale texted back.

'Unhinged' West Wing meeting

Throughout the series of hearings, the committee has provided evidence that Trump knew there was no basis for his claims of election fraud and yet he and his closest allies continued to pursue avenues to stay in power.

During Tuesday's hearing, the committee detailed an explosive meeting at the White House on Dec. 18, 2020, in which outside advisers to Trump and White House officials clashed over election fraud conspiracy theories.

"What they were proposing, I thought, was nuts," said former White House lawyer Eric Herschmann.

He recalled an exchange with attorney Sidney Powell about the integrity of judges who had ruled on the Trump team's legal challenges.

"She says, 'Well, the judges are corrupt,'" he recounted. "I'm like — 'Every one? Every single case in the country you guys lost? Every one of them is corrupt? Even the ones we appointed?'"

What's next

Cheney previewed the next hearing and said it will focus on Trump's behavior during the violence of Jan. 6.

The committee has said the hearing will fill in a 187-minute timeline when Trump was silent inside the White House as the riot unfolded.

Chairman Bennie Thompson, D-Miss., told reporters after Tuesday's hearing the upcoming hearing will be the final in the current series of televised hearings, but he wouldn't completely rule out additional hearings in the future. The committee is expected to release a final report on its findings in the fall.

https://www.npr.org/2022/07/12/1111132464/jan-6-hearing-recap-oath-keepers-proud-boys

 

  • Thanks 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

14 key moments from the Jan. 6 committee hearings — so far

The Jan. 6 committee hearings have produced lots of fireworks and eye-opening moments.

Ahead of its final – at least for now – hearing in prime time Thursday, we thought we'd recap some of the standout moments made so far, as the committee has laid out its case that former President Trump is responsible for the insurrection that took place.

Here are 14 key moments as the hearings played out.

1. Cheney chides GOP colleagues.

Vice Chair Liz Cheney, R-Wyo., who was stripped of her House leadership position because of her defiance of Trump, was off to the races in these hearings. She sent a clear message to her Republican colleagues on Capitol Hill in the first hearing in prime time.

"Tonight, I say this to my Republican colleagues who are defending the indefensible," she said. "There will come a day when Donald Trump is going, but your dishonor will remain."

2. Barr tells Trump claims of election fraud were "b*******."

That pretty much sums it up.

Even Trump's daughter, Ivanka, said Barr convinced her that Biden won.

"I respect Attorney General Barr so I accepted what he said," she said.

3. "Intoxicated" Rudy Giuliani encouraged Trump to declare victory on Election Night.

Many of Trump's top campaign advisers, including his campaign manager, told the president not to declare victory on Election Night.

But, it was revealed, a "definitely intoxicated" Giuliani disagreed and encouraged the president to go ahead and do so.

4. Pence lawyer says the vice president refused to leave the Capitol on Jan. 6.

The rioters were just 40 feet from former Vice President Mike Pence and his team, but Pence "refused to get into the car" to leave the Capitol, Pence lawyer Greg Jacob said in his testimony.

He wanted to continue the counting of the electoral votes. "The vice president did not want to take any chance that the world would see the vice president of the United States fleeing the United States Capitol," Jacob said.

The committee also revealed a chilling quote, noting that an informant from white supremacist group Proud Boys told the FBI that the group "would have killed Mike Pence if given the chance." According to former White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows aide Cassidy Hutchinson, Trump said of people outside the Capitol on Jan. 6 chanting to hang Pence, that Pence "deserves it."

5. Arizona House speaker says Giuliani admitted he had no evidence of fraud.

Rusty Bowers, speaker of the Arizona state House, testified that he refused to bow to pressure from Trump and Giuliani to overturn the state's election results. In fact, at one point, Bowers said Giuliani admitted he had no evidence.

"'We have lots of theories, we just don't have the evidence,'" Bowers said Giuliani told him.

The committee detailed a fake electors scheme that had been concocted by Trump allies to try and keep Trump in power. Even Sen. Ron Johnson, R-Wisc., was involved, wanting to deliver a slate of fake electors to the vice president.

A spokesperson for Johnson said the senator "had no involvement in the creation of an alternate slate of electors and had no foreknowledge that it was going to be delivered to our office."

6/7. Election worker and former Trump supporter say their lives have been ruined.

Trump's pressure campaign ruined personal lives – and not just of his opponents.

Georgia election worker Shaye Moss fought back tears when she testified that after Trump falsely accused her of committing fraud, her life has been turned "upside down." She said she doesn't go out anymore for fear of being recognized, will no longer do her election job and has gained weight.

"I second-guess everything that I do," she said. "It's affected my life in a major way — in every way. All because of lies."

Former Trump supporter Stephen Ayres, who was at the Capitol on Jan. 6, testified in the last hearing that after pleading guilty to disorderly and disruptive conduct in a restricted building, he lost his job and sold his house.

"it definitely, it changed my life," Ayres said, "not for the good, not for the better." And he blames Trump – and his election lie. To Trump supporters still buying the lie, Ayres said: "Take the blinders off. Make sure you see what's going on before it's too late."

8. Trump's acting attorney general says Trump wanted the machines seized.

Jeffrey Rosen, who was Trump's acting attorney general, testified that Trump wanted the Justice Department to seize voting machines. Rosen rebuffed that, said there was no problem with the machines and said there was "no legal authority" to do so.

In the latest hearing, we learned of a draft executive order dated Dec. 16, 2020, that directed the military to seize voting machines. The order was ultimately not issued.

9. Top DOJ official says Trump told him to "just say it was corrupt and leave the rest to me and the Republican congressmen."

In a desperate attempt to cling to power, Trump threw out conspiracy theory after conspiracy theory that he'd read on the Internet or had been fed to him by others. Richard Donoghue, an acting attorney general under Trump, debunked them one by one, dismissing them to the Jan. 6 committee as "pure insanity."

Donoghue said when Rosen told Trump that the DOJ "can't and won't snap its fingers and change the outcome of the election," Trump said, "That's not what I'm asking you to do. What I'm asking you to do is, just say it was corrupt and leave the rest to me and the Republican congressmen."

Donoghue called that "an exact quote" from the president. And multiple witnesses said various Republican members of Congress requested pardons: Reps. Matt Gaetz, of Florida, Mo Brooks of Alabama, Louie Gohmert of Texas, Andy Biggs of Arizona, and Scott Perry of Pennsylvania.

10. Trump knew supporters were armed, but he welcomed them anyway.

Many of Trump's supporters on Jan. 6 were armed, dangerous – and welcome.

In her eye-popping testimony, Hutchinson, the aide to the president's chief of staff, said Trump demanded they be let into his speech despite the security warnings.

"'You know, I don't effing care that they have weapons,'" Hutchinson quoted the president as saying. "'They're not here to hurt me. Take the effing [magnetometers] away. Let my people in.'"

11. Hutchinson details that Trump tried to grab the steering wheel of a presidential vehicle in protest of the Secret Service refusing to drive him to the Capitol.

Hutchinson said she was told the former president grew "irate" that the Secret Service would not allow him to march to the Capitol, again, due to security concerns. When the Secret Service wouldn't drive him to the Capitol, either, Trump, she said, according to those involved, attempted to grab the steering wheel and then lunged at the agent driving it.

"'I am the effing president, take me up to the Capitol now,'" Hutchinson testified that the president said, based on what she had heard from the lead agent on Trump's detail. Hutchinson herself was not in the vehicle.

12. And that's to say nothing of the president throwing a plate of food at the wall that left ketchup dripping from it.

After Barr, Trump's former attorney general, did an interview in which he said there was no widespread fraud in the election sufficient to overturn the election, Hutchinson testified that Trump was "extremely angry.

She said she found ketchup dripping from the wall and a shattered plate on the ground of the White House dining room. Trump had apparently thrown his lunch against the wall. Hutchinson testified that she helped a staffer clean it up. That wasn't the only time Trump had reacted that way during her tenure, she said.

13. Trump tried to call a witness.

Cheney dropped this bombshell at the end of the last hearing:

"After our last hearing, President Trump tried to call a witness in our investigation. A witness you have not yet seen in these hearings. That person declined to answer or respond to President Trump's call and instead alerted their lawyer to the call. Their lawyer alerted us. And this committee has supplied that information to the Department of Justice. Let me say one more time: we will take any effort to influence witness testimony very seriously."

It's unclear what crime could have been committed if Trump didn't speak with the person, but it's an eyebrow-raiser, suggesting the former president is paying attention and perhaps is nervous about the narrative that's forming.

14. Giuliani called White House professionals who wouldn't go along with his conspiratorial schemes to keep Trump in power "a bunch of p******."

The last hearing spent a significant amount of time detailing a fateful Dec. 18, 2020, meeting in which several conspiratorial supporters of the former president, including Giuliani, lawyer Sidney Powell and former Overstock.com CEO Patrick Byrne were trying to sell the president on extreme ways to stay in power.

It led to White House lawyer Eric Herschmann saying what they were putting forward was "nuts" and things almost came to blows with Giuliani, himself admitting he said they were "not tough enough" or, less politely, "a bunch of p******."

"Excuse the expression," Giuliani says, "but I'm almost certain the word was used."

That word was apparently thrown around quite a bit in Trump's orbit, because Trump himself called Pence the"p" word on the morning of Jan. 6 for not having the "courage" to go along with his scheme to stop the ceremonial counting of the electors, according to his daughter Ivanka Trump's former chief of staff, Julie Radford.

It was all not quite this... but not too far off:

https://www.npr.org/2022/07/19/1112177450/14-key-moments-from-the-jan-6-committee-hearings-so-far

 

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks dvernb for keeping us updated. I've been missing a lot of the recent action re the Trump debacle hearings.

I've been away from all the forums due to the gardening season.  It does take up a great amount of time for me... Sorry for my absence.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Jan. 6 hearing key takeaways: The riot was Trump's last hope, and the next day, he still refused to say the election was over

The committee painted the attack on the Capitol as the last gasp of Trump’s effort to cling to power while revealing new details about his refusal to call off the mob and outtakes of remarks.

As a violent mob overran the Capitol after his rally on Jan. 6, Donald Trump wasn't sorry or alarmed, the House Jan. 6 committee showed in a public hearing Thursday night. 

The attack served as his last, slim hope of retaining power by delaying certification of Joe Biden’s victory, the committee argued. And Trump didn’t want to see the riot quelled too quickly as Congress met to tally the electoral votes.

So, the 45th president watched the melee unfold on Fox News in his private dining room off the Oval Office. Aides came in and implored him to make a statement condemning the violence and calling on the rioters to go home. Instead, he watched more television. He called a senator about delaying the presidential vote count; he phoned his private attorney Rudy Giuliani. But he didn’t summon the Pentagon, or deploy the National Guard, or mobilize any of the law enforcement agencies needed to quash the riot and permit the transfer of power central to a functioning democracy.

That wasn’t an accident or a bout of indecision on Trump’s part, the committee members said. It was part of a deliberate plan. 

"Rather than uphold his duty to the Constitution, President Trump allowed the mob to achieve the delay he hoped would keep him in power,” said Rep. Elaine Luria, D., Va., a committee member. 

The committee’s primetime hearing focused on the 187 minutes between the end of Trump’s speech at the Ellipse at 1:10 p.m. and the moment at 4:17 p.m. when he sent out a video telling his supporters he loved them and urging them to go home. It was among the most revealing of the eight sessions held so far, with harrowing audio of Secret Service agents scrambling to lead then-Vice President Mike Pence to safety as the mob closed in.

Airing outtakes of a Trump address the following day, the committee showed him refusing to state plainly that the election was over. He insisted the line be removed from his remarks.

With more evidence coming in daily, the committee plans to hold additional hearings in September. 

Here are some key takeaways from Thursday night:

Trump had opportunities to call off the attack, if that’s what he wanted.

A new witness who testified before the committee this week described a conversation between two White House lawyers, Pat Cipollone and Eric Herschmann, surrounding a call that had been arranged with the Pentagon about stopping the attack. Cipollone wound up taking the call because, as Herschmann described it, “the president doesn’t want anything done.”

Mark Milley, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, didn’t hear from Trump about the riot; he spoke instead to Pence.

The panel played audio from its interview with Milley, who said of Trump: “You know, you’re the commander in chief. You’ve got an assault going on in the Capitol of the United States of America. And there’s nothing? No call? Nothing? Zero?”

Trump learned the Capitol was under siege within minutes of finishing his speech that day and returning to the White House, according to witness testimony. At any point, he could have made the short walk from the dining room into the White House press briefing room and given a public statement telling his supporters to leave the building. He didn’t do it.

Trump’s supporters hung on his every word

Trump has an emotional hold over his base that is unique in presidential politics. When he speaks, his voters pay attention. That’s one reason why his aides wanted him to swiftly issue a statement denouncing the violence and urging the rioters to stand down.

“I worked on the campaign, I traveled around the country going to countless rallies with him,” said Sarah Matthews, a former Trump White House press aide and one of two witnesses appearing live Thursday. “I see the impact that his words have on his supporters. They latch onto every tweet and word that he says.”

Instead of using his considerable influence to end the riot at an earlier point, Trump inflamed matters by sending out a tweet at 2:24 p.m. saying Pence lacked the “courage to do what should have been done,” witnesses told the committee.

At a time when Pence’s life was in danger, that tweet was “potentially giving the green light to these people,” Matthews added. “Telling them that what they were doing by entering the Capitol was OK and that they were justified in their anger. He shouldn’t have been doing that. He should have told people to go home and condemned the violence that we were seeing.”

To demonstrate how his supporters hung on every word, the panel played radio transmissions of Oath Keepers — some of whom were in the Capitol — discussing Trump’s 2:38 p.m. tweet telling them not to attack the police.

“Trump just tweeted, ‘Please support our Capitol Police. They are on our side. Do not harm them,’” one Oath Keeper said to the group.

“That’s saying a lot by what he didn’t say: He didn’t say not to do anything to the congressmen,” another Oath Keeper replied.

Committee singles out Hawley and McCarthy, shows they feared the rioters

One of the most iconic images of Jan. 6 is of Sen. Josh Hawley, R-Mo., pumping his fist in the air in solidarity with Trump supporters who were gathering outside the Capitol before the riot began.

A Capitol Police officer, who witnessed Hawley, told the committee that the senator’s gesture “riled up the crowd,” Luria said.

“And it bothered her greatly because he was doing it in a safe space, protected by the officers and the barriers.”

Later that afternoon, Luria said, Hawley was one of the senators who ran from those same rioters as they breached the Capitol building and then the Senate chamber itself.

“Senator Hawley fled after those protesters he helped to rile up stormed the Capitol,” the congresswoman said.

When the committee played a surveillance video of Hawley running through the Senate halls to safety, the hearing room erupted in laughter. Hawley, a Trump ally, is often mentioned as a possible presidential candidate in 2024.

“Think about what we’ve seen,” Luria said. “Undeniable violence at the Capitol. The vice president being evacuated to safety by the Secret Service. Senators running through the hallways of the Senate to get away from the mob.”

Later in the hearing, the committee played a video montage of witnesses testifying that McCarthy, one of Trump’s most loyal allies on the Hill, also was fearful of the violent rioters who had smashed windows in his office and sent his staffers fleeing. He phoned Trump, first lady Melania Trump, Pence and his top aide, and others, trying to get the president to call off the mob.

Ivanka Trump and Jared Kushner, Trump’s daughter and son-in-law, got calls from McCarthy too. Kushner was in the shower, he said in recorded testimony played Thursday, but had grown close to McCarthy, so he answered it.

“He told me it was getting really ugly over at the Capitol and said, ‘Please, you know, anything you could do to help I would appreciate it,’” Kushner recalled to the committee. “I got the sense that … they were scared.” 

“‘They’ meaning Leader McCarthy and people on the Hill because of the violence?” someone from the committee asked.  

“That he was scared, yes,” Kushner said of McCarthy.

Trump campaign officials disparaged their boss for not acknowledging an officer’s death 

Capitol and D.C. Metro police officers who battled rioters that day have attended every single Jan. 6 hearing. They’re still waiting for Trump to pay tribute to their fallen comrades. 

To this day, Trump has not acknowledged the death of Capitol Police Officer Brian Sicknick, who succumbed to his injuries a day after the attack, or the officers who took their own lives in the wake of that awful day.

That point was not lost on two of Trump’s top 2020 campaign aides, who texted each other on Jan. 7 after Sicknick had died.

“Also shitty not to have even acknowledged the death of the Capitol Police officer,” the Trump campaign’s communications director, Tim Mutaugh, texted his deputy, Matt Wolking.

 “That is enraging to me,” Wolking replied. “Everything he said about supporting law enforcement was a lie.”

Murtaugh explained Trump’s silence this way: If he talked about the deceased officer, he could be implicating himself.

“If he acknowledged the dead cop, he’d be implicitly faulting the mob. And he won’t do that, because they’re his people. And he would also be close to acknowledging that what he lit at the rally got out of control,” Murtaugh texted. “No way he acknowledges something that could ultimately be called his fault. No way.”

I don't want to say the election is over': On Jan. 7, Trump still refused to admit he lost

The committee played footage of a videotaped address Trump gave from the White House on Jan. 7 denouncing the attack. It was a tough speech for him to deliver, as the outtakes showed. At one point, he read a line saying, “This election is now over.” He stopped and told his advisers, “I don’t want to say the election is over. I just want to say, ‘Congress has certified the results without saying the election is over, OK?’”

After the footage was shown, Luria said: “One day after he incited an insurrection based on a lie, President Trump still could not say that the election was over.”

It took some convincing to get Trump to ask the rioters to be 'peaceful'

After Trump put out his tweet suggesting Pence was a coward, Matthews spoke to the White House Press Secretary, Kayleigh McEnany, and told her Trump needed to condemn the violence and tell the rioters to leave. 

McEnany agreed and went into the dining room to see Trump, who put out a tweet at 2:38 p.m. that said, “Stay peaceful!” McEnany then returned, lowered her voice, and told Matthews that the president didn’t want to include any mention of “peace” in the tweet. His advisers suggested different wording, and his daughter Ivanka finally persuaded him to use the phrase “stay peaceful.”

https://www.nbcnews.com/politics/congress/jan-6-hearing-key-takeaways-riot-was-trumps-last-hope-day-still-refuse-rcna36740

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.
Note: Your post will require moderator approval before it will be visible.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Sign in to follow this  

×
×
  • Create New...