Commission hearings on January 6: Here’s what was revealed in the six hearings

During nearly 20 hours of public hearings, the committee heard live testimony from more than a dozen witnesses and played clips from the recorded deposits of more than 40 others, including members of the Trump family, former administration officials, and GOP officials from key states in the United States. battlefield. and members of the legal team of the former president.

Almost all of the witnesses who have appeared so far are Republicans. The commission sought to use its testimony to prove how Trump was repeatedly told that the elections were not stolen, yet he continued to plan how to stay in power and that he knew the protesters who showed up in Washington on January 6 were armed. . Trump not only urged them to walk the Capitol, he hoped to join them.

Ahead of Tuesday’s hearing, which is set to focus on the role of homegrown extremist groups, here are some highlights of what the panel has revealed so far.

The commission provided testimony from several witnesses, including former Attorney General William Barr and members of the Trump campaign, who made it clear that those around the former president had told him he had lost the 2020 election.

The commission showed videos from its testimony to Barr, in which he explained why Trump’s fraud allegations were “fake” and stated unequivocally that he hadn’t seen anything since to convince him to commit the fraud.

Barr has also debunked specific Trump-supported allegations of illegal “vote dumps” in Detroit, nationwide vote-rigging by Dominion with its electoral machines, and other conspiracy theories.

“There was no indication of interest in what the actual facts were,” Barr said in a video of his testimony shown during the second hearing. “I was somewhat frustrated, because I thought, ‘Oh boy, if he really believed in these things, he lost touch with him – become detached from reality if he really believed in these things. “”

Barr wasn’t telling Trump that his electoral theories were wrong. The panel provided numerous examples of Trump advisers, White House officials, and campaign staff telling the former president and his allies that their allegations of fraudulent elections were unfounded.

Former Justice Department official Richard Donoghue also tested that Trump wanted the department to investigate voter fraud conspiracy theories that Donoghue called “pure insanity,” long after Barr’s resignation in mid-December.

Despite these repeated warnings, Trump and some of his allies continued to push these false allegations all the way into January in what the committee tried to show was a badly-faith attempt to nullify the election.

Trump pressure campaign

The commission used public hearings to show how Trump used the power of the presidency to pressure officials at nearly every level of government to join his plan to cancel the 2020 election.

Many of them were Republicans who refused to help overturn Joe Biden’s legitimate electoral victory in key battleground states — realizing that what Trump was asking them to do was likely unconstitutional and possibly illegal.

Georgia Secretary of State Brad Ravensberger, Vice President Gabi Stirling, and Arizona House Speaker Rusty Powers testified before the committee about how they resisted when Trump called them about engaging in legally questionable schemes that would undermine the election, including efforts to sabotage the Electoral College . With fake pro-Trump voters.

“I told them I didn’t want to be used as a pawn,” Powers said at a hearing last month, recalling what he told former Trump attorney Rudy Giuliani and then-President in a phone call weeks after Election Day.

The commission also illustrated the impact of Trump’s arm-twisting by introducing Georgia election officials, Andrea “Shay” Moss, and her mother, Robbie Freeman, who shared moving testimony about how their lives were turned upside down because Trump and Giuliani falsely claimed to be involved in electoral fraud. Scheme.

Trump ignored warnings that his plan to cancel the election was illegal

The panel reviewed how Trump’s White House lawyers, Justice Department officials and then-Vice President Mike Pence’s team rejected the legal theory put forward by Trump’s conservative attorney, John Eastman, that Pence could block unilateral ratification of the election.

According to witness testimony, Pence himself and Eastman, the attorney who developed the scheme, directly advised Trump that the plan was unconstitutional and in violation of federal law. Committee members argued that this showed Trump’s corrupt intentions and could lay the groundwork for a potential indictment.

While Pence did not appear before the committee, two of his closest advisers — former attorney Greg Jacob and retired Republican judge G. election.

Lutigieg said he “would have put my body on the other side of the road” before letting Pence illegally overturn the election.

In a videotaped testimony shown during the same hearing, Pence’s former chief of staff, Mark Short, said the former vice president had advised Trump “many times” that he did not have the legal or constitutional authority to overturn the findings while he presided over the joint hearing. Congress on January 6 to count the electoral votes.

The committee revealed during one of the hearings that Eastman sent an email to Giuliani a few days after January 6, 2021, requesting that she be included in the list of potential recipients of a presidential pardon.

The commission said Eastman submitted the request to Giuliani in an email.

“I have decided to be on the pardon list, if that is still in the works,” read the email from Eastman to Giuliani.

Eastman did not eventually receive a pardon and refused to answer the committee’s questions about his role in efforts to overturn the 2020 election, repeatedly pleading for a fifth during his impeachment.

Former White House attorney Eric Hirschman emphasized this point in his testimony when he recalled a phone conversation with Eastman after Jan. 6.

“I will give you the best free legal advice you’ll ever get. Get an influential criminal defense attorney. You’ll need it.” Hirschman told the commission that, according to a clip of his testimony shown during one of the hearings, contact with him was closed.

Other GOP officials who were willing to assist Trump’s efforts to cancel the election also admitted, after the incident, that their involvement may have been criminal.

The commission revealed that representatives of the Republican Party. Scott Perry of Pennsylvania, Mo Brooks of Alabama, Matt Gaetz of Florida, Andy Bigs of Arizona, Louis Gommert of Texas and Marjorie Taylor Green of Georgia sought a presidential pardon on Jan. 6 before Trump left office.

Some of those lawmakers, including Berry, have since denied the pardon request, but at the same time have also refused to cooperate with the commission.

Trump’s Attempts to Recruit the Justice Department

The committee also detailed Trump’s attempts to enlist the Department of Justice in his efforts to claim that the election was rigged and sought to replace his attorney general for not complying with his will.

Public testimonies by former Acting Attorney General Jeffrey Rosen, Deputy Donoghue, and previous interviews with the committee underscored how far Trump was willing to go in order to overturn the election and how he might have succeeded if not for the courage of public servants. . Like them ready to stand in his way.

Trump’s intentions were revealed by Donoghue who recalled a 90-minute phone call in late December 2020 in which Trump told him to “just say he’s corrupt and leave the rest to me and the Republican members of Congress,” according to notes he shared with the committee.

Trump eventually sought to replace Rosen with Jeffrey Clark, the Justice Department environmental attorney who had Trump’s blessing because he was willing to use federal law enforcement to support Trump’s baseless allegations. It also recommended Perry Clark, who CNN previously reported was involved in nearly every part of the effort to nullify the election on Trump’s behalf and was in direct contact with then-White House chief of staff Mark Meadows.

At a high-stakes Oval Office meeting in late December 2020, Donoghue and Rosen robbed Clarke of credentials and threatened to resign. Trump never made the plan.

Federal authorities raided Clark’s home the morning before a committee hearing focused on his role in Trump’s pressure campaign on Justice Department officials.

Trump knew that the January 6 protesters were armed

Testimony from Cassidy Hutchinson, Trump’s White House aide, revealed that Trump knew that the protesters coming to the Capitol on January 6 were armed, yet he wanted them to attend his rally and even join them at the Capitol.

When Trump was told that gunmen were not allowed into the rally, Hutchinson said he instructed the staff to “pull the bags away” — referring to the metal detectors — because the people in the crowd “were not here to hurt them.” [him]. “

The commission also revealed a mixture of witness testimony and White House records to show not only that Trump intends to join his supporters on the Capitol but also that the people around Trump have prior knowledge of this plan.

Hutchinson shared under oath that Trump’s deputy chief of staff, Tony Ornato, told her that Trump was so angry about his Secret Service details that he eventually prevented him from going to the Capitol on January 6 that he got to the front of his presidential car, and tried. To grab the steering wheel with one hand and dash to the chief Secret Service agent, Robert Engel, with the other. Hutchinson testified that when Ornato, who witnessed the event, relayed the story to Engel she was in the room.

Engel and Ornato took the test before the committee behind closed doors, but their statements were not used at a hearing.

The official said the Secret Service, through the Department of Homeland Security’s Office of Legislative Affairs, notified the committee after Hutchinson’s testimony that it would make the agents involved available to testify under oath. Also, agents are prepared to say under oath that the accident itself did not occur.

Trump has made no effort to stop or condemn the violence

Hutchinson also testified that Trump defended the rioters as they chanted for Pence’s hanging on January 6.

Hutchinson relayed a conversation she observed between White House counsel Pat Cipollone and Meadows after they discussed with Trump chants of violence against Pence.

“I remember Pat saying something about the effect of ‘Mark, we have to do something more,'” Hutchinson recalls. They are literally inviting the vice president to comment.”

Meadows replied, “You heard it, Pat. He thinks Mike deserves it. He doesn’t think they’re doing anything wrong,” according to Hutchinson.

Rather than listen to advisers asking him to condemn the violence, Trump issued a tweet criticizing Pence for not having the courage to refuse the electoral vote count, which would have been illegal.

The tweet sent shockwaves through the Trump administration and as a result, members of White House staff, National Security Administration officials and Cabinet members have resigned.

Trump gave a speech on January 7, 2021, in which he finally acknowledged that Biden would be inaugurated in part because there was “great concern” by the White House that Pence and the Cabinet could demand the 25th Amendment to remove him from power, according to Hutchinson. certificate.

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