What was expected to be a largely perfunctory start to the historic committee hearings on Jan. 6 got off to a flying start.
Less than 20 minutes into the hearing, the panel’s top Republican — Liz Cheney of Wyoming — revealed Trump had an incredible reaction when then-President Donald Trump heard insurgents calling for his vice president to be hanged.
“Maybe our supporters have the right idea,” Trump said, according to Cheney. “Mike Pence deserves it.”
That was the message Trump aides relayed to the Jan. 6 committee, and it was just one of the incredible revelations the panel made Thursday night during its first historic hearing.
Chairman Bennie Thompson (D-MS) also revealed in his opening remarks that Trump’s own Attorney General Bill Barr told the Jan. 6 committee that he ended up resigning from the administration because he could no longer stand idly by while the nation’s leader planned to stay in power on the basis of voter fraud lies.
“I’ve made it clear that I don’t agree with the idea that the election was stolen, what … I said to the president was bullshit,” Barr said, reclining in a chair during a videotaped statement.
The committee also played excerpts from previously unreleased video interviews with Trump associates, including his daughter Ivanka Trump, to prove Trump knew his allegations of voter fraud were lies; he had been told repeatedly that he had lost fairly.
Trump campaign spokesman Jason Miller recalled how the campaign’s top data expert Matt Oczkowski spoke to Trump himself and provided “rather blunt conditions that he was going to lose.” Alex Cannon, an attorney for the Trump Organization who later joined the candidate’s campaign, recalled telling White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows, “We haven’t found anything that would be sufficient to summarize the results in a of the key states” – to which Meadows replied, “So there’s no there.”
Even Ivanka Trump told the committee that Barr’s claim that there was no widespread fraud affected her personally.
“That influenced my perspective. I respect Attorney General Barr, so I accepted what he said,” she told the committee during a videotaped virtual interview.
Cheney also made clear that this investigation put some members of Congress in the spotlight, revealing that Rep. Scott Perry (R-PA) – now the chairman of the House Freedom Caucus – received a pardon from Trump for his role in the Jan. 6 attack .
Thompson opened the proceedings by emphasizing that “it was internal enemies of the Constitution who stormed…and occupied the Capitol.” And he blamed it squarely on former President Donald Trump, saying the attack was “the culmination of an attempted coup.”
“He spurred on a mob of anti-constitutional mobs to march down the capital and undermine American democracy,” he said.
The committee is not just investigating the attack on the Capitol; The investigation is also about the complex attempt by former President Donald Trump and his supporters to keep him in office after losing the 2020 election.
Thursday’s presentation marks the first of about half a dozen public hearings at which the committee will announce its findings. The committee will share what it has learned on several fronts: Trump’s role in what has been described as an attempted coup, the conspiracy of his supporters and advisers to overturn votes in several states, the intense campaign to pressure then-Vice President Mike Pence abusing his role and refusing to ratify Electoral College results and mob rebellion.
Committee assistants told reporters Thursday’s hearing will focus on “the reality of this violence and how appalling it was,” by presenting “previously unseen” video and audio footage of the crowd trying to clear the seat of the to occupy Congress.
The panel is telling the broader story of what happened that day, something the Justice Department has been quietly doing in hundreds of prosecutions in federal courtrooms while pursuing criminal charges against the insurgents who beat cops, broke windows and doors, and… illegally entering the Capitol building, looting politicians’ offices, taking furniture and electronic equipment, using kidnapping tools to search for congressmen and erecting gallows outside.
This effort faced an uphill battle from the start. Plans by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) to initiate a formal, independent commission — like the 9/11 Commission put together after al-Qaeda’s terrorist attacks on US soil — fell through when the Republicans refused to support its May 2021 creation.
Instead, House Democrats went ahead by establishing a nine-member temporary committee of inquiry.
When Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) volunteered five Trump loyalists for the panel, Pelosi turned down two of his picks — Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH) and Rep. Jim Banks (R-IN) — under Citing their role in undermining the election. In response, McCarthy pulled all of his picks. And in response to that move, Pelosi offered the positions in July to two other Republicans willing to put aside the party’s growing affiliation with the MAGA movement: Cheney and Rep. Adam Kinzinger (R-IL).
Then the legal challenges erupted. In the months that followed, the Republican National Committee sued the committee in an attempt to have it declared illegitimate. A federal judge summarily dismissed the lawsuit.
Trump then sued to prevent the committee from accessing his White House records in the National Archives, claiming he had some kind of residual executive privilege. That also failed to convince a federal judge, an appellate panel, and even his own Supreme Court nominations.
The committee has also faced struggles over witness records and testimonies. John Eastman, an attorney who advised Trump on false legal theories to keep him in power after losing the national election, sued the committee to prevent it from receiving scathing emails that a federal judge ultimately sent to investigators handed over because they probably showed evidence of a crime.
Taylor Budowich, a Trump flicker who testified under oath and turned over more than 1,700 pages of documents to the committee, also sued to try to prevent investigators from getting his bank records. Former White House advisers Steve Bannon and Peter Navarro are now being charged by the Justice Department for ignoring subpoenas from the committee that forced them to testify and turn over documents.
https://www.thedailybeast.com/jan-6-committee-begins-historic-first-hearing?source=articles&via=rss “Mike Pence deserves it” – 1.6 panel reveals Donald Trump’s dark desires