What to watch when the January 6 panel returns to prime time
The House of Representatives’ January 6 committee will return to a key moment for an eighth hearing – likely the last time this summer that lawmakers will present evidence of the rebellion of the House of Representatives. The US Congress and President Donald Trump’s attempt to overturn his 2020 election defeat.
Thursday’s hearing is expected to focus on what Trump was doing in the White House when violence broke out on January 6, 2021. Rep. Adam Kinzinger, an Illinois Republican. , who was one of two members leading the hearing, said he hopes it will “open people’s eyes in a big way.”
This will be the panel’s second hearing in prime time. The first time on June 9, was watched by more than 20 million people.
What to watch in Thursday’s hearing:
Committee members said the hearing would be an insight into what Trump was up to in the White House that day when hundreds of his supporters shoved police and stormed into the building. rough.
The panel has revealed some of Trump’s evidence in previous hearings, showing clips of multiple White House aides trying to pressure the president into action or publicly calling out the perpetrators. The rioters left, as he watched television in the dining room of the West Wing. .
But there are still questions about what the president is doing, especially since the official White House record of Trump’s phone calls covers an 8-hour gap, from a little after 11 a.m. that morning to about 7 o’clock that night.
The commission has attempted to fill that void with witness interviews and other sources, such as subpoenas for separate phone records. One panel member, Representative Pete Aguilar, D-Calif., said Trump could have called out rioters at any time, but he did not. More than three hours, or 187 minutes, passed before he finally made it.
“The consequences we are still dealing with today,” Aguilar said.
“You’ll hear that Donald Trump never picked up the phone that day to ask his administration for help,” said Representative Liz Cheney of Wyoming, the committee’s Republican vice chair. when previewing the hearing last week.
Two former White House aides who resigned shortly after the uprising will testify at the hearing. Former deputy press secretary Sarah Matthews and former deputy national security adviser Matthew Pottinger will talk about what they saw and heard in the White House when Trump learned about the uprising and waited hours to tell the rioters. leave the Capitol.
Rep. Elaine Luria, D-Va., who will lead the hearing with Kinzinger, said the two witnesses “believe in the work they’re doing, but not in the stolen election.”
The committee will “listen from people who have been in the White House, what they’ve observed, their reactions,” Luria said.
The finale in the committee’s summer hearings series will seek to end the story the jury was told from the beginning – that Trump has been told his claims of widespread fraud are wrong but still pushes them away, regardless of democracy or those affected, and his words and actions incite riots in the Capitol.
Lawmakers are expected to give a minute-by-minute description of what happened on January 6, a background to previous hearings that have looked at weeks before the uprising.
A Democrat, Maryland Representative Jamie Raskin, said the hearing will be about what happened in three different places on June 6: the White House, inside the Capitol and outside the Capitol. , where police officers are beaten and overpowered by rioters.
When the committee concludes this “season” of hearings, like a TV show, there will likely be some objections.
Among the questions the committee may leave unanswered: Will the committee call Trump to testify? Or his vice president, Mike Pence? Will there be more hearings? Do they retain any information for their final report?
At least one hearing is expected in the fall, when the nine-member panel is expected to release a report on its findings, but more hearings are possible. If Republicans take control of the House in the midterm elections in November, they are expected to shut down the committee.
The panel’s work will also continue to resonate through other investigations, including at the Justice Department, which has arrested more than 800 suspected rioters and has seized or sought information from some politicians and others allied with Trump when he tried to overturn the vote. The Justice Department asked the committee to provide some of their interview transcripts.
Raskin said before the hearing began that the measure of success would be “whether we can preserve American democracy and our institutions – that’s a long-term test.”