The filmmaker ramped up the January 6 investigation into Trump’s ‘aggression’, what he saw and how the attention led to death threats

British filmmaker Alex Holder, who recently provided the House of Commons selection committee on January 6 with a series of footage from the months leading up to the 2021 attack on the US Capitol, said members of former president Donald Trump’s family appeared unconcerned about the possibility that his repeated lies about a “stolen” election could lead to violence.

Last week, the selection committee received hours of video from Mr Holder after he was issued a subpoena calling for “raw footage” shot by him and his colleagues on the day of the Capitol attack. The subpoena also requires footage of interviews with Mr. Trump, Mr. Pence, Donald Trump Jr, Eric Trump, Ivanka Trump or Jared Kushner and “any video related to discussions of voter fraud. election or electoral integrity surrounding the November 2020 presidential election”.

In an interview with The IndependentMr Holder said the focus of the series, scheduled to premiere later this year on the Discovery+ streaming service, was on Mr Trump and his three eldest children – Donald Trump Jr, Eric Trump and Ivanka Trump. – and extends from September 2020 through the final days of Mr. Trump’s tumultuous presidency.

The filmmaker is no stranger to documenting far-right politicians or their movements. He is probably best known for producing the 2016 movie Keep silentfollowed Hungarian politician Csanád Szegedi for three years after the notorious anti-Semitist discovered that he was Jewish.

However, Mr Holder said he felt a sense of omen as filming was underway, particularly during a series of public appearances at “stop theft” rallies. adult son of Mr. Trump. Though, at first, he dismissed Trump’s violent campaign rhetoric as nothing more than “American eccentricity”.

“As it progressed, I felt… there was a certain part of… real, real enthusiasm – like the need to fight,” he said. They used words that were quite aggressive or very aggressive, which I feel is unusual.”

Between the November 3, 2020 election and the January 6 attack on the Capitol, Mr. Trump and his legal team filed more than 60 lawsuits aimed at preventing certification of illegality. The president then lost to Joe Biden. Nearly all were unsuccessful – some were so severe that at least one of his former attorneys was suspended from practicing law.

When that failed, Mr. Trump and his allies began pressuring state legislators to designate a so-called “alternative group” of electors in the hope that the then vice-president. Mike Pence could be persuaded to accept the existence of fake electors as a good reason to reject legitimate electoral votes from swing states won by Mr.

The former president knew Pence and his advisers had refused to take the action after concluding it was beyond his authority when he told a crowd of supporters marching to the Capitol, where the National Assembly is located. The association is meeting to make his final certification. the loss. He told them to march anyway, and the result was the worst attack on the US Capitol since British troops, under Major General Robert Ross, set it on fire during the War. in 1812.

Mr. Holder, who was at the Capitol that day, told The Independent he felt the violence would be the result of Mr. Trump’s insistence that the election was stolen from him long before January 6.

“The idea of ​​violence, to me, seems likely because of the fact that when you tell 75 million people that their votes don’t count and the person who tells you it’s not just the person you gave elected but also the incumbent President of the United States, the possibility of violence is always there,” he said.

He also recalled that one of Mr Trump’s children seemed particularly unconcerned about whether the stolen election he and his father were promoting inspired violence in their supporters. are not.

“When I asked Eric about the potential dangers of rhetoric and belligerence, he felt that it was… fair game in that… it was similar on the other side of political discourse, or he She felt that it was the right thing to do… because the election was stolen,” he said.

Even now – more than a year after filming for the project ended – the threat of Trump-inspired violence once again haunts Mr. Holder, who said. The Independent that the result of his cooperation with the selection committee came to light, he had to bring in armed security.

“People are…sending me screenshots of lunatics saying I’m the MI-6 king you know – or an undercover FBI agent out there to try and… destroy Donald Trump,” he said.

The selection committee’s acquisition of Mr Holder’s footage shows what has happened as a result of Mr Trump’s attempt to overturn the 2020 election and place himself in the White House for a second term against expectations. voter’s wish is just the latest piece of evidence documenting what may have been the most well-documented crime in American history.

In addition to thousands of hours of Capitol surveillance video, police body-worn camera footage, and cell phone video taken by many of the rioters themselves, the House selection committee now has everything Mr. His film was filmed over a period of several months, including interviews with Mr. Trump and Mr. Pence. It also contains a record of his own observations that he related to the committee in a transcribed interview on June 23.

Mr. Holder acknowledged that his film chronicles the events leading up to the Capitol attack, but also said it serves as a “fascinating insight into Trump’s motivations” “showing a kind of Heir kind of vibe between three siblings and those who could potentially one day take over from their father to lead that kind of Trump dynasty.”

Although some insiders of the former president are said to have been blinded to the news that Mr. Holder’s film even existed, he said both the Trump campaign and the White House staff Mr. Trump was well aware of the project, which required him and his team to be cleared by the Secret Service into the presidential security “bubble”.

Mr Holder also said he gave up editorial control in exchange for access to the former president and his family. In a clip he posted to his Twitter account, the former president is shown spending a few minutes obsessing over whether to put a glass of water on the end table before starting the interview for the film.

The flow of new video footage is at least partly behind the selection committee’s decision to pause the string of hearings it has held since June 9 and leave open the possibility that the panel will add hearings on the series they have planned make good use of what it found in Mr Holder’s archives.

According to multiple reports, the panel was particularly interested in the interview he recorded with Ivanka Trump, in which she contradicted what she had told the committee’s investigators at the beginning. this year.

In sworn testimony, Ms Trump told the panel that her “perspectives” on the 2020 election results had been “influenced” by former attorney general William Barr’s December 1, 2020 statement that There was no widespread fraud in last month’s presidential election, contrary to what her father claimed at the time.

In a video of his removal from office, Barr said he told Mr Trump the fraud allegations that the then president’s legal team were pushing in multiple lawsuits were “bullshit” and said that Mr Trump had “become detached from reality” in the days following his loss to Joe Biden.

Asked about what Mr. Barr had said, Mrs. Trump told the panel: “I respect Attorney General Barr and accept what he is saying.”

But Ms Trump’s statements to the selection committee, which were issued under penalty of perjury, contradict what she told Mr Holder in an interview for his documentary.

Filmed in mid-December 2020 – shortly after Mr. Barr announced that the 2020 election was on the board – the former clothing store owner turned unpaid presidential adviser told the filmmaker. that she wants her father to “keep fighting until all legal means are exhausted” and said “a lot of Americans feel very, very, very disenfranchised right now and really, question their sanctity of our elections” as a result of Mr. Trump’s defeat.

For his part, Mr Holder declined to go into detail when asked what he discussed with the selection committee, citing his desire not to interfere with the ongoing investigation.

“They are interested in the material we provide, then they ask very clear and concise questions. And so they’re very professional, and they’re certainly doing their job well,” he said.

But he said The Independent that it is more likely that former Trump White House staffers blame the former president for what happened on January 6 than those whose identities are currently a matter of public opinion.

“There are definitely people out there who don’t think… the situation is acceptable,” he said when asked about the reaction inside the White House in the days between the pro-Trump riots and when Mr. term ends.

“Some people just worry about their future and don’t give any opinion. Some people just worry because they can’t do the work for others at the same time [as their own due to attrittion]. And there are people there who are not happy with the situation,” he said.

Mr Holder declined to say whether the selection committee would end up doing business with him after his June 24 interview. But according to two sources familiar with the panel’s effort, the filmmaker will most likely be asked to return to Washington to answer more questions, both in private and at a public hearing. Future.

When asked what he thought his work would contribute to the committee’s outcome, Mr. Holder replied that he was not in a position to say which parts of his footage the committee would find most helpful in its follow-up. continue to probe the events that took place on January 6.

“As for what I think they might find… I just don’t know, I’m not a politician and I don’t know or be based on facts. And so what they’re looking for could be something that I find innocuous,” he said. “All I am doing is answering their questions and giving them what they ask for.”

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