Home News Jan 6 panel calls on Trump, shows surprising new video

Jan 6 panel calls on Trump, shows surprising new video

Jan 6 panel calls on Trump, shows surprising new video

By Associated Press: The Jan. 6 House Committee voted unanimously on Thursday to subpoena former President Donald Trump, demanding his personal testimony when it unveiled a startling new video of close aides detailing his multi-part plan to undo his 2020 election loss that led to his supporters’ fierce attack on the United States Capitol.

With alarming U.S. Secret Service reports warning of violence and vibrant new video of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and other congressional leaders pleading for help, the panel showed the raw desperation in the Capitol. Using language commonly seen in criminal charges, the panel said Trump had acted “premeditated” before January 6, 2021, despite numerous aides and officials telling him he had lost.

Trump will almost certainly challenge the subpoena and refuse to testify. On his social media outlet, he reprimanded members for not asking him before — though he didn’t say he would have obeyed — calling the panel “a total BUST.”

“We need to seek the testimony of the central player on Jan. 6 under oath,” Wyoming Republican Representative Liz Cheney, the committee’s vice chair, said before the vote.

In the committee’s 10th public session, just weeks before the congressional midterm elections, the panel summed up Trump’s “staggering betrayal” of his oath of office, as Chairman Bennie Thompson put it, and described the former president’s unprecedented attempt to to stop Congress from certifying Democrat Joe Biden’s victory.

While the effort to subpoena Trump may languish, more of a nod to history than an effective subpoena, the commission has made it clear that it is considering sending its findings to the Justice Department in a criminal referral.

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In one of the most riveting exhibits, the panel showed never-before-seen footage of congressional leaders calling for help during the attack when Trump refused to blow off the crowd.

Speaker Pelosi can be seen on a phone call with the governor of neighboring Virginia, who explains while hiding from Democratic Senate leader Chuck Schumer and others that the governor of Maryland has also been contacted. Later, the video shows Republican Senate leader Mitch McConnell, and other GOP leaders as the group appeals to the Department of Defense for help.

“They break the law in many different ways,” Pelosi says at one point. “And frankly, a lot of it at the instigation of the President of the United States.”

The footage also shows Vice President Mike Pence — not Trump — intervening to calm the violence, telling Pelosi and the others he’s spoken to Capitol Police as Congress plans to resume its session that evening to to certify Biden’s election.

The video belonged to Pelosi’s daughter, a documentary filmmaker.

In never-before-seen Secret Service reports, the panel provided evidence that extremist groups provided strength in the fight for the Trump presidency by planning weeks before the attack to send a violent force to Washington.

The Secret Service warned in a Dec. 26, 2020 email of a tip that members of the right-wing Proud Boys planned to outrun police during a march in Washington on Jan. 6.

“It felt like the calm before the storm,” one Secret Service agent wrote in a group chat.

To describe the president’s mindset, the commission presented new and previously seen material, including interviews with Trump’s top aides and cabinet officials — including Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, Attorney General William Barr and Secretary of Labor Eugene Scalia — in which some described the president admit that he had lost.

In one, according to ex-White House official Alyssa Farah Griffin, Trump looked up at a television and said, “Can you believe I lost to this (expletive) man?”

Cabinet members also said in interviews shown during the hearing that they believed that once legal options were exhausted, that should have been the end of Trump’s efforts to remain in power.

“In my opinion, that was the end of the matter,” Barr said of the Dec. 14 Electoral College vote.

But rather than the end of Trump’s efforts, this was just the beginning—when the president called the crowd to Washington on Jan. 6.

The panel showed clips of Trump at his meeting near the White House that day saying the opposite of what he had been told. He then tells supporters that he will march with them to the Capitol. That never happened.

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“There is no defense that Donald Trump was duped or irrational,” Cheney said. “No president can defy the rule of law and act this way in our constitutional republic, period.”

Thursday’s hearing began in a largely empty Capitol complex, as most lawmakers campaigned at home. Several people who were among the thousands around the Capitol on Jan. 6 are now running for congressional office, some with Trump’s support. Police officers battling the mob filled the front row of the hearing room.

The House panel warned that the Capitol uprising was not an isolated incident, but a warning of the fragility of the country’s democracy in the post-Trump era.

“This isn’t normal at all,” Cheney said.

In addition to interviews, the commission is drawing on the trove of 1.5 million pages of documents it received from the Secret Service, including an email dated December 11, 2020, the day the Supreme Court dismissed one of the key lawsuits brought by the team of Trump had filed the election results.

“Just f. POTUS is angry,” the Secret Service said.

White House aide Cassidy Hutchinson, a top aide to then Chief of Staff Mark Meadows, recalled that Trump was “excited” about the court’s ruling.

Trump told Meadows “something along the lines of, ‘I don’t want people to know we lost, Mark. This is embarrassing. Find it out,'” Hutchinson told the panel in a taped interview.

Thursday’s session served as a closing argument for the panel’s two Republican lawmakers, Cheney of Wyoming and Adam Kinzinger of Illinois, who have been essentially shunned by Trump and their party and will not return in the new Congress. Cheney lost her primaries and Kinzinger decided not to run.

The commission, which has conducted more than 1,000 interviews and obtained numerous documents, has conducted an extensive investigation into Trump’s activities from his defeat in the November election to the Capitol attack.

Commission rules require the panel to prepare a report of its findings by January 6, probably in December. The committee will be dissolved 30 days after the publication of that report and with the new Congress in January.

The January 6 attack and its aftermath killed at least five people, including a Trump supporter who was shot dead by Capitol police.

More than 850 people have been charged by the Justice Department, some with long prison terms for their roles. Several leaders and associates of the extremist Oath Keepers and Proud Boys have been accused of sedition.

Trump faces several state and federal investigations into his actions during the election and its aftermath.

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