Jan. 6 committee subpoenas Donald Trump to testify about Capitol Hill attack

The US House of Representatives January 6 committee voted unanimously Thursday to subpoena Donald Trump, demanding his personal testimony in revealing a startling new video of close advisers outlining his multi-pronged plan to reverse his defeat. 2020 election campaign that led to his supporters’ fierce attack on the United States Capitol.

“We must seek the central player’s sworn testimony on January 6,” said Rep. Liz Cheney, a GOP vice chair of the committee.

“We are compelled to seek answers directly from the man who set this all in motion,” he added. “And every American is entitled to those answers.”

With alarming messages from the US Secret Service warning of violence and vivid new video of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and other congressional leaders pleading for help, the panel showed the raw desperation on Capitol Hill. during his last public hearing. Using language frequently seen in criminal indictments, the panel said Trump had acted “willfully” before Jan. 6, 2021, despite being told by countless aides and officials that he had lost.

Trump will almost certainly reject the subpoena and refuse to testify. On his social media feed, he criticized the members for not asking him to testify sooner, though he didn’t say he would, and called the panel “a total FAIL.”

CLOCK | Why Trump might testify and why not:

Trump’s subpoena: will he testify or not?

Chris Galdieri, a professor of politics at Saint Anselm College in New Hampshire, says that while it would be “extraordinarily tempting” for Donald Trump to testify at the January 6 committee hearing, it could also be dangerous from a legal perspective.

In one of its most riveting displays, the committee showed never-before-seen footage of congressional leaders calling officials for help during the assault.

Pelosi and Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer can be seen speaking with the governors of neighboring Virginia and Maryland. Footage later shows Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell and other Republican leaders as the group asks the acting attorney general for help.

“They are breaking the law in many different ways, frankly at the instigation of the President of the United States,” Pelosi is heard saying at one point.

Footage also shows Vice President Mike Pence stepping in to help quell the violence, speaking directly to Capitol Police, as Congress planned to resume its session that night to certify Biden’s election. The video was shot by Pelosi’s daughter, a documentary filmmaker.

CLOCK | Congressional leaders ask for help:

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New Images of Congressional Leaders Calling for Help During the Siege of the Capitol

The January 6 committee released a new video on Thursday showing members of Congress, both Republicans and Democrats, trying to get help as rioters stormed the US Capitol. The Speaker of the House is heard, Nancy Pelosi, to say, “They’re breaking the law in a lot of different ways, frankly at the instigation of the President of the United States.”

‘His plan is to literally kill people’

In never-before-seen messages from the Secret Service, the panel produced evidence of how extremist groups provided leverage in the fight for Trump’s presidency, planning weeks before the attack to send a violent force to Washington.

“His plan is to literally kill people,” read a notice sent to the Secret Service more than a week before the Jan. 6 violence.

The Secret Service warned in a December 26, 2020, email about a tip that members of the right-wing Proud Boys planned to march on Washington on January 6 with a group large enough to outnumber police.

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

Wide shot of a video screen above a congressional hearing, showing text messages.
The text of an email from the US Secret Service is shown at the House select committee hearing on Thursday. (Alex Wong/Pool/The Associated Press)

Delving into Trump’s mood

The committee’s 10th public session, just weeks before the congressional midterm elections, delved deeper into Trump’s “state of mind,” committee chairman Bennie Thompson said.

To describe the president’s mindset, the committee released new material, including interviews with Trump’s top advisers and cabinet officials, including Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, Attorney General William Barr and Labor Secretary Eugene Scalia, in which some described the president acknowledging that he had lost. .

In one, according to former White House official Alyssa Farah Griffin, Trump looked at television and said, “Can you believe I lost on this? [expletive] Type?”

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

“From my point of view, that was the end of the matter,” Barr said of the Dec. 14 Electoral College vote.

CLOCK | Trump repeatedly said that he lost:

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Trump ignored staff, aides told him election was over

The January 6 committee presented video evidence on Thursday showing how Donald Trump was told over and over again by his own high-level staff that the election was over and that he had lost, but that he ignored them and continued his attempt to stay in power. .

But rather than the end of Trump’s efforts, it was only the beginning, as the president summoned the crowd to Washington on January 6.

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

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

The committee may well make a decision on whether to make a criminal referral to the Department of Justice.

Thursday’s hearing began in a mostly empty US Capitol complex, with most lawmakers at home campaigning for re-election. Several people who were among the thousands around Capitol Hill on Jan. 6 are now running for congressional office, some with Trump’s backing. Police officers who fought the mob filled the front row of the courtroom.

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Vice President Liz Cheney speaks as the House select committee investigating the January 6 attack on the US Capitol holds a hearing on Capitol Hill in Washington on Thursday. Chairman Bennie Thompson, left, and Representative Adam Kinzinger also presented evidence. (J. Scott Applewhite/The Associated Press)

‘Just for your information. POTUS is mad’

Along with the interviews, the committee is drawing on the trove of 1.5 million documents it received from the US Secret Service, including an email from December 11, 2020, the day the Supreme Court rejected a of the main lawsuits that the Trump team had filed against the election results.

“FYI only. POTUS is angry,” the Secret Service wrote, according to documents obtained by the committee.

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

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

The January 6 committee has been meeting for more than a year and is expected to produce a report of its findings. It was established by the House after Republican senators blocked the formation of an outside panel similar to the 9/11 commission panel that examined the 2001 terrorist attacks.

House Republicans are expected to drop the Jan. 6 investigation if they gain control of the chamber after the midterm elections.

The seven Democrats and two Republicans on the panel argued that their work is not just a summary of the past, but a dire warning about ongoing threats to the democratic process.

Millions of Americans still incorrectly believe that Trump won in 2020, according to polls, while a Washington Post analysis published last week said half of Republicans running next month for US Congress and state offices have denied or questioned the 2020 outcome, including gubernatorial candidates Doug Mastriano of Pennsylvania and Arizona’s Lake Kari.

Trump associate Peter Navarro will face trial next month for refusing to cooperate with a House committee subpoena, while Steve Bannon will be sentenced next week after being found guilty on similar contempt charges.

Outside of the committee’s work, more than 850 people have been criminally charged by the Justice Department in the attack on Capitol Hill, some of whom received lengthy prison sentences for their duties. Several leaders and associates of the extremist Oath Keepers and Proud Boys have been charged with sedition. Trump faces several state and federal investigations into his actions in the elections and their consequences.

LISTEN | Oathkeepers on Trial:

front burner19:36The Oathkeepers on trial

The Oath Keepers are a far-right militia, founded in 2009 by Stewart Rhodes. He is one of five members currently on trial in Washington, facing seditious conspiracy and other felony charges related to the January 6, 2021 attack on the US Capitol. Prosecutors say they planned to stop the peaceful transfer of the power from Donald Trump to Joe Biden after the 2020 election. Explosive, secretly recorded audio of an alleged insurrection planning meeting was played last week in court. Joining us today is Andy Campbell, senior editor at HuffPost and author of the new book We Are Proud Boys. He explains who the Oath Keepers are and what was revealed at trial about how the deadly attack could have been prevented.

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