WASHINGTON – The House committee investigating the Jan. 6 attack is holding its ninth public hearing after proceedings scheduled for the end of September were postponed because of Hurricane Ian. This is the first hearing since July.
Committee members have not shared official details or a witness list, but Committee Chairman Rep. Bennie Thompson, D-Miss., told reporters the hearing will include information that has developed over the summer. The committee’s final report is expected this fall.
In a tweet sent late Wednesday, the committee said it would present “key facts we’ve uncovered during our investigation.”
“The Select Committee has developed a massive body of evidence,” Thompson said in a statement on Sept. 12. “It hasn’t always been easy … because the same people who drove the former President’s pressure campaign to overturn the election are now trying to cover up the truth about Jan. 6th.”
The Washington Post reported Wednesday the committee plans to highlight recently obtained Secret Service records and video footage that reveal Trump was continuously alerted to the violence on Jan. 6 and did not stop it, according to three people familiar with the records.
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It is expected the committee may also focus on Roger Stone, a confidant of former President Donald Trump, and his efforts to keep Trump in power following the 2020 election. Stone was behind the “Stop the Steal” movement that falsely claimed Trump won the 2020 election and had close contact with two right-wing extremist groups involved in the Jan. 6 attack.
The Jan. 6 committee reportedly plans to show documentary footage revealing additional information about Stone in Thursday’s hearing, which takes place less than a month before the midterm elections.
Hearing day 8 recap: What we learned from the eighth Jan. 6 hearings
During the last public hearing on July 21, the special congressional committee focused on former Trump’s inaction in stopping his supporters from swarming the Capitol.
As the hearing ended, Vice Chair Liz Cheney, who lost her primary in August to Trump-backed candidate Harriet Hageman, said the committee had found more evidence and new witnesses had come forward.
“We have considerably more to do,” she said.
Since that hearing, the legal landscape for one of the committee’s key targets – Trump – has shifted significantly following the FBI search of his Mar-a-Lago estate and a lawsuit filed by New York Attorney General Letitia James against Trump, his company and three of his adult children alleging fraud.
- Trump’s “false victory speech” was planned well in advance of Election Day, regardless of results, committee member Rep. Zoe Lofgren said.
- Trump confidant Roger Stone told Danish filmmakers on Nov. 1, 2020, that then-president needed to declare victory no matter the results. “Possession is nine-tenths of the law,” he said.
- Chair Rep. Bennie Thompson said the committee is meeting Thursday not as a hearing but as an official business meeting, which allows for committee vote on proposed actions.
An outside advisor to former President Donald Trump sent a draft statement to aides Molly Michael and Dan Scavino days before the 2020 election with language Trump could use to declare victory.
“We had an election today – and I won,” the draft statement from Tom Fitton sent Oct. 31 said. “The ballots counted by the Election Day deadline show the American people have bestowed up on me the great honor of reelection to President of the United States.”
There is no deadline to count ballots only on Election Day, and “everyone knew that ballot counting would lawfully continue past Election Day, said Rep. Zoe Lofgren, D-Calif. “Claiming that the counting on election night must stop was, as we now know, a key part of President Trump’s premeditated plan.”
– Erin Mansfield
The committee is revisiting one of the famous events of Election Night 2020 – Trump’s false declaration of victory.
Rep. Zoe Lofgren, D-Calif., noted that Trump and aides planned their “victory speech” well in advance, trying to convince Americans that the election was over and further counting of mail-in ballots was an effort to rig the result.
Calling the false declaration part of an effort to steal the election, Lofgren noted that allies like Steve Bannon, Roger Stone, and Brad Parscale helped prepare Trump’s premature declaration of victory.
“It was a premeditated plan by the president to declare victory no matter what the actual result was,” she said. “He made a plan to stay in office before Election Day.”
– David Jackson
Trump campaign advisors told the former president on election night that it was premature to declare victory but he did anyway as part of a “pre-meditated plan,” according to the committee.
“It was far too early to many any calls like that,” Trump campaign manager Bill Stepien told the committee in videotaped testimony.
Rep. Zoe Lofgren, a committee member, said Trump planned to exploit a “red mirage” that would show him ahead of Joe Biden before mail-ballots were counted. Trump attacked mail-ballots throughout the campaign, giving Biden a massive advantage among voters who voted absentee.
And yet Trump advisors advised the former president in the months before the election that mail-ballots could actually help him win.
“Mail-in ballots can be a good thing,” Trump’s son-in-law Jared Kushner told the committee, describing what was told to Trump
Stepien gave a similar account to the committee but said “the president’s mind was made up.”
– Joey Garrison
In a blistering opening statement, Rep. Liz Cheney, R-Wyo., who serves as the panel’s vice chair, warned that if some sort of action isn’t taken against the former president “another Jan. 6 could happen again.”
“President Trump knew from unassailable sources that his election fraud claims were false. He admitted he had lost the election,” she said.
Cheney, who lost her reelection bid in a GOP primary to a Trump-backed contender in August, has been a chief target of the former president’s ire. She reiterated during Thursday’s hearing how the former president was solely responsible for the attack.
“There is no defense that Donald Trump was duped or irrational,” she said. “No president can defy the rule of law and act this way in a constitutional republic—period.”
– Phillip M. Bailey
Vice Chairwoman Liz Cheney, R-Wyo., warned of future presidencies that could emulate Trump’s efforts to overturn the election.
“A key lesson of this investigation is this: our institutions only hold when men and women of good faith make them hold, regardless of the political cost,” said Cheney.
“Any future president inclined to attempt what Donald Trump did in 2020 has now learned not to install people who could stand in the way,” Cheney warned.
– Ken Tran
The Jan. 6 committee will present “new materials produced to the committee by the Secret Service,” Rep. Bennie Thompson, D-Miss., said Thursday.
The committee found out after subpoenaing Secret Service records earlier this year that the agency had deleted text messages that staff made on Jan. 5 and 6, leading the Department of Homeland Security’s inspector general to launch a criminal investigation.
However, since the last hearing, the committee received about 800,000 pages of documents from the Secret Service, Rep. Liz Cheney, R-Wyo., said in September.
– Erin Mansfield
The committee will explore during the hearing former President Donald Trump’s state of mind, intent and motivations in trying to overturn the results of the 2020 election, according to the vice chairwoman, Rep. Liz Cheney.
She said Trump made his claims of a stolen election without evidence in hand and then spurred aides to spread lies about fraud.
“The vast weight of the evidence so far has shown us that the central cause of Jan. 6 was one man, Donald Trump, who many others followed,” said Cheney, R-Wyo. “None of this would have happened without him. He was personally and substantially involved in all of it.”
– Bart Jansen
Committee chairman Bennie Thompson previewed coming attractions by noting that this hearing is a also a “business meeting” – meaning the committee could take votes today on future investigative steps.
“In addition to presenting evidence, we can potentially hold a committee vote on further investigative action based upon that evidence,” Thompson said.
– David Jackson
The evidence obtained by the Jan. 6 committee is not partisan and testimony came almost entirely from Republicans, Rep. Bennie Thompson, D-Miss., said in his opening statement.
Thompson said testimony came from former President Donald Trump’s closest aides and advisors, the highest officials in the Department of Justice, Republican state officials, the chairwoman of the Republican National Committee, and members of Trump’s own family, among others.
“It’s tough for any congressional investigation to obtain evidence of what we’ve seen, least of all such a detailed view into a president’s inner circle,” Thompson said.
– Erin Mansfield
The House committee investigating the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol says it will show “never-before-seen footage” during Thursday’s public hearing and “more details about the ongoing threat to American democracy.”
That’s according to a tweet from the Jan. 6 committee posted shortly before the hearing is set to begin at 1 p.m. EDT.
Thursday will mark the 9th hearing of the committee, which has worked to highlight the central role former President Donald Trump played ahead of and during the attack.
— Joey Garrison
Weeks away from the midterms, seven Jan. 6 committee members are gearing up for key races in their home districts while three others will not be returning to Congress next term.
Committee Vice Chair Liz Cheney, R-Wyo., was defeated in Wyoming’s GOP primary race this August against Trump-backed candidate Harriet Hageman.
Both Republican Illinois Rep. Adam Kinzinger and Democrat Rep. Stephanie Murphy of Florida announced did not seek reelection.
The remaining committee members face bids to keep their seats on Nov. 8.
Committee chair Bennie Thompson, D-Miss., faces GOP military veteran Brian Flowers, who won the Republican primary earlier this summer.
In Virginia, Democratic Rep. Elaine Luria is running against Navy veteran and Virginia state Sen. Jen Kiggans in Virginia’s 2nd Congressional District.
Democratic Rep. Jamie Raskin is running against republican Gregory Coll, a rocket scientist, to keep his seat in Maryland’s 8th Congressional District.
In California, Democrats Adam Schiff, Pete Aguilar and Zoe Lofgren are facing off against Republican primary winners to remain in office.
The committee is composed of nine members of the House — seven Democrats and two Republicans. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., appointed each member.
Democratic Rep. Bennie Thompson of Mississippi serves as the committee chair. He previously worked on legislation to create a bipartisan commission to investigate Jan. 6, but it died in the Senate. Thompson, who also serves as chair of the Homeland Security Committee, sued Trump after Jan. 6 and accused the president of inciting the attack and conspiring with extremist groups.
Rep. Liz Cheney, R-Wyo., serves as the vice chair and is one of two Republicans on the committee. Cheney condemned Trump for his role in the attack and voted to impeach him, resulting in her being ousted from GOP leadership for criticizing the former president and those who remain loyal to him.
Illinois Rep. Adam Kinzinger serves as the other Republican on the committee. Kinzinger was one of 10 Republicans who voted to impeach Trump. He has condemned members of his own party and has been an outspoken member of the GOP.
Also on the committee are Democratic Reps. Jamie Raskin of Maryland and Adam Schiff of California, who both served as lead impeachment managers for Trump’s first and second impeachments.
Other Democrat House members include Stephanie Murphy of Florida who co-chairs the Blue Dog Coalition; Pete Aguilar of California, the only Latino representative on the committee; Zoe Lofgren of California, who was involved in prosecuting one of Trump’s impeachment trials and retired Navy commander Elaine Luria of Virginia.
Neither have testified under oath. Cheney said the committee received 800,000 pages of communication from the Secret Service after committee members filed a subpoena in July for text messages reportedly deleted.
The committee also requested former House Speaker Newt Gingrich provide information related to Jan. 6.
Members of the committee interviewed additional witnesses since the last public hearing in July.
The committee heard from Ginni Thomas, the wife of Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas, on Sept. 29. She voluntarily agreed to appear before the committee and repeated claims the 2020 election was stolen during her testimony.
Thomas’s lawyer said she voiced concerns over election fraud, condemned the violence on Jan. 6 and answered the committee’s questions.
The committee also heard from Kelli Ward, the head of Arizona’s Republican Party, who declined to answer questions during her subpoenaed testimony, according to a government attorney. Ward was part of a group that cast fake electoral votes for Trump after he lost the state.
The Jan. 6 committee sought a log of her phone calls and text messages. A federal judge decided the committee was within its rights to subpoena Ward for the cell phone records.
USA TODAY will air it on its YouTube channel. C-SPAN will also air it, as well as TV networks such as CNN, CBS and MSNBC.
Rep. Jamie Raskin, D-Md., said maybe so when interviewed on “Meet the Press” on Sept. 25.
“It, it may be the last investigative public hearing where we’re going to try to round out the factual narrative,” he said, but held out hope there would be an additional hearing “that lays out all of our legislative recommendations about how to prevent coups, insurrections, political violence and electoral sabotage in the future because this is a clear and present danger that’s continuing up right to this day.”
Cheney suggested at the Texas Tribune Festival Sept. 24 that it is unlikely the upcoming hearing will be the last.