WASHINGTON (AP) – The House January 6 Committee is set to release ‘surprising’ details, including evidence from Donald Trump’s secret service on the 2021 attack on the United States Capitol in what will likely be his last public hearing before the November meeting midterm elections.
Thursday afternoon’s hearing, the panel’s 10th public session, is expected to delve into Trump’s “mindset” and the pivotal role the defeated president played in the multi-part effort to quash the election, according to a committee aide who discussed the plans on condition of anonymity.
The committee begins to summarize his findings: Trump, after losing the 2020 presidential election, launched an unprecedented attempt to stop Congress from certifying Joe Biden as the winner. The result was the death siege of the mob of the Capitol.
“The crowd was led by extremist groups — they plotted in advance what they were going to do,” Rep. Zoe Lofgren, D-California, a committee member, told CNN. “And these individuals were known to people in Trump’s orbit.”
Speaker Bennie Thompson, D-Miss., is about to give the hammer during Thursday’s session at an otherwise empty Capitol complex, with most of the lawmakers at home campaigning for re-election. Several people who were among the thousands around the Capitol on Jan. 6 are now running for office, some with Trump’s backing.
The session will serve as closing argument by the two Republican lawmakers on the panel, Liz Cheney from Wyoming and Adam Kinzinger of Illinois, who were essentially shunned by Trump and his party and will not return to the new Congress. Cheney lost his primary election and Kinzinger decided not to run.
Another committee member, Rep. Elaine Luria, D-Va., a retired Navy commander, is in a difficult re-election bid against State Senator Jen Kiggans, a former Navy helicopter pilot.
Unlike previous hearings, this one is not expected to feature live witnesses, although the panel is expected to share information from its recent interviews – including testimony from Ginny Thomas, conservative activist and wife of Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas. She was in contact with the White House as Jan. 6 approached.
New information on the movements of then-Vice President Mike Pence, who chaired the joint session of Congress on January 6 and was rushed to safety, is also expected, according to a person familiar with the planning. of the committee who was not authorized to discuss it publicly and requested anonymity.
For weeks, the panel has been in talks with the US Secret Service after issuing a subpoena to produce missing text messages from that day forward. Former White House aide Cassidy Hutchinson says she was told by a White House aide that Trump angrily threw himself at the driver of his presidential SUV and demanded to be removed from his Capitol rally as the crowd formed on January 6.
Some members of the Secret Service have disputed Cassidy’s account of the events, but it’s unclear if the missing texts that the agency says were removed during a technology upgrade will ever be recovered. The hearing is expected to reveal new details from a huge trove of documents and other evidence provided by the Secret Service.
The committee plans to show new video footage it received from the Secret Service of the White House timeskip rally. Trump spoke there before encouraging his armed supporters to march to the Capitol and “fight like hell.”
The hearing will also include new documentary footage captured on the day of the attack.
The Secret Service turned over 1.5 million pages of documents and surveillance videos to the committee, according to agency spokesman Anthony Guglielmi.
Lofgren said that upon learning of the information presented on Thursday, she found it “quite surprising”.
The committee, after conducting more than 1,500 interviews and obtaining countless documents, produced a thorough investigation into Trump’s activities from his November election defeat to the attack on the Capitol.
“He used that big lie to destabilize our democracy,” said Lofgren, who was a junior House staffer during the 1974 impeachment inquiry of Richard Nixon. and what did he know while he was doing this?”
This week’s hearing is expected to be lawmakers’ last investigative presentation before the midterm elections. But staff members say the investigation is continuing.
The Jan. 6 committee has been meeting for more than a year, set up by the House after Republican senators blocked the formation of an outside panel similar to the 9/11 committee set up after the 2001 terror attacks Even after launching its high-profile public hearings last summer, the January 6 committee continued to gather evidence and interviews.
Under committee rules, the Jan. 6 panel is expected to produce a report of its findings, due after the election, likely in December. The committee will disband 30 days after the publication of this report, and with the new Congress in January.
House Republicans are expected to drop the Jan. 6 inquiry and turn to other probes if they win control after the midterm elections, focusing primarily on Biden, his family and his administration.
At least five people died in the Jan. 6 attack and its aftermath, including a Trump supporter shot dead by Capitol police.
Police engaged in often bloody hand-to-hand combat as Trump supporters broke through barricades, stormed the Capitol and roamed the halls, sending lawmakers fleeing for safety and temporarily disrupting the joint session of Congress certifying Biden’s election.
More than 850 people have been charged by the Justice Department in the attack on the Capitol, some have been sentenced to lengthy prison terms for their roles. Several leaders and associates of the extremist Oath Keepers and Proud Boys have been accused of sedition.
Trump faces various state and federal investigations on his actions during the election and its consequences.