Final Jan. 6 hearing will focus on Trump’s actions

The panel aims to show how Trump’s attempt to overthrow Joe Biden’s election victory has left the country with lingering questions about the state of democracy.

WASHINGTON — The Jan. 6 House committee will hold its final hearing of the summer as the series began — arguing vigorously that Donald Trump’s lies about a stolen election fueled the grisly attack on the US Capitol, which he did not took steps to stop him, but instead watched it “maliciously” on TV at the White House.

Thursday’s prime-time hearing will delve into the 187 minutes that Trump failed to act on Jan. 6, 2021, despite pleas for help from aides, allies and even his family. The panel aims to show how the defeated President’s attempt to overthrow Joe Biden’s election victory has left the United States with lingering questions about the resilience of its democracy.

“A profound moment of reckoning for America,” said Rep. Jamie Raskin, D-Md., a member of the committee.

Featuring live testimonies from two former White House advisers and excerpts from his trove of more than 1,000 interviews, the nearly two-hour session will add a final chapter to the past six weeks of hearings that have at times gripped the nation.

For the first time since the hearing series began, the panel is returning to prime time to show how close the United States has come to what a retired federal judge proclaimed this summer a constitutional crisis.

The events of Jan. 6 are being outlined “minute by minute,” said panel vice chair Rep. Liz Cheney, R-Wyo.

“You will hear that Donald Trump never picked up the phone that day to order his administration for help,” Cheney said.

“He didn’t call the military. His Secretary of Defense received no order. He did not call his Attorney General. He hasn’t spoken to the Department of Homeland Security,” Cheney said. “Mike Pence did all those things, Donald Trump didn’t.”

Former White House staffers who were very close to power will testify on Thursday.

Matt Pottinger, assistant national security adviser, and Sarah Matthews, then press secretary, both tendered their resignations on January 6, 2021, based on what they saw that day. Trump dismissed the hearings on social media, claiming much of the testimony was fabricated.

Rep. Bennie Thompson, D-Miss., the committee chair, is isolating after testing positive for COVID-19 and will participate via video. Rep. Elaine Luria, D-Va., a former Navy officer who conducted the session with Rep. Adam Kinzinger, R-Ill. who flew combat missions in Iraq and Afghanistan, said she expects testimonies from White House officials to be, “Just be really persuasive.”

“These are people who believed in their work but not in the stolen elections,” Luria said.

White House advisers weren’t the only ones to stop that day. The panel is expected to provide a tally of Trump administration advisers and even cabinet members who resigned after Trump failed to call off the attack. Some cabinet members were so alarmed that they debated invoking the 25th Amendment to remove Trump from office.

As the panel continues to collect evidence and prepare to issue a preliminary report on the findings, it has amassed the most comprehensive public record yet of what led to Americans attacking the seat of democracy.

While the committee cannot bring charges, the Justice Department oversees its work.

So far, more than 840 people have been charged with federal crimes related to the Capitol riots. Over 330 of them have pleaded guilty, mostly to misdemeanors. About 100 of the more than 200 defendants to be sentenced received prison sentences.

It remains uncertain whether Trump or the former president’s key allies will face serious charges. No past president has ever been indicted by the Justice Department at the federal level.

Attorney General Merrick Garland said Wednesday that Jan. 6 is “the most comprehensive investigation and the most important investigation the Justice Department has ever entered.”

“We have to do this right,” Garland said. “For people who are concerned, as I think every American should be, we must do two things: we must hold accountable any person criminally responsible for attempting to overthrow a legitimate election, and we must do so in a manner of integrity and professionalism.”

Diving into the timeline, the panel wants to show what happened when Trump left the stage just after 1:10 p.m. at his “Stop the Steal” rally after telling supporters to march to the Capitol, and about three hours later. as he issued a video address from the rose garden telling rioters to “go home” but also praising them as “very special”.

It is also expected to provide additional evidence of Trump’s confrontation with Secret Service agents who refused to drive him to the Capitol – a witness account the security detail has disputed.

Five people died that day as Trump supporters fought police in a bloody hand-to-hand combat to storm the Capitol. One officer has testified how she “got into other people’s blood” as they tried to hold the mob back. A Trump supporter was shot dead by police.

“The president didn’t do much during that time other than happily watch TV,” Kinzinger said.

Trump not only refused to tell the mob to leave the Capitol, he also didn’t call other parts of the government for assistance and didn’t issue an order to deploy the National Guard, Cheney said.

This is despite countless pleas from Trump’s aides and allies, including his daughter Ivanka Trump and Fox News host Sean Hannity, according to previous statements and text messages obtained by the committee.

“You’ll hear the leaders on Capitol Hill have called on the President for help,” Cheney said, including Republican House Leader Kevin McCarthy, who she said indicated he was “fearful” and called out several members to President Trump’s family after he failed to convince the President himself.”

The panel said its investigation was ongoing and further hearings were possible. She expects to produce a preliminary report this fall and a final report by the end of this session of Congress. Final Jan. 6 hearing will focus on Trump’s actions

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