Thursday’s prime-time hearing focused on the 187 minutes between Trump’s speech and his tweet telling rioters to leave the Capitol.
The Jan. 6 committee held its eighth public hearing Thursday, the latest in a series of high-profile productions laying out the case that the deadly riot resulted from then-President Donald Trump’s attempts to overturn the election results.
The prime-time hearing focused on what happened during the 187 minutes between Trump’s speech, during which he encouraged supporters to march to the Capitol, and his tweet encouraging rioters to head home.
Democrats responded to Thursday’s hearing by highlighting Trump’s inaction on Jan. 6 and the opportunities he had during that 187 minutes to put an end to the insurrection at the Capitol.
“Within 15 minutes of leaving his rally, Trump knew the Capitol was under attack. But what did he do? He went to his dining room, turned on the T.V., and watched the deadly insurrection he incited in real time as entertainment,” Rep. Jimmy Gomez, D-Calif., tweeted.
The committee continued to reveal that House Republican Leader Kevin McCarthy and Fox News hosts, among others, pleaded with Trump to end his followers’ invasion. Rep. Norma Torres, D-Calif, and Rep. Steve Cohen, D-Tenn., called for legal action.
“Prosecute Donald Trump. That’s the tweet,” Torres wrote.
The Republican response was scant, but for the House Republican caucus’ account tweeting, “All hearsay.”
Trump made a purposeful choice to violate his oath of office; Cheney said in her closing remarks, “There was no ambiguity. No nuance.”
“You saw an American president faced with a stark, unmistakable choice between right and wrong,” she said. “To ignore ongoing violence against law enforcement and threaten our constitutional order. There is no way to excuse that behaviour. It was indefensible.”
In clips played at committee hearings, several of Trump’s political advisors testified that they told him he had lost the election to Biden – but Trump dismissed the facts in favour of Rudy Giuliani and others’ unfounded and false claims.
Furthermore, testimony and documents produced by the committee revealed a broader campaign by Trump and two of his lawyers – Giuliani and John Eastman – to stop valid electoral votes from being counted on Jan. 6. They pressured state officials to overturn the election results and appoint alternate electors.
Trump planned to use the “Stop the Steal” rally on Jan. 6 to rally his supporters to march to the Capitol, where he would join them, Cassidy Hutchinson, an aide to then-chief of staff Mark Meadows, testified at one of the hearings. According to Hutchinson’s testimony, Trump was told during the rally that some of his supporters declined to come through magnetometers — metal detectors — because they were armed.
“I don’t f—ing care that they have weapons,” Trump railed, according to Hutchinson’s testimony. “They’re not here to hurt me. Take the f—ing mags away.”
The hearing also showed never-before-seen outtakes of a video that White House aides pleaded for Trump to make as a message of national healing for the country.
Attorney General Merrick Garland on Wednesday said the department was committed to holding to account “every person who is criminally responsible for trying to overturn the presidential election,” characterizing the events leading up to and on Jan. 6 as the most important investigation the department has ever undertaken.
Concerning the violence and trespassing seen at the Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021, more than 840 people have been charged with federal crimes.
“No person is above the law in this country, I can’t say it any more clearly than that,” Garland said after a reporter asked if his statement applied even to a former president. This was probably the last hearing of the summer, but the panel stated they would resume in September as more witnesses and information emerged.