Four things to watch for at the upcoming Jan. 6 hearing
Capitol police try to hold back rioters outside the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021. (Photo by Alex Kent for the Tennessee Lookout, States Newsroom).
The U.S. House committee investigating a pro-Trump mob’s attack on the Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021, is back. It will hold its first hearing in nearly three months Thursday—and potentially its last.
In a break from most of the panel’s previous eight hearings in June and July, Thursday’s meeting will not drill down into one specific aspect of the attack. Lawmakers will instead provide an overview of the “multipart plan” by former President Donald Trump and his allies to subvert the 2020 election results, committee aides told reporters Wednesday.
The committee will present new evidence, but will also synthesize findings presented at earlier hearings. No live witnesses will appear Thursday. Taped interviews will be shown.
In another change to the format the committee has employed for most of its public hearings, all of the committee’s nine members are expected to participate Thursday.
Members include Democrats Stephanie Murphy of Florida, who is retiring at the end of this term; Jamie Raskin of Maryland; and Elaine Luria of Virginia, who is in a competitive reelection race.
The panel’s two Republicans, Liz Cheney of Wyoming and Adam Kinzinger of Illinois, are both leaving Congress at the end of their terms. Cheney lost reelection in her August primary and Kinzinger is retiring after his district lines were reset.
The hearing, which will be livestreamed, is likely the final public meeting for the panel ahead of next month’s mid-term elections.
Here are four things to watch for, starting at 1 p.m. Eastern:
Many Secret Service texts
The committee will present new documentary evidence, including from information gleaned from hundreds of thousands of pages the U.S. Secret Service provided to the panel under a July subpoena, committee aides said Wednesday.
In mid-July, the panel demanded text messages and other Secret Service records related to the attack and a Jan. 5 pro-Trump rally.
The subpoena closely followed perhaps the most staggering of the committee’s first eight hearings, in which Cassidy Hutchinson, a former aide to White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows, told the panel that Secret Service agents witnessed Trump outbursts.
One episode included Trump grabbing for the steering wheel in a rage when agents began taking him back to the White House instead of the Capitol.
What did Trump know?
Thursday’s hearing will also focus on “the former president’s state of mind,” a committee aide said Wednesday.
The panel will reveal new evidence and will use findings it has previously shown to document how central Trump was to the planning and execution of the attack.
The Washington Post reported Wednesday that the Secret Service records would show Trump was aware of the threats his supporters posed and still moved to rile them up.
Ongoing threats to democracy
Among the panel’s roles under the House resolution that created it was to provide recommendations to prevent future attacks and block other threats to U.S. elections.
Members on Thursday will lay out “ongoing threats to democracy that persist to this day,” a committee aide said.
The aide did not provide more specifics.
Many Republicans running in races across the country this fall have repeated the false claim—raised by Trump and used as the pretext for the Capitol attack—that the 2020 election was stolen and that Trump would have rightly won. There is no evidence to back that claim.
A closing argument?
Thursday’s hearing could be the committee’s last.
Although committee aides told reporters Wednesday that the panel would publish a report before it adjourns at the end of the year, the committee has not scheduled another hearing.
Thursday’s has some trappings of a closing presentation, with all members likely to speak and a more generalized narrative than a particular focus.
That includes the expectation that lawmakers will present a broader view of the “multipart plan to overturn the 2020 presidential election” rather than any particular piece of it, committee aides said.
That mirrors the panel’s opening prime time hearing, when committee members laid out an overview of what they would present over the coming weeks.
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