WASHINGTON (Fwrd Axis) — The House select committee investigating the January 6, 2021, assault on the U.S. Capitol held its first public hearings on Thursday and made the case that former President Donald Trump set the tone for what took place on that unforgettable day.Thank you for reading this post, don't forget to subscribe!
The committee played recorded, on-camera testimony from witnesses — which included several Trump allies — arguing that Trump, not the media or the Democrats, is lying about what took place at the Capitol when it was attacked.
The public hearing is the first of several planned as the committee seeks to lay out its findings to the American people on how Donald Trump and his allies attempted to overthrow democracy and hold on to power.
Here are four main takeaways from the first January 6 committee hearing:
Trump was told Biden won the election months before the attack
Trump and his aides were told there was no widespread ballot fraud in the election, which Trump claims to this day took place. The committee played a video of Trump’s campaign lawyer, Alex Cannon recalling a conversation he had with former White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows about Trump’s baseless allegations of election fraud.
“We weren’t finding anything that would be sufficient to change the results in any of the key states,” Cannon said he told Meadows.
“So there’s no there there,” Meadows answered.
The former president also got that same message but continued to push his lies and claims of voter fraud. He took the idea to former Attorney General William Barr, who also said he saw no evidence of fraud, which left Trump seething.
“I did not see evidence of fraud that would have affected the outcome of the election,” Barr said in recorded testimony. “It was crazy stuff and they were wasting their time on that and that it was doing great, great disservice to the country. It’s bullshit.”
“Trump became really angry at advisers who told him he needed to be doing something more,” Rep. Liz Cheney (R-Wyo.) said in her opening statements.
Republican lawmakers sought out pardons after the attack
One of the bigger reveals came in the opening hour when Cheney said “multiple” Republican members of Congress sought presidential pardons, naming Rep. Scott Perry specifically.
“Multiple other Republican congressmen also sought presidential pardons for their roles in attempting to overturn the 2020 election,” Cheney said.
Perry has declined to cooperate and did not show up when called to testify.
On MSNBC, Rachel Maddow asked Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA) if the names of the other Republicans will be revealed. He declined to answer due to the ongoing investigation but hinted more will come out in the other hearings.
Ivanka Trump said she accepted Barr’s assessment there was no voter fraud
After Trump went to Barr to do more to find evidence of fraud, the former attorney general testified that he told Trump he disagreed with his claims of fraud, saying it just didn’t exist.
“I made it clear I did not agree with the idea of saying the election was stolen and putting out this stuff, which I told the president was bullsh**,” Barr said. “And I didn’t want to be a part of it.”
Barr had determined President Joe Biden had won the election fairly and Ivanka Trump, Trump’s daughter, and adviser said she agreed with his assessment.
“I respect Attorney General Barr. So, I accepted what he was saying,” she said.
Pence wasn’t ‘weak’, he was a hero
Trump painted former Vice President Mike Pence as “weak” when he declined to do the former president’s bidding to not certify Biden’s election win. However, the committee attempted to paint Pence as the hero while Trump sat in the Oval Office watching it all unfold on television.
The committee put together a video of a tweet Trump posted attacking Mike Pence as the Capitol was being attacked. The tweet was read through a bullhorn by someone in the crowd, which prompted the “hang Mike Pence” chants. Cheney said Trump was happy to see the chants and remarked that Pence “deserved it”.
Cheney said Trump declined to direct law enforcement agencies to protect the Capitol but Pence did, taking on the role of president when the White House didn’t appear as they would help.
“Not only did President Trump refuse to tell the mob to leave the Capitol, he placed no call to any element of the United States government to instruct that the Capitol be defended,” Cheney said. “He did not call his secretary of defense on January 6. He did not talk to his attorney general. He did not talk to the Department of Homeland Security. President Trump gave no order to deploy the National Guard that day. And he made no effort to work with the Department of Justice to coordinate and deploy law enforcement assets. Vice President Pence did each of those things.”
The committee said they will have more on this point in future hearings after eight hours of Trump’s day is still unaccounted for.
One more thing..
Perhaps the most impressive thing about the 2-hour hearing was using Trump’s own aides and allies against him. The committee used the words of former Trump officials to highlight how they knew the former president was wrong for his claims of fraud but he still continued with his lie.
The committee put together a video showing several members of the Proud Boys, the Oathkeepers, and Trump supporters all saying they were at the Capitol that day because “I was there because he called me there.”
“Trump asked me to come,” one woman said.
“I voted for this man and I would give my life for this man,” another man added.
This final video brought everything together full circle that despite knowing he lost the election, Trump knowingly attempted to overturn the election results and overthrow American democracy.
The second January 6 hearing is scheduled for Monday, June 13, at 10 a.m. ET