Thursday, December 08, 2022

WATCH LIVE: January 6 Committee Hearings – Day 5

WASHINGTON ( Associated Press) – The House Committee investigating the Capitol uprising is expected to continue its public hearings on Thursday.

The trial is expected to begin at 3:00 PM ET. At 14:45 ET, Nicole Ellis of the PBS NewsHour will speak to NewsHour Withuis correspondent Laura Barrón-López to watch the trial ahead. Check out both opportunities in the live player above.

The committee heard from election workers and government officials on Tuesday when they described President Donald Trump’s pressure to reverse his 2020 election defeat. On Thursday, the nine-member panel will hear from former Justice Department officials who rejected Trump’s requests to declare the election “corrupt.”

The committee’s fourth and fifth hearings, held this week, are part of an effort to show how Trump’s pressure finally shifted to Congress, where his false statements of widespread election fraud led directly to the January 6 riot. 2021, when hundreds of his supporters violently violated the Capitol and interrupted the certification of President Joe Biden’s election victory.

In July, the panel will hold at least two more hearings that are expected to focus on the far-right domestic extremists who attacked the Capitol and what Trump was doing in the White House as the violence unfolded.

Trump’s pressure on states

Civil servants testified during Tuesday’s hearing about the extraordinary pressure they felt after Trump’s election to try to invalidate Biden’s victory.

Arizona House Speaker Rusty Bowers testified about phone calls from Trump and his allies asking him to deny Arizona’s legitimate voters and replace them. Georgia’s Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger spoke of the now infamous phone call when Trump asked officials there to find “11,780” votes.

The officials did not concede.

READ MORE: Capitol riots will last until July, says the chairman

“You are asking me to do something against my oath, and I will not break my oath,” Bowers said he told Trump and his allies. He recalled that attorney John Eastman, a chief architect of Trump’s plan to create a list of fake voters, told him to just do it and the courts would sort it out.

Bowers said he repeatedly asked Trump’s team for evidence of the widespread fraud they allege, but they never provided it.

Raffensperger said his team investigated all of Trump’s allegations and went down into every “rabbit hole” and found nothing. But Trump would not accept that.

Trump’s pressure on Pence

The committee’s third hearing last week included testimony from former assistants to Vice President Mike Pence. The assistants described the then president’s efforts to persuade Pence to deviate from his ceremonial role and objection while Congress counted the January 6 election votes.

Pence concluded from the outset, his former adviser Greg Jacob told the committee that “there is no justifiable basis for concluding that the vice president has that kind of authority.”

READ MORE: What we know about how Pence’s day went on January 6

Trump did not stop even after his supporters broke into the Capitol and hid Pence in an unknown location – at one point just 40 feet from the rioters, the committee said. Trump sent a tweet this afternoon in which he said Pence did not have the “courage” to do what was necessary.

The committee played video of the rioters outside the Capitol calling for Pence’s death.

“Donald Trump has turned the mob on him,” the Mississippi rep. Bennie Thompson, chairman of the panel, said.

Repulsion of Trump’s Assistants

The hearings have repeatedly shown how Trump has moved forward with his unfounded allegations of fraud, even though his top advisers have told them this is not true.

The committee played video testimony of several assistants who said they did not agree with the plan or tried to talk Trump out – even though few of them spoke in public at the time. Even his daughter, Ivanka Trump, said she “accepted” the conclusion of former Attorney General Bill Barr, who resigned after telling the president there was no evidence of widespread fraud.

Attempts to persuade Trump began on election night, when the race was still too close to call. Attorney Rudy Giuliani told Trump to just go ahead and declare victory. Bill Campien, Trump’s campaign manager, said in one interview that he told Trump it was “completely too early” for such a statement. But Trump did it anyway.

“Honestly, we won this election,” Trump told the cameras.

The committee used video footage of testimony from Barr, who told Trump he had investigated the allegations and found no evidence that any of them were true. He said he had tried to convince Trump, but felt that the president was “detached from reality” and not “interested in what the real facts are”.

The violence and real lives turned upside down

The committee also used the hearings to tell the stories of the people who were hurt, either in the January 6 violence or through harassment of those who believe the election was stolen.

Capitol police officer Caroline Edwards testified about the traumatic brain injury she sustained after being pushed to the concrete when the first rioters violated the temporary barriers around the Capitol. She described a “war scene” from the movies and hours of hand-to-hand fighting.

“They vomited – I saw friends with blood all over their faces,” said Edwards, who has not yet returned to the unit where she worked. “It was a bloodbath. It was chaos. “

LOOK: Former Georgia election official says false election claims ‘have affected her life in a big way’

Two Georgia election workers, who have become at the center of false conspiracy theories, testified tearfully on Tuesday about how it overturned their lives.

The Department of Justice has denied allegations that Wandrea “Shaye” Moss and her mother, Ruby Freeman, brought in suitcases of illegal ballot papers and committed other acts of electoral fraud to try to change the outcome – a conspiracy theory pushed by Giuliani and Trump . But Moss says she is not leaving her home anymore and that it has affected her life “in every way” after she received violent and racist threats from Trump’s supporters.

In video testimony, Freeman said she no longer advertises her local business with her name on it: “Lady Ruby.”

“I lost my name, and I lost my reputation. “I lost my sense of security,” Freeman said.

What’s next

On Thursday, the trial will move on to another pressure campaign – Trump’s attempts to get Justice Department officials to declare the election corrupt, and a scheme within the department to go to states to change the results. Former acting attorney general Jeffrey Rosen, who took over after Barr resigned, and his deputy, Richard Donoghue, will testify about how they successfully withstood that pressure.

The next two hearings, which are expected to cover domestic extremism and Trump’s actions inside the White House, will be held in July. And they may not be the last before the panel issues final reports later this year.

“We’re picking up new evidence on a daily basis at tremendous speed,” said Maryland Rep. Jamie Raskin, a member of the committee, said. “And that’s why we’re constantly working on the new information that comes out and includes it.”

Another panel member suggested they could still sue Pence – it’s “definitely a possibility,” California rep. Said Adam Schiff.

“We would still, I think, like to have several high-profile people come before our committee,” Schiff said.

Associated Press writers Lisa Mascaro, Farnoush Amiri and Kevin Freking contributed.

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