AP

Jan. 6 hearings: What we’ve learned, and what’s next

Jun 14, 2022, 3:05 PM | Updated: Jun 15, 2022, 8:55 am

WASHINGTON (AP) — House investigators are trying to make a methodical case that President Donald Trump’s lies about the 2020 election led directly to his supporters’ insurrection at the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021.

The House panel investigating the attack has held the first two in a series of hearings providing its initial findings after a yearlong probe and more than 1,000 interviews. The committee has shown clips not only from the violent attack on the Capitol, but also from its own closed-door interviews with Trump aides and associates who were trying to dissuade him from spreading falsehoods about an election he lost.

A rundown of what we’ve learned so far from the public hearings of the select Jan. 6 committee — and what’s next:

REBUFFED ON ELECTION NIGHT

One after one, video excerpts have been played of Trump’s aides describing their conversations with the just-defeated president as returns came in on election night and in the days afterward, as it became increasingly obvious that he had lost to Democrat Joe Biden. The committee is trying to establish that Trump pushed lies about widespread election fraud despite hearing clear evidence that it didn’t happen.

As the aides tried to be realistic with the president, Trump lawyer Rudy Giuliani took the opposite approach, telling him on election night that he should declare victory right away, according to the testimony. It was four more days until Biden was declared the winner.

Trump’s daughter, Ivanka Trump, said she knew it was clear that the results would not be final on election night. Campaign aide Jason Miller said a better sense of the numbers was needed before making any declarations. Campaign manager Bill Stepien said he advised Trump to tell reporters that the race was too early to call, that he was proud of the campaign he ran and that he was in a good position to win.

But Trump didn’t listen. Miller said that Trump told the room that anyone who didn’t agree with Giuliani was being “weak.” He went out and publicly declared the election “a fraud on the American public.”

“Frankly, we did win this election,” Trump said.

FRAUD INVESTIGATIONS COME UP EMPTY

In the weeks after the election, the Department of Justice investigated Trump’s claims of widespread fraud. States and localities that had counted the votes did their own checks. None found evidence to support the claims that Trump and Giuliani were pushing.

Attorney General Bill Barr, who resigned from office after publicly declaring there was no evidence of widespread fraud, described his interactions with the president as he tried to convince him of the facts. Not only was Trump angry, but he was becoming “detached from reality,” Barr said in a videotaped deposition.

Barr said that when he would tell Trump “how crazy some of these allegations were, there was never, there was never an indication of interest in what the actual facts were.”

Two in-person witnesses at the committee’s hearing on Monday talked about Trump and Giuliani’s pressure to try and overturn the results in their states. BJay Pak, a former U.S. attorney in Atlanta who resigned as Trump pressured Georgia officials, said his office investigated Giuliani’s “reckless” claims about fraud in the state and found them to be “simply untrue.”

Philadelphia City Commissioner Al Schmidt, the only Republican on the city’s election board, said Trump’s claims about fraud in his city were “fantastical” and thorough investigations turned up nothing of the sort.

FUNDRAISING USING FALSE CLAIMS

The panel detailed Trump’s fundraising off his own falsehoods. He and his allies raised hundreds of millions after the election, the committee said, and broadly misled donors as to where some of the money was going. Some of the dollars that were advertised as going to an “election defense fund” actually benefitted groups and entities connected to Trump’s family and friends.

“Not only was there the Big Lie, there was the Big Ripoff,” said Rep. Zoe Lofgren, D-Calif., a member of the panel.

After the hearing Monday, Lofgren said on CNN that Donald Trump Jr.’s girlfriend, Kimberly Guilfoyle, was paid $60,000 for a short speech at Trump’s rally ahead of the insurrection.

A REMINDER OF THE VIOLENCE

While some of the committee’s findings are new, some of the evidence they are presenting is not. But the seven Democrats and two Republicans on the panel want to remind the public of what happened that January day – not only how violent it was, but the lies that led up to it.

At the initial hearing on June 9, the panel showed new video of police officers being beaten as Trump’s supporters broke into the Capitol and interrupted the certification of Biden’s victory. Images from body cameras and security video showed the huge and angry crowd as it surged toward the entrances and shattered windows and doors, repeating Trump’s claims about fraud.

Capitol Police officer Caroline Edwards described a bloody “war scene” and hours of hand to hand combat. She was one of the first officers injured, thrown to ground as the first rioters pushed past bike racks. She suffered a head injury and still hasn’t yet returned to the same unit.

“It was carnage,” she said. “It was chaos.”

WHAT’S NEXT

While the schedule is fluid, the committee plans up to five additional hearings to lay out its findings. While the first two hearings showed the violence of the siege and documented Trump’s resistance as his aides and allies initially tried to present the facts of his November loss, future hearings will describe how he continued to push the lies and eventually set his sights on the congressional certification of Jan. 6.

On Thursday, the panel will describe Trump’s efforts to persuade Vice President Mike Pence to illegally delay the electoral count or to object to Biden’s win as he presided over the congressional certification. In a video posted to Twitter on Tuesday, Wyoming Rep. Liz Cheney, the committee’s Republican co-chair, said the panel will examine Trump’s “relentless effort on Jan. 6, and in the days beforehand, to pressure Vice President Pence to refuse to count lawful electoral votes.”

Rep. Cheney also included a preview clip: former White House lawyer Eric Herschmann telling the committee in a video interview that he had told John Eastman, a lawyer who was working with Trump to push the false fraud claims, that he needed to “get a great effing criminal defense lawyer. You’re gonna need it.”

Other hearings will review Trump’s pressure on Justice Department officials and what was happening in the White House as the violence unfolded at the Capitol.

“The Trump campaign legal team knew there was no legitimate argument — fraud, irregularities or anything — to overturn the election,” Cheney said at Monday’s hearing. “And yet President Trump went ahead with his plans for Jan. 6 anyway.”

A CRIMINAL REFERRAL?

After the hearings, the committee says its investigation will continue. And panel members will ultimately have to make a decision about whether they have found criminal activity and, if so, whether they should refer it to the Justice Department. The department, which is conducting its own investigation, could take or leave the recommendation.

Committee members have been debating that issue, but have emphasized a referral is not their main goal.

“We’re making a report to the American people about what happened, why it happened and how we need to protect ourselves in the future,” said Maryland Rep. Jamie Raskin, a Democrat on the committee.

___

Associated Press writer Kevin Freking contributed to this report.

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

AP

Most Americans are sleepy new Gallup poll finds...

Associated Press

Most Americans say they don’t get enough sleep, according to new Gallup poll

A new Gallup poll found that most Americans are sleepy — or, at least, they say they are. Multiple factors play into this.

2 days ago

Near-total abortion ban in Arizona dates back to Civil War era...

Associated Press

Near-total abortion ban dates back to 1864, during the Civil War, before Arizona was a state

The near-total abortion ban resurrected last week by the Arizona Supreme Court dates to 1864, when settlers were encroaching on tribal lands.

2 days ago

Tracy Toulou...

Associated Press

How to tackle crime in Indian Country? Empower tribal justice, ex-Justice Department official says

A recently retired director of the Justice Dept. says the federal government hasn't given tribal justice systems equal recognition.

3 days ago

Speaker of the House Mike Johnson...

Associated Press

House Speaker Mike Johnson says he will push for aid to Israel and Ukraine this week

House Speaker Mike Johnson said Sunday he will try to advance wartime aid for Israel this week, along with funding for Ukraine.

3 days ago

President Joe Biden speaks at a campaign rally Saturday, March 9, 2024, at Pullman Yards in Atlanta...

Associated Press

US shoots down ‘nearly all’ Iran-launched attack drones as Biden vows support for Israel’s defense

Joe Biden cut short a weekend stay at his beach house to meet with his national security team as Iran launched an attack against Israel.

4 days ago

Protesters in Phoenix shout as they join thousands marching around the Arizona state Capitol after ...

Associated Press

Abortion ruling supercharges Arizona to be an especially important swing state

A ruling this week instituting a near-total abortion ban supercharged Arizona's role, turning it into the most critical battleground.

5 days ago

Sponsored Articles

...

DISC Desert Institute for Spine Care

Sciatica pain is treatable but surgery may be required

Sciatica pain is one of the most common ailments a person can face, and if not taken seriously, it could become one of the most harmful.

...

Collins Comfort Masters

Here’s 1 way to ensure your family is drinking safe water

Water is maybe one of the most important resources in our lives, and especially if you have kids, you want them to have access to safe water.

...

Fiesta Bowl Foundation

The 51st annual Vrbo Fiesta Bowl Parade is excitingly upon us

The 51st annual Vrbo Fiesta Bowl Parade presented by Lerner & Rowe is upon us! The attraction honors Arizona and the history of the game.

Jan. 6 hearings: What we’ve learned, and what’s next