Capitol Riot Hearings: Trump ‘poured gasoline on the fire,’ White House staffer says | American News

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Donald Trump “poured gasoline on the fire” during the riots at the US Capitol on January 6, 2021, according to a House investigation.

And some of Mr Trump’s closest advisers thought an attempt to cancel the 2020 US presidential election was “crazy”, the select committee also said.

The latest session focused on an attempt to persuade Vice President Mike Pence to overturn the result and deny victory to Joe Biden.

Conservative lawyer John Eastman has proposed a plan to keep Mr Trump in the Oval Office.

The idea was to persuade Mr Pence to defy historic precedent when he chaired a joint session of Congress on the day of the riots and refuse to certify Mr Biden’s victory.

Mr. Eastman argued that Mr. Pence could reject the results from certain states if he believed they were illegitimate, giving Republicans in those states the chance to declare Mr. Trump the winner.

Mr. Trump clung to Mr. Eastman’s plan and began pressuring Mr. Pence publicly and privately.

Mr. Trump tweeted at 2:24 p.m., as the attack on the Capitol continued, that Mr. Pence lacked the “courage” to stop the count.

“It was like he was pouring gasoline on the fire tweeting that,” Trump White House staffer Sarah Matthews said in a video statement.

Lawyer John Eastman and Rudy Giuliani on January 6, 2021
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Attorney John Eastman (L) and Donald Trump’s personal attorney Rudy Giuliani (R) on January 6, 2021
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Marc Short, Mike Pence’s chief of staff, also testified at the hearing and said Mr Pence had told Mr Trump “repeatedly” that he had no authority to prevent the certification of the vote in Congress.

Gregory Jacob, a lawyer for Mr. Pence, said Mr. Eastman had admitted to the president two days before the attack that his plan to have Mr. Pence halt the proceedings would violate the law.

“It’s mind-boggling that these arguments were even crafted, let alone nurtured, by the President of the United States,” said former United States Court of Appeals Judge J Michael Luttig, an informal adviser to Penny.

Rioters outside the Capitol began shouting “hang Mike Pence” and came within 40 feet of where he and his team were sheltering.

There was deep concern in the White House: Trump campaign adviser Jason Miller said those around Mr Trump called the plan “crazy”.

The rioters chanted "hang mike pence".  File Picture
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The rioters chanted “hang Mike Pence”. File Picture

Eric Herschmann, a lawyer advising Mr Trump, told Mr Eastman: “Are you crazy?”

In recorded testimony given at the hearing, Mr Herschmann said he told Mr Eastman: ‘You are going to turn around and tell over 78 million people in this country that your theory is this is how you going to invalidate their votes?

“You will cause riots in the streets.”

Before January 6, Fox News’ Sean Hannity texted Mr Trump’s chief of staff, Mark Meadows, to say he was “very worried for the next 48 hours”.

Committee Chairman Bennie Thompson said that American democracy
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Committee chairman Bennie Thompson said American democracy ‘is dangerously close to disaster’

Committee chairman, Democrat Bennie Thompson, said American democracy “was dangerously close to disaster”.

There was “hardly any idea more un-American” than the one Mr Pence was being asked to carry out – reject the vote, Mr Thompson added.

By refusing Mr. Trump’s demands, Mr. Pence “did his duty,” said the panel’s vice chairwoman, Republican Liz Cheney.

Before the hearing, Mr. Short said his boss was determined to stay at the Capitol and finish the job.

“He knew his job was to stay in his job,” Mr. Short told CNN.

Mr Trump has repeatedly denied doing anything wrong, while continuing to claim he lost the election due to widespread fraud.

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