WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The year-long congressional panel investigating the 2021 assault on the U.S. Capitol begins delivering its findings on Thursday, promising explosive new revelations that will link the deadly siege to Donald Trump’s attempts to quash his electoral defeat.
The first hearing – a prime-time evening presentation – will serve as an ‘opening statement’ on the Jan. 6 insurrection, according to aides to the House Investigative Committee, which began work last July. .
It will also aim to demonstrate that the violence was part of a larger plot by Trump and his entourage to illegitimately retain power, tearing up the Constitution and more than two centuries of peaceful transitions from one administration to another.
“We will reveal new details showing that the January 6 violence was the result of a coordinated, multi-step effort to overturn the 2020 election results and stop the transfer of power from Donald Trump to Joe Biden,” an aide said. of the select committee. said.
“And indeed, this former President Donald Trump was at the center of that effort.”
More than 90 minutes of brilliantly produced television — and five subsequent ratings over the next few weeks — will focus on Trump’s role in the multi-pronged effort to return him to the Oval Office as unelected president by robbing millions voters of their rights.
The case the committee plans to make is that Trump laid the groundwork for the insurgency through months of lies about fraud in an election described by his own administration as the safest in history.
His White House is accused of being involved in several potentially illegal schemes to support the effort, including a plot to seize voting machines and another to appoint bogus “alternative voters” from swing states who would ignore the will of their constituents and give victory to Trump.
Republican Vice Chair of the Select Committee Liz Cheney on Sunday said the assault on the Capitol was part of a “creepy” plot.
“It’s extremely broad. It’s extremely well organized,” she told CBS.
The committee plans to present live testimony on Thursday from two people who interacted with members of the neofascist organization The Proud Boys on January 6 and in the days leading up to the violence.
Cheney and Chairman Bennie Thompson will deliver opening remarks before explaining how each of the six hearings, organized by topic, should proceed.
They will feature never-before-seen video clips of the violence itself and excerpts from a treasure trove of 1,000 interviews, including a “significant portion” of discussions with senior White House and Trump campaign officials, as well as members of his family.
Trump’s daughter, Ivanka, and her husband Jared Kushner, as well as the former president’s oldest son, Don Jr., have all voluntarily cooperated with the committee.
British documentary filmmaker Nick Quested will testify on Thursday about his experience watching members of the Proud Boys in the days leading up to January 6 and interacting with them on the day.
The Emmy Award-winning director’s testimony is considered pivotal, a committee aide said, because he was on the scene during the first moments of violence against Capitol police and “all the chaos that followed.” “.
Capitol Police officer Caroline Edwards, who was present when the first barricade was breached, will describe suffering head injuries in clashes with the far-right group, which saw its leader and four lieutenants charged on Monday with seditious conspiracy.
The hearings will differ from Trump’s two impeachments, however, in that he will not be represented in the room as he is not on trial, except possibly in the court of public opinion.
Nonetheless, a number of his most loyal counter-punchers are expected to circle the wagons on Capitol Hill, questioning any damning testimony and challenging the validity of the investigation in television appearances.
AFP asked Trump spokesman Taylor Budowich for details of Trump’s defense plan, but there was no response.
The committee hasn’t confirmed its plans for after the initial slate of hearings, but at least one more presentation and final report are expected in the fall.
The panel, which views Trump as a potential threat to the upcoming election, will make legislative recommendations to ensure there is no repeat of the events of Jan. 6.
“The investigation has exposed continuing threats to our democracy, and our job is to tell the story of what happened,” an aide said.
“And, frankly, let others be the judge of persistent threats and what needs to be done.”
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