Jan. 6 Committee To Put Trump ‘At The Center’ Of The Plan To Overturn Election

Thursday night’s first hearing will feature firsthand witnesses to the violence at the U.S. Capitol as well as video clips of testimony from top Trump aides.

WASHINGTON ― The House select committee investigating the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the U.S. Capitol plans to show starting Thursday night how the assault was part of a coordinated scheme to overturn the 2020 presidential election and stop the transfer of power, with Donald Trump “at the center” of that plan, committee aides said.

The bipartisan panel plans a series of six public hearings starting at 8 p.m. EDT, which will be carried live by all three broadcast TV networks. The first hearing is scheduled to include live testimony about the start of the violence by the pro-Trump mob at the Capitol as well as video clips from Trump White House officials, campaign officials and family members.

“The facts will speak for themselves,” a committee aide told reporters Wednesday, on condition of anonymity, adding that the hearings will detail for Americans the “multi-step, coordinated attempt to overturn a presidential election and stop the transfer of power.”

The hearing will feature testimony from the first police officer injured in the assault, Caroline Edwards, and from a documentary filmmaker who was following leaders of the extremist Proud Boys group in the days leading up to Jan. 6 and was present at the start of the violence that afternoon.

Much of the material, committee aides said, has never been seen by the public. “There will be a lot of new information revealed,” the aide said.

Another aide said the challenge is to connect innumerable dots into a single coherent narrative that people can readily understand. “Our aim is to sort of try and tie all that together,” the aide said, also on condition of anonymity. “It’s a pattern that started before the election and went all the way through Jan. 6…. There’s a pattern that I would say continues to this day.”

Committee chair Bennie Thompson, a Mississippi Democrat, and vice chair Liz Cheney, a Wyoming Republican, are planning to preview expected themes and testimony in the coming hearings. The second is planned for Monday morning and the third for Wednesday.

That the hearings are starting, the aides said, does not mean the committee is done gathering evidence. Thanks to a ruling from a federal judge in California, for example, it received access to another batch of emails from lawyer John Eastman, who was advocating a plan for then-Vice President Mike Pence to simply declare Trump the winner, notwithstanding the election result.

“We’re viewing this as revealing our initial findings to the American people,” the first aide said. “The investigation is ongoing.”

Trump, despite losing the election by 7 million votes nationally and by 306-232 in the Electoral College, became the first president in more than two centuries of elections to refuse to hand over power peacefully. His incitement of the Jan. 6 assault on the Capitol ― his last-ditch attempt to remain in office ― led to the deaths of five people, including one police officer, injuries to an additional 140 officers and four police suicides.

Nevertheless, Trump remains the dominant figure in the Republican Party and is openly speaking about running for the presidency again in 2024.

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