WASHINGTON – A House committee’s primetime hearing on Thursday will offer the most compelling evidence yet of then-President Donald Trump’s “dereliction of duty” on the day of the U.S. uprising. Jan. 6, with new witnesses detailing his failure to stem an angry mob storming the Capitol, committee members said Sunday.
“This is going to be a huge eye opener for people,” said Rep. Adam Kinzinger, R-Ill., a member of the House committee investigating the riot, who will help lead Thursday’s session with the Representative Elaine Luria, D-Va. “The president did nothing.”
After a year-long investigation, the January 6 House panel is seeking to wrap up what could be its final hearing, even as its investigation continues to heat up.
The committee says it continues to receive new evidence every day and isn’t ruling out additional hearings or interviews with a slew of additional people close to the president. One such figure is Steve Bannon, whose trial begins this week for criminal contempt of Congress for refusing to comply with the House committee’s subpoena.
The committee also issued an extraordinary subpoena last week to the Secret Service to produce texts by Tuesday January 5 to January 6, 2021, following conflicting reports over whether they have been removed. .
But panel members say Thursday’s hearing will be the most focused yet in exposing and piecing together previously known details of how Trump’s actions conflicted with his constitutional legal obligation to stop the riot. January 6. Unlike members of the public who generally have no obligation to take action to prevent a crime, the Constitution requires that a president “see that the laws are faithfully executed.”
“The Commander-in-Chief is the only person in the Constitution whose duty is explicitly stated to ensure that the laws are faithfully carried out,” Luria said. “I consider this a dereliction of duty. (Trump) did not act. He had a duty to act. »
Thursday’s audience will be the first prime-time viewership since the June 9 debut and was seen by around 20 million people.
Luria said the hearing will highlight additional testimony from White House attorney Pat Cipollone and other never-before-seen witnesses “that will add a lot of value and information to the events of this time period. review of January 6”. She cited Trump’s inaction that day for more than three hours, as well as a tweet this afternoon criticizing Vice President Mike Pence for lacking the courage to challenge Democrat Joe Biden’s victory in the presidential election. of 2020 which may have served to encourage the crowd.
“We’re going to go pretty much minute by minute through that time, from when he left the stage at the Ellipse, came back to the White House, and really sat down in the White House, in the hall at eat, with his advisers urging him to continually ask him to act, to act more,” Luria said.
The hearing comes at a critical time for the panel, which is racing to wrap up findings for a final report this fall. The committee originally expected at this point to conclude much of its investigation with a final hearing, but is now considering possible options for additional interviews and hearings, panel members said.
“This investigation is ongoing,” said Rep. Zoe Lofgren, D-California. “The fact that a series of hearings ends this Thursday does not mean that our investigation is over. It’s very active, new witnesses are coming forward, additional information is coming in.
For example, the committee took a rare step last week by issuing a subpoena to the Secret Service, a department of the executive branch. It came after receiving a closed briefing from the Department of Homeland Security watchdog that the Secret Service had removed texts around January 6, according to two people familiar with the matter.
The discovery raised the startling prospect of lost evidence that could shed more light on Trump’s actions during the insurgency, particularly after earlier testimony about his confrontation with security as he attempted to reach supporters on Capitol Hill.
“That’s what we need to find out,” Luria said, regarding the possibly missing texts. “Where are these text messages? Can they be retrieved? And we have subpoenaed them because they are legal documents that we need to see for the committee.
Luria spoke on CNN’s “State of the Union,” Lofgren was on ABC’s “This Week,” and Kinzinger appeared on CBS’ “Face the Nation.”
Associated Press writer Will Weissert contributed to this report.
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