UNITED STATES

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

Jun 22, 2022, 4:00 PM | Updated: 4:03 pm
FILE: The House select committee investigating the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol holds its firs...
FILE: The House select committee investigating the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol holds its first public hearing to reveal the findings of a year-long investigation, on Capitol Hill in Washington, Thursday, June 9, 2022. (Jabin Botsford//The Washington Post via AP, Pool)
(Jabin Botsford//The Washington Post via AP, Pool)

WASHINGTON (AP) — The House committee investigating the Capitol insurrection heard from election workers and state officials on Tuesday as they described President Donald Trump’s pressure to overturn his 2020 election defeat. On Thursday, the nine-member panel will hear from former Justice Department officials who refused Trump’s entreaties to declare the election “corrupt.”

The committee’s fourth and fifth hearings, held this week, are part of an effort to show how Trump’s pressure eventually shifted to Congress, where his false declarations of widespread election fraud led directly to the riot on Jan. 6, 2021, when hundreds of his supporters violently breached the Capitol and interrupted the certification of President Joe Biden’s election victory.


Utah angle: 


In July, the panel will hold at least two more hearings that are expected to focus on the far-right domestic extremists who attacked the Capitol and what Trump was doing inside the White House as the violence unfolded.

Trump’s pressure on states

State officials testified at Tuesday’s hearing about the extraordinary pressure they faced from Trump after the election to try and invalidate Biden’s win.

Arizona’s House speaker, Rusty Bowers, testified about phone calls from Trump and his allies asking him to decertify Arizona’s legitimate electors and replace them. Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger told of the now-infamous phone call when Trump asked officials there to “find 11,780” votes.

The officials did not give in.

“You are asking me to do something against my oath, and I will not break my oath,” Bowers said he told Trump and his allies. He recalled lawyer John Eastman, a chief architect of Trump’s plan to create slates of fake electors, telling him to “just do it and let the courts sort it out.”

Bowers said he repeatedly asked Trump’s team for evidence of the widespread fraud they were claiming, but they never provided it.

Raffensperger said his team investigated all of Trump’s claims and went down down every “rabbit hole,” finding nothing. But Trump wouldn’t accept it.

Trump’s pressure on Pence

The committee’s third hearing last week featured testimony from former aides to Vice President Mike Pence. The aides described the then-president’s efforts to persuade Pence to veer from his ceremonial role and object as Congress counted the electoral votes on Jan. 6.

Pence concluded from the start, his former counsel Greg Jacob told the committee, that “there is no justifiable basis to conclude that the vice president has that kind of authority.”

Trump did not let up, even after his supporters were breaking into the Capitol and Pence was hiding in an undisclosed location – at one point just 40 feet from the rioters, the committee said.

Trump sent a tweet that afternoon saying that Pence did not have the “courage” to do what was necessary.

The committee played video of the rioters outside the Capitol calling for Pence’s death.

“Donald Trump turned the mob on him,” said Mississippi Rep. Bennie Thompson, the chairman of the panel.

Pushback from Trump aides

The hearings have repeatedly showed how Trump moved forward with his baseless claims of fraud even as his top advisors told them they weren’t true.

The committee played video testimony from several aides who said they disagreed with the plan or tried to talk Trump out of it — even though few of them spoke out publicly at the time. Even his daughter, Ivanka Trump, said she “accepted” the conclusion of former Attorney General Bill Barr, who resigned after telling the president there was no evidence of widespread fraud.

The efforts to persuade Trump started on election night, when the race was still too close to call. Lawyer Rudy Giuliani told Trump to just go ahead and declare victory. Trump campaign manager Bill Stepien said in one interview clip that he told Trump it was “way too early” for such a pronouncement. But Trump did it anyway.

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

The committee used video clips of testimony from Barr, who told Trump he had looked into the allegations and found no evidence that any of them were true. He said he tried convince Trump, but felt that the president was becoming “detached from reality” and had no “interest in what the actual facts were.”

The violence and real lives upended

The committee has also used the hearings to tell the stories of the people who have been hurt, either in the violence of Jan. 6 or through harassment from those who believe the election was stolen.

Capitol Police officer Caroline Edwards testified about the traumatic brain injury she suffered after being pushed to he concrete when the first rioters breached the makeshift barriers around the Capitol. She described a “war scene” out of the movies and hours of hand-to-hand combat.

“They were throwing up — I saw friends with blood all over their faces,” said Edwards, who still has not returned to the unit where she worked. “It was carnage. It was chaos.”

On Tuesday, two election workers from Georgia who became the center of false conspiracy theories tearfully testified about how it has upended their lives.

The Justice Department has debunked claims that Wandrea “Shaye” Moss and her mother, Ruby Freeman, introduced suitcases of illegal ballots and committed other acts of election fraud to try to alter the outcome — a conspiracy theory pushed by Giuliani and Trump. But Moss says she no longer leaves her house and it has affected her life “in every way” after receiving violent and racist threats from Trump’s supporters.

In video testimony, Freeman said she no longer advertises her local business with her name on it: “Lady Ruby.”

“I’ve lost my name, and I’ve lost my reputation. I’ve lost my sense of security,” Freeman said.

What’s next

On Thursday, the hearing will move to another pressure campaign — Trump’s efforts to have Justice Department officials declare the election corrupt, and a scheme within the department to go after states to change the results. Former acting Attorney General Jeffrey Rosen, who took over after Barr resigned, and his deputy, Richard Donoghue, will testify about how they successfully resisted that pressure.

The two hearings after that, expected to cover domestic extremism and Trump’s actions inside the White House, will be held in July. And they may not be the last before the panel issues final reports later this year.

“We are picking up new evidence on a daily basis with enormous velocity,” said Maryland Rep. Jamie Raskin, a member of the committee. “And so we’re constantly incorporating and including the new information that’s coming out.”

Another panel member suggested they could still subpoena Pence — it’s “certainly a possibility,” said California Rep. Adam Schiff.

“We would still, I think, like to have several high-profile people come before our committee,” Schiff said.
__
Associated Press writers Lisa Mascaro, Farnoush Amiri and Kevin Freking contributed.
___
For full coverage of the Jan. 6 hearings, go to https://www.apnews.com/capitol-siege

Today’s Top Stories

United States

President Joe Biden speaks during a news conference on the final day of the NATO summit in Madrid, ...
DARLENE SUPERVILLE and ZEKE MILLER Associated Press

Biden says transatlantic alliance has adapted to new threats

Biden's comments came at a press conference in Madrid at the conclusion of the annual meeting of NATO leaders and after he attended a summit with the Group of Seven advanced democratic economies in the Bavarian Alps.
2 days ago
A Rite Aid logo is displayed on its store...
HALELUYA HADERO, AP Reporter

Amazon, Rite Aid cap purchase of emergency contraceptives

Retailers limiting purchases is standard practice that helps retailers prevent stockpiling and reselling at higher prices.
2 days ago
New York Gov. Kathy Hochul stands with Lieutenant governor Antonio Delgado during their primary ele...
STEVE PEOPLES AP National Politics Writer

Takeaways from first primaries since Roe v. Wade overturned

The abortion debate consumed the nation this week, but there was no race where it mattered more than Colorado's Republican primary for the U.S. Senate, where businessman Joe O'Dea became one of the only abortion-rights-supporting Republicans in the nation to win a statewide primary this year.
3 days ago
Freshly pressed vinyl records are produced in a stamper at the United Record Pressing facility Thur...
DAVID SHARP Associated Press

Manufacturers struggle to keep pace with vinyl record demand

The Recording Industry Association of America says record album sales grew 61% last year — and reached $1 billion for the first time since the 1980s.
5 days ago
U.S. Representative Adam Kinzinger (R-IL) speaks during the fifth of eight planned public hearings ...
Annie Grayer, CNN

January 6 committee unexpectedly adds new hearing for Tuesday

The announcement came as a surprise to many as the committee had said it was not going to resume its hearings until mid-July.
5 days ago
Bodycam footage from the Moab Police Department that shows them talking with Brian Laundrie is seen...
Jamiel Lynch and Chenelle Woody, CNN

Lawyer releases pages from Brian Laundrie’s notebook in which he admits to killing Gabby Petito

Eight pages of Brian Laundrie's notebook were released Friday by the Laundrie family attorney. The notebook was found near Brian Laundrie's remains.
8 days ago

Sponsored Articles

Tax Harassment...
Jordan Wilcox

The best strategies for dealing with IRS tax harassment | You have options!

Learn how to deal with IRS tax harassment. This guide will teach you how to stop IRS phone calls and letters, and how to handle an IRS audit.
spend a day at Bear Lake...
Bear Lake Convention and Visitors Bureau

You’ll love spending the day at Bear Lake | How to spend a day at Bear Lake

Bear Lake is a place that needs to be experienced. Spend a day at Bear Lake.
Curb Appeal...
Price's Guaranteed Doors

How to have the best of both worlds for your house | Home security and curb appeal

Protect your home and improve its curb appeal with the latest security solutions like beautiful garage doors and increased security systems.
Prescription opioids can be disposed of during National Prescription Take Back Day...
Know Your Script

Prescription opioid misuse | How to protect your family from the opioid epidemic

Studies have shown that prescription opioid misuse has increased since COVID-19. So what do you need to know about these opioids?
national heart month...
Intermountain Healthcare

National Heart Month: 5 Lifestyle Changes to Make Today to Keep You Heart Healthy

Heart disease is the leading cause of death for both men and women. One person dies every 36 seconds in the United States from cardiovascular disease
Joseph Smith Memorial Building...
Temple Square

The Joseph Smith Memorial Building is an icon of Salt Lake City | Why hosting an event at this beautiful location will make you a hero this year

Here's why hosting an event at the iconic Joseph Smith Memorial Building in downtown Salt Lake City will make you a hero this year.
Jan. 6 hearings: What we’ve learned, and what’s next