Jan. 6 panel holds prime-time hearing on Trump, awaits Bannon

WASHINGTON (AP) — The House committee is investigating the Jan. 6 riot. returns to prime time with a Thursday night hearing that will examine the more than three-hour period when Donald Trump failed to act as a crowd of supporters stormed the Capitol.

The committee is racing to gather new evidence and the session could be the last in a series of public hearings that began in early June. A lawyer for former Trump strategist Steve Bannon, who faces criminal charges after months of defying a congressional subpoenatold the committee over the weekend that Bannon may now be willing to testify, according to committee members.

“I expect we will hear from him and we have many questions for him,” Rep. Zoe Lofgren, D-Calif, said. She and other committee members said they intended to ask Bannon to sit down for a private interview, usually conducted in a sworn deposition.

Thursday’s audience will be the first prime time since the June 9 debut which was seen by 20 million people. A hearing on Tuesday will focus on the plotting and planning of the January 6, 2021, uprising by white nationalist groups such as the Proud Boys, Oath Keepers and Three Percenters, and will also highlight testimony taken Friday by the former White House attorney. Pat Cipollone.

Investigators are digging deeper into the mounds of evidence gathered so far about the role extremist groups played in the deadly insurgency and what the former president was doing as violence ensued on Maison Street. White.

Rep. Adam Kinzinger, R-Ill., who will lead Thursday’s hearing with Rep. Elaine Luria, D-Va., described the upcoming testimony as critical to providing a detailed timeline of what Trump did and didn’t. did not do during those critical hours on the afternoon of Jan. 6, 2021. This includes Trump’s tweet criticizing Vice President Mike Pence for lacking “courage” as angry protesters outside the Capitol were heard chanting “Hang Mike Pence” for not contesting Democrat Joe Biden’s 2020 election victory.

“We want to show the American people what the president was doing at that time,” Kinzinger said Sunday. “The rest of the country knew there was an insurgency. The president obviously had to know that there was an insurrection. Where was he then? What was he doing? It’s a very important audience. Pay attention. Because I think that goes to the heart of what a leader’s oath is.

The news of the hearing comes as Congress returns to Washington after a two-week recess. Committee lawmakers had indicated in mid-June that there would be no more hearings until July, but in late June they held a surprise hearing for the testimony of Trump’s former White House aide, Cassidy Hutchison..

His explosive testimony provided the most compelling evidence yet that Trump could be linked to a federal crime. Since then, the committee of seven Democrats and two Republicans has seen a flood of new information and confidential advice.

Tuesday’s hearing will explore efforts to rally crowds on the National Mall, then stage the march down Pennsylvania Avenue, where some rioters — armed with pipes, bats and pepper spray — charged into the Capitol, quickly overwhelming overstretched police forces. More than 100 police officers were injured, many beaten, bloodied and bruised that day.

It will also highlight a Dec. 18, 2020 meeting at the White House where former Trump lawyers Sidney Powell and Rudy Giuliani, former Trump national security adviser Michael Flynn and others launched the idea of ​​seizing voting machines and invoking emergency national security powers, to the impassioned objection of several White House lawyers who argued that Trump should accept defeat, according to Rep. Jamie Raskin , D-Md., who will conduct Tuesday’s hearing.

“We’re going to be able to use a lot of Mr. Cipollone’s testimony,” he said. “He was aware of every major move, I think, that Donald Trump was making to try to overturn the 2020 election and essentially take over the presidency.”

Lawmakers also plan to review funding for the various rallies and rallies around Washington that were planned for that day.

Bannon’s apparent reversal in his testimony comes as he faces a criminal trial this month on two counts of contempt of Congress for defying the committee’s subpoena. He argued that his testimony is protected by Trump’s claim of executive privilege, a claim the committee countered as dubious because Trump fired Bannon from the White House in 2017 and Bannon was therefore a private citizen when he consulted. Trump in the race. – until the riot.

Bannon expressed his preference for a public hearing, but committee members objected on Sunday.

“The way we treated every witness is the same, whether they come in, whether they talk to the committee there,” Raskin said. “If they’re going to take a statement, they’re sworn. It’s recorded on video. It’s taped, and then we take it from there.

The committee says it wants to hear from Bannon because he “had specific knowledge about the events scheduled for January 6 before they happened.” He cited as an example the comments he made on his podcast the day before the riot.

“It’s not going to turn out the way you think. OK, this is going to be quite extraordinarily different. All I can say is tie up,” Bannon said in this podcast. “Hell is going to break loose tomorrow. … So many people said, ‘Man, if I was in a revolution, I’d be in Washington.’ Well, this is your moment in history.

Kinzinger spoke on ABC “This week, Lofgren was on ‘State of the Union’ on CNN and Raskin appeared on ‘Face the Nation’ on CBS.

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Associated Press writer Hannah Fingerhut in Rehoboth Beach, Delaware, contributed to this report.

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