Eighth January 6th hearing provided the 'starkest illustration' yet against Donald Trump: journalists
Most of the January 6 select committee’s hearings have been held during the day, but on Thursday night, July 21, the committee made a point of holding a hearing during prime-time hours — which indicated that Rep. Bennie Thompson of Mississippi, Rep. Liz Cheney of Wyoming and other committee members were planning to unveil some more bombshells. And sure enough, the July 21 hearing was quite eventful, with the committee focusing heavily on former President Donald Trump’s actions on January 6, 2021 when the U.S. Capitol Building was under siege.
Two articles published on July 22 — one in Mother Jones, the other in Politico — lay out some reasons why the July 21 hearing was groundbreaking for the committee. Mother Jones’ David Corn argues that the committee’s July 21 presentation made the case against Trump even more damning.
“Usually, an investigation needs to determine who did what and when,” Corn explains, “but in this instance, the basic story is already established. For a long stretch of the insurrectionist attack, Trump took no steps to halt it or to protect the police battling the fight-for-Trump terrorists or the elected officials inside the building, including his own vice president…. Yet, the January 6 committee, on Thursday night, disclosed new details that rendered the picture of Trump’s worst day as president even worse. It revealed that from the time he returned to the White House after spreading his Big Lie at a rally — and being prevented by the Secret Service from joining the armed mob heading to the Capitol — he ensconced himself in his West Wing dining room for hours.”
Corn continues, “There, he watched the riot on Fox News and made not a single call to the military, law enforcement, or Washington, DC, government officials. He rejected numerous pleas from aides, advisers, Republican members of Congress, and family members — Ivanka and Donald Jr. — to intervene and call off the insurrectionists rampaging in the Capitol. Instead, he phoned Republican senators, as part of his scheme to forestall certification of the electoral count. And he spoke at least twice with Rudy Giuliani, his consigliere.”
The Mother Jones reporter goes on to say, however, that it remains to be seen what will be done with the mountain of evidence the January 6 committee has presented.
“All this work now leads to a big question: What do we do as a nation with the truth?” Corn writes. “Can we handle it? At the start of Thursday night’s hearing, Thompson declared, ‘There needs to be accountability…. for every part of this scheme.’ But how? That part of the story has yet to be determined.”
In Politico, journalists Kyle Cheney and Nicholas Wu emphasize that one of the important parts of the July 21 hearing was the fact that it highlighted Trump’s actions after January 6.
“The January 6 select committee’s name never fully fit a panel long focused on the runup to that date,” Cheney and Wu note. “And its members made clear, Thursday night, that they’re turning to Donald Trump’s actions after the violent riot. As his days in office dwindled after the Capitol attack, Trump kept resisting the reality of his loss to Joe Biden, according to the select panel. Its starkest illustration of the former president’s unwillingness to abandon his plan to seize power, even after it erupted in violence, came in outtakes from his January 7 attempt to deliver words that might calm a nation on edge.”
One of the things the July 21 hearing brought out, Cheney and Wu observe, was a statement Trump made on January 7, 2021: “I don’t want to say the election is over.”
“That unguarded image, aired Thursday night during the select committee’s eighth public hearing, shows that the committee has quietly amassed evidence postdating January 6 — material that provides a window into the mind of a defeated president refusing to concede,” Cheney and Wu write. “The select panel is turning to the aftermath of the riot for a reason. January 6 committee members say their evidence of Trump’s enduring fixation on his loss, even after he left office and kept trying to convince his supporters he was cheated out of a second term, underscores an important message about his future as he weighs a 2024 campaign.”
Rep. Adam Schiff of California, one of the Democrats on the January 6 committee and chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, is clearly focused on Trump’s actions before January 6, on January 6 and after January 6.
Schiff told Politico, “There were efforts even after January 6 to continue to try to vacate the election in some way. So, we are interested in anything concerning that effort to overturn the election.”
Rep. Jamie Raskin of Maryland is another Democrat on the committee who is stressing the importance of Trump’s post-January 6 actions.
Raskin told Politico, “If someone commits a crime, and then later, you know, brags about committing the crime, applauds his criminal confederates and so on — then that makes it pretty clear what happened. And so, I think that post-January 6 statements and actions are relevant.”
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