Takeaways from the first Jan. 6 committee hearing


It wasn't clear what the country could expect from the Jan. 6 select committee's beginning presentation of its findings, but the prime-time, opening hearing Thursday night had lots of new information, and it was presented in a calm and cogent way.


The committee transported the audience back to Jan. 6 with behind-the-scenes and up-close video of what happened that day. It also made a strong case that former President Donald Trump was the central character responsible for what happened — with on-camera testimony from many of the people closest to him, including his daughter Ivanka, who broke with him over his lies that the election was stolen.


It wasn't stolen, and the people closest to him knew it — despite Republican leaders who once criticized Trump for his role quickly reversing course to curry political favor with him.


New facts and information were revealed.

Among them:


  • Not previously publicly seen video footage from police body cameras, Capitol hallway and office footage, as well as police radio communication;


  • Trump Attorney General Bill Barr telling investigators in his on-camera deposition that he told Trump his allegations of election fraud were "b*******." Barr revealed this in his book, but it carries different weight with him telling it to a congressional committee;


  • Ivanka Trump, the former president's daughter and a former senior adviser in his White House, saying she accepted what Barr had to say. "I respect Attorney General Barr," she was shown saying, "so I accepted what he was saying."


  • Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Mark Milley saying Vice President Mike Pence was being direct and wanting the military's help at the Capitol. The response from the White House, on the other hand, was very different. Chief of Staff Mark Meadows, Milley said, wanted instead to shape a "narrative" that Trump was in control. Milley said that reeked of "politics, politics, politics," and it was a "red flag";


  • Cheney said Rep. Scott Perry of Pennsylvania and "multiple other Republican congressmen" sought "presidential pardons for their roles in attempting to overturn the 2020 election";


  • New texts between Fox News host Sean Hannity and then-White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany;


  • Former campaign adviser Jason Miller saying on camera that he told Trump in "pretty blunt terms that he was going to lose;"


  • Trump lawyer Alex Cannon affirming there was no evidence of widespread election fraud or the election being stolen.


  • Proud Boys and Oath Keepers on camera saying they went to the Capitol that day because they believed that's what Trump wanted done, they felt he'd asked them to do it, and that after Trump's "stand back and standby" remark in a debate, membership in the Proud Boys tripled.

HEARING SCHEDULE:


Hearing 2, June 13 is aimed at showing “Trump engaged in a massive effort to spread false and fraudulent information” despite the fact that he knew that he had lost the election. Former Fox News staffer Chris Stirewalt will testify.


Hearing 3, June 15 will target Trump’s alleged plot to influence and possibly replace the U.S. Attorney General in order to further false election claims. Set to testify are Jeffrey Rosen, who was then acting attorney general, his deputy Richard Donoghue and Justice Department official Steve Engel. The Post says their testimony will take place in the morning.


Hearing 4 is intended to outline Trump’s efforts to pressure VP Mike Pence to stop the electoral count. There is some indication this hearing will take place Thursday, June 16. Greg Jacob, the former chief counsel to the vice president will reportedly testify.


Hearing 5, June 21 will trace the then-president’s alleged efforts to unduly influence state legislators and election officials. Brad Raffensperger, secretary of state of Georgia and Gabriel Sterling, one his top aides, have been subpoenaed to testify.


Hearings 6 & 7 are meant to detail how “Trump summoned a violent mob and directed them, illegally, to march on the U.S. Capitol” and how he failed to act to stop those same people as they invaded the Capitol building. No date is yet set for these proceedings.


Also invited to testify is lawyer and former judge J. Michael Luttig, who helped convince Pence that the VP could not by himself overturn state results.

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