The House select committee investigating the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the U.S. Capitol is scheduled to convene at 1 p.m. on Thursday for what could be its final public hearing. The panel is expected to highlight newly obtained Secret Service records showing how President Donald Trump was repeatedly alerted to brewing violence that day — and still sought to stoke the conflict — as it seeks to tie together its case for Trump’s culpability for the dark day in U.S. history. No live witnesses are expected to testify Thursday.
This hearing was originally scheduled for Sept. 28, but Hurricane Ian was barreling into Florida then and it became clear that would be the national focus. The House finished up its September session and adjourned until after the midterm elections.
Most Democrats view the day as the violent culmination of weeks of dishonesty from President Donald Trump aimed at blocking Joe Biden’s inauguration as president. Many Republicans see the riot as an aberration, an expression of frustration that doesn’t necessarily detract from the rioters’ core complaints.
Thursday’s hearing comes at a pivotal juncture, with 26 days remaining before the midterm elections and control of Congress at stake. If Republicans take control of the House next year, they are all but certain to shutter the Jan. 6 panel established under Democratic leadership, ending a lengthy investigation that has included interviews with hundreds of witnesses.
House Republican leaders have sought to cast aspersions on the committee’s work from the outset. House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) pulled out all of the panel’s GOP members after House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) objected to two lawmakers he had recommended because of their past statements about the 2020 presidential election.
We don’t blame you if you can’t remember who said what of significance in the earlier hearings, which aired back in June and July. The committee presented an array of live witnesses and filmed depositions to share its findings with the public. And those were just a slice of the more than 1,000 interviews the panel conducted to find out how Donald Trump and his allies pushed to overturn the 2020 election results, and how their false claims animated a violent mob.
The founder of the Oath Keepers and other leaders of the self-styled militia organization were in contact with Secret Service officials multiple times in late 2020 and leading up to the attack on the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021, according to an agency official and court testimony in Stewart Rhodes’s ongoing seditious conspiracy trial.
A former member of the Oath Keepers testified last week that Rhodes, the group’s founder, claimed to be in touch with someone in the Secret Service in the months before the riot. A Secret Service official confirmed that members of the agency’s protective intelligence division reached out to the Oath Keepers in advance of protests in D.C. in November and December as well as the Jan. 6 “Stop the Steal” rally.
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