Jan. 6 Hearing To Lay Out Ties Between Trump Advisers and Groups That Attacked Capitol
WASHINGTON ― Donald Trump advisers Roger Stone and Michael Flynn were in communication with the extremist groups that led the attack on the U.S. Capitol, according to the House select committee investigating the Jan. 6 riot, and it plans to lay out that evidence at a hearing Tuesday.
Their roles took center stage after the Electoral College ratified the former president’s loss to Democrat Joe Biden on Dec. 14, a committee aide said Monday on condition of anonymity.
“In the weeks leading up to the 6th, Donald Trump grew more desperate and summoned the mob to Washington,” the aide said, describing a meeting Trump held with Flynn, his first national security adviser, and lawyers Rudy Giuliani and Sidney Powell on Dec. 19.
The then-president posted a tweet an hour later telling his followers to come to Washington on the day of the ceremonial election certification in Congress. “That was a pivotal moment for the chain of events,” the aide said.
The committee also intends to lay out the role of the QAnon movement, “which is based on deranged and often antisemitic conspiracy theories in which Donald Trump is a savior figure fighting against the dark forces in the ‘Deep State,’” according to the aide.
Tuesday’s hearing will also be the only one this week. One scheduled for Thursday evening has been pushed to next week, although no date has yet been announced.
Though the committee plans to have in-person appearances as well as use clips of videotaped testimony, aides said Monday they would not release the names of the scheduled witnesses to guard their “security” and protect them from harassment.
“We’ll hear from a number of White House officials. We will hear from a number of people who were involved in the post-election efforts to overturn the election results and stop the transfer of power,” said another committee aide, who also spoke on the condition of anonymity.
At the last hearing, Rep. Liz Cheney (R-Wyo.), the committee’s vice chair, revealed that Trump’s advisers have been contacting witnesses with menacing messages, and she warned against witness tampering.
Committee members earlier this year spoke of a set of hearings to lay out their findings, but more recently ― and particularly after the first hearings drew large television audiences and widespread attention ― staff members have spoken of the hearings that began on June 9 as “this series of hearings.”
Though there is no announced plan for more public hearings after next week’s, the committee has received so much information over the past month that there could well be another series, the second aide said.
“We continue to take in more information on a daily basis, we continue to hear from witnesses, we continue to uncover new facts. And so I think it would be premature to take anything off the table,” the aide said, adding that facts the committee gathers are helping fully explain the events surrounding the Capitol riot on Jan. 6, 2021. “We’ll do what’s necessary to make sure we’re telling that complete story.”
Tuesday’s hearing follows the explosive revelations by top White House aide Cassidy Hutchinson on June 28, when she publicly testified to Trump’s knowledge that many in the mob he had assembled in Washington that day were armed but that he wanted to lead them to the Capitol anyway.
Trump grew so angry when his Secret Service detail refused to drive him to the Capitol that he reached forward from the back seat and tried to grab the steering wheel and then lunged at one of the agents, Hutchinson said, recounting a conversation with the agents’ supervisor that afternoon.
The committee had initially planned to hold seven hearings over a two-week period in June to lay out to the public the evidence they had gathered about Trump’s attempts to stay in power despite having lost his reelection bid.
Over the first five hearings, the committee presented new video of the pro-Trump mob at the Capitol; evidence that Trump had been told by his own staff that he had lost the 2020 election but continued with his lies about “voter fraud” anyway; the pressure he applied on Vice President Mike Pence to simply declare Trump the winner during the Jan. 6 certification ceremony; the attempts to coerce officials in states narrowly won by Biden, especially Georgia, to reverse the election results in favor of Trump; and Trump’s attempts to subvert the Justice Department into falsely backing his claims of a “stolen” election.
The sixth hearing was not initially planned. It came about suddenly and amid much secrecy because of the nature of Hutchinson’s revelations as well as the efforts by Trump allies to intimidate her.
Trump, despite losing the 2020 election by 7 million votes nationally and by 306-232 in the Electoral College, became the first president in more than two centuries of elections to refuse to hand over power peacefully. His incitement of the Jan. 6 assault on the Capitol ― his last-ditch attempt to remain in office ― led to the deaths of five people, including one police officer, and the injury of an additional 140 officers and four police suicides.
Nevertheless, Trump remains the dominant figure in the Republican Party and is openly speaking about running for the presidency again in 2024.
In statements on his personal social media platform, Trump has continued to lie about the 2020 election and the Jan. 6 committee’s work, calling it a “hoax” similar to previous investigations into his 2016 campaign’s acceptance of Russian assistance and his attempted extortion of Ukraine into helping his 2020 campaign.