11 key points from 6 insurgency hearings

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As the committee takes its own hiatus — new hearings aren’t expected until the end of the month — here are the most important things we’ve learned so far.

The rioters may be going to jail and the committee may be documenting the role of Trump and some of his allies in trying to undermine the 2020 election, but the insurgency isn’t exactly over, Rep. Liz says. Cheney, a Republican from Wyoming who serves as the committee’s vice chair.

“We are facing a threat from within that we have never faced before,” she said in comments on Wednesday, the day after the last hearing.

Cheney is among the few Republicans to continue to loudly condemn Trump, and she faces losing her GOP primary in Wyoming later this summer. She said other Republican leaders “have made themselves willing hostages of this dangerous and irrational man.”

Trump wanted to participate in the march on the Capitol and the Secret Service may have arrested him

The most recent hearing, the sixth, added on short notice this week, featured the blockbuster testimony of Cassidy Hutchinson, a former aide to Trump’s White House chief of staff Mark Meadows.
Related: Learn more about Hutchinson

While this is largely based on hearsay — things other former aides and a White House valet had told him — the allegations are incredible.

Hutchinson’s most striking statement concerned Trump angrily realizing he would not be taken to the Capitol on Jan. 6 trying to grab the steering wheel of a Secret Service agent’s presidential vehicle. He wanted to lead the protesters. These are the same protesters who would eventually burst in, threatening the life of his vice president.

Trump had a temper after his loss

His descriptions of ketchup tossed on the White House wall, dishes tossed on the floor in fits of rage, speak to the emotions running through Trump as he faced losing power. This perhaps helps explain why it has been so difficult for people inside the White House to influence him.

The investigation is not over

The committee’s public hearings in June began with a sense of a pre-planned spectacle staged for the effect of proving indisputably that a plot to overturn the election had taken place. But it becomes clear that the committee is learning new things and following leads.

Hutchinson’s “bombshell” testimony led the committee to issue a subpoena to former White House attorney Pat Cipollone. The White House lawyer could confirm many of the allegations uncovered during the hearings. But he was also White House counsel, a position usually shielded from congressional testimony.

Cipollone notably defended Trump in the former president’s first impeachment trial, but was, according to multiple witnesses, among White House aides encouraging him to accept the election results and challenging the crackpot legal theory that the vice -President Mike Pence could simply reject the election results of some states.

Trump’s orbit may be trying to sway testimony

Cheney said Tuesday that two witnesses believed that people connected to Trump may have tried to intimidate them. CNN later reported that one such witness who felt intimidated was Hutchinson. The committee had concealed his identity before the hearing out of fear for his safety.

Pence was key to the plot. And then he was the target of the riot

After Trump’s election defeat, his only hope of staying in office was if his vice president, Mike Pence, rejected election results in some states when counting electoral votes. Trump turned on his vice president when Pence refused to buy into the illegal plan, pushed by attorney John Eastman.

Protesters who stormed the Capitol came within 40 feet of Pence.

The third hearing featured testimony from former Pence lawyer Greg Jacob, who described Eastman’s pressure campaign, which continued even after the Jan. 6 riot.

That’s one side of the story

It’s always important to remember that only two Republicans, Cheney and Rep. Adam Kinzinger of Illinois — both opponents of Trump — sit on the committee. Neither may be present at Congress next year. Cheney may well lose his next GOP primary (stay tuned) and Kinzinger is not running for re-election.

Democrats barred Trump loyalists who questioned the validity of the election from serving on the committee. Some of those Republicans, we now know, have apologized to Trump for their efforts to undermine the election on his behalf.

Many of Trump’s closest White House associates declined to testify — although, as in Meadows’ case, some provided the committee with key information such as text messages.

Trump’s effort to influence the vote count was widespread

We already knew from a leaked audio tape that Trump personally wanted Georgian officials to “find” votes and fabricate a victory for him there after he lost the official vote tally.

The fourth hearing documented that he lobbied officials in Georgia and Arizona and was personally involved, according to multiple witnesses, in an effort to create fake voter rolls in key battleground states that he lost.

Trump conspiracy theories rocked the Justice Department

The recorded testimony of former Attorney General Bill Barr, featured prominently in the second hearing, made it clear that Trump had been told that his belief that the election had been stolen from him was false and even ridiculous.
Barr eventually resigned, which left a void in the Justice Department. Remaining leaders there coalesced, at the center of the fifth hearing, and contemplated a mass resignation as Trump sought an ally, environmental lawyer Jeffrey Clark, to get federal law enforcement on his side. In this case, the government opposed the potential coup.

Rioters believed they were taking inspiration from Trump after he refused to accept his loss

The committee’s first hearing in June took in videos of Trump and rioters, testimony from wounded Capitol police officers and recorded interviews with members of his administration, including his daughter Ivanka and son-in-law, Jared Kushner. , to show how bad the riot was. It ended with a montage of rioters saying they specifically thought they were doing Trump’s bidding.

These hearings can have an effect

While it was mostly Democrats on the committee, it was mostly Republicans who witnessed. If there is any lasting consequence to this, it may not be that anyone faces criminal charges for trying to undermine a US election. But it could seriously hurt Trump’s political future. It’s not always easy to watch Fox, but read this op-ed from the conservative Washington Examiner after Hutchinson described working in the White House during the insurgency.

“Trump is a disgrace,” according to the newspaper. “Republicans have much better options for leading the party in 2024. No one should think otherwise, let alone support it, ever again.”

It’s an important sentiment as Trump considers running for president again, his current plan.

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