Jan. 6 committee hears testimony about Trump voter fraud allegations and pressure on Pence to nullify election results – Impact Your World Today
What do you think of the January 6 select committee hearings?
What is the story?
- The select committee investigating the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol held two public hearings this week as part of its ongoing investigation into the riot that delayed certification of the presidential election. of 2020 and then-President Donald Trump‘s efforts to overturn the election result.
- Monday’s hearing focused on Trump’s unsubstantiated allegations of widespread voter fraud that kept him from seeking re-election before Jan. 6. Thursday’s hearing centered on Trump’s failed efforts to pressure Vice President Mike Pence to reject state election results during Electoral College certification to sway the result in his favor. Here is a recap of some of the key moments:
Hearing on Monday, June 13
- The hearing featured video testimony from the deposition of former Attorney General Bill Barr, who told the committee that Trump’s conspiracies regarding Dominion voting machines were ‘bull—-‘, ‘crazy stuff ” and “total nonsense”. He said these claims and other efforts to cast doubt on the legitimacy of the election were “doing the country a very, very disservice”.
- Barr said his view in the era before he resigned from the Justice Department was that if Trump really believed his assertions about voting machines, “he’s detached from reality.”
- Trump’s political advisers say the president was told he had lost the election and the campaign’s legal arm told his team that the number of election frauds was not enough to alter the result . Matthew Morgan, who was general counsel for the Trump campaign, testified:
“The general discussion on this subject was whether fraud, maladministration, abuse or irregularity, if aggregated and read most favorably to the campaign, would be material? And I think the assessment of everyone in the room, at least among the staff, Marc Short, myself and Greg Jacob, was that it was not enough to be decisive for the result.
- The hearing also considered some of the specific allegations of voter fraud. Bjay Pak, who served as the United States Attorney for the Northern District of Georgia and was appointed by Trump to that post, testified that an alleged “suitcase full of ballots” that was the source of some Georgia-focused voter fraud plots was actually a “lockbox.” to ensure that the ballot papers were kept in a safe place”.
- Monday’s hearing also involved a discussion of the substantial amount of money raised by Trump’s campaign through the use of voter fraud claims in the run-up to Jan. 6. The committee said about $250 million had been raised by the Trump campaign during that time, and Rep. Zoe Lofgren (D-CA) told CNN that some members of his family have benefited from the “grifte” such as Kimberly Guilfoyle, who spoke at the Jan. 6 rally and reportedly received $60,000.
- You can watch the full committee hearing here.
Hearing on Thursday, June 16
- The hearing featured testimony from several aides and advisers to Vice President Mike Pence regarding President Trump’s pressure on him to use his role as Senate Speaker to ignore state election results during Electoral college certification. Pence has always asserted that he has no constitutional authority to overrule the election results. The the committee showed a video of a recent speech given by Pence in which he said:
“There is almost no idea more un-American than the idea that anyone could choose the American president.”
- John Eastman, an attorney who advised Trump during his attempt to block Electoral College certification, was shown invoking his Fifth Amendment right to avoid self-incrimination during his testimony to the committee. Eastman had argued in memos, “The fact is, the Constitution vests that power in the vice president as the ultimate arbiter.”
- Greg Jacob, Pence’s attorney, testified that he asked Eastman how the Supreme Court would rule if Pence did what Trump’s team asked him to do, and he said Eastman replied, “Well , yes, you are right, we would lose 9-nothing.” The select committee also released an email from Eastman to Rudy Giuliani asking for a presidential pardon for Trump after Jan. 6. The pardon was not granted.
- During the hearing, it was revealed by Rep. Pete Aguilar (D-CA) that the mob of rioters that swarmed the Capitol was within 40 feet of Vice President Pence. The crowd occasionally chanted “Hang Mike Pence,” and Aguilar said a Justice Department court filing cites confidential informant who claimed that some of the Proud Boys present would have killed Pence if given the chance.
- You can watch the full committee hearing here.
- Further hearings are scheduled for Tuesday, June 21 and Thursday, June 23, both of which will take place at 1 p.m. Eastern Time. Topics are expected to include Trump’s efforts to pressure the Department of Justice (DOJ) and to reverse the state election results, as well as a detailed timeline of his actions on Jan. 6.
- It is unclear whether the select committee will make a criminal referral of former President Trump or anyone else to the DOJ.
- Later this summer or fall, the select committee is expected to release a full report with its findings, including recommendations for legislation to avoid a similar attempt to overturn Electoral College certification in the future.
— Eric Revell
(Photo credit: Tyler Merbler on Flickr / Creative Commons)