The latest installment of the House select committee’s hearings on the riots at the U.S. Capitol sought to demonstrate how former President Donald Trump was the central figure behind the historic insurrection. Thursday afternoon’s public hearing on Capitol Hill is the final time that the committee will present publicly.
The primary focus of this last hearing was to present new records and footage that showed that Trump is still a danger to the country’s free democracy heading into the 2024 presidential election. Here is what you need to know about what was revealed on Thursday.
Committee Votes to Subpoena TrumpRead More »
According to Republican Rep. Liz Cheney, Americans deserve to know the answers. Cheney is distinguished as the committee’s top-ranking Republican and is a vocal critic of Trump. Bolstering Cheney’s comments was select committee Chairman Bennie Thompson, arguing that the country needs to hear from Trump directly.
Unfortunately for the committee, it is likely that a fight to subpoena Trump will end up in the courts. Because the committee will likely cease to exist if Republicans take control of the House in the November election, the vote to officially subpoena Trump is largely symbolic.
Testimony from Elaine Chao
Some of the most compelling testimony of the day came from Trump’s secretary of transportation, Elaine Chao. During her video testimony, Chao gave an account of why she reigned from her post just one day after the insurrection. Chao said that it was impossible for her to continue with her duties after the events of the day, stating that she believes in democracy and the peaceful transfer of power.
As the wife of Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, Chao has remained out of the spotlight since her resignation. The emotional testimony paired with her personal relationship with the highest-ranking official of the Republican Party undoubtedly left an impact on viewers.
New Testimony from Cassidy Hutchinson
Former Trump White House aide Cassidy Hutchinson was also thrust back into the limelight at Thursday’s hearing. The aide to former chief of staff Mark Meadows gave new testimony to the committee detailing how Trump knew he had rightfully lost the election but proceeded onward with his efforts to overturn the results.
In the previously unseen video footage, Hutchinson testified that Meadows asked the Georgia secretary of state to get the votes needed to hand the election to Trump. Hutchinson testified that Meadows also knew the election was over and that Trump had lost but that they had to keep trying.
Lastly, the deposition by Hutchinson detailed a conversation between the former president and Meadows where Trump was angry that the Supreme Court did not try to overturn the election. According to Hutchinson, Trump said that he did not want people to know he had lost the election.
New Footage Aired
In addition to clips of video testimony, the panel also aired new footage from Fort McNair, the local army base where members of congress took shelter during the riots. According to committee member Rep. Jamie Raskin, the footage proves how Trump’s team had to go against the president to get the insurrection under control.
One of the most compelling parts of the footage came when House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and then-Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer were seen working with other officials to deliver the assistance needed to secure the Capitol amidst the chaos. Two phone calls between then-Vice President Mike Pence and Pelosi demonstrated opposing parties working together to provide the necessary response while Trump was not acting in the White House.
Trump Always Planned to Declare Himself the Winner
One of the primary revelations of Thursday’s testimony was the evidence that Trump had planned to declare himself the winner of the election well before the votes were even counted. Committee member Rep. Zoe Lofgren said that this was all part of a premeditated plan to declare victory that was put into motion as early as July 2020.
As part of the evidence package, the committee played new video deposition footage from a member of Pence’s counsel. During the clip, Greg Jacob describes how the vice president and his team had prepared for Trump to claim himself the winner on Election Night even if the results did not indicate victory.
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