Rep. Adam Kinzinger (R-Ill.), who will lead Thursday’s prime-time hearing, said the session will “open people’s eyes in a big way” as they scrutinize Trump’s actions during the hours the presidential election. Capitol was overrun by a mob seeking to halt the certification of Joe Biden’s election college victory.
“We filled in the blanks,” Kinzinger said on CBS’s Face the Nation on Sunday. Trump “did little but gleefully watch television during this period.”
Kinzinger, one of two GOP members of the bipartisan panel regularly attacked by Trump for his role on the committee, begged his fellow Republicans to view the next hearing with an open mind and ask themselves, “Is this the kind of strong leader you really think you deserve?”
Late Friday, the commission took the unusual step of subpoenaing the Secret Service after reports that the agency had erased text messages dated January 5 and 6, 2021, after being asked by the Department of Homeland Security Inspector General. The committee members said they expect the text messages on Tuesday.
“An agency that was such an important part of a critical event in our history, you would assume they had done everything possible to preserve that data,” Representative Elaine Luria (D-Va.) said on CNN’s “State of the Union.” “As for digital records and text messages, I’m not an IT expert, but I understand that there are many things that can be done, a lot of forensic analysis and data recovery.”
Secret service summoned over deleted texts
Past hearings have focused on Trump’s efforts to pressure the Justice Department, state officials and his own vice president to reverse the results of the 2020 election; Trump’s own frenzy when he was prevented from traveling to the Capitol with his supporters that day; and the links between the Trump White House and violent extremist groups that were part of the attack. But so far, the committee has published little about what Trump did during the Capitol uprising after he returned to the White House.
Thursday’s hearing will be the last in the first series, but committee members said there could be more hearings later in the year.
“If we get information that the American people need to know, then we can hold more hearings at that time,” Kinzinger said.
Committee members said on Sunday that Trump did not intervene in the 187 minutes from when he left his “Stop the Steal” meeting at the Ellipse that day to when he finally tweeted a video at 4:17 p.m. told his supporters to leave the church. Capitol.
“It’s pretty simple: He did nothing to actually stop the riots,” Luria said.
“We’ll go through that period more or less minute by minute, from the time he left the Ellipse podium, came back to the White House, and actually sat in the White House, in the dining room, as his advisers urged him to constantly to take action, to take more action,” added Luria.
Luria also referenced the now infamous tweet sent at 2:24 p.m. that day accusing Vice President Mike Pence of not having “the courage to do what should have been done,” fueling the situation even further.
When asked whether Trump’s inaction would be a crime, Luria said Trump, as the country’s commander in chief, should have understood what action looked like in a time of crisis.
“He is the only person in the constitution whose duty is explicitly stated to ensure that the laws are faithfully implemented,” said Luria, a military veteran. “I see it as a dereliction of duty.”
Both Luria and Kinzinger said the commission continues to seek and receive new information about the January 6 attack every day.
Rep. Zoe Lofgren (D-Calif.) said on ABC’s “This Week” that the committee plans to publish a final report later this year.
“This investigation is well underway. The fact that the series of hearings will conclude next Thursday does not mean that our investigation is over,” Lofgren said.
“Frankly, if the president’s supporters hadn’t been involved in frivolous lawsuits for months, we’d be further ahead than we are,” Lofgren said.
Kinzinger also once again defended Cassidy Hutchinson, a former aide to Trump Chief of Staff Mark Meadows, who testified last month that she was told Trump was angry with his Secret Service while in the presidential limousine for not letting him go to the Capitol.
Anonymous sources have since disputed her testimony, but Kinzinger said the commission was still in the process of speaking with those in the presidential limousine at the time and that any statements had to be made under oath.
“We have every reason to believe that what Cassidy Hutchinson said, at least from what she said she heard, because she wasn’t in the limo — never said she was,” Kinzinger said. “She has been told this. We are fully convinced that she is a credible witness and her accusations are quite explosive.”
Joanna Slater and Ariana Eunjung Cha contributed to this report.