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Jan 6 panel examines Trump’s 187 minutes when the Capitol attacked

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WASHINGTON (AP) — The Jan. 6 House Committee will hold its final hearing this summer as the series began — vividly showing the case that Donald Trump’s lies about a stolen election fueled the grisly attack on the United States Capitol, which he did nothing to stop, but instead ” merry” on television in the White House.

Thursday’s prime-time hearing dives into the 187 minutes Trump failed to act on January 6, 2021, despite pleas from aides, allies and even his family. The panel aims to show how the defeated president’s attempt to undo Joe Biden’s election victory has left the United States with lingering questions about the resilience of its democracy.

“A profound moment of reckoning for America,” said Rep. Jamie Raskin, D-Md., a member of the committee.

Featuring live testimony from two former White House aidesand excerpts from its trove of more than 1,000 interviews, the nearly two-hour session will add a closing chapter to the past six weeks of hearings that have at times captivated the nation.

Returning to prime time for the first time since the series began, the panel aims to show how close the United States came to what a retired federal judge testifying this summer called a constitutional crisis.

The events of Jan. 6 will be outlined “minute by minute,” said the panel’s vice chair, R-Wyo Representative Liz Cheney.

“You will hear that Donald Trump never picked up the phone that day to order his administration to help,” Cheney said.

“He didn’t call the military. His defense minister was not ordered. He didn’t call his attorney general. He has not spoken to the Department of Homeland Security,” Cheney said. “Mike Pence did all those things; Donald Trump didn’t.”

On Thursday, former White House employees who were close to power testified.

Matt Pottinger, who was deputy national security adviser, and Sarah Matthews, then press officer, both resigned on January 6, 2021, after what they saw that day. Trump has rejected the hearings on social media, deeming many of the testimonies to be fake.

Rep. Bennie Thompson, D-Miss., the committee chair, is in isolation after testing positive for COVID-19 and will be on video. Rep. Elaine Luria, D-Va., a former Navy officer who will lead the session with Rep. Adam Kinzinger, R-Ill., who flew combat missions in Iraq and Afghanistan, said she expects the testimony of White House aides to be “just very convincing.”

“These are people who believed in the work they were doing, but not in the stolen elections,” Luria said.

The White House aides weren’t the only ones to call it quits that day. The panel is expected to list the Trump administration officials and even cabinet members who resigned after Trump failed to call off the attack. Some cabinet members were so alarmed that they discussed invoking the 25th Amendment to remove Trump from office.

As the panel continues to gather evidence and prepare to release a preliminary report of findings, it has collected the most substantial public record to date of what led Americans to attack the seat of democracy.

While the commission cannot file criminal charges, the Department of Justice oversees its work.

So far, more than 840 people have been charged with federal crimes related to the Capitol riots. More than 330 of them have pleaded guilty, mainly to felonies. Of the more than 200 suspects who were convicted, about 100 received prison terms.

What remains uncertain is whether Trump or the former president’s main allies will face serious charges. No former president has ever been federally prosecuted by the Justice Department.

Attorney General Merrick Garland said Jan. 6 is “the most comprehensive investigation and the most important investigation the Justice Department has ever conducted.”

“We have to do this right,” Garland said. “For people who are concerned, as I think every American should be, we need to do two things: we need to hold accountable every person who is criminally responsible for undoing a legitimate election, and we need to do it in a way which is filled with with integrity and professionalism.”

By diving into the timeline, the panel aims to show what happened between the time Trump left the stage at his “Stop the Steal” rally shortly after 1:10 p.m. after telling supporters to march to the Capitol. and about three hours later, when he released a video address from the Rose Garden telling the rioters to “go home,” but also praising them as “very special.”

It also expects to provide additional evidence about Trump’s confrontation with Secret Service agents who refused to take him to the Capitol — a witness statement that security forces have disputed.

Five people died that day as Trump supporters fought police in bloody hand-to-hand fighting to storm the Capitol. An officer has testified that she “slid into other people’s blood” as they tried to hold back the crowd. A Trump supporter was shot dead by police.

“The president didn’t do much but happily watch television during this period,” Kinzinger said.

Not only did Trump refuse to tell the crowd to leave the Capitol, he did not call for reinforcements from other parts of the administration and did not order the National Guard to be deployed, Cheney said.

This is despite numerous pleas from Trump’s aides and allies, including his daughter Ivanka Trump and Fox News host Sean Hannity, according to previous testimony and text messages obtained by the commission.

“You’ll hear leaders on Capitol Hill begging the president for help,” Cheney said, including Republican House leader Kevin McCarthy, who she said was “scared” and called several members of President Trump’s family. after he could not convince. the president himself.”

The panel said the investigation is ongoing and other hearings are possible. It expects to prepare a preliminary report this fall and a final report by the end of this conference session.

____

Follow AP’s coverage of the Jan. 6 committee hearings at https://apnews.com/hub/capitol-siege.

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