The Jan. 6 House Selection Committee is expected to argue in its seventh hearing Tuesday that Donald Trump signaled to the extremist groups that stormed the Capitol to attack and attack Congressional certification of Joe Biden’s Election College victory. to obstruct.
The panel will address a pivotal tweet sent by the former president in the early hours of December 19, 2020, according to sources close to the investigation who spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss the upcoming hearing.
“Major protest in DC on Jan. 6,” Trump said in the tweet. “Be there, will be wild!”
The select committee will say at the hearing — led by Congressmen Jamie Raskin and Stephanie Murphy — that Trump’s tweet was the catalyst that prompted the Proud Boys and Oath Keepers groups, as well as the Stop the Steal activists, to approve the certification. to grab.
And Trump sent the tweet knowing it was confirmation for those groups to get their plans in motion for January 6, the select committee will say, and encouraged thousands of other supporters to march to the Capitol as well for a protest. .
The tweet marked the pivotal moment in the timeline leading up to the Capitol attack, the select committee will say, as from that point on, the Proud Boys and Oath Keepers began preparations in earnest and Stop the Steal began applying for permits.
The select committee also currently plans to play video clips of former White House attorney Pat Cipollone’s recent testimony to House investigators during Tuesday’s hearing.
Raskin is expected to be the first to address the immediate events leading up to the tweet: a controversial White House meeting on Dec. 18, 2020, where Trump weighed in on the seizure of voting machines and appointed conspiracy theorist Sidney Powell as special counsel to investigate electoral fraud.
The meeting involved Trump and four informal advisers, The Guardian reports, including Trump’s ex-national security adviser Michael Flynn, ex-Trump campaign attorney Sidney Powell, ex-CEO Patrick Byrne of Overstock and ex-Trump aide Emily Newman.
Once in the Oval Office, they pleaded with Trump to invoke executive order 13848, which granted him emergency powers in the event of foreign election interference — though that hadn’t happened — to confiscate voting machines and install Powell as special counsel.
The former president eventually objected to both proposals. But after Flynn-Powell-Byrne-Newman’s plan for him to undo the election collapsed, the select committee said, he turned his attention to Jan. 6 as his last chance and sent out his tweet.
The response to Trump’s tweet was immediate and immediate, the panel will show, noting that Stop the Steal announced plans for a protest in Washington to coincide with Biden’s certification just hours after the former president passed away. message sent.
The Proud Boys — whose top members have since been charged with seditious conspiracy over the Capitol bombing — also began to crystallize their plans for January 6 the following day, according to federal prosecutors prosecuting the case.
On December 20, 2020, prosecutors said that former Proud Boys National Chairman Enrique Tarrio created an encrypted group chat called “MOSD Leaders Group” – described by Tarrio as a “national rally planning committee” with his top lieutenants.
The day after Tarrio founded the MOSD Leaders Group — the Monday after Trump’s tweet that came on a Saturday — the Stop the Steal leaders applied for a permit to stage a protest at “Lot 8” near the Capitol, and around that time sent live the WildProtest.com website.
For the rest of December and spurred on by Trump’s tweet, the select committee, citing the Proud Boys indictment, will say the Proud Boys leaders have used the MOSD chats to plan a “DC journey.” plan and tell their members to dress incognito for their surgery on January 6.
Top members of the Oath Keepers militia group led by Stewart Rhodes, who have also been charged with seditious conspiracy, made similar plans as they prepared to impede Congressional certification of Biden’s election victory, the panel wants to show.
The select committee will then focus on how the Oath Keepers stockpiled weapons and created an armed rapid response force ready to be deployed to the Capitol, and how the group ended up being the security detail for far-right activist Roger Stone and other Trump officials. allies.
One of the witnesses to give public testimony at the hearing is expected to be Jason van Tatenhove, a former spokesperson for the Oath Keepers who left the group around 2017, but is expected to discuss their motivations and practices.
The 1st Amendment Praetorian, Flynn’s paramilitary group, is also expected to receive a brief mention at the hearing, as well as the various “war rooms” at the Willard hotel, where both Stone and Flynn, as well as Trump’s attorney, Rudy Giuliani, were. spotted before January 6.
The select committee will, through Raskin’s portion of the hearing, review the effects of Trump’s tweet on Jan. 6 preparations through the morning of the Capitol attack and Trump’s speech at the Save America rally at the Ellipse.
Congressman Murphy would then be expected to investigate the Ellipse rally himself, and Trump’s incendiary rhetoric, in which he told his supporters he would march with them to the Capitol, which would give the pro-Trump crowd the ultimate incentive to storm Biden’s certification.