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January 6 hearing live updates: Committee to focus on Donald Trump’s pressure on Mike Pence before Capitol riot

WASHINGTON – The 1/6 commission is set to dive into Donald Trump’s latest attempt to save the 2020 election by forcing Vice President Mike Pence to relinquish electoral powers – powers that Pence did not have – in the run-up to the Capitol Uprising. of the USA.

With two witnesses on Thursday, the House panel intends to show how Trump’s false allegations of fraudulent elections left him with no choice but to dismiss dozens of lawsuits challenging the vote.

Trump embraced the dark plan of conservative law professor John Eastman and launched a public and private campaign of pressure on Pence days before the vice president presides over the Jan. 6 congressional session to certify Joe Biden’s election victory. A federal judge has said Trump is “more likely” to commit crimes in an attempt to stop certification.

“The illegality of the plan was obvious,” the commission said in a January 6 lawsuit against Eastman. Commission Vice President Liz Cheney, R-Wyo, said in an opening statement last week: “What President Trump’s request to Mike Pence was not just wrong, it was illegal and unconstitutional.”

MORE: Highlights from the hearings on January 2

The committee will hear from Greg Jacobs, the vice president’s adviser who rejected Eastman’s ideas for Pence to carry out the plan. and retired federal Judge Michael Lutig, who described the plan by Eastman, his former lawyer, as “at every turn.”

Thursday’s meeting is also expected to reveal new evidence of the danger Pence faced that day as the mob invaded the Capitol shouting “Hang Mike Pence!” with a gallows in the Capitol as the vice president escaped with the senators hiding. Nine people lost their lives in the riots and its aftermath.

Exclusive ABC News: The photo shows Vice President Mike Pence, a family hiding on January 6th

The meeting is expected to show how Trump’s pressure on Pence “directly contributed” to the Capitol attack, according to a committee aide who insisted on anonymity to discuss the upcoming hearing.

Ahead of the hearing, Pence’s former chief of staff, Mark Short, said his boss was determined to stay in the Capitol that night and finish the job despite threats.

“He knew it was his job to stay in place,” Short told CNN on Wednesday.

SEE ALSO: The attack on the Capitol on January 6, with the numbers

Short said Pence did not want people to see the vice president leave the Capitol when “a feature of democracy” was under siege.

“He thought it was important to stay there and make sure the American people’s work was done that night,” said Short, who testified before the committee for eight hours but has not yet appeared as a living witness.

The panel is being re-convened for a third hearing this month following a prime-time overproduction that began last week, followed by logistical failures in recent days. Monday’s key witness, former Trump campaign director Bill Stepien, abruptly refused to appear in person because his wife was giving birth to their child. Wednesday’s scheduled hearing with Justice Department witnesses who tried to convince Trump that his allegations of voter fraud were simply not true was postponed.

However, the commission’s long-running inquiry into recent weeks shows Trump’s power as the lone president clings to the “big lie” of an election fraud, even when those around him – his family, his top aides, are high-ranking officials. of the government- was telling him he just lost the election.

MORE: Trump issues 12-page statement amid January 6 hearings claiming he was plotting a “coup”

Former Attorney General William Barr, who resigned in late 2020 instead of being part of Trump’s plans, testified earlier that the president was “detached from reality” if he believed the lies. He said he told the president that his allegations of voter fraud were “bullshit”.

With 1,000 interviews and bundles of 140,000 documents, the commission links the points, showing how Trump’s false allegations of electoral fraud became a battle cry as he called thousands of Americans to Washington for a Jan. 6 rally and then sent them to the Capitol for ” hell “for his presidency.

More than 800 people have been arrested during the siege of the Capitol and the commission is considering whether to send a referral for criminal charges against Trump to the Department of Justice. No president or former president has ever been indicted by the Justice Department, and Attorney General Merrick Garland has said he and his team are overseeing proceedings in Congress.

For now, the committee is continuing its hearings, with more scheduled for next week.

Thursday will unpack Eastman’s plan for states to send alternative voter lists from the five or seven states Trump challenged, including Arizona, Georgia, Michigan, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin. With rival plates for Trump or Biden, Pence would be forced to dismiss them, returning them to the states to settle according to plan.

SEE ALSO: Election False Causes Deadly Attack on US Capitol

Pence rejected the plan, believing that the founders would not let one person, the vice president, decide the outcome, Jacobs told the committee in an earlier statement. Jacob said the idea was in stark contrast to some 130 years ago in American history, “completely fabricated.”

The committee at the next hearings will delve deeper into the roles of extremist groups and others who listened to Trump’s call to Washington. Leaders and others from the Oath Keepers and Proud Boys face rare allegations of insurgency over their roles in the Capitol attack.

Many members of Congress are also under scrutiny, including Barry Loudermilk, a spokesman for R-Ga. .

The committee is also investigating several candidates for office, including the Republican nominee for governor of Pennsylvania, who was among the troublemakers.

The committee, which is expected to release a final report on its findings later this year, intends its work to set a record for the history of the most violent attack on the Capitol since the war of 1812. Unlike other national traumas cause a country together, the attack on the Capitol on January 6 seems to have divided many Americans. Congress split to form the committee, which most Republicans opposed.

The commission’s two Republicans, Cheney and Illinois lawmaker Adam Kinzinger, were rejected by the GOP for their work with Democrats leading the investigation into Trump and his role in the Capitol attack.

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Associated Press writers Kevin Freking in Washington and Farnoush Amiri in Los Angeles contributed to this report.

Copyright © 2022 by the Associated Press. All rights reserved.

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January 6 hearing live updates: Committee to focus on Donald Trump’s pressure on Mike Pence before Capitol riot Source link January 6 hearing live updates: Committee to focus on Donald Trump’s pressure on Mike Pence before Capitol riot

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