On Tuesday, the January 6 committee convenes its seventh public hearing with Reps. Jamie Raskin of Maryland and Stephanie Murphy of Florida leading proceedings that are expected to expose the seedy underbelly of extremism underpinning so much of the violence and destruction that former President Donald Trump incited at the US Capitol last year.
For weeks the committee has laid out in neat presentation reams of evidence and witness testimony that they say demonstrates how Trump stubbornly sought to reverse his defeat by any means necessary, including pressuring then-Vice President Mike Pence and peddling a widely debunked lie about voter fraud. in order to rally his supporters to his side.
As his attempt to overturn the election grew increasingly desperate, Trump homed in on neofascist and extremist groups like the Oath Keepers and Proud Boys to carry forth and support his message.
Tuesday’s hearing is expected to parse out the involvement of these groups and others and examine key moments leading up to the insurrection like a Dec. 18 meeting at the Oval Office with Trump’s former national security adviser Michael Flynn, his lawyer Sidney Powell and others who proposed wildly unconstitutional schemes including the seizure of voting machines. The former president issued a tweet mere hours after that meeting that called for a ‘wild’ rally in Washington, DC on Jan. 6. That, investigators will argue, was the moment Trump lit a fuse to activate extremists.
Investigators are also likely to divulge more recorded depositions from witnesses like Trump White House attorney Pat Cipollone. Live witness accounts are expected from Jason Van Tatenhove, an onetime spokesman for the Oath Keepers, and Ohio resident Stephen Ayres who pleaded guilty to illegally entering the Capitol on Jan. 6. Ayres, according to federal prosecutors and Ayres himself, was incited to storm the Capitol because of Trump’s calls to action.
Connections between Trump, Flynn, self-proclaimed ‘dirty trickster’ Roger Stone, and the extremist groups will be carved out by the committee as well. Presently, Elmer Stewart Rhodes, the leader of the Oath Keepers awaits trial for seditious conspiracy. Prosecutors say he oversaw and helped orchestrate a plot to stop the transfer of power on Jan. 6, Several members of the group have been charged alongside Rhodes. The same seditious conspiracy charges have been brought against Henry “Enrique” Tarrio, leader of the Proud Boys. His trial is also slated for later this year.
For more background, check out the related story links below. A livestream for today’s hearing is available here:
The committee’s eighth hearing is expected to unfold next week and it will be then that the committee will unpack Trump’s dereliction of duty during a nearly three-hour span where the Capitol was under siege and he sat idly by.
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The second part of today’s hearing is gearing up with live witnesses including ex-Oath Keeper media director Jason Van Tatenhove and Stephen Ayres, an Ohio man who pleaded guilty to disorderly conduct after entering the Capitol on Jan. 6.
An unusual sight in the committee room today to be sure. Tatenhoven is covered in tattoos, sporting a denim jacket.
In a big moment, the committee reveals that Trump explicitly asked for his speech on Jan. 6 to include language targeting Mike Pence even after he had been advised against it and it was initially removed.
But Pence came out saying he would not overturn the results and Trump was irate.
Trump would reference Pence 8 times.
He made multiple references to march to the Capitol as an “ad-lib”
‘Peacefully’ was in a staff written script and used only once.
Truly disturbing account from former Oath Keeper Jason van Tatenhove who said the US must stop mincing words about Jan. 6 and men like Elmer Rhodes involved. “What it was going to be was an armed revolution,” Tatenhove said.