House committee makes case against Donald Trump – NBC Chicago

The House committee investigating the riot that swept the U.S. Capitol on January 6, 2021, began presenting a case on Thursday that President Donald Trump knew he had lost the 2020 presidential election, but continued to falsely claim that it had been stolen from him while he was working. to change the results.

The committee argues that Trump was at the center of a “coordinated, multi-stage effort to overturn the results” of the 2020 presidential election that he lost to Joe Biden.

The committee offered never-before-seen videos and testimony to show Donald Trump supporters, including the far-right group Proud Boys, were in Washington, DC, to stop Trump’s transfer of power to Joe Biden.

“January 6 was the culmination of an attempted coup,” the committee’s Democratic chairman, Bennie Thompson of Mississippi, said in his opening remarks. “A brazen attempt, as one rioter put it shortly after January 6, ‘to overthrow the government.’ The violence was no accident. It represented Trump’s last desperate chance to stop the transfer of power.”

Even as Democrats emphasized the seriousness of the attack, Republicans attempted to delegitimize the hearings.

House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy of California called the committee “the most political and least legitimate committee in congressional history.”

Representatives Liz Cheney of Wyoming, vice chair of the committee, and Representative Adam Kinzinger of Illinois are the only Republicans on the nine-member committee. Both criticized Trump and voted to impeach him.

Thursday’s meeting was the first in a series of public hearings the committee will hold.

Capitol Police Officer Caroline Edwards said she was behind a bike rack and tried to hold off rioters at the US Capitol on January 6. “I turned to my sergeant and said the understatement of the century. I said, ‘Sergeant, we’re going to need a few more people here.’

‘Crazy Stuff’: Aides told Trump they found no fraud

In the days following the 2020 presidential election, former President Donald Trump’s top aides repeatedly told him that there was no evidence of fraud sufficient to void the election.

Even as Trump continued to tell his supporters that the election was stolen from them, Attorney General William Barr and others contradicted his claims.

“I made it clear that I disagreed with the idea of ​​saying the election was stolen and posting this stuff that I told the president was bullshit,” said former Attorney General Bill Barr. Allegations that Dominion Voting Systems, a company that provided the voting machines, was engaged in a conspiracy to change the results was “a crazy thing,” Barr said.

A former campaign attorney, Alex Cannon, told the president’s chief of staff that campaign staff couldn’t find enough irregularities to make a difference in any of the key states.

“So there isn’t there,” he said, former chief of staff Mark Meadows replied.

Even Trump’s daughter, Ivanka, said she was convinced by Barr’s comments.

One of the biggest revelations from the first in a series of congressional hearings into the deadly January 6 U.S. Capitol riots was the video of former attorney general William Barr, Ivanka Trump and others acknowledging that the election of President Joe Biden was legitimate.

An invasion of the Capitol

New video showed the violent attack on the Capitol, with rioters marching towards the building and then smashing through metal barricades at the Capitol.

Using police body cameras and other police scanner footage and audio, it showed them beating police officers, hitting them with flag poles and other weapons. Officers could be heard calling for help.

United States Capitol Police Officer Caroline Edwards, who suffered a concussion in the attack, said she slipped in other people’s blood.

“It was carnage,” she said.

Rioters could be heard chanting “Hang Mike Pence” as lawmakers fled the attack.

Rep. Liz Cheney, R-Wyo., issued a scathing rebuke to former President Donald Trump on Thursday during a hearing by a House committee investigating the Jan. 6 riot at the U.S. Capitol.

Committee: Extremists carried out the attack

The Proud Boys and the Oath Keepers led the invasion of the Capitol after Trump in a tweet called on his supporters to come to Washington, DC for a protest, according to the committee.

Trump’s Dec. 19, 2020, tweet was a “pivotal moment” that started the chain of events that led to the attack, Cheney said. Members of the Proud Boys and the Oath Keepers, whose leaders have been charged with sedition, led the crowd into the Capitol, Cheney said.

“President Trump called the crowd together, gathered the crowd together and lit the flame for this attack,” she said in her opening statement.

Thompson said Trump was at the center of a “sprawling, multi-stage plot to overthrow the presidential election.”

Members of both groups were talking about the need to fight to keep Trump in power as early as November, according to court documents.

Documentary filmmaker Nick Quested said a large group of Proud Boys marched from a speech given by Trump on the National Mall to the Capitol. Thompson noted that they left the mall before Trump started speaking.

“They weren’t there for President Trump’s speech,” Thompson said.

Donell Harvin, the former head of Homeland Security and Intelligence for the District of Columbia, said there was a “vast” amount of intelligence leading up to the Jan. 6 Capitol riots. However, there has been a “failure to heed intelligence,” he said, particularly on the part of federal authorities.

Supporters: Trump “asked us to come”

In the final video of the evening, Trump supporters are seen saying they stormed the Capitol on Jan. 6 because the former president asked them to.

“He personally asked us to come to DC that day,” said supporter Eric Barber. “And I thought, for everything he’s done for us, if that’s the only thing he’s going to ask me, I will.”

Barber, who has been charged with theft and unlawful protest, according to the committee, said he was disappointed Trump did not join the march to the Capitol.

“He said he was going to go, go with us,” he said.

Another supporter, John Wright, said: “I know why I was there, and it was because he called me there and explained what is going on in our government. He spread it. »

Wright is charged with felony civil disorder.

Edited by Andrew V. Pestano. The Associated Press contributed to this report.

NBC Chicago

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