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House panel set to examine origin of Trump’s ‘big lie’ in 2nd hearing
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A House hearing on Monday is expected to show that President Donald Trump has been repeatedly told following his 2020 loss that there is no credible evidence the election was stolen. Yet witnesses are expected to say that Trump persisted in making baseless claims that inflated his fundraising, enraged his voter base and laid the groundwork for the violent attack on the Capitol two months later.

Monday’s hearing of the select committee investigating the Jan. 6, 2021, Capitol uprising was canceled just hours before it began, after a key figure in Trump’s orbit who has been publicly silent — the former campaign manager Bill Stepien – withdrew from his appearance program.

A statement from the panel said Stepien was unable to appear due to a family emergency and that his attorney would make a statement for him. Two people familiar with the committee’s work who spoke on condition of anonymity to describe its activities said Stepien informed the committee that his wife had gone into labor.

These people also said that Stepien had previously participated in recorded deposition, raising the possibility that videotaped excerpts could be shown instead of live testimony. Besides Stepien, the committee is expected to hear from other figures with direct knowledge of the pressure campaign that unfolded in the hours, days and weeks after the polls closed.

A committee aide who briefed reporters on condition of anonymity to preview the hearing on Sunday said the testimony “would show that some of those individuals responsible for the violence of the 6th echoed those same lies that the president peddled approaching”. to the insurrection”.

Monday’s hearing will be the second of seven hearings scheduled this month. Proceedings, which were scheduled to begin at 10 a.m. Monday on Capitol Hill, were delayed 30 to 45 minutes after Stepien’s withdrawal was announced.

Speaker Bennie G. Thompson (D-Miss.) will lead the hearing alongside Rep. Zoe Lofgren (D-California), who is expected to detail the fundraising efforts that were undertaken after the election using the “big lie” to protect Trump. campaign funds. These efforts have raised hundreds of millions of dollars, the committee aide said.

The Post reported that “Team Green” investigators sought to trace every dollar collected and spent on Trump’s false claims that the election was stolen. Investigators interviewed low-level Trump campaign officials who wrote fundraising pitches, and they questioned Trump advisers about who personally benefited from raising large sums of money as a result of the defeat of Trump.

Stepien’s scheduled appearance was unexpected: He hasn’t spoken publicly about the 2020 election or its aftermath, although earlier press accounts have described him as one of the figures around Trump who had eyes clear on the loss of the election and withdrew from an active role in seeking to reverse it. Stepien, notably, as a campaign adviser to the main Republican opponent to vice-chairman of the panel Liz Cheney (R-Wyo.).

The panel statement did not say whether Stepien would appear publicly at a future hearing.

Rep. Liz Cheney Tells Americans Why Jan. 6 Should Terrify Them

In addition to Stepien’s attorney, the committee is scheduled to hear Monday from reporter Chris Stirewalt, who worked as a senior political editor for Fox News on election night and was fired after predicting Biden would win Arizona. A second panel will feature Benjamin Ginsberg, a prominent GOP election lawyer; BJ “BJay” Pak, who served as a US attorney in Georgia and resisted pressure to concoct voter fraud allegations; and Al Schmidt, a former Philadelphia city commissioner who vigorously pushed back against Trump’s stolen campaign claims in the days after the election.

The committee’s first hearing, watched by nearly 19 million viewers Thursday, featured insight into its case placing Trump with overall responsibility for the attack on the Capitol. Cheney claimed during the hearing that Trump had a “seven-part plan” to undo his loss and stay in power – effectively orchestrating a failed coup.

January 6 Committee uses video and testimonies to tell the story of the uprising

Panel members appeared on Sunday news programs to present this case again. Rep. Elaine Luria (D-Va.) said Trump and his allies tried to pull “every lever in government” to try to stay in power during an appearance on NBC’s “Meet the Press.”

“If there hadn’t been people in the right places at the right time doing the right thing, it could have turned out very differently – and that includes at the Justice Department, the former vice president,” said Luria, referring to Vice President Mike Pence’s refusal to overturn the election results. “This pressure campaign was widespread.

The committee’s third public hearing on Wednesday will focus on the campaign to pressure Trump and his Justice Department allies to overturn the presidential election results. It is expected to feature several former Trump administration officials, including former acting attorney general Jeffrey Rosen.

January 6 committee accuses Trump of ‘carnage’ on Capitol Hill

In ABC News’ “This Week,” Rep. Adam B. Schiff (D-California) said he believed there was credible evidence that Trump had committed multiple federal crimes and said he would belong to the Department of Justice to make a decision about whether he could prove it to a jury beyond a reasonable doubt.

“The evidence is very powerful that Donald Trump started telling this big lie even before the election that he was saying that all ballots counted after Election Day would be inherently suspect,” Schiff said, referring to the baseless claims of Trump that widespread voter fraud would cost. him the 2020 election. “This lie continued after the election and ultimately led to this mob gathering and attacking the Capitol.”

Rep. Jamie B. Raskin (D-Md.) acknowledged there was no specific legal provision to simply refer a former president’s crimes to the Justice Department. He also distanced himself from weighing in on whether the department should indict Trump, saying he wanted to respect his independence.

“I guess our whole investigation is a referral of crimes, both to the Department of Justice and to the American people, because this is a massive assault on the apparatus of American democracy, when you have a president incumbent who is trying to overthrow the majority in his opponent’s Electoral College, which defeated him by more than 7 million votes,” Raskin said Sunday on CNN’s “State of the Union.”

Trump “absolutely knew” he had lost the election, Raskin added, which he thought the committee could prove to “any reasonable and open-minded person” during its hearings.

Both Raskin and Schiff said this week’s hearings would also provide evidence that several House Republicans had apologized to the Trump White House for trying to nullify the election, dismissing denials from some of those lawmakers in the GOP, including Representative Scott Perry (Pennsylvania). , whose office called the allegation a “soulless lie”.

“We will show the evidence we have that members of Congress were asking for pardons,” Schiff said. “To me, I think this is one of the most compelling evidences of a conscience of guilt. Why would the members do this if they felt that their involvement in this conspiracy to nullify the election was in some way appropriate kind?”

Aaron Gregg, Caroline Kitchener and Amy B Wang contributed to this report.


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