How to watch Thursday’s January 6 prime-time hearing focused on what Trump was doing in the Capitol attack

The House January 6 Committee will hold a public hearing on Thursday, this time during prime time. It should focus on what former President Donald Trump was doing during the 187 minutes after rioters descended on Capitol Hill and before he issued a public response.

CBS News will air the hearing as a special report beginning at 8 p.m. ET anchored by Norah O’Donnell.

Committee aides said Wednesday the hearing will focus on Trump’s actions between 1:10 p.m. ET, when his speech at the Ellipse ended, and 4:17 p.m. ET, when he released a video statement. recorded from the Rose Garden calling for the rioters to leave. residence.

According to aides, the committee will argue that it refused to act to defend the Capitol even as mobs swarmed the building in an effort to stop the counting of electoral votes.

Capitol Riot Survey Highlights
Former President Donald Trump speaks in a video exhibit as the House Select Committee investigating the January 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol holds a hearing to reveal its findings Monday, June 13, 2022.

Susan Walsh/AP

The committee will also present additional information about Trump’s return to the White House against his will after Ellipse’s speech ended, an aide said. The aide did not reveal whether the committee interviewed Anthony Ornato, deputy chief of staff for operations, or Secret Service agent Robert Engel, both of whom the White House aide mentioned. Cassidy Hutchinson when she testified before the committee that Trump demanded to be taken to the Capitol during the riot.

A source close to the Secret Service told CBS News after Hutchinson’s testimony that Engel and the driver of a Secret Service vehicle on Jan. 6 were prepared to testify under oath that neither man had been physically attacked. or assaulted by Trump and that the former president never rushed. for the steering wheel of the vehicle, as claimed by Hutchinson.

Hutchinson testified that she had called Ornato to make sure there were no plans to take Trump to the Capitol on January 6.

A committee aide said Thursday’s hearing will outline who was talking to Trump, what those people were urging him to do and when he was made aware of what was happening. Those details will come in testimony from people who spoke to the former president and from people in the West Wing who were aware of what he and his entourage were doing. Testimony will take the form of video and audio recordings as well as live witnesses.

Committee aides have yet to publicly confirm who Thursday’s witnesses will be. CBS News has confirmed via a source familiar with the committee that Matthew Pottinger, a former National Security Council official, and Sarah Matthews, a former deputy White House press secretary, are ready to testify. They both resigned the day after the attack.

The hearing will also cover how law enforcement turned the tide against rioters around 4 p.m., and the committee will review what happened at the White House for the rest of the day, creating of the Rose Garden video, the president’s tweets he sent later that day, and the fallout the day after the attack.

“One of the main points we’re going to make here is that President Trump had the authority to call out the crowd here. He may have been the only person who could call out the crowd and he chose not to.” , said a committee aide. .

Committee chair Rep. Bennie Thompson said Tuesday he had tested positive for COVID-19 and would not attend Thursday’s hearing. Aides said Wednesday he would preside over the hearing remotely.

Representatives Elanie Luria and Adam Kinzinger will lead the presentation.

Jan. 6 committee staff confirmed Wednesday that the panel received only one text message from the Secret Service. The committee had subpoenaed texts from January 5 and 6, but a Department of Homeland Security watchdog told lawmakers last week that the Secret Service had removed texts from that period. The Secret Service claimed that some phone data was unintentionally erased as part of a pre-planned system migration, and said any deleted texts “are presumed to be permanently deleted”.

CBS News confirmed that Secret Service employees received multiple official email communications asking officials to back up relevant texts, emails and communications prior to the migration. At least one of these emails was sent in December 2020.

Former Trump White House staffer Garrett Ziegler testified privately before the committee on Tuesday. Ziegler was an aide to trade adviser Peter Navarro, who was charged with contempt of Congress for refusing to comply with a subpoena to appear before the committee.

Kinzinger told “Face the Nation” on Sunday that the hearing will “open people’s eyes wide” to Trump’s behavior.

“I can’t necessarily say that the motives behind every piece of information that we know will be able to explain, but it will open people’s eyes in a big way,” Kinzinger said. He added, “I’ll give you this insight: the president didn’t do much but happily watch TV during this time.”

Kinzinger, a Republican, urged the American people, and his GOP colleagues in particular, to “look at this with an open mind” and ask, “Is this the kind of strong leader you really think you deserve?”

This will be the eighth hearing the select committee has held this summer and the ninth overall.
An aide said Wednesday that “there is potential for future hearings,” particularly around the release of a report on the investigation later this year.

Previous public hearings have focused on the mobilization of rioters on Capitol Hill, Trump’s speech at the Ellipse on Jan. 6 before the riot, and his desire to join his supporters. The committee also detailed Trump’s post-Election Day pressure campaigns to push his baseless election claims on Pence, the Justice Department, state lawmakers and local election officials.

The hearings revealed new details about a plan to come up with alternate voters who support Trump in seven battleground states that President Joe Biden has won. Thompson said last week that the Justice Department had requested information about the scheme.

“The only issue we engaged them on is the list of fraudulent voters that were submitted,” Thompson told reporters last week. “This is the first installment we talked to them about.”

Rebecca Kaplan, Nikole Killion and Nicole Sganga contributed to this report.


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