‘Theatre’: Senate Republicans pull out of January 6 hearings on Capitol riot

WASHINGTON — The House hearings on Jan. 6, 2021, have made a lot of news so far, thanks to extraordinary testimony from a number of former Donald Trump administration officials and aides who have debunked the lies of the ex-president on the 2020 election and shed more light on his state of mind during the attack on the US Capitol.

But Senate Republicans say they don’t care and don’t intend to.

“Why? Theatre?” Sen. Richard Burr (RN.C.), who voted to convict Trump for his role in inciting the riot, told HuffPost when asked if he plans to go online.

“I don’t have time,” added Sen. Tommy Tuberville (R-Ala.), explaining that he was instead focused on passing an appropriations bill.

During Monday’s hearing before the bipartisan House select committee investigating the Jan. 6 riot, investigators presented evidence that the former president’s aides told him he had lost his re-election but still tried to stay in power.

In a video clip, former Trump campaign manager Bill Stepien said Trump disregarded his advice and that of other top campaign aides to tell supporters the votes were still being counted. and that “it was too early to call the race”. Instead, Trump continued to lie about the election, a move Trump’s attorney general William Barr called “wrong and idiotic.”

“If he really believes in this stuff, I thought he had lost touch or become detached from reality,” Barr told the Jan. 6 committee.

Last week, in a separate prime-time hearing, the committee aired an interview with Trump’s own daughter and special adviser, Ivanka Trump, who said she took Barr’s comments seriously. The House panel also shared testimony from inside the White House alleging Trump hosted chants from his supporters calling for the hanging of his Vice President Mike Pence.

A video of Bill Stepien, Donald Trump’s former campaign manager, speaking during the House Select Committee hearing on June 13, 2022 in Washington, DC

JABIN BOTSFORD via Getty Images

However, neither of those developments seemed to move Republicans this week.

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), who previously criticized Trump over the riot, simply ignored questions about it. Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) joked that he would be safe to “watch highlights on NFL Network.”

Sen. Mitt Romney (R-Utah) was the only Republican senator interviewed by HuffPost who addressed Monday’s hearings. Testimony from former Trump administration officials, Romney said, indicated “how widespread the view was that there was no credibility that the election was not entirely legal. “.

Asked specifically about Trump’s alleged comment on Pence, Romney said the former president had made many comments “so beyond the paleness, it’s hard to respond to all of them.”

Democrats, meanwhile, said they were impressed with how the Jan. 6 committee focused its case on testimony from former Trump administration officials.

“They are definitely building a case [to indict Trump]said Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.). “As to whether this will warrant prosecution for the very high bar of the Department of Justice? I do not know.”


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