Former President Donald Trump responded in a lengthy statement to the ongoing Jan. 6 House committee hearings on Monday, calling the panel illegitimate and their presentation one-sided — but rather than rebut their evidence, he reiterated the same baseless claims about the 2020 presidential election that are at the center of the debates and the group’s case that it attempted a “coup”.
Trump’s 12-page statement, sent to reporters Monday night, comes after the second public hearing held by the House Select Committee investigating last year’s deadly attack on the Capitol. His statement, marked by characteristic gasps and insults, called the hearings a “smoke and mirror show” that did not include “all of the defense witnesses, and anyone so readily pointing out the flaws in their story.”
The statement, however, did not directly address the details presented by the committee to the public thus far – including testimony earlier Monday from Trump’s inner circle that he knew he had lost the last race. presidential election and had no legitimate reason to claim widespread fraud, choosing instead to listen to Rudy Giuliani falsely claim victory over Joe Biden.
Instead, much of Trump’s statement lashed out at President Biden and the Democratic majority in Congress, building on arguments Republicans are making ahead of the November election. Trump said Democrats were responsible for various problems plaguing the country, and he touted the Jan. 6 investigative effort as a way to distract from those problems.
“America is collapsing and the Democrats have no solutions. Our nation has no hope of changing for the better under the leadership of the Democrats,” Trump said. “People are desperate. Rather than solving problems, Democrats are resurrecting history in hopes of changing the narrative.”
Members of the committee, which includes two Republicans, pushed back against the characterization that their investigation is driven by partisanship. Instead, they said, their work revealed how hard the former president had worked to undermine the democratic process and stay in power.
“The Constitution doesn’t just protect Democrats or just Republicans. It protects all of us the people. And this ploy was an attempt to undermine the will of the people,” said Rep. Bennie Thompson, D-Miss. who chairs the commission, said Thursday during the first public hearing.
For much of his Monday statement, Trump repeated false or unsubstantiated claims by himself, his campaign and supporters that the 2020 election was rigged in favor of Biden by stolen ballots, erroneous vote counts and various other means.
Trump said the ongoing January 6 hearings were a “narrative” written by Democrats “to distract from the much bigger and more important truth that the 2020 election was rigged and stolen.”
Numerous legal challenges by Trump and others, as well as audits and investigations following the 2020 election, have revealed no pattern of widespread problems. Likewise, local election officials across the country — Democrats and Republicans — have said the fraud allegations are baseless.
Trump used his statement to make points beyond the last election, targeting Biden and the Democratic Party’s perceived vulnerabilities to voters, such as rising inflation.
“Our country is in freefall,” Trump said. “Americans are struggling to fill their gas tanks, feed their babies, educate their children, hire employees, order supplies, protect our border from invasion and a host of other tragedies. caused 100% by Democrats…and the people of our country are both angry and sad.”
The January 6 inquiries and hearings, Trump argued, were aimed at barring him from running in the next presidential election. “This is simply an attempt to stop a man who is leading in all the polls, against Republicans and Democrats by wide margins,” he boasted, without providing evidence.
Trump has repeatedly teased but has not officially announced whether he will run for president in 2024. He has played a significant role in the ongoing midterm primaries in 2022 by endorsing candidates in races across the country, with mixed results.
Video depositions released at the first two hearings included witnesses who were close to Trump at the time of the election and on Jan. 6, including his daughter and adviser Ivanka Trump and then-Attorney General Bill Barr.
Barr, who said his team found no evidence of large-scale fraud, described how he felt about Trump’s growing focus on such claims, telling investigators, “He felt detached from reality if he truly believes in it.”
The committee’s next public hearing is currently set for Thursday, after the one scheduled for Wednesday was postponed.