Jan. 6 Committee Fifth Hearing Takeaways, When Is the Next Session

What’s happening

The fifth hearing from the Jan 6. hearing looked at the pressure put on the Department of Justice by Trump to investigate false voter fraud claims.

Why it matters

The committee continues to reveal evidence on what led to the Capitol riot and who was responsible for what happened that day.

The Jan. 6 committee has begun to reveal its findings.

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Thursday’s hearing by the House committee investigating the deadly Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the US Capitol put the focus on the Department of Justice, which was subject to pressure from former President Donald Trump to investigate false election fraud claims. 

Formed nearly a year ago, the select committee has been investigating the circumstances behind the Jan. 6 attack and those who influenced the more than 800 people who have been criminally charged in an attempt to stop Congress from certifying President Joe Biden’s win in the 2020 election. The committee has had two public hearings so far with at least three more planned for June.

When is the next Jan. 6 committee hearing? 

The committee has yet to schedule its next hearing. Rep. Bennie Thompson, chairman and a Democrat from Mississippi, said Thursday more hearings will happen in the coming weeks as they investigate new information. 

How can I watch the previous hearings? 

Hearings are available on C-SPAN and the Jan. 6 committee’s YouTube channel

What did the committee reveal in the first hearing?

The first hearing, on June 9, gave an overview of what to expect while also showing never-before-seen deposition testimony and footage from the Capitol riot. 

Committee chairman Rep. Thompson, and Rep. Liz Cheney, the committee vice chairwoman and a Republican from Wyoming, spoke throughout the two-hour hearing. They revealed how officials from Trump’s administration didn’t believe his claims of voter fraud, how multiple Republican members of Congress sought presidential pardons for their roles in trying to overturn the election, and how, when the mob chanted “Hang Mike Pence,” the vice president, Trump said: “He deserves it.”

The second half of the hearing included testimony from two witnesses: documentary filmmaker Nick Quested and Capitol police officer Caroline Edwards. Quested had been embedded with the far-right group The Proud Boys and was in attendance at a discreet meeting on Jan. 5 between the group’s leader at the time, Enrique Tarrio, and Stewart Rhodes, the leader of another far-right group called the Oath Keepers. TarrioRhodes and other members of their groups have since been charged with seditious conspiracy for their actions. 

In his testimony, Quested also confirmed that there were hundreds of Proud Boys who were making their way to the Capitol on the morning of Jan. 6 before Trump gave his speech that day, which was the catalyst for other supporters to move toward the Capitol, where Congress would be certifying Biden’s election win. 

Edwards testified about the violence on Jan. 6 committed by the mob of Trump followers. She also spoke about her injuries on that day.

What did the second hearing tell us?

Monday’s hearing looked at the false claims made by Trump and his administration that the 2020 presidential election was supposedly stolen, which has been dubbed the “Big Lie.” 

Video testimony from former White House attorney Eric Herschmann, former White House staff secretary Derek Lyons, former Attorney General Bill Barr and others, played during the hearing, showed those officials confirming there was no basis for the claims of election fraud. 

Former US Attorney for the Northern District of Georgia BJay Pak, former Philadelphia City Commissioner Al Schmidt and election attorney Benjamin Ginsberg provided live witness testimony debunking the claims made by Trump and his administration. The committee also revealed the finding of its investigation into how the conspiracies about the election were used to raise hundreds of millions of dollars for pro-Trump political organizations. 

What was the third hearing about? 

Almost the entire hearing on June 16 was about Pence. The committee detailed how the former vice president didn’t have the authority to stop the counting of electoral votes. John Eastman, an attorney who was advising Trump, promoted a legal theory of Pence having this power, although it isn’t established in the Constitution. 

Greg Jacob, Pence’s chief counsel, and former federal judge Michael Luttig testified about the powers of the vice president and their assessment that Pence couldn’t stop the vote count. The committee also played depositions from people on Trump’s staff who said the former president and others in his administration did agree that Pence couldn’t change the election results, even though some still applied pressure for him to do so. 

In addition, the committee played the deposition of Eastman who pleaded the fifth more than 100 times during his testimony and had requested a presidential pardon for his actions. 

What happened in the fourth hearing? 

On Tuesday, the committee first heard the testimony of Rusty Bowers, speaker of the Arizona House of Representatives. He testified on how Trump and his lawyer at the time, Rudy Guiliani, urged Bowers to agree to put forth pro-Trump electors instead of the legitimate electors the state was already going to send to DC. Bowers also said two Republican members of Congress asked him to support Trump’s plan to decertify Biden’s victory, which he didn’t agree to. 

The committee played multiple deposition videos from witnesses who said Trump took part in pushing the plan to gather these fake electors along with Eastman, the lawyer who theorized the election could be overturned. 

After a recess, the committee heard testimony from Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger, his deputy Gabe Sterling along with Georgia election workers Wandrea “Shaye” Moss and her mother, Ruby Freeman. All four spoke of the almost non-stop abuse they received after Trump, Guiliani and others singled them out for over false claims that they helped steal the election. 

Raffensperger testified about the call he had with Trump who was asking him to find 11,000 more votes. Sterling talked about the threats of physical violence election workers received based on false claims made by the former President about the election. 

Moss and Freeman became a target for Trump’s team and his fans after video footage was used to falsely claim the two were conducting illegal activities and counting fake votes. The mother (who provided her testimony via video earlier) and daughter spoke about the numerous death threats, messages and abuse they received once they were named by Guiliani. Both had to take precautions for their safety and still try to keep a low profile when out in public in fear of someone recognizing them. 

What was revealed in the fifth hearing?

Thursday’s hearing featured witness testimony from Jeffrey A. Rosen, the former acting attorney general; Richard Donoghue, the former acting deputy attorney general; and Steven Engel, the former assistant attorney general for the office of legal counsel. All three testified about the pressure they received from the White House to indulge Trump’s false claims that the election was stolen from him. 

Among the requests made by Trump and his team were the appointment of a special counsel to investigate the false claims, seizing voting machines and investigating a conspiracy theory that an Italian satellite was used to switch votes. 

The three also testified how there would be a mass resignation by senior Justice Department staff if Trump appointed Jeffrey Clark, an official with the department who supported the former president’s false claims. Federal law enforcement raided Clark’s home Wednesday as part of the department’s investigation into the attempt to overturn the 2020 election. 

Before the hearing ended, the committee aired testimony from former White House officials who said Republican members of Congress asked for a presidential pardon for their participation in trying to overturn the election. This group included Rep. Mo Brooks from Alabama, Matt Gaetz from Florida, Andy Biggs from Arizona, Luie Gohmert from Texas and Scott Perry from Pennsylvania. 

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