As Jan 6 committee leaks new details, Trump responds with recycled lines | Policy
In nine televised hearings over more than four months, the House committee investigating the events of January 6, 2021 released heaps of new information about the violent insurgency: hours of enlightening testimony, tons of documents and communications, updated timelines and movements, and reels of never-before-seen video footage from the day — including, during the panel’s final hearing on Thursday, extraordinary videos of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and other high-ranking lawmakers attempting to navigate and respond to the situation as the siege unfolded.
Former President Donald Trump, in response to the torrent of new revelations, did the exact opposite.
All of the information presented by the committee was used to build a measured, almost adversarial argument that portrayed Trump as the person at the center of the event, someone who instigated and perpetuated the insurgency despite the fact that he knew various sources and conceded in a variety of forums that his 2020 election fraud allegations were false.
In response to the committee’s moves, Trump maintained an ongoing critique of the investigation, running through a bevy of colorful insults aimed at the panel as a whole as well as individual lawmakers, and repeatedly doubled down on allegations of fraud at the heart of the problem. But Trump has rarely responded directly to any of the new information presented by the committee, refraining from mounting any form of public defense against specific allegations made by the panel and presenting little new information himself.
The cycle repeated itself this week, after the commission made its boldest decision yet on Thursday, subpoenaing the former president in the final moments of what was to be his final public hearing. Trump, after a more subdued response Thursday night in which he continued his criticism of the inquiry while questioning the timing of the panel’s vote, released a 14-page response Friday morning addressed to committee chairman Bennie Thompson, Mississippi Democrat.
The lengthy document was essentially Trump: It opens with an all-caps statement (“THE 2020 PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION WAS Rigged and Stolen”) before slipping into oft-repeated criticism of congressional Democrats and the subject of the investigation – some so familiar that his allies and adversaries have grown oblivious to them.
“This memo is written to express our anger, disappointment and complaint that with all the hundreds of millions of dollars spent on what many consider a charade and witch hunt, and despite strong and powerful demands, you haven’t even spent a short time examining the massive voter fraud that took place in the 2020 presidential election, and only targeted those who, as concerned American citizens, were protesting the fraud itself,” the statement read.
Trump also once again leveled baseless criticism at Pelosi and DC Mayor Muriel Bowser for their actions ahead of the rally.
For the majority of the rest of the document, Trump presents pages of recycled and repeatedly debunked disinformation about the 2020 election, broken down by state – the type the panel spent hours painstakingly deconstructing, often through the testimony of allies. and advisers closest to Trump.
“You did not prosecute the people who created the fraud, but rather the great American patriots who questioned it, as is their constitutional right,” the statement said.
He also included photos to brag about the size of the crowd at the rally ahead of the march to the Capitol.
Despite its length, the letter notably did not indicate whether or not Trump would agree to testify before the committee — the most direct avenue he has had so far to confront the accusations and information presented by the panel.
Although Trump’s hostility to the investigation has led to skepticism about his cooperation, his PAC on Friday emailed a link to a Fox News article quoting an unnamed source close to Trump who said the former president “likes the idea of testifying” before the panel. The New York Times also reported on Friday that Trump had told those close to him he would consider the interview as long as it aired live.
Before the vote on Trump’s subpoena, committee members expressed a duty to do so.
“None of this is normal, acceptable, or legal in our republic,” Rep. Liz Cheney, a Republican from Wyoming and the committee’s vice chair, said during the hearing.
“Our duty today is to our country, our children and our Constitution. We are compelled to seek answers directly from the man who set this all in motion,” she said later before the vote. .
It remains to be seen how – if at all – Trump’s hearings or fraud allegations will affect the upcoming midterm elections. A poll in August found that hearings to date had not swayed public opinion about the insurgency. And a Washington Post analysis found that more than half of Republicans running in November argue the election was illegitimate, including a majority expected to win their seats.