Trump accuses January 6 committee of selective editing
NASHVILLE, Tennessee — Former President Donald Trump on Friday accused the House of Representatives Jan. 6 committee of staging sensational hearings that use “doctored” videos and selective edits that portray a distorted image of the assault on the Capitol., although he did not provide evidence.
Speaking at a Faith & Freedom Coalition conference, Trump denounced the committee for using tactics that would never be allowed in a courtroom. Witnesses, including some of Trump’s closest aides and family members, testified for hours behind closed doors, but Trump said the excerpts shown to the public lacked the necessary context.
“It’s a complete and utter lie; a complete and utter fraud,” he said.
Trump’s appearance came after the committee investigating the Jan. 6 attack held three public hearings, with more scheduled for next week. So far, the former president’s rebuttal has come largely from statements posted on his social media site, Truth Social.
The speech was vintage Trump: long, meandering and entertaining for the audience crammed into a hotel ballroom in Nashville, Tennessee. For 95 minutes, he bragged about his record in office, decried his enemies in Congress, repeated his baseless claim that the 2020 election was stolen and complained about the treatment he received during his political career. .
At one point, Trump teased a possible presidential campaign in 2024. He began a sentence about the tasks ahead of “the next Republican president,” then stopped: “I wonder who it will be?
When the audience stood and clapped, he continued, “Would anyone like me to run for president?”
Trump has often returned to the issue that has dominated the news over the past week: his role in the attack on Capitol Hill. He mocked various committee members, saying Rep. Adam Schiff, D-California, had a watermelon-shaped head and calling committee vice-chair Rep. Liz Cheney, R., Wyo., a “warmonger”.
If Republicans take control of the House in the midterm elections in November, he said they should open “a full investigation into the gross abuse of power that took place in the name of Jan. 6.” Among the first to be subpoenaed in a GOP-controlled Congress are Cheney and Schiff, he said.
Trump denied that the people who stormed the Capitol were carrying out a coup. Most have been accused of “parading the Capitol” and “should not be treated the way they are,” he said. If he becomes president again, Trump said he would consider pardoning some of those charged in the Jan. 6 attack. The crowd applauded this promise.
“If this was an insurrection that had taken place on Capitol Hill, you would have known about it early on,” he said. “They were strong people. They were great patriots. They were policemen, they were firefighters, they were soldiers, they were sailors.
The committee’s latest hearing on Thursday focused on Trump’s efforts to dissuade his No. 2, Mike Pence, from certifying President Joe Biden’s victory while presiding over the ballot count.
Trump persisted Friday in asserting that Pence could have asked states to reconsider the lists of voters they had certified, citing allegations of voter fraud. The vice president was not, Trump suggested, “a robot.” Pence insisted he had no such power – an argument supported by legal experts – opening a rift between the two that continues to this day.
Pence has attended the last half-dozen Faith & Freedom conferences and his presence here might have been awkward had he bumped into Trump, whom he hasn’t spoken to in a year. Although he was asked to speak this week, Pence declined, citing a scheduling conflict. (A person close to Pence said he had pledged to attend a fundraising event for Ohio Governor Mike DeWine and Rep. Steve Chabot.)
Trump’s attack on the committee clearly resonated with the public. In interviews, conference attendees said they were not at all swayed by the panel’s conclusion that Trump played a central role in trying to stop the peaceful transfer of power. Most said they hadn’t watched the hearings or echoed Trump’s complaint that the panel was making a one-sided argument with no time for a dissenting opinion.
“It’s kangaroo ground,” said Steve Merczynski of New York, 56, who sells MAGA hammocks. “You can’t have an audience full of all the Democrats and fake anti-Trump Republicans. It really is a lynching.
Rebecca Lawson, a South Carolina in her early 50s, said, “I don’t waste my time with hearings. I want to know more about the insurgencies that took place with Black Lives Matter and Antifa and the riots and the fire in Portland, Oregon, and the fire in Minnesota” after the murder of George Floyd. “I want to know more about these insurgencies.”
Faith & Freedom this week The conference provided a forum for potential Republican presidential candidates to test out a 2024 message.
Several speakers introduced themselves to an audience of Christian conservatives and Republican activists who make up the core of the GOP’s electoral base.
Former Governor of South Carolina Nikki Haley, who served as US Ambassador to the United Nations under Trump, made an undeniable distinction with him on Russia. During his tenure, Trump had sought to befriend Russian President Vladimir Putin and forge closer ties between the two countries. He claimed Ukraine “hated” him and wanted him to lose the 2016 election.
Haley recounted how she “broke protocol” in her job and met with the Ukrainian ambassador to the United States before meeting the Russian ambassador. Without mentioning Trump by name, she said, “Washington and Putin didn’t like what I did. But I didn’t care. Where I come from, you stand with your friends and stand up to your enemies.
Sen. Tim Scott, RS.C., a potential Trump 2024 running mate or full-fledged presidential nominee, recounted his upbringing in South Carolina through “two praying women: my grandmother and my mother, who gave me traced a path.”
Scott said that as a high school student, he once failed a civics class. “After nine years in the US Senate, I’m not the only one lacking in good citizenship,” he said, to laughter from the audience.
There was no doubt, however, that Trump was the main draw. Before going onstage, loudspeakers played Frank Sinatra’s “My Way,” the song played as he and his wife Melania danced for the first time at the inaugural ball in 2017. Merchants were selling t-shirts” Ultra MAGA” and bright red Trump hats. . Attendees drank from Trump-branded thermoses.
“I’ve been to a lot of Faith & Freedom conferences,” said David Donnally, 64, a church pastor in West Palm Beach, Fla., in the hours before Trump’s speech. “They are always well attended. I never stood in line for an hour and a half.
All signs point to another Trump candidacy. “Every indication around the Trump team is that they are positioning themselves to run and run hard,” Timothy Head, the coalition’s executive director, said in an interview. “There will be no excuses and there will be no circumspection of any kind. It will be a full campaign.