Jan 6 hearing today: Committee postpones day 3 of hearings without explanation

‘The Big Lie was also the big-rip off’: Jan 6 committee hears Trump’s fraud claims

The House select committee investigating the assault on the US Capitol on 6 January 2021 appears to have split over the possibility that it could refer Donald Trump to the Department of Justice on potential criminal charges.

Chairman Bennie Thompson told reporters yesterday that “That’s not our job. Our job is to look at Jan. 6. What caused it and make recommendations after that” – a comment that met with pushback from other members, including Liz Cheney, who tweeted that the committee had not in fact decided on whether referrals could be made.

Mr Trump responded to the panel’s hearing yesterday with a 12-page statement to counter the evidence. In his screed, he called the probe “an attempt to stop a man that is leading in every poll, against both Republicans and Democrats by wide margins, from running again for the presidency.”

He also posted on Truth Social that the committee was overlooking (nonexistent) evidence of electoral fraud, which he wrote was the reason a “massive crowd” assembled on the day of the attack.

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Rep Aguilar: Trump was “grasping at straws”

Speaking on MSNBC last night, 6 January committee member Pete Aguilar spoke about the role of a drunk Rudy Guiliani and a “clown car of attorneys” who told Mr Trump he could still overturn the election even as all his other advisers gave him the opposite opinion.

“They were the only ones who were willing to tell the president what he wanted to hear,” said Mr Aguilar, “and the former president is someone who only wants to surround himself with people who tell him what he wants to hear.”

Andrew Naughtie14 June 2022 14:40

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Donald Trump Jr wades into criminal referral row

The ever-pugnacious Donald Trump Jr has taken a swipe at Bennie Thompson for downplaying the possibility his panel will make a criminal referral to the Justice Department – with a tweet that reads more like the ex-president’s son is goading the committee into taking action against his father:

Andrew Naughtie14 June 2022 14:09

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ICYMI: The “inebriated” Rudy Giuliani

While Donald Trump’s judgment and calculations after the 2020 election were the main subject of yesterday’s hearing, one person in his orbit came out of it particularly badly. Rudy Giuliani, whom Liz Cheney said was “apparently inebriated” at the White House on election night, was painted by multiple witnesses as the fringe voice of conspiracy theories who told Mr Trump to declare victory against all indications to the contrary.

Among those shown  criticizing him in recorded testimony was Jared Kushner, who said he had warned his father-in-law against taking Mr Giuliani’s suggested approach, while Ivanka Trump described a panicked atmosphere at the White House as it became clear the election wasn’t going her father’s way. Mr Giuliani responded to the criticism by insisting that the committee had “no case” and calling Ms Cheney “completely hysterical”.

Read more from Gustaf Kilander:

Andrew Naughtie14 June 2022 13:40

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Sean Hannity meets conservative fury over Hunter Biden pardon idea

Fox News’s Sean Hannity is facing severe backlash from conservative commentators for reportedly asking former president Donald Trump to consider a pardon for Hunter Biden to control the fallout from the Capitol insurrection.

The House select committee investigating the Capitol riot has released text messages between Hannity and former White House House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany, whom the records show told him that Mr Trump was “intrigued by the pardon idea!! (Hunter)”.

Hannity reportedly proposed a last-minute pardon during a conversation on 7 January, framing it as a gesture to “smooth things over”. But the idea “died on the vine” as, despite initial interest, Mr Trump “never seriously considered” it, a source told The Daily Beast.

Namita Singh has the story.

Andrew Naughtie14 June 2022 13:11

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ICYMI: Trump’s rambling screed against Jan 6 panel

Donald Trump lashed out at the 6 January committee after yesterday’s hearing,

“The January 6th Unselect Committee is disgracing everything we hold sacred about our Constitution. If they had any real evidence, they’d hold real hearings with equal representation,” Mr Trump wrote in a lengthy statement on Monday. “They don’t, so they use the illegally-constituted committee to put on a smoke and mirrors show for the American people, in a pitiful last-ditch effort to deceive the American public…again.”

The missive concluded ambiguously, with Mr Trump seeming to tease a 2024 presidential comeback run.

“This is merely an attempt to stop a man that is leading in every poll, against both Republicans and Democrats by wide margins, from running again for the Presidency,” Mr Trump wrote.

Josh Marcus has the story.

Andrew Naughtie14 June 2022 12:33

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Kimberly Guilfoyle “paid $60k” for Jan 6 speech at White House

Among the speakers at the 6 January White House rally that preceded the Capitol attack was Donald Trump Jr fiancee and disgraced former Fox News pundit Kimberly Guilfoyle.

She went on to testify to the select committee – and in an interview yesterday, panel member Zoe Lofgren confirmed that she had been paid some $60,000 for her speech on the day of the insurrection.

The former president’s future daughter-in-law gave brief remarks outside the White House on 6 January, where she claimed to the crowd, some of whom would eventually storm the Capitol, “We will continue to stand for president Trump, stand with him and for this country. We will not allow the liberals and the Democrats to steal our dream or steal our elections.”

That day, she was also pictured on Donald Trump Jr’s social media exhorting supporters to “have the courage to do the right thing, fight!”

Ms Guilfoyle was memorably filmed dancing to Laura Branigan’s anthemic 1982 hit “Gloria”, a mainstay of the Trump rally playlist, before going on stage.

Josh Marcus has the story.

Andrew Naughtie14 June 2022 11:38

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Thompson, Cheney and Lofgren on a Trump referral to DoJ

Arguably the biggest question hovering over the 6 January select committee is whether or not they will refer Donald Trump to the Department of Justice on the basis of potential criminality. And after yesterday’s hearings, the panel’s three most senior members are still keeping their powder dry, perhaps in an effort to avoid the impression that they are pressurising the department into investigating a former president.

As Zoe Lofgren said to CNN, “They’re the prosecutors. Not the legislators.” However, chairman Bennie Thompson also remarked that the committee has no authority in this department – a different claim that has reportedly rankled some of the other members.

Andrew Naughtie14 June 2022 11:08

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Images reveal threats against GOP official’s family after Trump named him in election tweet

A Republican official on Monday revealed the threats he and his family faced after former President Donald Trump named him in a tweet aimed at overturning the result of the 2020 presidential election.

Al Schmidt, who resigned from his position as a Philadelphia City Commissioner last year, was one of three city commissioners serving on the city’s County Board of Elections in November, 2020 when his state’s presidential election vote count was targeted by Mr Trump.

Oliver O’Connell14 June 2022 10:30

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Letitia James raises possibility of “Stop the Steal” investigation

New York Attorney General Letitia James is already overseeing a major probe of Donald Trump’s business dealings, making her one of his most hated public figures – and now, after yesterday’s hearings, she is apparently considering a look into what happened to the money raised off the back of the “Stop the Steal” campaign after the 2020 election:

Andrew Naughtie14 June 2022 10:01

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AG Garland says he’s ‘watching’ Jan 6 hearings amid calls for Trump to face criminal charges

During a press conference on gun violence on Monday, CNN Justice correspondent Evan Perez asked Mr Garland if he has had a chance to look at the hearings conducted by the House Select Committee investigating the Capitol riot and if he’s learned anything that could be useful for the Justice Department.

Oliver O’Connell14 June 2022 09:30