What to watch when the panel returns to prime time on January 6

WASHINGTON (AP) — A House committee returns to prime time on Jan. 6 for its eighth hearing — potentially its last this summer — when lawmakers will present evidence on an insurgency at the U.S. Capitol and President Donald Trump’s efforts to reverse his 2020 election defeat.

Thursday’s hearing is expected to focus on what Trump was doing in the White House during the violence that erupted on Jan. 6, 2021. Representative Adam Kinzinger, Republican of Illinois, who is one of two members conducting the hearing, said , which expects that it will “open people’s eyes in a broad sense”.

This will be the panel’s second prime-time hearing. The first, on June 9, was watched by more than 20 million people.

Things to look out for during Thursday’s hearing:

TRUMP IN THE WHITE HOUSE

Committee members said the hearings will examine in detail what Trump was doing inside the White House on the day hundreds of his supporters violently pushed through police and stormed the building.

The group has already released some of Trump’s evidence in previous hearings, showing videos of several White House aides trying to compel the president to act or publicly call on rioters to leave as he watched television in the West Wing dining room. .

But there are still questions about what the president was doing, especially since official White House records of Trump’s phone calls included an eight-hour break, from just after 11 a.m. to about 7 p.m.

The committee attempted to fill in the blanks through interviews with witnesses and other sources, such as subpoenaed private phone records. A panel member, Rep. Pete Aguilar, D-Calif., said Trump could have recalled the rioters at any time, but he did not. It was more than three hours, or 187 minutes, before he finally did.

“The consequences we’re still dealing with today,” Aguilar said.

“You’re going to hear that Donald Trump never picked up the phone that day to tell his administration to help,” Rep. Liz Cheney of Wyoming, the Republican committee’s vice chairwoman, said during a preview of the hearing last week.

NEW WITNESSES

Two former White House aides who resigned immediately after the uprising will testify at the hearing. Former deputy press secretary Sarah Matthews and former deputy national security adviser Matthew Pottinger will recount what they saw and heard inside the White House as Trump learned of the uprising and waited hours to order rioters to leave the Capitol.

Rep. Elaine Luria, R-Virginia, who will co-chair the hearing with Kinzinger, said both witnesses “believed in the work they were doing, but they didn’t believe in a stolen election.”

The committee will “listen to people who were in the White House, what they observed, what their reaction was,” Luria said.

THE WHOLE STORY

The finale in the committee’s summer series of hearings will aim to wrap up the story the panel has been telling since the beginning — that Trump was told his claims of widespread fraud were false, but pushed through them anyway with no regard for democracy and the people. , who had suffered, and that his words and actions had incited a riot in the Capitol.

Lawmakers are expected to give a minute-by-minute account of what happened on Jan. 6 as the conclusion of preliminary hearings examining the weeks leading up to the uprising.

A Democratic member of the committee, Rep. Jamie Raskin of Maryland, said the hearing will address what happened in three different places on Jan. 6: the White House, inside the Capitol and outside the Capitol, where police officers were beaten and mauled. rioters.

CLIFFHANGERS

As the committee wraps up this “season” of hearings, like the TV show, there are likely to be some shenanigans.

Among the questions the committee may leave unanswered: Will the committee subpoena Trump to testify? Or his Vice President Mike Pence? Will there be more hearings? Are they withholding any information for their final report?

At least one hearing is expected in the fall, when the nine-member panel is due to release a report on its findings, but other hearings are possible. If Republicans take control of the House in November’s midterm elections, they are expected to shut down the committee.

The group’s work will also feed into other investigations, including the Justice Department, which has arrested more than 800 riot suspects and seized or sought information from some politicians and others allied with Trump as he tried to overturn the decision. to vote The Justice Department requested some transcripts of the interviews from the committee.

Before the hearing, Raskin said the measure of success would be “whether we can preserve American democracy and our institutions is the long-term test.”

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Associated Press writers Kevin Freking, Farnoosh Amiri and Lisa Mascaro contributed to this report.

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