Jan. 6 Live Updates Committee Hearing: Panel to focus on Donald Trump’s “state of mind” surrounding the Capitol riot
WASHINGTON– The Jan. 6 Committee of the House of Representatives will revisit Donald Trump’s efforts to undermine the outcome of the 2020 presidential campaign in a public hearing just 25 days before Election Day.
The panel will meet at 1 p.m. Thursday for what may be the final hearing before releasing a final report on its findings and recommendations for preventing similar attacks in the future.
The hearing will focus on Trump’s “state of mind” before and around January 6, 2021, committee assistants told reporters.
“What you’re going to see is a synthesis of some of the evidence that we’ve already presented with this new, never-before-seen information to illustrate, say, Donald Trump’s pre-election centrality,” an aide said.
There will be no living witnesses, aid workers said, but new testimonies will be broadcast, as will new documentary evidence and video footage showing efforts to respond to the violence.
New documents from the secret service are also included in the hearing, helpers said. The agency came under intense scrutiny for a lack of text messages from the time of the riot and after a bombshell testimony about an alleged incident in the president’s SUV on Jan. 6 involving Trump and members of his security detail.
“We have received a tremendous amount of information from the Secret Service. The select committee reviewed much of it. And I can imagine there might be other witnesses in the future that the select committee would like to hear from about this, but I don’t have any. I don’t have any further details on that right now,” said an adviser.
The aides, despite multiple questions on the matter, declined to say what efforts were being made to secure the testimony of Tony Ornato and Bobby Engel – two officials identified by former White House staffer Cassidy Hutchinson in their testimony about the alleged Episode in the presidential office were called SUVs after Trump’s rally in the Ellipse.
Hutchinson told the committee in live testimony that she heard the report from Ornato, a senior Secret Service official who was deputy chief of staff for operations at the White House at the time. Hutchinson said Ornato told her Trump was “angry” after being told he couldn’t join his supporters in the Capitol, going so far as to try to grab the SUV’s steering wheel and lunge at Engel , who drove. Hutchinson told the committee that Engel was in the room when Ornato told the story, and that Ornato pointed to his collarbones when discussing the lunge at Engel.
According to Hutchinson, the Secret Service said it was cooperating with the House Committee and was prepared for agents to respond with affidavits. Ornato has since retired from the agency.
It has been nearly three months since the panel met, and members have since held behind-closed-doors interviews with former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, former Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin and former Secretary of Transportation Elaine Chao.
Last month, the committee interviewed Ginni Thomas, wife of Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas, about her efforts to get state officials to reject the outcome of the 2020 election. Thomas has also been in contact with White House officials, including Trump’s last chief of staff, Mark Meadows, over efforts to overturn the results.
Chairman Bennie Thompson, D-Miss., said Thomas told lawmakers she still believes the 2020 election was stolen and answered some questions but did not elaborate further on the substance of the discussion.
It’s not clear if the committee will release more of her testimony on Thursday. Her interview was not videotaped, only transcribed, so the committee could only use quotes from Thomas.
As the committee wraps up its investigation, Rep. Adam Schiff, D-Calif., told ABC News what he thinks the public should take away from their work.
“This January 6 was not an isolated date,” Schiff said. “It was the violent culmination of several efforts to overthrow the election.”
Schiff highlighted the effort, which has also been the focus of several hearings this summer, including Trump’s pressure campaigns against state officials, against Vice President Mike Pence and against the Justice Department.
“It was only when all these other things failed that Donald Trump resorted to inciting a mob to attack the Capitol. And so I think people need to see January 6th in that broader context, but also to realize that the danger to us is that democracy didn’t end that day because the big lie that led to the violence of that day, continues to be promoted by Donald Trump and his trailblazers.”
– ABC News’ Lauren Peller contributed to this report.
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https://abc13.com/hearing-jan-6-january-committee-hearings-donald-trump-us-capitol-riot/12323685/ Jan. 6 Live Updates Committee Hearing: Panel to focus on Donald Trump’s “state of mind” surrounding the Capitol riot