The likely final public hearing of the House committee investigating the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the U.S. Capitol is expected to highlight newly obtained Secret Service records showinghow President Donald Trump was repeatedly alerted to brewing violence that day, and he still sought to stoke the conflict, according to three people briefed on the records.
During Thursday’s hearing, the committee plans to share new video footage and internal Secret Service emails that appear to corroborate parts of the most startling inside accounts of that day, said the people briefed, who, like others who spoke to The Washington Post, spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss sensitive records and conversations. Former White House aide Cassidy Hutchinson testified in June that Trump was briefed on Jan. 6 that some of his supporters were armed for battle, demanded they be allowed into his rally and insisted he wanted to lead them on their march to the Capitol.
Surveillance footage the committee plans to share was taken near the Ellipse that morning before Trump’s speech and shows throngs of his supporters clustered just outside the corralled area for his “Stop the Steal” rally. Secret Service officers screened those entering who sought to get closer to the stage. Law enforcement officials who were monitoring video that morning spotted Trump supporters with plastic shields, bulletproof vests and other paramilitary gear, and some in the Secret Service concluded they stayed outside the rally area to avoid having their weapons confiscated, according to people familiar with the new records.
Other internal emails likely to be revealed at the hearing further buttress accounts about staff members warning Trump about the risk and then the reality of violence that day, as he continued to press nervous Secret Service agents to take him to the Capitol to join his supporters marching there, the three people said. After being alerted to violence erupting at the Capitol when he returned to the White House, Trump tweeted criticism of Vice President Mike Pence for not blocking the certification of the election, whipping up supporters who had already trampled over security barricades and were battling police to break into the halls of Congress.
The newly obtained Secret Service records are just part of a larger hearing in which the committee hopes to summarize and remind the American public of all the ways Trump is said to have played a central role in fomenting a violent insurrection at the Capitol, one of the most brutal attacks on democracy in U.S. history, according to multiple people briefed on the evidence and committee plan.
Thursday Reads and Live Blog for Jan. 6 Committee HearingPosted: October 13, 2022
The probable final January 6 Committee Hearing will be held today at 1PM. I hope it will be a blockbuster. I’m disappointed that the committee hasn’t held more televised hearings. I know there will be a final report, but how many people will actually read it? At least we now know that Merrick Garland is actively pursuing investigations of Trump and his crimes. The stolen documents case could more easily lead to an indictment than the case against Trump for inciting the insurrection.
What to Expect from the January 6 Committee Hearing.
The New York Times: House Jan. 6 Panel Plans a Sweeping Summation of Its Case Against Trump.
The House committee investigating the Jan. 6 attack is planning on Thursday to present a sweeping summation of its case against former President Donald J. Trump at what could be its final public hearing, seeking to reveal damning new evidence about Mr. Trump’s state of mind and his central role in the effort to overturn the 2020 election.
Armed with new witness interviews and unreleased footage of the violence of Jan. 6, 2021, the panel is planning to argue that Mr. Trump’s lies about widespread voter fraud inspired far-right extremists and election deniers who present a continuing threat to American democracy.
Unlike previous hearings, which focused on specific aspects of Mr. Trump’s attempts to overturn the election, members will attempt to portray the entire arc of the plan, demonstrating Mr. Trump’s involvement in every step — even before Election Day.
The hearing comes at a pivotal moment, weeks before midterm elections in which control of Congress is at stake and as time is running out for the panel to complete its work, including an extensive report on its findings. Should Republicans succeed in their drive to win the House majority, they would be all but certain to disband the committee in January and shut down any official accounting by Congress for the largest attack on the Capitol in centuries.
On the Secret Service records obtained by the committee:
To bolster its case, the committee has obtained more than 1.5 million pages of documents and communications from the Secret Service that include details of how agents blocked Mr. Trump’s attempts to join his supporters at the Capitol even after they had begun the assault.
The communications lay out how Secret Service personnel attempted to find a route to take Mr. Trump to the Capitol in a presidential S.U.V., and how those plans were ultimately rebuffed amid the chaos.
Secret Service staff initially attempted to accommodate Mr. Trump’s wishes, but supervisors at the agency expressed alarm, and District of Columbia police declined to block off intersections for his motorcade as a mob of his supporters began attacking and injuring dozens of police officers, according to the communications, which were described by two people familiar with their contents.
Robert Engel, Mr. Trump’s lead agent, broke the news to Mr. Trump inside the vehicle, prompting an angry outburst. Afterward, a Secret Service supervisor followed up to ensure Mr. Trump would not be joining the mob at the Capitol, the communications show.
There’s much more at the NYT link.
From The Washington Post’s Carol Leonnig and Jacqueline Alemany: New evidence to show Trump was warned of violence on Jan. 6.
Kyle Cheney at Politico: ‘Clear and present danger’: Jan. 6 committee to describe lingering Trump threat.
Donald Trump’s bid to subvert the 2020 election didn’t end on Jan. 6, 2021, or even when he left office. Since then he’s gone to even further lengths to delegitimize his defeat.
That ongoing effort will be a centerpiece of the Jan. 6 select committee’s next — and perhaps final — televised pitch to Americans on Thursday.
“Tune in for our discussion of Trump’s clear and present danger presented to democracy and freedom in America by a movement that he’s galvanized,” panel member Rep. Jamie Raskin (D-Md.) said this week at a virtual People for the American Way event.
The panel intends to focus on evidence that Trump has “consistently and increasingly” been using rhetoric “that we knew caused violence on Jan. 6,” Rep. Liz Cheney (R-Wyo.) told reporters recently. Cheney cited recent comments by U.S. District Court Judge Amy Berman Jackson in which she upbraided elected Republicans for continuing to indulge “one man, who knows full well that he lost, instead of the Constitution he was trying to subvert.”
The select committee’s closing pitch to Americans will draw on all aspects of its more than yearlong probe. It’s expected to feature evidence that Trump’s allies were pushing him to declare victory on Election Day 2020 even before the votes were counted, and that Trump was warned of the unfolding violence at the Capitol before he tweeted an inflammatory attack on then Vice President Mike Pence.
By contending that even amid the wreckage of Jan. 6, Trump continued to plot ways to remain in power, the hearing will also function as a segue of sorts to the criminal case that federal prosecutors are piecing together — bolstered by the recent issuance of dozens of grand jury subpoenas and court-authorized searches of some of Trump’s top allies.
The committee has long emphasized its distinct mission from prosecutors — to inform the public and develop legislative recommendations to prevent future attacks on the peaceful transfer of power — but has used its platform to press the Justice Department to pursue potential crimes among Trump’s inner circle.
The Latest on the Stolen Documents Investigation
Devlin Barrett and Josh Dawsey at The Washington Post: Trump worker told FBI about moving Mar-a-Lago boxes on ex-president’s orders.
A Trump employee has told federal agents about moving boxes of documents at Mar-a-Lago at the specific direction of the former president, according to people familiar with the investigation, who say the witness account — combined with security-camera footage — offers key evidence of Donald Trump’s behavior as investigators sought the return of classified material.
The witness description and footage described to The Washington Post offer the most direct account to date of Trump’s actions and instructions leading up to the FBI’s Aug. 8 search of the Florida residence and private club, in which agents were looking for evidence ofpotential crimes including obstruction, destruction of government records or mishandling classified information.
The people familiar with the investigation said agents have gathered witness accounts indicatingthat, after Trump advisers received a subpoena in May for any classified documents that remained at Mar-a-Lago, Trump told people to move boxes to his residence at the property. That description of events was corroborated by the security-camera footage, which showed people moving the boxes,said the people, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss an ongoing investigation….
The employee who was working at Mar-a-Lago is cooperating with the Justice Department and has been interviewed multiple times by federal agents, according to the people familiar with the situation, who declined to identify the worker.
In the first interview, these people said, the witness denied handling sensitive documents or the boxes that might contain such documents. As they gathered evidence, agents decided to re-interview the witness, and the witness’s story changed dramatically, these people said. In the second interview, the witness described moving boxes at Trump’s request.
The witness is now considered a key part of the Mar-a-Lago investigation, these people said, offering details about the former president’s alleged actions and instructions to subordinates that could have been an attempt to thwart federal officials’ demands for the return of classified and government documents.
The New York Times has the name of the witness.
Maggie Haberman and Alan Feuer: Trump Aide Was Seen on Security Footage Moving Boxes at Mar-a-Lago.
A long-serving aide to former President Donald J. Trump was captured on security camera footage moving boxes out of a storage room at Mar-a-Lago, Mr. Trump’s residence in Florida, both before and after the Justice Department issued a subpoena in May demanding the return of all classified documents, according to three people familiar with the matter.
The footage showed Walt Nauta, a former military aide who left the White House and then went to work for Mr. Trump at Mar-a-Lago, moving boxes from a storage room that became a focus of the Justice Department’s investigation, according to the people briefed on the matter. The inquiry has centered on whether Mr. Trump improperly kept national security records after he left the White House and obstructed the government’s repeated efforts to get them back.
As part of its investigation, the Justice Department has interviewed Mr. Nauta on several occasions, according to one of the people. Those interviews started before the F.B.I. executed a search warrant at Mar-a-Lago on Aug. 8 and carted off more than 11,000 documents, including about 100 that bore classification markings. Mr. Nauta has answered questions but is not formally cooperating with the investigation of Mr. Trump’s handling of the documents….
A top Justice Department official told Mr. Trump’s lawyers in recent weeks that the department believed he had still not returned all the documents. It is unclear if the boxes that were moved were among the material later retrieved by the F.B.I.
The National Archives, the federal agency that oversees presidential records, spent much of 2021 attempting to retrieve boxes of records that its officials had been told were in the White House residence at the end of the Trump presidency.
One more documents story from Asawin Suebsaeng and Adam Rownsley at Rolling Stone: Trump Threatened to Out Confidential Sources From Russia Investigation.
DONALD TRUMP IN the final days of his presidency repeatedly threatened to out government sources involved in the Trump-Russia investigation, an anti-Deep State revenge fantasy he still obsesses over to this day, according to two former senior Trump aides and another person familiar with the matter.
One of these sources tells Rolling Stone that in the days after the Jan. 6 Capitol riot, the then-president, sometimes while brandishing pieces of paper, would loudly complain that none of the identifying facts in the highly sensitive Russia documents should be blacked-out. Trump would insist, the source says, that it should “all be out there” so that the American people could see the truth of who “did it” to the president.
Ultimately, top intelligence officials and other Trump lieutenants talked him out of publicizing the sources’ identities before he left the White House, the sources say. Instead, Trump’s team bargained him down to vetting a series of heavily redacted reports that they argued would help safeguard the work and safety of Russia-related informants.
But a third source familiar with the situation says that this obsession with outing the confidential sources is ongoing. The former president, the source says, still sporadically talks about the need to get “the names” out into the public record. A Trump spokesperson did not immediately respond to Rolling Stone’s request for comment.
As Trump faces accusations that he hoarded sensitive classified documents at his private residence in Florida, the last-minute battle over redactions highlights how his disregard for security concerns at times has even rattled aides close to him.
Trump’s threats to out sources were part of a broader push during the chaotic end of his presidency. In December of 2020, as the odds against a successful overturning of the election grew longer, Trump and his chief of staff Mark Meadows pushed the Justice Department to declassify a binder full of records related to the FBI’s 2016 Russia investigation. In his memoir, Meadows described himself in the final hours of the Trump presidency going line by line through the “notes, memos and emails” in the binder to ensure it “would not inadvertently disclose sources and methods.”
Trump tried to declassify documents related to the Russia investigation.
With hours left before President Joe Biden took office in Jan. 2021, the White House sent a presidential memo to the Director of National Intelligence, CIA director, and acting Attorney General. The memo ordering the declassification of the binder references concern from the FBI, which stated its “continuing objection to any further declassification” of the binder on the grounds that specific passages “included Intelligence Community equities.” In an apparent nod to the efforts to walk the then-president back from outing “the names,” the memo says his declassification order “does not require the disclosure of certain personally identifiable information.”
The order also exempts from declassification any material that “must be protected from disclosure pursuant to orders of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court,” according to the memo.
At the same time, Trump gave conservative reporter John Solomon access to some of the documents. In a statement to Rolling Stone, Solomon says that on January 19, 2021, Trump allowed him “on two occasions, to briefly review a stack of documents that I was told were the declassified documents” and that he received “a small subset of the declassified documents” from the Justice Department in the mail at the time.
Are you planning to watch the hearing? If so, feel free to post your reactions here. We’d love to hear from you.