Watch Live: Jan. 6 Panel Prime-Time ‘Show-Trial’
Watch Live: Jan. 6 Panel Prime-Time ‘Show-Trial’
Watch the fully-produced circus live here (due to start at 2000ET)
As WaPo reports, while the committee is bipartisan, both Republicans on it are fierce Trump critics. McCarthy (Calif.) pulled his handpicked members from the panel last year after Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) vetoed two of his picks.
Many of the details of the proceedings have been kept secret, but Politico reported Tuesday morning that the proceedings will include testimony from US Capitol police officer Caroline Edwards and a documentarian named Nick Quested who was embedded with the Proud Boys during the attack, but it’s unclear what the focus of his testimony will be.
In fact, while expectations have been set for a ‘smoking gun’, ‘gotcha’ moment for Trump – just like Schiff and his pals did with Russia collusion – WaPo reports that committee aides sought to temper expectations of any shocking revelations during Thursday’s hearing and instead framed the session as an opening argument.
“[Thursday] night is connecting the dots,” said a second aide.
“A lot of this has been reported and bits and pieces of it have been shared. But our aim is to tie all that together in a comprehensive narrative and to show how it’s a pattern that started before the election and went all the way through January 6.”
We look forward to seeing the ratings for this must-watch TV… sigh.
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As we detailed earlier, the Jan. 6 panel will use never-before-seen documentation and closed-door depositions on Thursday to present their grand unifying theory to connect former President Trump to the Capitol riot, as part of a broader effort to keep him in power.
Tonight’s televised 90-minute hearing, which begins at 8pm ET and is being produced by a former network television executive, will show that the Jan. 6 2021 attack on the Capitol was the result of a coordinated, multi-step effort to overturn the results of the 2020 election and stop the transfer of power from Donald Trump to Joe Biden,” a House Select Committee aide told reporters during a Thursday call.
“And indeed, that President Donald Trump was at the center of that effort,” the aide added.
House Democrats will also feature live testimony from Nick Quested – a British documentarian who was creating a project about the Proud Boys and was present at a meeting between that group and the Oath Keepers, who participated in the Capitol breach.
“You’re talking about two witnesses who were there at the very initial breach,” said the aide. “We’re going to hear about their experiences from that day — particularly sort of what they heard, what they saw from the rioters.”
Democrats are expected to connect how the Proud Boys and Oath Keepers interacted with Trump’s tweets on Reddit and other message boards, according to Axios, which pointed out two other ‘areas of interest.’
1. Efforts by Trump and aides to destroy documents.
Trump often tore up White House documents that should have been preserved as presidential records.
Some of the presidential records sent to the Jan. 6 committee by the National Archives had been ripped up, then taped back together, the Washington Post reported.
A committee witness testified that then-White House chief of staff Mark Meadows burned papers in his West Wing fireplace after meeting with a House Republican about challenging the 2020 election, the N.Y. Times and Politico reported.
2. Trump’s consideration of invoking the Insurrection Act, a federal law that allows the president to deploy the military domestically.
Committee members have studied how close Trump came to invoking the act immediately after the election and leading up to Jan. 6. -Axios
Other witnesses include Capitol Police officer Caroline Edwards, who was the first law enforcement officer injured on the day of the ‘insurrection’ attempt. Both Edwards and Quested, the documentarian, plan top recount their experiences – “particularly what they saw and heard from the rioters,” said a committee aide.
January 6 was the violent culmination of an extensive effort to overturn a presidential election.
The American people know a lot about those events, but soon they will learn more, and see how close we came to losing our democracy.
On Thursday, we will begin to tell that story. pic.twitter.com/hX6RAS9GFR
— Adam Schiff (@RepAdamSchiff) June 5, 2022
House Republicans, meanwhile, say that the Democrats’ use of former ABC News president James Goldston on the presentation may have violated House rules.
As the Epoch Times notes, in a letter (pdf) to the Jan. 6 Committee Chairman Rep. Bennie Thompson (D-Miss.) and Committee on House Administration Chairperson Rep. Zoe Lofgren (D-Calif.), GOP lawmakers asked for confirmation that Goldston has been hired as an employee of the committee, and not as a consultant or in an “unofficial capacity.”
The letter was signed by Committee on House Administration Ranking Member Rep. Rodney Davis (R-Ill.), Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio), Rep. Jim Banks (R-Ind.), and others.
It comes after Axios first reported Monday that the former network news executive had joined the committee as an “unannounced adviser” and is “busily producing Thursday’s 8 p.m. ET hearing as if it were a blockbuster investigative special.”
Goldston has previously served as a producer for some of the network’s biggest news programs like “20/20,” “Nightline,” and “Good Morning America.” He left ABC in March.
Citing congressional laws pertaining to committee staff, the lawmakers noted that a letter is required requesting approval of the Committee on House Administration regarding Goldston’s hiring, along with a signed contract agreement and resume.
Under that same law, Goldston would be unable to commence work for the committee until the contract has been approved by the Committee on House Administration.
“To our knowledge, the Committee has not received or considered such a request,” wrote the representatives.
The GOP lawmakers also cited reports from CNN that Goldston is working with the select committee “to help produce their upcoming hearings” and “helping the committee with the planning of the hearings and their presentation.”
They noted that the committees are allowed to “obtain temporary or intermittent services of individual consultants or organizations, to advise the Committee with respect to matters within its jurisdiction,” but that Goldston would not be able to act as an employee of the committee.
“The Committee on House Administration will not approve a contract if the services to be provided by the consultant are the regular duties of Committee staff,” lawmakers wrote. “Planning, preparation, and production of hearings are unquestionably the ‘regular duties of Committee staff’.”
Republican lawmakers also noted in their letter that Goldston would be barred from working for the Jan. 6 Committee free of charge, noting that such an arrangement would “violate House Rules and the House Ethics Manual regulations which clearly states that no logical distinction can be drawn between the private contribution of in-kind services and the private contribution of money.”
Finally, the big question is: Could Trump face criminal charges?
Inciting an insurrection or riot is a federal crime, but the Justice Department would have to charge him separately. That’s unlikely, according to Frederick Lawrence, a lecturer at the Georgetown University Law Center. Not only would prosecutors have to prove Trump intentionally whipped up his supporters, Lawrence said, but also that he intended for them to break into the Capitol, loot and cause bodily harm.
A further complication is a 1969 Supreme Court precedent that shields inflammatory speech under the First Amendment unless it’s aimed at “imminent” lawless behavior.
Apart from what Trump said in his speech, prosecutors could take an alternative path if they uncover evidence that the former president or his advisers were involved in planning the riot.
Whether such conspiracy charges are viable would depend on the nature of the plotting and how close Trump and his inner circle was to it.
“It would all turn on who was in the room and what they are prepared to testify to,” Lawrence said.
More than 850 people have been criminally charged in connection with the riot at the US Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021 by a mob of then-President Donald Trump’s supporters. Most are accused of conventional offenses such as trespassing and assault, while 16 members of two right-wing groups are facing a more exotic charge: seditious conspiracy.
Thu, 06/09/2022 – 19:52