US Capitol attack panel opens, promising new details on Trump’s ‘betrayal’

WASHINGTON, Oct 13 (Reuters) – The Congressional Committee investigating the 13th February 6, 2021, the attack on the US Capitol by Donald Trump’s supporters opened what may be the last public meeting on Thursday with the promise of new evidence as it argues that the former president was at the center of the violent attempt to reverse his electoral defeat.

“In a stunning betrayal of his oath, Donald Trump attempted a plan that resulted in an attack on a pillar of our democracy,” Bennie Thompson, the panel’s chair, said at the start of the hearing.

There will be no live testimony at the meeting, which followed eight previous hearings this year, but the House Special Committee will provide video evidence from witnesses who failed to show up at previous hearings, as well as information from thousands of documents, including the received from the secret service.

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It could be the panel’s last public meeting before releasing its final report, which is expected ahead of the Nov. 8 midterm elections that will determine whether President Joe Biden’s Democrats or Trump’s Republicans control Congress.

Rep. Liz Cheney, the panel’s Republican vice chair, said the panel may ultimately decide to file a series of criminal charges with the Justice Department.

She said Trump “had a premeditated plan” to explain the election was fraudulent.

The special committee has been investigating the attack on the Capitol for more than a year and is interviewing more than 1,000 witnesses. His investigations are ongoing.

‚ÄúThis investigation is not about politics. It’s not about party. It’s the facts, plain and simple,” Thompson said.

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The hearings held this year may have convinced some Republicans that Trump bears some responsibility for the riots. A Reuters/Ipsos poll showed that in early June about a third of Republicans said Trump was at least partially responsible for the deadly attack. By the end of July, the proportion of Republicans with this view had risen to two in five.

A two-day Reuters/Ipsos poll that concluded on Wednesday showed that two in five Republicans still blame Trump at least in part for the attack.

The committee has used the hearings to argue that Trump’s efforts to reverse his defeat in the November 2020 presidential election constitute illegal behavior that goes well beyond normal politics.

Earlier hearings have focused on Trump’s inaction before and during the storming of the Capitol, the former president’s pressure on Vice President Mike Pence to deny Biden’s victory, militias whose members were involved in the attack, and Trump’s interactions with close advisers supporting his questioned false allegations of massive voter fraud.

Committee members said Trump instigated the attack by refusing to admit he lost the election and through comments, including a December tweet urging supporters to on 6/27 and say, “Be there will be wild.”

The former reality TV star denies wrongdoing and hints he will visit the White House again in 2024. He regularly holds rallies where he continues to falsely claim he lost to widespread cheating.

Trump and his supporters — including many Republicans in Congress — dismiss the Jan. 6 panel as a political witch hunt, while the panel’s supporters say it is a necessary investigation into a violent threat to democracy.

The attack on the Capitol injured more than 140 police officers and resulted in several deaths. More than 880 people have been arrested in connection with the violence, with more than 400 guilty pleas so far.

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Reporting by Patricia Zengerle and Moira Warburton; Additional reporting by Doina Chiacu and Jason Lange; Edited by Scott Malone, Josie Kao and Aurora Ellis

Our standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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