The House Select Committee investigating the January 6th Capitol riot held its last, televised meeting today from 1:00 PM to 3:33 PM with a ten-minute mid-term recess. The first half was largely a review of the committee’s past work with some new video and emails. The primary thrust of the hearing was that former President Donald Trump was the foremost person trying to overturn the 2020 election result which Joe Biden won. The committee showed substantial evidence in which Trump privately acknowledged he lost the election, yet his modus operandi was the constant public message that he really won that election and that it therefore was fraudulent. Showing that Trump knew he had lost the election, which many in his orbit told him, including his own Attorney General Bill Barr, is important evidence that the Justice Department could use to prove his intent if it brings a criminal indictment against him.
I was surprised that the committee did not present evidence during the campaign for the 2016 presidential election in which Donald Trump was questioned by the media that if he lost that election, would he accept the result. He would not answer “yes.” I blogged about it when it happened. Here are two paragraphs from my blog post about it, published on October 19, 2016, and its now in my book, Bible Predicts Trump Fall:
“Since the voter polls show that Donald Trump is losing to Hilary Clinton, he has been saying the polls are false. ‘I don’t believe the polls,’ says The Donald. And when he says such things, he may repeat himself two or three times. That’s a marketing tool. The more you repeat a thing, the more people will believe it. And Trump may preface his remark by saying, ‘I’ve got to tell you, folks.’ Although that is a standard cliché nowadays, it deceptively suggests the person who says it is an authority about something unknown.
“Trump now has been saying, ‘This election is rigged.’ He means the Democratic party and the media are in cahoots to falsify election results. And he doesn’t appeal to experts who run state elections. Trump also has been saying, ‘The media is corrupt’ and it’s ‘poisoning’ us. I think it’s Donald Trump who is corrupt and full of poisoning rhetoric. He undermines our democratic institutions guaranteed by our Constitution, such as freedom of the press and free and fair elections. IMO, Donald Trump is a phony, narcissistic buffoon who is deceiving a lot of Americans.”
So, Trump made it pretty clear back in 2016 that he wouldn’t accept the electoral vote if he lost. No one running for the U.S. president had ever said that in our 240+ history. That’s why I titled that post, “Trump Is Already a Bad Loser.”
In the second half of the committee hearing today, much new video including witness deposition testimony was shown affirming that Trump was the central character planning and executing an overthrow of the electoral college vote results. We already knew that Trump had told his Justice Department, “Just say the election was corrupt and leave the rest to me,” which seems like such damning evidence.
The committee mentioned the total of 62 lawsuits that Republicans had filed in various states alleging a fraudulent election, all of which they lost accept one on a minor technicality. The committee quoted multiple judges in those cases, one of which said that that lawsuit was “a profound and historic abuse of the legal process.”
The committee again showed President Trump’s phone call to Georgia’s Secretary of State Raffensperger asking him to “give me a break” and “find 11,780 votes,” just one more than how much he lost to Biden in Georgia. Committee member Elaine Luria said concerning the effort to overturn the election with fake electors in certain swing states, “Trump was centrally involved. He was the principal player.” They showed a lot of evidence to prove that.
Committee member Adam Schiff showed video of the Proud Boys and Oath Keepers planning armed violence against Congress at the Capitol in the days leading up to Trump’s Ellipse speech inciting insurrection that day. Shiff also showed emails in which some members of the Secret Service were negligent or complicit with these fringe elements. They clearly foreknew the planned violence and expected it, yet did nothing to prevent it. We also know they suspiciously deleted data on their cell phones.
Committee member Jamie Raskin revealed multiple testimony that Trump knew about the violence against the Capitol as soon as he finished his speech and was taken to the White House, arriving at 1:10 PM. The committee speaks of the next 187 minutes in which various members of Trump’s orbit in the White House, including his daughter Invanka, pleaded with him to get on TV or Twitter and call of the violence, which the committee said only Trump had the ability to do, and yet he refused to do so until 4:17 PM. Raskin said during much of this time, Trump was in the White House dining room with many others, and he was watching the Capitol riot news coverage on TV.
The committee concluded its proceedings by taking a vote of its nine members to issue former President Trump a subpoena to testify before the committee, and that vote was unanimous. If Trump refuses the appear, the House will vote on the matter. If a majority votes for the subpoena, and the Democrats now control the House, Trump will be charge in contempt of Congress, which is a criminal offense resulting in imprisonment. If Trump does not violate the subpoena, and thus appears before the committee, he may plead the Fifth Amendment, which is his right to do so. But as Donald Trump said publicly years ago, anyone who pleads the fifth is guilty.
The committee had no authority to charge the ex-president with a crime. That is up to the Department of Justice. Many legal analysts and former prosecutors are now saying that the classified documents crisis may cause to Justice Department to indict Trump sometime between the mid-term election next month and the end of the year. The Department’s investigation of Trump’s involvement in the Capitol riot will take longer to conclude, and an indictment could result from that as well. Plus, it is expected that Georgia’s Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis likely will indict Trump during November-December.