WASHINGTON — The committee investigating the riots that took place at the U.S. Capitol building in Washington on Jan. 6, 2020, held its eighth public hearing on Thursday in prime time.
The subject of the hearing was to hear more testimony from witnesses and for the committee to highlight out-takes of former President Trump’s speech from the Rose Garden before the riots picked up steam. In those out-takes, Trump stuck to assertions that the “election was stolen from us” and that “those who broke the law will pay.”
“He summoned a mob to Washington afterward on January 6th,” said committee chairman Rep. Bennie Thompson (D-MS), who attended the hearing remotely due to a positive COVID test. “When he knew the assembled mob was heavily armed and angry, he commanded the mob to go to the Capitol and he commanded the heavily armed mob to fight like hell.”
“For hours, President Trump chose not to answer the pleas from Congress, from his own party, and from all across our nation to do what his oath required,” added Rep. Liz Cheney (R-WY). “He refused to defend our nation and our constitution. He refused to do what every American president must.”
The hearing had testimony from former White House deputy press secretary Sarah Matthews that aides pushed Trump to address what was happening and tell his supporters to go home that day. She said that he could have been on camera “almost instantly” to do that.
Former deputy national security adviser Matthew Pottinger said he was disturbed by a tweet sent by Trump on January 6th saying his vice president, Mike Pence, hadn’t had the “courage” to overturn the election. He said that is what led him to resign.
Rep. Jim Banks (R-IN) was left off of the Jan. 6 committee by House Democrats and has been leading his own GOP-led investigation in the woodwork in tandem with that of the committee. He accuses the committee of not focusing on the right topics in regard to the riots.
“This committee never got to the key questions. The questions that Rep. Jim Jordan and I would have asked,” Banks said on Fox News. “Why the Capitol wasn’t secure on January 6th. Why the National Guard was delayed. Why the Capitol police were half staffed.”
Banks believes the committee is purposefully avoiding these questions in order to keep the attention on former President Trump and that to ask these questions would “distract from their political narrative.”
The committee now plans to take a break from public hearings next month and pick things back up in September.
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