Former Justice Department official, Fox News executive to testify at Jan. 6 committee

Former Justice Department official, Fox News executive to testify at Jan. 6 committee

You can watch the hearings live here beginning at 10:30 a.m. ET.

The House committee investigating the Jan. 6 riot resumes its hearings Monday morning with live witnesses, building on a chief-time hearing last week that started to detail how former president Donald Trump pursued his false claims about the November 2020 election already after a large number of officials advised him there was no fraud.

The session on Monday delves deeper into what it calls “the big lie,” Trump’s false claims of voter fraud that fuelled his relentless effort to overturn the 2020 election and led a mob of his supporters to lay siege to the U.S. Capitol.

The committee is set to hear testimony from Chris Stirewalt, a former Fox News political editor closely involved in election night coverage who stood by the decision to declare Arizona as being won by Biden. In later weeks, Fox broadcast several claims of electoral fraud by Trump surrogates including lawyer Rudy Guiliani.

Stirewalt, in an essay published on The Dispatch early Monday on why he’s testifying, said the stakes for the hearing are meaningful.

“What Trump and his gang did in the 2020 election and its aftermath is a big historical moment for our country, far bigger than the Watergate scandal we nevertheless discuss 50 years later,” he wrote.

Last-minute cancellation

The first group of witnesses was supposed to include former Trump campaign manager Bill Stepien, who prior to that role spent several years as an influential Fox News executive. But the committee said Monday morning that due to a family emergency, Stepien wouldn’t appear, pushing back the start time of the hearing until at the minimum 10:30 a.m.ET.

Stepien’s planned turn up was not voluntary, as he had been subpoenaed by the committee.

The committee said Stepien’s counsel will appear and make a statement on the record.

WATCH | Trump claims were ‘influencing a lot of people,’ his former attorney general says:

Ivanka Trump, William Barr testimony aired at U.S. Capitol riot hearings

The U.S. congressional committee investigating the Jan. 6, 2021, riots started its televised hearings on Thursday by showing its video interview with former attorney general Bill Barr, who testified he told Donald Trump that his election fraud claims were ‘bullshit.’ The panel also showed testimony from Ivanka Trump.

A second group of witnesses testifying Monday will be made up of election officials, investigators and experts who are likely to discuss Trump’s responses to the election, including dozens of failed court challenges, and how his actions diverged from U.S. norms.

Among them is the former U.S. attorney in Atlanta, B.J. Pak, who resigned from the Justice Department after being tasked by the Trump administration to find examples of electoral fraud in Georgia that did not exist. The panel will also hear from former Philadelphia City commissioner Al Schmidt, a Republican who faced down criticism as Pennsylvania’s election was called for Biden; and noted Washington attorney and elections lawyer Benjamin Ginsberg.

Monday’s hearing will also turn to the millions of dollars Trump’s team brought in fundraising in the run-up to Jan. 6, according to a committee aide who insisted on anonymity to discuss the details with the Associated Press.

First of 3 hearings this week

The committee, investigating the early 2021 attack for the past year, has warned that Trump’s effort to overturn Joe Biden’s election victory posed a grave threat and precedent for future U.S. elections.

The panel does not have the strength to hand down indictments, but could ratchet up the pressure on the Justice Department if it lays out powerful evidence crimes were committed.

No president or ex-president has ever been indicted. Attorney General Merrick Garland has not stated whether he would be willing to prosecute.

As It Happens6:14Jan. 6 hearings a reminder of how ‘extreme’ majority of Republicans have become, party member says

While many Republicans have dismissed the Jan. 6 hearings, others like Gunner Ramer hope it’s a moment of reflection for the party. Ramer is the political director of the Republican Accountability Project, a Republican-backed group aimed at fighting disinformation and upholding democracy.

Trump, giving all indications he’s mounting another presidential run, said last week that Jan. 6 “represented the greatest movement in the history of our country.”

More than 800 people have been arrested over the siege, and members of two extremist groups have been indicted on scarce sedition charges over their roles leading the attack. Among those who died at the Capitol that day was a Trump supporter fatally shot while part of a large group seeking to breach a Capitol entrance.

Additional evidence is set to be released in hearings this week focusing on Trump’s decision to ignore the outcome of the election and the court situations that ruled against him. Hearings are planned for Wednesday morning and Thursday afternoon.

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