The House committee investigating the January 6 insurrection plans to present new evidence on Thursday about Donald Trump’s brazen attempts to pressure the justice department to overturn the 2020 presidential election that he lost, aides said.
After exhausting his legal options and being rebuffed by state and local elections officials, the president turned to the justice department to declare the election corrupt despite no evidence of mass voter fraud, the nine-member panel will seek to show in their fifth and final hearing of the month.
Testifying from the Cannon Caucus Room on Capitol Hill are Jeffrey Rosen, the former acting attorney general; Richard Donoghue, the former acting deputy attorney general; and Steven Engel, the former assistant attorney general for the office of legal counsel.
The committee has repeatedly played clips from the taped deposition of former attorney general Bill Barr, who said he told the president in no uncertain terms that his claims of election fraud were “bullshit”. At one point during his deposition, Barr burst into laughter as he recounted how absurd some of the theories were, including one purportedly orchestrated by Hugo Chávez, the Venezuelan leader who died in 2013.
Donoghue also told Trump, according to his taped deposition, that the department found no evidence to support the allegations of fraud, but said every time they disproved one Trump would present another.
“We told him flat out that much of the information he’s getting is false and/or just not supported by the evidence,” Donoghue said in his deposition.
The committee is building the case that Trump was at the heart of the sprawling conspiracy that led to the violence on January 6 – a lie that has only metastasized in the months since a pro-Trump mob stormed the Capitol with pipes, bear spray and Confederate flags. Nine people died in the assault and its aftermath.
The public hearings are the culmination of a yearlong investigation into the violence on January 6 and the events that led to it. The committee has interviewed more than 1,000 witnesses and collected more than 140,000 documents. But it continues to amass new evidence.
Congressman Bennie Thompson, told reporters this week that the committee had received “a lot of information”, including documentary footage of Trump’s final months in office. It also plans to speak with Ginni Thomas, the conservative activist and wife of the supreme court justice Clarence Thomas who was in close contact with Trump’s chief of staff in the days leading up to the Capitol attack.
The committee said it would resume public hearings in July, with at least two more sessions scheduled. Those hearings are expected to detail how extremist groups like the Proud Boys planned the attack on Congress and how Trump failed to act to stop the violence once it erupted on January 6.