Trump's Dereliction of Duty on Display in Latest Jan. 6 Hearing while other Developments Emerge
Amid the Jan. 6 Committee's latest hearing on Trump's refusal to stop the assault on the Capitol, senators unveil an update to the Electoral Count Act and Steve Bannon is found guilty of contempt of Congress.
At the eighth in a series of public hearings held by the House committee investigating the Jan. 6 riot, the panel accused former President Donald J. Trump of dereliction of duty for failing to act to stop the assault on the Capitol that was carried out in his name, reports The New York Times.
Excerpt from The New York Times: The committee documented how, over 187 minutes, Mr. Trump remained in a small dining room off the Oval Office, watching the violence on television and rebuffing pleas by aides, congressional Republicans and family members to call off the mob even as he continued to call senators in the hopes of convincing them to stop the certification of his Electoral College defeat. Major takeaways from the hearing: Trump Ignored a Torrent of Pleas to Call Off His Supporters, Trump Never Made a Single Call to Law Enforcement or the Pentagon, Members of Pence’s Secret Service Detail Feared for Their Lives, New Testimony Bolstered Cassidy Hutchinson’s Credibility, and Even the Next Day, Trump Would Not Say the Election Was Over.
The House January 6 committee on Thursday played Capitol security footage which showed the Republican senator Josh Hawley, who famously raised a fist to protesters outside, running for his safety once those protesters breached the building. It prompted a flurry of online memes ridiculing Hawley fleeing from the very people he had earlier encouraged, according to The Guardian.
"Later that day, Senator Hawley fled after those protesters he helped to rile up stormed the Capitol," said Virginia Congresswoman Elaine Luria. The committee showed the famous image of the senator raising his fist, which was taken by a photographer for E&E News, subsequently bought by Politico. The committee then played video of Hawley trotting across a corridor and hurrying down a staircase next to an escalator. In the room, the clips were greeted with laughter. Online, some took a similarly lighthearted view, one user scoring the footage of Hawley running to a soundtracks including Stayin’ Alive by the BeeGees, Born to Run by Bruce Springsteen and the Benny Hill theme.
In a series of eight televised hearings, the House select committee investigating the Jan. 6, 2021, riot at the Capitol sought to paint a damning picture of a president willing to incite a mob to hang on to power after running out of options in reversing his election defeat, writes The Wall Street Journal.
Excerpt from The Wall Street Journal: The hearings, spanning about six weeks, laid out the committee’s case that the attack was the "culmination of an attempted coup," as Chairman Bennie Thompson characterized it in his opening remarks in early June. The hearings shined a spotlight on dozens of witnesses, many speaking publicly for the first time, who testified that then-President Donald Trump leaned on state officials, the Justice Department, his own vice president and ultimately his most fervent supporters to try to stay in office. The examination of Mr. Trump’s actions could deepen the former president’s legal peril, putting him at risk in a parallel Justice Department probe of drawing possible charges such as fraud, inciting a riot or obstructing the election’s certification, legal observers have said. The revelations could also weigh on Mr. Trump’s political aspirations as he considers another run for president, and have fueled efforts in Congress to clarify legislatively the vice president’s role in certifying the election.
In a related story, a bipartisan group of 16 senators on Wednesday unveiled new legislation aimed at clearing up the vague language in the Electoral Count Act, which former President Donald Trump tried to exploit in an attempt to invalidate the 2020 election outcome, writes Vox.
Excerpt from Vox: Given the ongoing fallout from January 6, 2021, and the fast-approaching 2024 election, lawmakers are scrambling to prevent another president from trying to manipulate Congress’s certification process to overturn election results. The ECA, first passed in 1887, lays out Congress’s routine role in counting the electoral votes that candidates receive from each state. The new bill is aimed at updating the legislation so it makes explicit the limitations of the vice president’s role, and makes it harder for lawmakers to challenge different states’ results.
And in another related story, Stephen Bannon, the right-wing podcaster and longtime confidante of former president Donald Trump, was convicted of contempt of Congress for his refusal to provide documents or testimony to a House committee probing the Jan. 6, 2021 attack, reports The Washington Post.
Excerpt from The Washington Post: The trial, which lasted a week and only featured two witnesses, tested a rarely-used criminal statute meant to ensure that people comply with congressional subpoenas. Earlier this month as he prepared for trial, Bannon had vowed to go "medieval" on his enemies. But most of his legal arguments were rejected by the trial judge, and Bannon ended up calling no witnesses. "This case is not complicated, but it is important," Assistant U.S. Attorney Molly Gaston told jurors in closing arguments Friday morning. "The defendant chose allegiance to Donald Trump over compliance with the law."