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anuary 6 panel eyes Trump’s culpability as hearings begin

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January 6 panel eyes Trump’s culpability as hearings begin
By Marshall Cohen

Updated 1847 GMT (0247 HKT) June 8, 2022
President Donald Trump arrives at the “Stop The Steal” Rally on January 6, 2021 in Washington, DC.
President Donald Trump arrives at the “Stop The Steal” Rally on January 6, 2021 in Washington, DC.

With public hearings kicking off this week, the House select committee investigating January 6 is zeroing in on former President Donald Trump, and is preparing to use its platform to argue that he was responsible for grave abuses of power that nearly upended US democracy.

The committee’s central mission has been to uncover the full scope of Trump’s unprecedented attempt to stop the transfer of power to President Joe Biden. This includes Trump’s attempts to overturn his 2020 defeat by pressuring state and federal officials, and what committee members say was his “dereliction of duty” on January 6 while his supporters ransacked the US Capitol.

Lawmakers will try to convict Trump in the court of public opinion — which is all they can do, because it’s not within their powers to actually indict Trump. But they have an emerging legal foundation to claim that Trump broke the law, thanks to a landmark court ruling from a federal judge who said it was “more likely than not” that Trump committed crimes regarding January 6.
These highly choreographed hearings will be the panel’s first opportunity to show the public what they’ve learned from more than 1,000 witness interviews and 135,000 documents. An avalanche of new information about January 6 has come to light since Trump’s impeachment trial in February 2021, where he was acquitted of one count of “incitement of insurrection.”
“We are going to tell the story of a conspiracy to overturn the 2020 presidential election and block the transfer of power,” Rep. Jamie Raskin, a Maryland Democrat who serves on the committee, told the Washington Post earlier this week, adding that the ongoing criminal investigations

Federal investigators have feverishly rounded up more than 800 alleged rioters, making arrests in almost every state. But the question remains (especially among Democrats): Will the Justice Department go after Trump?

There are some signs that prosecutors are moving up the food chain. FBI agents interviewed Republicans in Michigan and Georgia who were involved in the “fake electors” plot, which puts the probe one step closer to Trump’s orbit. The Justice Department is asking witnesses about the role of Eastman and former Trump lawyer Rudy Giuliani, according to The New York Times.

Federal grand jury subpoenas have been issued to at least one figure who planned pro-Trump rallies in Washington, DC, on January 6. The organizer, Ali Alexander, says he is complying. Investigators’ interest in Alexander show that they aren’t only looking at the rioters themselves.

Separately, the Justice Department has charged former Trump advisers Steve Bannon and Peter Navarro with contempt of Congress for defying committee subpoenas. (They maintain their innocence.) Prosecutors declined to charge Meadows and another top Trump White House aide, Dan Scavino, who claimed that executive privilege protected them from having to testify.

It’s unclear how far the Justice Department will go to investigate Trump. Attorney General Merrick Garland said he is “committed to holding all January 6th perpetrators, at any level, accountable under law,” but many legal analysts have expressed skepticism that he’ll go after Trump, based on the slowness of the probe and the challenges of charging a former President.

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Mohd Sharik is a senior journalist in Foxinterviewer.com, his tweets on https://twitter.com/apexnws
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