The committee investigating the assault on the Capitol says it has evidence of the conspiracy and opens public hearings

Representatives Bennie Thompson (Democrat of Mississippi and Liz Cheney (Republican of Wyoming), chairman and vice of the House committee investigating the assault on the Capitol on January 6, 2020. (REUTERS / Evelyn Hockstein) (EVELYN HOCKSTEIN / )

After six months of intense work, the House of Representatives committee investigating the insurrection of January 6, 2020 is preparing for the second phase: the open hearings in which We will all be able to learn the details about what happened in the most serious assault on American democracy in 200 years. They interviewed more than 300 witnesses, collected tens of thousands of documents, and traveled across the United States to speak with electoral system officials who were pressured by then-President Donald Trump to declare as null the legitimate victory of President Joe Biden in the November 2019 elections.

The hearings are scheduled to begin in mid-January and the members of the panel – nine legislators, seven Democrats and two Republicans – will begin to reveal the results of their investigations against the backdrop of the persistent efforts of the former president and his allies to block the process, minimize what happened and reject any possibility that the conspiracy had been organized in the highest levels of power.

The commission also faces an even greater challenge, to try to persuade Americans that the investigation is impartial and its conclusions are based on documented and credible facts. “I think this is one of the most important Congressional investigations in history,” said the Wyoming representative. Liz cheney, vice chair of the committee and one of its two Republican members

In the hearings that will be televised live, legislators will have to demonstrate the seriousness of the 6J assault (by January) and the pressure maneuvers carried out by Trump and his allies on the States and Congress to annul the legitimate election of Joe Biden as president . “The whole picture is coming to light, despite President Trump’s continued efforts to hide what happened,” said Cheney, the daughter of the former Bush Administration official. “And every day we find out about something new.”

I think this is one of the most important Congressional investigations in history.

While the fundamental facts of that fateful January 6 are known – Trump supporters stormed Congress to force legislators to annul the election results – the commission says the extraordinary wealth of material they have collected – 35,000 pages of records so far, including texts, emails, and phone records of people close to Trump- is flesh out critical details of the attack. They hope to fill in the blanks on preparations before the attack, financing of the event that preceded it and in which Trump spoke and prompted his supporters to address Congress, as well as the intense campaign by the White House to annul the elections. 2020. Also are investigating what Trump himself was doing as his supporters made their way to the Capitol.

Donald Trump supporters occupied the historic rotunda of the Capitol Building during the assault on January 6, 2020. MICHAEL NIGRO / ZUMA PRESS / CONTACTOPHOTO
Donald Trump supporters occupied the historic Capitol Building rotunda during the January 6, 2020 assault. MICHAEL NIGRO / ZUMA PRESS / CONTACTOPHOTO (Michael Nigro /)

Committee members are known to hold what is considered “The fundamental test”. The New York Times revealed the existence of a 38-page PowerPoint presentation showing a very well-crafted plan to undo President Joe Biden’s victory. It has the title of “Election Fraud, Foreign Interference, and Options for January 6”. It involved declaring a national emergency and invalidating ballots issued by mail. It also includes the false claim that China Y Venezuela they managed to control the electoral computer network in hundreds of districts. Clearly a coup. The presentation was shared by the then Chief of Staff, Mark Meadows with various government officials and leaders of his political space who had gathered that day in Washington. Meadows himself provided these and other relevant documents, but later refused to appear before the committee and was found in contempt.

Another important element of the investigation is based on the figure of retired colonel Phil Waldron, who would have been one of the authors of the PowerPoint. The plan to ignore the result of the election was presented on January 4 to a group of Republican senators they trust. The following day, the former colonel personally briefed a small group of members of the House of Representatives. In an interview with the Washington Post, Waldron said that had “contributed to the creation of the document”, that he had visited the White House several times after the November 2020 election and that he had spoken to Meadows “maybe eight or ten times.”

Waldron is a specialist in psychological influence operations who operated in Afghanistan and Iraq and retired from the military in 2016 after 30 years of service. He assured in the interview that since then he is just a modest entrepreneur who brews beers and other distilled beverages at his One Shot company in Dripping Springs, Texas. The documents compiled by the congressmen show another reality. Immediately after the elections, Waldron was in contact with former mayor Rudolph Giuliani, Trump’s personal attorney, who was overseeing the election challenges at the time. The former colonel provided Giuliani with information about alleged attempts by foreign powers to hack into American voting machines and about alleged operatives of “agents of the left” who were working for the Dominion Voting Systems company, who oversaw the vote counting system. Some of these unsubstantiated claims ended up being part of federal lawsuits against that company brought by another pro-Trump attorney, Sidney Powell.

Former chief of staff, Mark Meadows, during a ceremony in Washington with then-President Donald Trump.  (MELISSA SUE GERRITS / Europa Press)
Former chief of staff, Mark Meadows, during a ceremony in Washington with then-President Donald Trump. (MELISSA SUE GERRITS / Europa Press) (MELISSA SUE GERRITS /)

The chairman of the committee, the representative Bennie thompson, a Democrat from Mississippi, has already announced that those responsible for the electoral system of Arizona, Georgia, Michigan and Pennsylvania, which were the states in which the Trumpist machinery tried to contest the elections, will appear to testify. “I believe that with these testimonies we will have a clear picture of how the plan was developed”, Thompson said.

The commission is working against the clock. Republicans could dissolve the investigation if they win a House majority in the midterm elections slated for November 2022. The commission’s final report is expected to be ready before the Americans return to the polls and a preliminary report will be released in July. In any case, it is far from clear that all these members of the Trump administration who were involved in the assault on Congress they are going to be sanctioned and end up in jail. Congressional investigations are not criminal cases and legislators cannot issue penalties.

About 90% of the witnesses called by the committee have cooperated, Thompson reported, despite contempt from Trump’s high-profile allies such as the former campaign manager. Steve Bannon Y Mark Meadows. Faced with this situation that puts the Democrats at a clear advantage, Republicans regret not doing everything possible to join the committee. House Republican Leader Kevin McCarthy of California, a close Trump ally, decided not to name any party members to the committee after the Speaker of the House, Nancy pelosiCalifornia Democrat reject two of his chosen as part of the conspiracy. Pelosi, who created the investigative committee after Republican senators rejected another bipartisan external commission, later named Republicans Cheney and Adam Kinzinger of Illinois, critics of Trump who shared the Democrats’ desire to investigate the bombing. “I think you can see that Kevin made an epic mistake.”, Kinzinger said in an interview with the agency AP. “Part of the reason we are going so fast and have been so effective so far is because we decided not to really make this a partisan investigation”.

In the halls of the Capitol, legislators from both parties agree that the process of the investigation “would be very different” if Republican allies of Trump participated and could obstruct part of his work. “I think that in five or ten years, when the children in school learn about January 6, they will have the precise story.”Kinzinger added. “And that’s what motivates all of us to work hard until we get to the truth.”

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