The Commission’s Second Hearing on Jan. 6 Will Focus on Trump’s ‘Big Lie’

The next House selection committee hearing on Jan. 6 will be largely focused on proving that former President Donald Trump knew he had legitimately lost the 2020 election when he began spreading the lies that culminated in the worst attack on the Capitol since 1814, yet mounted an extensive campaign of propaganda and frivolous litigation to convince his supporters that he was the real victor.

Monday’s hearing, the second of an expected six sessions this month, will focus on the former president’s efforts to promote outright lies about the conduct of the election, including his efforts to pressure election officials and news media into his lies. support in the run-up. until the assessment of January 6, 2021.

“Tomorrow’s hearing will focus on the Big Lie — the former president’s decision to disregard the will of voters, declare victory on election night, spread fraud allegations, and then decide the courts’ verdicts to ignore when the court rulings did not. not have his way,” said a select committee member who briefed reporters on the panel’s plan for Monday’s hearing.

“We will reveal information about how the former president’s political apparatus is using these lies about fraud and electoral stolen goods to raise money, raking in hundreds of millions of dollars between Election Day 2020 and January 6, and we will show that some of the those persons responsible for the violence on [January 6] echoed back the same lies the former president preached in the run-up to the uprising.”

The aide said California Representative Zoe Lofgren, who served as house manager during Trump’s first impeachment trial in 2020, will play a “key role” in the panel’s presentation at the hearing, which will include two separate sets of witnesses.

The first will consist of Bill Stepien, the New Jersey political cop who served as Mr. Trump’s campaign manager for the last few months of 2020, and Chris Stirewalt, the former Fox News editor who lost his job in 2021 after taking the anger out. of the former president for authorizing the network to correctly predict that Mr. Trump would be the second Republican ever to lose Arizona and the first since Bill Clinton carried the state in 1996.

Mr Stirewalt, now an editor at cable news channel NewsNation, revealed last week that he would testify in front of one of his network’s anchors, but said he was “not in a position right now to tell you what my testimony will be about”.

But Mr. Trump’s response to his favorite television network calling the Grand Canyon State for Joe Biden foreshadowed how he would behave in the weeks leading up to the Capitol attack.

According to multiple reports, Mr. Trump and his inner circle became apoplectic when they learned that Fox had called Arizona with only 73 percent of the vote counted.

Trump adviser Jason Miller immediately began contradicting Fox’s appeal on Twitter, accusing the network of being “a complete outlier” and accusing it of “invalidating” Republican votes yet to be counted. He also demanded that the network withdraw the call in a series of phone calls with Fox executives.

Jared Kushner, the former president’s son-in-law and a senior adviser to Trump, went so far as to urge Fox owner Rupert Murdoch to order his employees to withdraw the call, but Murdoch declined.

He later carried on a diatribe of the lies he continues to tell to this day in a 2:30 p.m. appearance before supporters in the East Room, calling the election “a fraud on the American public.”

“This is a disgrace to our country. We were ready to win this election. Frankly, we won the election,” he added (he didn’t win the election).

The second set of witnesses includes Ben Ginsberg, a veteran Republican attorney who served as a top attorney for multiple GOP presidential campaigns, including those of George W Bush and Mitt Romney, and who for many years represented the Republican National Committee and other GOP campaign committees. until his retirement in August 2020.

It will also feature two former GOP government officials, former US Attorney BJay Pak and Philadelphia City Commissioner Al Schmidt and

Mr. Pak, who served in the Georgia House of Representatives from 2011 until Mr. Trump urged him to become the top federal prosecutor for Georgia’s Northern District, resigned in late 2020 after being told that Mr. planned to fire him for not having done so. prosecuting cases based on the false claims and conspiracy theories that the then-president and his allies began to spread after Mr. Trump became the first Republican to lose the Peach State electoral votes since 1992.

Mr. Schmidt has previously testified before the Senate Rules Committee about the danger to election officials that misinformation poses, such as Mr. Trump’s “big lie.”

During his October 2020 Senate statement, he recalled how his family received threats after Trump allies began spreading false claims about voter fraud in Philadelphia.

The then president went so far as to target him in a tweet claiming that Mr. Schmidt was “widely used by the fake news media to explain how fair things were regarding the Philadelphia election” and accused of “[refusing] to look at the mountain of corruption and dishonesty.”

The aide to the selected commission said that Mr. Pak and Mr. Schmidt were “those seeking” the fraud Mr. Trump and his allies claimed to be victims of, and said they would testify “about how the efforts to expose these baseless allegations of fraud failed.

“The fraud they were looking for did not exist and the former president was told time and time again that the allegations were unfounded, but he kept repeating them anyway,” the aide said.

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