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Decryption | Hearings on January 6: bomb or flop?

(New York) Jamie Raskin’s prediction sets the bar very high.

Posted at 5:00 a.m.

Richard Hetu

Richard Hetu
Special collaboration

On April 26, during a speech at Georgetown University, the Democratic representative from Maryland claimed that the upcoming public congressional hearings on the January 6, 2021 attack on the Capitol will “blow the roof off” of the ‘building.

Three days later, this former law professor and member of the special committee of the House of Representatives responsible for investigating this assault gave a layer.


Jamie Raskin, in February 2021

We now have evidence demonstrating the worst presidential political attack on the Union in American history. The January 6 committee hearings […] will expose all the facets of [cet] assault on our democracy and our Constitution.

Jamie Raskin, Democratic representative of Maryland, on Twitter

The six-day televised auditions will begin Thursday at 8 p.m. and end June 21, also during prime time, unless changed. They will come after an investigation of almost 11 months during which more than 1000 witnesses were interviewed.

Composed of seven Democratic representatives and two Republicans, the commission did not only focus on what happened on the day of the attack. She also looked at efforts by Donald Trump and his associates to pressure federal or local officials, including ex-Vice President Mike Pence, to overturn the results of the presidential election in 2020.

On March 2, in an appeal to a California judge, the commission had already expressed its conviction that Donald Trump had violated multiple federal laws to hinder the transfer of power, in particular by obstructing Congress and by defrauding the United States.

If the public hearings prove it, they could have the effect of the bomb evoked by Jamie Raskin (note the conditional). Otherwise, they will be a flop.

“Six Chilling Words”

Last week, the commission promised to present “unpublished documents” concerning January 6 during the public hearings. She has not yet made public the list of witnesses who will be heard in person. The information site Axios has however revealed that Michael Luttig, ex-federal judge, will be part of it.

Luttig, who has a strong reputation among conservatives, advised Mike Pence in the days leading up to the Capitol attack. In particular, he told him that no constitutional power would allow him, on January 6, 2021, to prevent Congress from certifying the results of the 2020 presidential election. Donald Trump and members of his entourage were then trying to convince the vice -president to the contrary.

Even if he is not one of the witnesses expected, Mike Pence should occupy an important place during the hearings.

During his speech at Georgetown University, Representative Raskin insisted on an incident that had occurred during the storming of the Capitol by supporters of Donald Trump, some of whom chanted “Hang Mike Pence!” “.

The incident is recounted in the book I Alone Can Fix Itjournalists from washington post Carol Leonnig and Philip Rucker. According to the authors, Tim Giebels, head of the Secret Service agents assigned to protect Mike Pence, repeatedly invited the latter to get into an armored limo parked under the Capitol.

“I’m not getting in that car, Tim,” the vice president told him, citing his fear that the limo driver would take off and take him God knows where.

According to Jamie Raskin, Mike Pence said “the six most chilling words in this whole affair”.

The representative added that Mike Pence “knew exactly” what would happen if he left the Capitol before the certification of the results of the presidential election.

“It was a coup led by the president against the vice president and against Congress,” he added.

Who has the role of star witness?

A figure unknown to the general public could hold the role of star witness of the public hearings, revealed the washington post. This is Cassidy Hutchinson, former collaborator of Mark Meadows, the last chief of staff of the White House under Donald Trump.


Cassidy Hutchinson, right, weeks before the 2020 presidential election

In numerous depositions, Hutchinson described her former boss’ very active role in the campaign to overturn the results of the November 2020 ballot. She also told the commission that Meadows had pointed out to others that Trump had indicated that he favored the hanging of his vice president after learning that rioters who stormed the Capitol had started chanting “Hang Mike Pence!” “.

The commission will also hear, through videos, excerpts from testimonies collected from Ivanka Trump and Jared Kushner.

No matter what evidence it presents, the commission does not have the power to bring charges against Donald Trump or members of his entourage. She could, however, recommend that the Justice Department indict the former president or anyone else. Such a decision would be explosive.

The Department, it should be remembered, is conducting its own investigation into January 6th. After indicting nearly 900 people for their role in the attack on the Capitol, including 11 far-right militiamen for seditious conspiracy, its investigators are trying to determine whether Donald Trump or his associates themselves broke the law by trying to overthrow the results of the 2020 presidential election.

The public hearings on January 6 could weigh on the Justice Department’s eventual decision. But will they change the opinion of a single person in the United States on the responsibility of Donald Trump in an attack on American democracy likely to be repeated in 2024?

The answer may disappoint Jamie Raskin, the Democratic representative from Maryland.

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