Live Updates: January 6 Hearing Day 5

Representative Benny Thompson, chairman of the House Select Committee to investigate the January 6 attack on the US Capitol, swears in from left, Richard Donoghue, former acting deputy US Attorney General, Jeffrey Rosen, former acting US Attorney General and Steven Engel from right . , former assistant U.S. attorney general for the Office of Legal Counsel during a hearing Thursday in Washington, DC. Doug Mills/The New York Times/Bloomberg/Getty Images/Pool

The fresh public hearing of the select committee on 6th January on Thursday shed a lot of new light On efforts to weaponize the Justice Department in the final months of his term as part of his plot to reverse former President Donald Trump’s 2020 election and remain in power.

The hearing began just hours after federal investigators raided the home of Jeffrey Clark, one of the key Justice Department figures involved in Trump’s plans. He has denied any wrongdoing related to January 6.

Three of Trump’s appointees testified in person on Thursday, joining a growing list of Republicans who have been sworn in to provide damaging information about Trump’s post-election shenanigans. Witness was former acting attorney general Jeffrey Rosenhis deputy Richard DonoghueAnd steven engelwho headed the legal counsel office of the department.

Here are the highlights of Thursday’s hearing:

Inside the December 2020 Oval Office Meeting: The hearing brought to life a high-stakes meeting of the Oval Office in December 2020, where Trump considered sacking the acting attorney general and installing Clark, who was up for it. Use the powers of federal law enforcement To encourage state lawmakers to reverse Trump’s losses.

Going to the hearing this summer, We already knew a lot about the meeting, But on Thursday, for the first time, we heard live testimony from some Justice Department officials who were in the room, including then-acting Attorney General Rosen. (He survived the meeting, when Trump was told there would be mass resignations at the Justice Department if he replaced Rosen with Clark.)

Trump White House counsel Eric Hershman said Clarke was repeatedly “head-wrapped” during the meeting. He told the committee that he called Clark “f—ing a-hole” and that his plans would have been illegal. He also said that Clark’s plan to send letters to the battlefields was “crazy”.

In a videotape played on Thursday, Donoghue said he clarified Clark’s credentials during the meeting, explaining that Clark was horribly unfit To serve as Attorney General.

“You’re an environmental lawyer. How do you go back to your office, and we’ll call you if there’s an oil spill,” Donoghue said in the statement, what he told Clark at a White House meeting.

Donoghue said then-White House counsel Pat Cipollone called Clark’s plan a “murder-suicide pact.”

Donoghue himself described Clark’s plan as “impossible” and “absurd”.

“It’s never going to happen,” Donoghue said of the plan. “And it’s going to fail.”

Thanks to pushback from Rosen, Donoghue, Hershman, Cipollone, and perhaps others, Trump did not follow through with his plan, which would have plunged the country into unknown waters, and increased the chances of Trump successfully withdrawing his plan. would have given. coup attempt.

A toned-down hearing had a vivid description of Trump’s pressing campaign: Thursday’s proceedings featured the testimony of three attorneys who described behind-the-scenes events at the Justice Department and the White House. It was a departure from Tuesday’s and earlier hearings, which featured emotional testimony from election workers, and included shocking video montages of the massacre at the Capitol.

But even if not allegorical fireworks, the gist of the testimony was necessary to understand the breadth of Trump’s efforts to reverse the 2020 election. Former Justice Department officials told what they saw and heard as Trump tried to enlist him to help him stay in power — and how he tried to oust him when he declined to do his bidding Of.

The material was dense at times. Witnesses reconstructed White House meetings and phone calls with Trump. He was asked to dissect his handwritten notes of some of these conversations—the ones you see more often in criminal trials, and less commonly in congressional hearings.

Nevertheless, the steadfast testimony of witnesses sheds new light on events we have known about for more than a year. And the whole hearing evoked memories of the Nixon era, because it was all about how a current president tried to weaponize the powers of federal law enforcement to help his political campaign.

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