Donald Trump slams ‘pitiful’ January 6 investigation and teases 2024 run in rambling statement

Donald Trump lashed out at the “pitiful” 6 January Capitol riot investigation on Monday, after the congressional committee held a day of scathing testimony accusing the former president of lying to supporters and losing touch with reality as he tried to overturn the 2020 election.

“The January 6th Unselect Committee is disgracing everything we hold sacred about our Constitution. If they had any real evidence, they’d hold real hearings with equal representation,” Mr Twump wrote in a lengthy statement on Monday. “They don’t, so they use the illegally-constituted committee to put on a smoke and mirrors show for the American people, in a pitiful last-ditch effort to deceive the American public…again.”

The missive concludes ambiguously, with Mr Trump seeming to tease a 2024 presidential comeback run.

“This is merely an attempt to stop a man that is leading in every poll, against both Republicans and Democrats by wide margins, from running again for the Presidency,” Mr Trump wrote, before blaming Democrats for inflation and high gas prices.

“The Democrats know that I would correct all of this, and they are doing everything in their power to stop me – but we can’t be stopped,” he continued. “We have to Save America.”

Elsewhere in the 12-page message, Mr Trump cites debunked conspiracy theories about the 2020 election from the recent documentary 2,000 Mules, by conservative pundit Dinesh D’Souza.

The film, which has been repeatedly debunked by fact-checkers, claims that numerous people were illegally paid in highly contested states like Georgia and Arizona to collect and fraudulently deposit Democratic votes.

The documentary does not have any concrete proof that this actually occurred, beside a single unnamed whistleblower from Arizona claiming she saw what she “assumed” were payoffs taking place.

The film also makes specious use of cellphone geolocation data, which it claims shows ballot “mules” returning again and again to ballot drop locations.

Experts say such cell tower data is imprecise, and that there are many reasons why someone in a dense metro area like Atlanta or Philadelphia might pass by a ballot drop location for reasons totally unrelated to an election.

“You could use cellular evidence to say this person was in that area, but to say they were at the ballot box, you’re stretching it a lot,” Aaron Striegel, a professor of computer science and engineering at the University of Notre Dame, told The Associated Press. “There’s always a pretty healthy amount of uncertainty that comes with this.”

A spokesperson for Donald Trump said his election fraud claims and those of the film were valid.

“The Fake News media repeatedly calling hard evidence of election fraud ‘debunked’ doesn’t make it so,” Trump spokesperson Liz Harrington told The Independent. “Nothing in 2,000 Mules has been refuted.”

She said the film had “discovered left-wing organizations at the heart of the fraud housing ballots, because the findings are so damning and prove, one of the many ways, President Trump was right about widespread fraud all along.”

She also noted that the Justice Department used cellphone data as part of its case against 6 January rioters.

During Monday’s hearings, former Trump administration attorney general Bill Barr was seen laughing out loud at the film’s claims, as he reasserted the 2020 election was legitimate.

“I was somewhat demoralized because I thought if he really believes this stuff, he has lost contact with — he has become detached from reality if he really believes this stuff,” Mr Barr said of his former boss’s take on election conspiracy theories.

The former president responded on his social network Truth Social, calling Mr Barr a RINO (Republican in name only) who “didn’t have the courage or stamina to go after voter fraud,” claiming the former attorney general was “afraid he was going to be impeached.”

Elsewhere, the committee heard testimony that Donald Trump’s super PAC raised $250m for an “election defense fund” that never actually existed, instead doling out payments like a $60,000 fee for Kimberly Guilfoyle, Donald Trump Jr’s fiancé, to speak on 6 January. (Mr Trump has denied using campaign funds to pay for any 6 January-related activities.)

Witnesses also said Donald Trump was warned his election fraud claims were “bulls***” by top advisers, but that the former president continued to proceed spreading the narrative anyway after the election.