‘The Big Lie was also the big-rip off’: Jan 6 committee hears Trump’s fraud claims
The House select committee investigating the assault on the US Capitol on 6 January 2021 appears to have split over the possibility that it could refer Donald Trump to the Department of Justice on potential criminal charges.
Chairman Bennie Thompson told reporters yesterday that “That’s not our job. Our job is to look at Jan 6. What caused it and make recommendations after that” – a comment that met with pushback from other members, including Liz Cheney, who tweeted that the committee had not in fact decided on whether referrals could be made.
Meanwhile, former Trump lawyer Rudy Giuliani has insisted that contrary to evidence from multiple witnesses, he was not in fact drunk on the night of the 2020 election, instead confining himself to Diet Pepsi, his favourite drink.
The attorney’s behaviour between the election and the Capitol riot has been the subject of various investigations. Among other things, he is facing a lawsuit from Dominion Voting Systems over his false claims that their machines were used to “hack” the election.
Meanwhile, the former president spent his birthday ranting at the “kangaroo” committee on Truth Social claiming it had poor ratings. The first hearing drew in 20 million viewers.
Mary Trump says her uncle Donald ‘accused’ his daughter Ivanka of ‘perjury’
Donald Trump’s niece Mary Trump said in an interview that she believes the ex-president was accusing Ivanka Trump of “perjury” after he raged at his daughter following the airing of her testimony to the panel investigating the January 6 riot last week.
Joanna Chisholm has the story.
Oliver O’Connell15 June 2022 04:30
George Conway says Trump knows elections lies are false
George Conway, husband to former White House counselor Kellyanne Conway, mocked his wife’s ex-boss for having “scrambled eggs” for brains after day two of the January 6 committee’s public hearings concluded.
Speaking on CNN, the conservative attorney reacted to testimony from Bill Stepien and other Trump campaign figures who explained at Monday’s hearing how Donald Trump ignored the advice of “Team Normal” and instead pursued a plan to overturn the election spearheaded by Rudy Giuliani and other conspiracy-slingers.
John Bowden reports from Washington, DC.
Oliver O’Connell15 June 2022 03:30
ICYMI: Committee split over whether to refer Trump to DoJ
The January 6 panel appears to be divided on the question of whether or not to refer Donald Trump to the Justice Department on potential criminal charges, with Bennie Thompson appearing to rule it out yesterday before being contradicted by Liz Cheney and others.
However, the point is arguably moot: the Department of Justice does not need a referral to proceed with a criminal investigation if it believes the evidence is available, and by the same token, it would not be bound to bring charges against Mr Trump just because the committee sent it a letter.
Oliver O’Connell15 June 2022 02:30
Rep Aguilar: Trump was “grasping at straws”
Speaking on MSNBC last night, 6 January committee member Pete Aguilar spoke about the role of a drunk Rudy Guiliani and a “clown car of attorneys” who told Mr Trump he could still overturn the election even as all his other advisers gave him the opposite opinion.
“They were the only ones who were willing to tell the president what he wanted to hear,” said Mr Aguilar, “and the former president is someone who only wants to surround himself with people who tell him what he wants to hear.”
Oliver O’Connell15 June 2022 01:30
ICYMI: The “inebriated” Rudy Giuliani
While Donald Trump’s judgment and calculations after the 2020 election were the main subject of yesterday’s hearing, one person in his orbit came out of it particularly badly. Rudy Giuliani, whom Liz Cheney said was “apparently inebriated” at the White House on election night, was painted by multiple witnesses as the fringe voice of conspiracy theories who told Mr Trump to declare victory against all indications to the contrary.
Among those shown criticizing him in recorded testimony was Jared Kushner, who said he had warned his father-in-law against taking Mr Giuliani’s suggested approach, while Ivanka Trump described a panicked atmosphere at the White House as it became clear the election wasn’t going her father’s way. Mr Giuliani responded to the criticism by insisting that the committee had “no case” and calling Ms Cheney “completely hysterical”.
Oliver O’Connell15 June 2022 00:30
ICYMI: Trump’s rambling screed against Jan 6 panel
Donald Trump lashed out at the 6 January committee after yesterday’s hearing,
“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 Trump 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 concluded 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.
Josh Marcus has the story.
Oliver O’Connell14 June 2022 23:45
Kimberly Guilfoyle ‘paid $60k’ for Jan 6 speech at White House
Among the speakers at the 6 January White House rally that preceded the Capitol attack was Donald Trump Jr fiancee and disgraced former Fox News pundit Kimberly Guilfoyle.
She went on to testify to the select committee – and in an interview yesterday, panel member Zoe Lofgren confirmed that she had been paid some $60,000 for her speech on the day of the insurrection.
The former president’s future daughter-in-law gave brief remarks outside the White House on 6 January, where she claimed to the crowd, some of whom would eventually storm the Capitol, “We will continue to stand for president Trump, stand with him and for this country. We will not allow the liberals and the Democrats to steal our dream or steal our elections.”
That day, she was also pictured on Donald Trump Jr’s social media exhorting supporters to “have the courage to do the right thing, fight!”
Ms Guilfoyle was memorably filmed dancing to Laura Branigan’s anthemic 1982 hit “Gloria”, a mainstay of the Trump rally playlist, before going on stage.
Oliver O’Connell14 June 2022 23:00
Democrats and GOP take contrasting views on LGBTQ survey bill
An effort to be more inclusive or attempted intrusion by the federal government? Democrats and Republicans took starkly contrasting views Tuesday of proposed legislation that would put voluntary questions about sexual orientation and gender identity on federal surveys.
Under the bill debated by the House Committee on Oversight and Reform, federal agencies that collect data through surveys would be required to ask about sexual orientation and gender identity, but no one would be required to give the information nor would they be penalized for refusing to do so.
Oliver O’Connell14 June 2022 22:30
Images reveal threats against GOP official’s family after Trump named him in election tweet
A Republican official on Monday revealed the threats he and his family faced after former President Donald Trump named him in a tweet aimed at overturning the result of the 2020 presidential election.
Al Schmidt, who resigned from his position as a Philadelphia City Commissioner last year, was one of three city commissioners serving on the city’s County Board of Elections in November, 2020 when his state’s presidential election vote count was targeted by Mr Trump.
Oliver O’Connell14 June 2022 22:00
Boebert wants fentanyl declared a weapon of mass destruction
Colorado Rep Lauren Boebert introduced new legislation that seeks to classify the opioid fentanyl, which can be lethal if not administered by a trained medical professional, as a weapon of mass destruction.
“It is time to call fentanyl what it is: a weapon of mass destruction that is destroying our nation,” the congresswoman wrote in a press release introducing the “Fentanyl is a WMD Act” on Monday.
Joanna Chisholm has the story:
Oliver O’Connell14 June 2022 21:15