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Capitol riots hearing to focus on extremism; star witnesses to testify

Tuesday will be a crucial day for the nearly yearlong Congress Senate committee probing the Jan 6, 2021 Capitol Hills insurrection and the alleged involvement of ex-President Donald Trump to incite a riotous mob to attack the building and overturn the election verdict of 2020, with key witness and White House Counsel Pat Cipollone scheduled to testify on the events.

Cipollone’s statement under oath will not be a deposition, but hours long testimony going into the minutest details of the events at the Oval and West wing on Jan 6 and is expected to corroborate the testimony of top White House aide to Trump, Cassidy Hutchinson.

She has already charged that Trump was furious over the 2020 verdict and overheard aides saying he wanted Vice President Mike Pence to annul the verdict against their advice as being extreme and unconstitutional. That he wanted to lead the mob at Capitol Hill, grabbed the steering wheel and tried to ring the neck of the security detail of the presidential limo, Beast.

In a surprise move, another star witness Stephen Bannon, White House strategist, media executive and banker, has come forward to testify if Trump waived his executive privilege, which, surprisingly, the ex-President has done to tell what happened.

Bannon had earlier defended Trump citing EP but after being criminally charged to stand trial on July 18 offered a deal to testify apparently to save himself. The Senate committee has made it clear that there was no executive privilege for him to be waived as he was not part of the West wing team on January 6.

The committee also said his testimony will not absolve him of any guilt of criminal charges for which he stands trial on July 18. Bannon had sent a message on January 5, 2021 saying “all hell is going to break loose on January 6”, indicating he had advanced knowledge.

According to CNN TV news network, members of the White House select committee investigating the attacks on the US Capitol say the panel’s public hearing on July 12 will focus on how the violent mob came together and the role of extremist groups in the deadly insurrection.

“We are going to be connecting the dots during these hearings between these groups and those who were trying — in government circles — to overturn the election.”

Democratic Rep. Zoe Lofgren of California told CNN’s Jake Tapper on Sunday the hearings will focus on connections between the Trump administration and militia groups such as the Oath Keepers and Proud Boys.

Florida Democratic Rep. Stephanie Murphy, who also sits on the committee, told NBC on Sunday that the panel could present evidence that members of Congress encouraged extremist groups to come to Washington on January 6, echoing Trump’s tweet the previous month that January 6 would “be wild”.

She called that tweet a “siren call” for those groups.

Meanwhile, a Trump documentary titled “Unprecedented” has been released prior to the July 12 hearing. The three-part documentary, which follows Trump in the lead-up to and the aftermath of the 2020 elections, was released on Sunday.

Filmmaker Alex Holder and his team were granted access to Trump and his family members during the final weeks of the campaign and the weeks surrounding the attack on January 6, 2021, for their series “Unprecedented”.

Trump’s inner circle was interviewed about the key moments, including when Trump found out the election had been called for Joe Biden and when he tested positive for Covid.

Holder’s team was also filming at the Capitol on January 6, and the series shows footage of Trump supporters crawling through broken windows to get inside the building.

The Jan 6 committee subpoenaed the raw footage of the interviews Holder conducted with Trump, then Vice President Mike Pence, Donald Trump Jr., Ivanka Trump, Eric Trump and Jared Kushner, as well as footage of the attack on the Capitol.

The committee also asked for any footage in which election fraud or election integrity was discussed.

The panel’s next two public hearings, set for Tuesday and Thursday, are expected to focus on the pro-Trump mob that stormed the Capitol.

Rep. Adam Schiff, a member of the committee, said last week on MSNBC’s “The Last Word with Lawrence O’Donnell” that the committee is seeking to “shed light on how that mob came to be there”.

Holder also testified before the committee behind closed doors in June.

In a scene in the third episode, Pence is shown on camera on January 12, 2021, looking at a cellphone and saying, “Excellent”.

The filmmakers alleged that he was responding to a draft resolution calling for Pence to pursue the use of the 25th Amendment to remove then President Donald Trump from office.

Pence’s spokesman disputed that on Sunday, telling NBC News that Pence was reacting to a confirmation that a letter from him had been sent to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi rejecting her attempt to invoke the 25th Amendment.

On January 12, 2021, NBC News reported that Pence had sent the letter to Pelosi, claims ABC news.

According to the documentary, Ivanka Trump, Donald Trump Jr., Eric Trump and Pence all declined to discuss the January 6 attacks during their interviews for the series.

In the series, Trump says in an interview that on January 6, there was “great anger in our country” and that he will decide whether to run in 2024 “in the not-too-distant future”.

The documentary series can be streamed on Discovery+.

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