US Capitol Riot Investigation Puts Donald Trump at the Center of “Attempted Coup”

On Thursday a Congressional jury investigating the mob assault on the United States Capitol put forward its case that former US President Donald Trump and his stolen election claims were at the heart of what amounted to a “coup attempt” to stay in power.
In a prime-time presentation of the results of a year-long investigation, the special committee sought to persuade a divided country of the existence of an entrenched and ongoing plot – orchestrated by Trump – to overturn the 2020 election result won. by Joe Biden.

“President Trump has summoned the crowd, gathered the crowd and ignited the flame of this attack,” Republican panel vice president Liz Cheney said in her opening address at the first of a series of highly anticipated summer hearings.

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Minutes earlier, Democratic Committee Head Bennie Thompson accused Trump of being “at the center of this conspiracy.”
“January 6 was the culmination of a coup attempt – a brazen attempt, as a rioter claimed shortly after January 6 – to overthrow the government. The violence was not accidental. It was the last stand of resistance. Trump “.
The rioters acted “at the encouragement of the president of the United States,” to march on Congress and block the formal transfer of power by lawmakers to Biden, he added.

The mob attacked the police, sent lawmakers and Vice President Mike Pence on the run for their safety, and caused millions of dollars in damage. Four people died that day, one shot to death by the police and the others from natural causes. More than 100 police officers were injured and one died the next day. Four officers later committed suicide.

A video image taken by a police-worn camera was shown at the House Select Committee hearing Thursday, June 9, 2022 on Capitol Hill in Washington. sources: AAP / AP

The jury’s carefully produced presentation made use of closed-door testimony from some of Trump’s most senior and trusted advisors, including former Attorney General Bill Barr and Trump’s son-in-law and senior aide, Jared Kushner.

The panel aims to demonstrate that the violence was part of a larger – and continuing – push by Trump and his inner circle to cling to or illegally regain power, wresting the Constitution and over two centuries of peaceful transitions from an administration. to the next.
Thursday’s session and five subsequent hearings over the next few weeks will focus on Trump’s role in the multi-pronged effort to bring him back to the Oval Office by depriving millions of voters.

Trump defiantly dismissed the investigation as an unfounded “witch hunt,” but public hearings were at the center of his mind on Thursday when he launched a largely bogus tirade on his social media platform, defending the insurgency. as “the greatest movement in our country’s history to make America great again”.

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The case the committee wants to make is that Trump laid the groundwork for the insurgency through months of fraud lies in an election described by his own administration as the safest ever.
His White House is accused of being involved in several potentially illegal schemes to aid the effort, including a plot to seize voting machines and another to appoint bogus “alternative voters” from swinging states who would ignore the will of their constituents and hand over the victory to Trump.
However, Thursday’s hearing showed that close allies – including Trump’s daughter – have rejected her false claims of election fraud.
The Democratic-led Committee unveiled a video of testimony from prominent figures in the Trump administration, including her daughter Ivanka Trump and husband Jared Kushner, Attorney General William Barr, campaign spokesperson Jason Miller, and General Mark Milley.

He also showed part of Trump’s incendiary speech before the attack in which he repeated false claims of election fraud and directed the anger of his supporters against Pence, who was on Capitol Hill overseeing the Congressional certification of Biden’s election victory – a process that the revolt failed to prevent

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Mr. Barr in videotaped testimony said, “I made it clear that I didn’t agree with the idea of ​​saying the election was stolen and publishing this stuff, which I call bullshit. And, you know, I don’t. done I don’t want to be a part of it. “
The point of view of Mr. Barr convinced Ms Ivanka. “I respect Attorney General Barr. So I accepted what he was saying,” she said in videotaped testimony.
Thursday’s hearing saw live testimony from two people who interacted with members of the neo-fascist organization the Proud Boys on January 6 and in the days leading up to the violence.

Emmy-winning British documentary filmmaker Nick Quested tested his experience shadowing Proud Boys members in the days leading up to January 6 and his interactions with them on the same day.

Serena Liebengood, widow of Capitol police officer Howie Liebengood, cries as a video of the attack on the United States Capitol is played during a public hearing Thursday, June 9, 2022 in Washington. sources: AAP / AP

Mr. Quested recalled being shocked by the “anger” he saw among the group members and described the larger crowd at the demonstration as a transformation “from protesters to rioters to insurgents”.

“I was surprised by the size of the group, the anger and the bad words,” he said.
Capitol police officer Caroline Edwards, who was present at the breach of the first barricade, described suffering head injuries in clashes with the Proud Boys, whose leader was accused of seditious conspiracy, along with four lieutenants.
“I can only remember my breath catching in my throat, because what I saw was just a war scene. It was something like what I had seen outside of the movies,” he said.
“I couldn’t believe my eyes. There were officers on the ground – they were bleeding, they were vomiting … I saw friends with blood on their faces. I was slipping in people’s blood.”

The series of hearings will differ from Trump’s two impeachments in that he will not be represented in the room as he is not on trial, except perhaps at the court of public opinion.

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However, a number of his most loyal counter-fighters are expected to circle the chariots, defying the investigation at every turn.
“It’s the most political and least legitimate committee in American history,” House Republican minority leader Kevin McCarthy told reporters.
Indeed, Congress has extensive oversight powers, and a federal judge appointed by Trump last month emphatically dismissed Republicans’ arguments that the committee is illegitimate.

The jury has not confirmed what it intends to do after the initial list of hearings, but at least one more presentation and a final report are expected in the fall.

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