Filing provides new details on Trump's White House planning for January 6

WASHINGTON — Before January 6 attack on the Capitol Trump White House officials and members of the right-wing House Freedom Caucus hatch...


WASHINGTON — Before January 6 attack on the CapitolTrump White House officials and members of the right-wing House Freedom Caucus hatched a strategy to direct thousands of angry marchers to the building, according to newly released testimony obtained by the House committee investigating the riot and the old President Donald J. Trumpefforts to overturn the election.

On a planning call that included Mark Meadows, the White House chief of staff; Rudolph W. Giuliani, Mr. Trump’s personal attorney; Representative Jim Jordan, Republican of Ohio; and other members of the Freedom Caucus, the group discussed the idea of ​​encouraging supporters to march to the Capitol, according to a witness account.

The idea was endorsed by Representative Scott Perry, Republican of Pennsylvania, who now leads the Freedom Caucus, according to testimony from Cassidy Hutchinson, an aide to Mr Meadows, and no one on the call spoke against it. the idea.

“I don’t think there was one call participant who necessarily discouraged the idea,” Ms Hutchinson told committee investigators.

The nearly two-mile march from the president’s “Stop the Steal” rally at the Ellipse to the Capitol, where parts of the crowd turned into a violent mob, became the focus of the House committee and the Department of Justice as they investigate who was responsible for the violence.

Mr. Meadows and members of the Freedom Caucus, who were deeply involved in Mr. Trump’s efforts to void the 2020 election, condemned the violence on Capitol Hill on January 6 and defended their role in spreading the lie of a stolen election.

Ms. Hutchinson’s testimony and other documents disclosed by the committee in a 248-page court file Friday added new detail and texture to what is publicly known from discussions within Mr. Trump’s inner circle and among his allies in the weeks leading up to the Jan. 6 assault.

The filing is part of the committee’s effort to seek the dismissal of a lawsuit brought against it by Mr Meadows. This leaked testimony that Mr Meadows was told that plans to try to annul the 2020 election using so-called proxy voters were not ‘legally valid’ and that the events of January 6 could become violent. Still, he continued the rally that led to the march on Capitol Hill, according to the filing.

The filing also revealed new details about Mr Meadows’ involvement in attempts to pressure Brad Raffensperger, Georgia’s secretary of state, over Mr Trump’s loss there.

At rallies in Washington in November and December 2020, Mr. Trump’s supporters did not march to the Capitol and mostly refrained from violence. But on Jan. 6, Mr. Trump encouraged a crowd of thousands to march toward the building, telling them, “You will never take back our country with weakness. You have to show strength. He did so after the White House operations chief informed Mr Meadows of “intelligence reports saying there may be violence on the 6th”, according to the filing.

Two rally organizers, Dustin Stockton and his bride, Jennifer L.Lawrencealso provided the committee with evidence that they feared a march to the Capitol on Jan. 6 signified “possible danger” and that Mr. Stockton’s “urgent concerns” were conveyed to Mr. Meadows, the committee said. .

In his book, ‘The Leader of the Leader,’ Mr Meadows said Mr Trump ‘improvised a line no one had seen before’ when he told the crowd to march, adding that the President ‘knew as good as anyone that we wouldn’t organize a trip like this on such short notice.”

Ms. Hutchinson’s testimony contradicts these statements.

She said Mr Meadows said ‘in casual conversation’: ‘Oh, we’re going to have this big rally. People are talking about it on social media. They will go up to the Capitol.

And, speaking about the planning call involving Mr. Meadows and members of the Freedom Caucus, a committee investigator asked if Mr. Perry supported “the idea of ​​sending people to the Capitol on January 6.”

“He did,” Ms Hutchinson replied.

A spokesperson for Mr. Perry, who declined to speak to the committee, did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Both the Justice Department and the committee investigated how the crowd moved from the Ellipse to the Capitol.

Committee investigators, for example, obtained drafts of Mr. Trump’s speech. This month they pressed its authorStephen Miller, a former top White House adviser, on whether Mr Trump’s repeated use of the word “we” had been an effort to order his supporters to join him in moving on the Capitol to prevent Congress from certifying defeat.

Rally planners, such as prominent “Stop the Steal” organizer Ali Alexander, also helped move people from the Ellipse to the Capitol. Mr. Alexander, at the behest of Mr. Trump’s aides, left the speech before it was over and walked near the head of a crowd heading towards the building.

Alex Jones, the founder of conspiratorial outlet Infowars, joined Mr Alexander that day, who cheered on the crowd with shouts about 1776.

On Wednesday, Mr Jones revealed he had recently asked the Department of Justice for a deal under which he would give an official interview to the government about his role in the events of January 6 in exchange for not being prosecuted.

Two weeks earlier, Mr Alexander had revealed that he had received a subpoena of a federal grand jury seeking information on a wide range of people – rally organizers, members of Congress and White House officials – who played a role in the political events leading up to the attack on the Capitol.

Ms. Hutchinson’s testimony indicated that members of the Freedom Caucus were also involved in plans to pressure Vice President Mike Pence to reject the state electoral votes won by Joseph R. Biden Jr. and accept fake certificates claiming those states voted for Mr. Trump. .

She said members of Congress involved in the talks included Mr. Jordan; Mr. Perry; Reps. Andy Biggs, Paul Gosar and Debbie Lesko of Arizona; Rep. Mo Brooks of Alabama; Representative Matt Gaetz of Florida; Representatives Marjorie Taylor Greene and Jody Hice of Georgia; Representative Louie Gohmert of Texas; and Rep. Lauren Boebert of Colorado. (Ultimately, 147 Congressional Republicans voted to oppose Mr. Biden’s victory in at least one state.)

“They felt he had the power to — forgive me if I’m not wording this correctly, but — to return the votes to the states or the voters to the states,” Ms Hutchinson said, adding that they had appeared to adopt a plan promoted by conservative lawyer John Eastman that members of both parties compared to a coup plot.

Ms Hutchinson suggested that White House lawyers found the plan not ‘legally sound’, but that Mr Meadows nevertheless cleared it to go ahead.

The committee filing also contained an email revealing that a pro-Trump lawyer named Cleta Mitchell also played a role in promoting the proxy voter program.

The email, which Ms Mitchell sent to Mr Meadows on December 6, 2020, included a list of “key points” on the plan, noting, for example, that the “US Constitution empowers the state legislatures of appoint chairpersons. voters”.

Ms Mitchell had sent a version of the email a day earlier to Sen. Mike Braun, Republican of Indiana, before the senator appeared on television. When Ms Mitchell forwarded the email to Mr Meadows, she wrote: ‘Here is what I prepared and sent to Sen Braun last night to help him prepare for the ABC appearance this morning . Can WH Press Office obtain and start using? »

The record also shows that Mr. Meadows was in contact with Phil Waldrona retired army colonel trained in psychological operations who was part of a group of plotters who pushed extreme plans to persuade Mr. Trump to use his national security apparatus to take control of the country’s voting machines in order to stay in power.

Working with others like pro-Trump attorney Sidney Powell and Michael T. Flynn, Mr. Trump’s former national security adviser, Mr. Waldron circulated a conspiracy theory that foreign actors hacked voting machines made by Dominion Voting Systems in an effort to flip votes from Mr. Trump to Mr. Biden.

In a newly leaked email sent to Mr. Meadows on December 22, 2020, Mr. Waldron included an 18-page document that he described as a “national asset task request.”

The document was essentially a proposal seeking presidential approval for agencies like the FBI and the National Security Agency to search their databases for people and Internet addresses connected to Dominion who Mr. Waldron believed might have information about the supposed hacking system.

Mr Waldron wrote that he had discussed the plan with Mr Meadows in his office the day before.

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Newsrust - US Top News: Filing provides new details on Trump's White House planning for January 6
Filing provides new details on Trump's White House planning for January 6
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