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Jan. 6 hearings: What we’ve learned so far

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A video of then-President Donald Trump speaking is displayed as the House select committee investigating the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol holds a hearing at the Capitol in Washington, Tuesday, July 12, 2022. (AP Photo/J.
A video of then-President Donald Trump speaking is displayed as the House select committee investigating the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol holds a hearing at the Capitol in Washington, Tuesday, July 12, 2022. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite) Photo Gallery

WASHINGTON — Through seven hearings this summer, the House Jan. 6 panel has maintained two consistent themes: Donald Trump’s stubborn resistance to advisers who told him that Joe Biden won the election, and the former president’s role in inciting the Capitol insurrection.

A rundown of what we’ve learned so far from the public hearings of the select Jan. 6 committee:

TRUMP IGNORED HIS ADVISERS: At every hearing, the panel has played video testimony from White House aides and Trump associates who said they told Trump that Biden won the election and advised him to drop his false claims of widespread voter fraud. Many were emboldened by former Attorney General Bill Barr’s declaration in early December 2020 that there was no evidence of mass fraud that could change the outcome.

But Trump ignored those advisers. Instead he listened to a small group of allies outside the White House who were pushing the fraud claims, sometimes in fantastical ways.

THE PRESIDENT’S CALLS TO ACTION: Rebuffed by many of those closest to him, Trump turned toward a much wider audience on social media. Hours after a key Dec. 18 meeting, he tweeted that his supporters should come to a “big protest” on Jan. 6, when Congress would certify Biden’s win.

Trump tweeted: “Be there, will be wild!”

A MISSED MARCH TO THE CAPITOL: The committee has focused in particular on Trump’s efforts to go to the Capitol with his supporters after his speech. Former White House aide Cassidy Hutchinson said that many of Trump’s aides, and even House GOP leader Kevin McCarthy, were aware of his plan and tried to stop it. She also described Trump’s anger as security officials refused to take him there after his speech.

On Tuesday, the committee revealed more evidence that Trump had planned to call for his supporters to march to the Capitol, and that he would go with them. The panel showed a draft tweet, undated and never sent, that said, “Please arrive early, massive crowds expected. March to the Capitol after. Stop the Steal!” The draft tweet was stamped, “president has seen.”

PRESSURE TO OVERTURN THE ELECTION: The committee’s first few hearings focused on Trump’s pressure campaign to thwart Biden’s victory — aimed at state election officials, at the Justice Department and finally at Vice President Mike Pence. The president’s pressure ramped up as courts rejected dozens of lawsuits and after the states certified the electors in mid-December.

At a hearing with state officials, Georgia’s Republican secretary of state, Brad Raffensperger, told of Trump’s phone call in which he asked him to “find 11,780 votes” that could give him a win. Rusty Bowers, Arizona’s GOP House speaker, testified about a call from Trump in which the president proposed that his chamber reject the slate of electors for Biden, who had won the state.

WHAT’S NEXT: The committee is planning to hold its eighth hearing next week. That hearing is expected to feature the testimony of White House aides and center on what Trump was doing during the hours that his supporters were violently breaking into the Capitol.

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