Washington — The House select committee investigating the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol is holding another public hearing on Tuesday, this time focusing on the role of extremists in the assault and the links between former President Donald Trump’s associates and the far-right groups.
While aides said the committee would not disclose who would be appearing in person due to concerns about security and potential harassment, two sources familiar with the panel’s plans told CBS News that one of the witnesses is Jason Van Tatenhove, the former national media director for the Oath Keepers. One source confirmed the second witness is Stephen Ayres, an Ohio man who was among the mob of Trump’s supporters who converged on the Capitol building near the U.S. Senate. He pleaded guilty to a charge of disorderly conduct last month.
Committee member Rep. Jamie Raskin said Sunday on “Face the Nation” that the upcoming hearing will “continue the story of Donald Trump’s attempt to overthrow the 2020 presidential election.” He and Rep. Stephanie Murphy, a Democrat from Florida, will play leading roles in the proceedings.
CBS News will broadcast the hearing as a Special Report starting at 1 p.m. ET.
Raskin noted on Sunday that the committee has been so far outlining former President Donald Trump’s pressure campaigns on the vice president, the Justice Department, state lawmakers and local elections officials ahead of Congress’ planned certification of the Electoral College on Jan. 6. Documentary filmmaker Nick Quested, who was embedded with the Proud Boys on Jan. 6, has provided footage from his film to the committee, some of which was shown at the first public hearing on June 9.
“One of the things that people are going to learn is the fundamental importance of a meeting that took place in the White House” on Dec. 18, Raskin said.
“And on that day, the group of outside lawyers who’ve been denominated ‘Team Crazy’ by people in and around the White House, came in to try to urge several new courses of action, including the seizure of voting machines around the country,” Raskin said. “And so, some of the people involved in that were Sidney Powell, Rudy Giuliani was around for part of that discussion, Michael Flynn was around for that. But against this ‘Team Crazy’ were an inside group of lawyers who essentially wanted the president at that point to acknowledge that he had lost the election, and were far more willing to accept the reality of his defeat at that point.”
Raskin said in the middle of the night on Dec. 19, Trump sent a tweet “after a crazy meeting, one that has been described as the craziest meeting in the entire Trump presidency.” Posted just before 2 a.m., the then-president teased in the tweet a “Big protest in D.C. on January 6th. Be there, will be wild!”
“Donald Trump sent out the tweet that would be heard around the world, the first time in American history when a president of the United States called a protest against his own government, in fact, to try to stop the counting of electoral college votes in a presidential election he had lost,” Raskin said. “Absolutely unprecedented, nothing like that had ever happened before. So people are going to hear the story of that tweet, and then the explosive effect it had in Trump World and specifically among the domestic violent extremist groups, the most dangerous political extremists in the country.”
A select committee aide told reporters that Trump’s Dec. 19 tweet was a “pivotal moment that spurred a chain of events,” including within the Proud Boys.
Last week, Trump White House counsel Pat Cipollone testified before the committee for more than eight hours. Raskin said Cipollone gave “valuable” information to the committee.
“We are going to get to use a lot of Mr. Cipollone’s testimony to corroborate other things we have learned along the way,” Raskin said. “He was the White House counsel at the time. He was aware of every major move I think Donald Trump was making to try to overthrow the 2020 election and essentially seize the presidency.”
The House Jan. 6 committee has held seven public hearings in June and July to showcase the evidence they have gathered during the 11-month investigation. The committee has heard hundreds of hours of testimony, including from some of the core members of Trump’s inner circle.
In addition to the information on pressure campaigns, the committee has also unveiled new details on the scheme allegedly proposed by Trump allies to put forward phony electors from several battleground states that President Joe Biden won.
On June 28, Cassidy Hutchinson, a former aide to Trump chief of staff Mark Meadows, testified publicly in a hastily added hearing. Her blockbuster testimony included that Trump was told the crowd at the Ellipse on Jan. 6 had guns and other weapons, and that the former president wanted to join them on the way to the Capitol. She also said she was told that Trump lunged towards a Secret Service agent in a presidential vehicle.
Hutchinson also testified that Meadows told her in the days leading up to Jan. 6 that, “There’s a lot going on Cass, but I don’t know, things might get real, real bad on Jan. 6.”
This weekend, attorneys for Trump ally Steve Bannon, who has been charged by the Justice Department for refusing to comply with a subpoena to testify, sent a letter to the committee saying he is willing to testify publicly.
Bannon has cited executive privilege in his refusal to testify, but Trump sent a letter to Bannon’s lawyers waiving executive privilege. Mr. Biden has rejected Trump’s claims of executive privilege, and the Supreme Court in January declined a request from the former president to shield a trove of his White House records, over which he initially asserted executive privilege.
The Justice Department on Monday questioned Bannon’s newfound willingness to testify, noting his about-face comes at the “eleventh hour,” as his contempt trial is set to begin July 18, and “is not a genuine effort to meet his obligations but a last-ditch attempt to avoid accountability.”
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