January 6 panel investigates Trump's 'siren call' to extremists

WASHINGTON (AP) — The january 6 committee is preparing to highlight how violent far-right extremists responded to Donald Trump’s “siren call” to come to Washington for a major rally, as some now face rare sedition charges over the deadly attack on Capitol Hill. of the USA to annul the presidential elections.

The panel investigating the Jan. 6, 2021, siege on Capitol Hill will meet Tuesday for a public hearing investigating what it calls the final phase of Trump’s multi-pronged effort to stop Joe Biden’s victory. As dozens of lawsuits and false claims of voter fraud floundered, Trump tweeted the invitation to the rally, a pivotal moment, the committee said. The Proud Boys, Oath Keepers and other far-rights now face criminal charges he answered easily.

“We will present the body of evidence that we have that speaks to how the president’s early morning Dec. 19 tweet of ‘Be there, be wild’ was a siren’s song to these people,” said panel member Rep. Stephanie Murphy, D-Fla., over the weekend on “Meet the Press.” In fact, Trump tweeted: “Be there, it will be wild!”

This is the seventh hearing in a series that has featured numerous blockbuster revelations from the January 6 committee. Over the past month, the panel has created a crude narrative of a defeated Trump “cut off from reality”, clinging to his false claims of voter fraud and working feverishly to reverse his electoral defeat. It all culminated in the deadly attack on Capitol Hill, the committee said.

What the committee intends to investigate Tuesday is whether extremist groups, including Proud Boys, Oath Keepers and QAnon supporters who had earlier rallied for Trump, coordinated with White House allies by Jan. 6. The Oath Keepers have denied that there is any plan to storm the Capitol.

The panel is also expected to highlight new testimony from Pat Cipollone, the former White House lawyer, who “was on top of every major move” Trump was making, said Rep. Jamie Raskin, D-Md., who will lead the session.

It is the only hearing scheduled for this week, as new details emerge. A hearing expected in prime time for Thursday has been shelved for now.

This week’s session comes after Cassidy Hutchinson, a former White House aide, provided amazing accounts under oath by an angry Trump who knowingly sent armed supporters to Capitol Hill on Jan. 6 and then refused to call them off quickly when violence erupted, siding with rioters as they menacingly sought out Vice President Mike Pence.

Trump has said that Cassidy’s account is not true. But Cipollone in Friday’s private session did not contradict earlier testimony. Raskin said the panel planned to use “a lot” of Cipollone’s testimony.

The panel is expected to highlight a Dec. 18, 2020, meeting at the White House in which former Trump attorneys Rudy Giuliani and Sidney Powell, former Trump national security adviser Michael Flynn and others pitched ideas to overturn the results. of the elections, Raskin told CBS over the weekend.

This was days after the Electoral College met on December 14 to certify Biden’s results, a moment when other key Republicans announced that the election and its challenges were over.

On December 19, Trump would send out the tweet calling supporters to Washington for the rally on January 6, the day Congress would certify the Electoral College count: “Big protest in DC on January 6. Be there! it will be wild!”

The Proud Boys and the Oath Keepers, far-right extremist groups whose leaders and others now face rare sedition charges for their role in the attack, were preparing to travel to Washington, according to court documents.

On Dec. 29, the president of the Proud Boys posted a message on social media saying that members planned to “show up in record numbers on Jan. 6,” according to a federal indictment.

The group planned to meet at the Washington Monument, its members instructed not to wear their traditional black and yellow colors, but to be “incognito.”

The Proud Boys have claimed that membership grew after Trump, during his first debate with Biden, refused to outright condemn the group, instead telling them to “stand back and wait.”

The night before Jan. 6, Proud Boys frontman Enrique Tarrio met with Oath Keepers frontman Stewart Rhodes in an underground parking lot, according to court documents along with footage a documentarian who followed the group provided to the panel. .

The Oath Keepers had also been organizing for Jan. 6, setting up a “rapid response force” at a nearby hotel in Virginia, according to court documents.

After the Capitol siege, Rhodes called someone with an urgent message for Trump, another member of the group said. Rhodes was denied the opportunity to speak with Trump, but he urged the person on the phone to tell the Republican president to call on militia groups to fight to keep the president in power.

An attorney for Rhodes recently told the committee that his client wants to testify publicly. Rhodes has already been interviewed by the committee in private, and the panel is unlikely to agree.

The panel also intends to discuss how many of the Trump supporters who stormed the Capitol on January 6 appeared to be QAnon believers. Federal authorities have explicitly linked at least 38 protesters to the pro-Trump conspiracy theory, according to an Associated Press review of court records.

One of the most recognizable figures from the Jan. 6 attack was a shirtless Arizona man calling himself the “QAnon Shaman,” carrying a spear and wearing face paint and a Viking hat with fur and horns.

A central belief among QAnon supporters is that Trump was secretly fighting a cabal of Satan-worshiping deep-state operatives, prominent Democrats, and Hollywood elites who engage in child sex trafficking.

The panel has shown, over the course of expedited hearings and eyewitness accounts from the former president’s inner circle, how Trump was told “over and over again,” as Vice President Liz Cheney, R-Wyoming, put it, that he had lost the election and his false claims of voter fraud were simply not true. However, Trump summoned his supporters to Washington and then sent them to Capitol Hill in what President Bennie Thompson, D-Miss., called an “attempted coup.”

___ Associated Press writers Farnoush Amiri and Mary Clare Jalonick in Washington and Michael Kunzelman in College Park, Maryland, contributed to this report.


For full coverage of the January 6 hearings, go to https://www.apnews.com/capitol-site.

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