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US Capitol probe puts Trump at center of ‘attempted coup’

#Capitol #probe #puts #Trump #center #attempted #coup

A congressional panel investigating last year’s mob attack on the US Capitol detailed Thursday that Donald Trump and his claims of a stolen election were at the center of a “coup attempt” to stay in power.

In a prime-time presentation of its findings from a year-long investigation, the select committee attempted to convince a divided country of the existence of an entrenched and ongoing conspiracy — orchestrated by the former president — to overturn the outcome of the Joe Biden-winning 2020 election.

“President Trump has summoned the mob, rallied the mob, and lit the flame of this attack,” Republican vice chair of the panel Liz Cheney said in her opening remarks at the first of a series of much-anticipated hearings this summer.

Minutes earlier, Bennie Thompson, chairman of the Democratic Committee, accused Trump of being “at the center of this conspiracy.”

“January 6 was the culmination of an attempted coup – a brazen attempt, as one rioter put it shortly after January 6 – to overthrow the government. The violence was no accident,” he said.

Rioters acted “at the encouragement of the President of the United States” to march to Congress and block the legislature’s formal transfer of power to Biden, he added.

The panel’s carefully crafted presentation drew on testimonies made behind closed doors by some of Trump’s oldest and most trusted advisers, including former Attorney General Bill Barr and Trump’s son-in-law and senior adviser Jared Kushner.

– ‘Witch Hunt’ –

The panel aims to show that the violence was part of a broader — and ongoing — effort by Trump and his inner circle to illegitimately cling to or regain power, tearing up the Constitution, and more than two centuries of peaceful transitions from one government to the next other the next.

Thursday’s session and five subsequent hearings in the coming weeks will focus on Trump’s role in the multifaceted effort to return him to the Oval Office by disenfranchising millions of voters.

Trump has defiantly dismissed the inquiry as an unfounded “witch hunt” – but the public hearings mattered most to him on Thursday, as he launched a largely false tirade on his social media platform, defending the insurgency as “the greatest movement in history.” our country to make America great again.”

After the hearing, he again lashed out at Truth Social, accusing the committee of bias and doubling down on his allegations of voter fraud.

“The Unselect Committee of Political HACKS refuses to play one of the many positive witnesses and testimonies,” he wrote.

The committee wants to argue that Trump laid the groundwork for the insurgency by spreading lies about fraud in an election his own administration has called the safest ever for months.

His White House is accused of being involved in several potentially illegal schemes to aid the effort, including a plot to confiscate voting machines and another to appoint bogus “alternative voters” from swing states who ignore the will of their constituents and Trump would present the victory.

– ‘Human blood slipping’ –

Thursday’s hearing included live testimony from two people who interacted with members of the neo-fascist organization Proud Boys on January 6 and in the days leading up to the violence.

Emmy-winning British documentary filmmaker Nick Quested testified how he observed members of the Proud Boys in the days leading up to January 6 and how he interacted with them on the day itself.

Quested recalled being shocked by “the anger” he saw among members of the group, and described the larger crowd at the rally as “changing from protesters to rioters to rioters.”

“I was surprised by the size of the group, the anger and the profanity,” he said.

Capitol Police Officer Caroline Edwards, who was present when the first barricade was breached, described head injuries in clashes with the Proud Boys, whose leader was charged with seditious conspiracy, along with four lieutenants.

“I can only remember catching my breath because what I saw was just a war scene. It was kind of like what I saw in the movies,” she said.

“I couldn’t believe my eyes. There were officers on the ground – they were bleeding, they were throwing up… I saw friends with bloody faces. I slipped in people’s blood.”

– court of public opinion –

The hearing series will differ from Trump’s two impeachment trials in that he will not be in the room because he is not on trial — except perhaps in the court of public opinion.

Still, some of his most loyal counters are expected to circle the wagons, challenging 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 sweeping oversight powers, and a Trump-appointed federal judge last month firmly dismissed Republican arguments that the committee was illegitimate.

The panel has not confirmed what it intends to do after the initial hearings, but at least one more presentation and final report is expected in the fall.

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#Capitol #probe #puts #Trump #center #attempted #coup

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