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Jan 6 hearings day 5: Gaetz ‘asked for pardon’, as Trump pressured DoJ over false election claims

‘I’ve lost my name, I’ve lost my reputation’: Voting official givers testimony at Jan 6 hearings

Thursday’s January 6 hearings have taken an in-depth look at how Donald Trump and his allies put extreme pressure on the Justice Department to help overturn the 2020 election.

Former acting deputy Attorney General Richard Donoghue told the committee that Mr Trump instructed him personally to say that the election was “corrupt,” and that he would use that as the impetus for Congress to act and refuse to certify the results.

“Just say it was corrupt and leave the rest to me and the Republican congressmen,” Donald Trump said, in words read aloud by Jan 6 committee member Adam Kinzinger.

Even after being repeatedly brief by DOJ officials that his election claims were meritless, Mr Trump still said he considered supporters who rioted at the Capitol “smart” because of their views the presidential contest was stolen.

“They were angry from the standpoint of what happened in the election,” Mr Trump told filmmaker Alex Holder. “Because they’re smart, and they see and they saw what happened, and I believe that that was a big part of what happened on January 6.”

As Republicans’ plan to challenge the election progressed, congressmembers Matt Gaetz, Marjorie Taylor Greene and Mo Brooks all sought pardons from Donald Trump.


Donald Trump was willing to ‘undermine’ US democracy to defend his ‘very fragile ego’: Adam Kinzinger

The committee just heard closing statements.

“The facts were irrelevant to president Trump,” Illinois congressman Adam Kinzinger said. “It was about protecting his very real power and his very fragilfe ego, even it if it meant recklessly undermining our entire electoral system.”

Mr Kinzinger said he’s worried another attempt to overturn the election could happen again.

“I’m still worried that not enough has changed to prevent this from happening again,” he continued. “The oath that we take has to mean something.”

Josh Marcus23 June 2022 22:45


Matt Gaetz, Marjorie Taylor Greene and Mo Brooks asked for pardons from Trump, Jan 6 hearing told

Representatives Mo Brooks, Matt Gaetz, Andy Biggs, Louis Gohmert, Marjorie Taylor Greene and Scott Perry were among the Republican members of Congress who asked then-president Donald Trump to insulate them from future prosecutions by granting them presidential pardons in the days immediately following the attack on the US Capitol on January 6 last year.

Their names were revealed by the House January 6 select committee on Thursday at the end of the panel’s hearing to examine Mr Trump’s efforts to pressure the Department of Justice to assist in his efforts to overturn his 2020 election loss to Joe Biden.

The select committee played videotaped excerpts from depositions of former Trump White House staffers, who described the Republican members’ efforts to obtain clemency after Mr Trump’s scheme brought about the worst attack on the Capitol since the War of 1812.

“The general tone because we may get prosecuted because we work The President’s positions on these things,” said former deputy White House counsel Eric Herschmann, who confirmed to the panel that Mr Gaetz asked for a pardon.

Richard Hall and Andrew Feinberg have more.

Josh Marcus23 June 2022 22:30


The reviews are in: Donald Trump calls Day 5 of hearings a ‘Kangaroo Court’

Donald Trump is fuming about the January 6 hearings, posting numerous messages on his app Truth Social throughout the committee’s proceedings on Thursday.

He argued that the committee was failing to present the president’s side of the story or air out his thoroughly debunked claims about a stolen election.

“They refuse to go there, they want it all CANCELED, because it would be IMPOSSIBLE for the Unselect Committee to refute or challenge that which would be put before them, or the American Public,” read one message.

Read the full messages below.

(Donald Trump / Truth Social)

(Donald Trump / Truth Social)

Josh Marcus23 June 2022 22:17


Trump wondered ‘What do I have to lose?’ as he pondered elevating conspiracy theorist at DOJ

In the days just before January 6, Donald Trump met with top Justice Department officials in the Oval Office.

He told the assembled leaders he was considering clearing house among the top leadership, who didn’t go along with the former president’s election conspiracies, and elevating Jeffrey Clark, a mid-level DOJ official who did.

“What do I have to lose?” Mr Trump wondered aloud, according to testimony from Richard Donoghue, former acting deputy attorney general.

“I said, ‘Mr. President, you have a great deal to lose,’” Mr Donoghue testified.

The top DOJ official said the decision to elevate Mr Clark, an environmental attorney with no background in criminal investigations, would be a disaster.

“It’s impossible, it’s absurd. It’s not going to happen. And he is going to fail,” Mr Donoghue continued in the meeting, according to his testimony.

He also said he warned the president the decision would prompt mass resignations.

Former White House counsel Pat Cipollone compared elevating Mr Clark, who wanted states that went for Biden to submit illegitimiate pro-Trump electors instead, to a “murder-suicide pact.”

Josh Marcus23 June 2022 22:04


Sean Penn sits with Capitol Police officers who were injured in riot at latest public Jan 6 hearing

Sean Penn sat with Capitol Police officers injured in the January 6 riots during Thursday’s hearing into the insurrection.

The Academy Award-winner and celebrity activist chatted and joked with Michael Fanone, now a CNN contributor, and shook hands with other officers.

“I’m just here to observe — just another citizen,” Penn told reporters.

“I think we all saw what happened on January 6 and now we’re looking to see if justice comes on the other side of it.”

Bevan Hurley has the story.

Josh Marcus23 June 2022 21:45


Donald Trump exploded in DOJ meeting and threatened leaders with firing

During a late December meeting with Richard Donoghue, the former acting deputy attorney general, and other DOJ officials, Donald Trump threatened the government lawyers with firing because they wouldn’t seize voting machines and declare that they were suspicious of the 2020 election results.

“Towards the end of the meeting the president again was getting very agitated. He said, ‘People tell me I should just get rid of both of you,’” Mr Donoghue testified on Thursday.

The president then said he was thinking of elevating Jeffrey Clark, a DOJ official who was circulating plans to have the Justice Department declare state election results suspect and encourage legislatures to send pro-Trump electors.

“Maybe something will finally get done,” Mr Trump said, according to the testimony.

Josh Marcus23 June 2022 21:40


Is this Trump’s Nixon moment?

Some are comparing Donald Trump and his allies’ efforts to get the Department of Justice to serve his political aims during a scandal to that of President Nixon’s infamous attempts to cover up the Watergate crisis.

As Maggie Haberman of The New York Times wrote on social media on Thursday, “Comparing Trump to Nixon has always been imperfect for a variety of reasons, but never have the parallels been as clear as during a hearing in which two top former DOJ officials testified about Trump wanting to use the department for strictly partisan political purposes.”

Josh Marcus23 June 2022 21:30


Trump told DOJ to say election was corrupt and ‘leave the rest to me’ and GOP, Jan 6 hearing told

Top officials at the Justice Department testified on Thursday that then-President Donald Trump put enormous pressure on them in near-daily phone calls and statements demanding that they declare the results of the 2020 election fraudulent with zero evidence.

Former acting deputy Attorney General Richard Donoghue told the committee that Mr Trump instructed him personally to say that the election was “corrupt”, and that he would use that as the impetus for Congress to act and refuse to certify the results.

“Just say it was corrupt and leave the rest to me and the Republican congressmen,” Donald Trump said, in words read aloud by Jan 6 committee member Adam Kinzinger, who then asked: “That’s a direct quote from President Trump, correct?”

“That’s an exact quote from the president, yes,” Mr Donoghue responded.

More details on this breaking news here.

Josh Marcus23 June 2022 21:23


Committee details pressure campaign to elevate Trump ally in DOJ

The committee is rolling out extensive evidence of how Trump allies pressured the Justice Department to elevate Jeffrey Clark, a mid-level official attempting to get the DOJ to cast doubt on the legitimacy of the election results.

They showed December text messages from US representative Scott Perry, who texted Trump White House chief of staff Mark Meadows that “we gotta get going” with plans about challenging the election and elevating Mr Clark to a high level position.

“I got it. I think I understand,” Mr Meadows replied.

(House Select Committee on January 6th)

Later that month, Mr Clark urged Richard Donoghue, the former acting deputy attorney general, to sign a letter criticising Georgia’s election results and proposing sending a slate of pro-Trump electors.

Mr Donoghue said he thought the letter was “extreme” and highly innappropriate, given the lack of evidence about election irregularities in the state.

“This is a grave step for the Department to take and could have tremendous constitutional, political and social ramifications for the country,” Mr Donoghue’s response read.

(Special Committee on January 6th)

“This was not based on fact,” the former DOJ official added during his testimony on Thursday. “It was actually contrary to the facts.”

“It may very well have spiralled us into a constitutional crisis,” he added.

Josh Marcus23 June 2022 21:15


Today’s hearings have focused on the role of the Justice Department as Donald Trump and his allies pressured officials to overturn the election.

A key figure in that effort was Jeffrey Clark, a DOJ environmental lawyer who hoped to use the department to legitimise Mr Trump’s false claims about the election and encourage states to send separate, illegitimate sets of electors for the former president.

Former acting deputy attorney general Richard Donoghue told the January 6 committee he thought Mr Clark was not qualified to weigh in on such matters. “I made the point that Jeff Clark is not even competent to serve as the Attorney General. He’s never been a criminal attorney. He’s never conducted a criminal investigation in his life,” Mr Donoghue told the committee, adding, “How about you go back to your office. and we’ll call you when there’s an oil spill.”

Josh Marcus23 June 2022 20:46

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