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Jan. 6 Panel to Sum Up Its Case Against Trump: Dereliction of Duty


The House committee investigating the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol plans to return to prime time on Thursday to deliver what amounts to a closing argument within the case it has made against former President Donald J. Trump, accusing the previous commander in chief of dereliction of duty for failing to call off the assault carried out in his name.

To accomplish that, the panel will put two military veterans — Representative Elaine Luria, Democrat of Virginia and Representative Adam Kinzinger, Republican of Illinois — front and center in leading its presentation and questioning.

Ms. Luria, the one Democrat on the panel involved in a competitive re-election race, served within the Navy for greater than 20 years and achieved the rank of commander. Mr. Kinzinger is an Air Force veteran who flew missions in Iraq and Afghanistan. One among the witnesses they plan to query in person, Matthew Pottinger, who was deputy national security adviser under Mr. Trump and the highest-ranking White House official to resign on Jan. 6, 2021, is a Marine Corps veteran.

In an interview previewing the hearing, which is scheduled for 8 p.m. on July 21, Ms. Luria said the panel planned to document in great detail how Mr. Trump did nothing for greater than three hours while his supporters stormed the Capitol, raising ethical, moral and legal questions around the previous president.

“The captain of a ship cannot sit there and watch the ship burned to the waterline and never do anything to stop it,” Ms. Luria said, invoking her experience within the Navy, where she worked on nuclear reactors. “And that’s exactly what he did.”

Key Revelations From the Jan. 6 Hearings

Ms. Luria said the panel planned to elicit in-person accounts of what went on within the West Wing on Jan. 6 from Mr. Pottinger and Sarah Matthews, a former White House press aide who had resigned within the aftermath of the riot. It also plans to play recorded testimony from Pat A. Cipollone, the previous White House counsel, and others to document Mr. Trump’s inaction on Jan. 6.

“We’ve accounts from individuals who observed him,” Ms. Luria said. “There was no concern, anger, distress. He wasn’t upset by it.”

The committee plans to display that Mr. Trump had the facility to call off the mob but refused to accomplish that until after 4 p.m. that day — after which only after a whole lot of officers had responded to the Capitol to support the overrun Capitol Police force, and had begun to show the tide against the mob, making it clear that the siege would fail, in keeping with committee aides.

The panel also plans to indicate outtakes from Mr. Trump’s video remarks of Jan. 7 during which he struggled to sentence the violence and promise a peaceful transfer of power, in keeping with an individual aware of the committee’s plans. The plans to indicate the outtakes were reported earlier by The Washington Post.

Representative Bennie Thompson, Democrat of Mississippi and the chairman of the committee, plans to preside over the hearing remotely, after having tested positive for Covid-19 this week.

The panel has already began detailing a few of its evidence of Mr. Trump’s inaction. Ms. Matthews has told the committee that a tweet Mr. Trump sent attacking Vice President Mike Pence while the riot was underway was like “pouring gasoline on the fireplace.”

Mr. Trump had tried unsuccessfully to pressure Mr. Pence, who was contained in the Capitol as rioters breached the constructing chanting “Hang Mike Pence,” to reject Congress’s official count of electoral votes to verify Joseph R. Biden Jr. because the president-elect.

Each Mr. Pottinger and Ms. Matthews have cited that tweet as contributing to their desire to go away the White House.

“These were individuals who believed within the work of administration, yet, on this present day, when faced with the circumstances, the president’s inaction, and a few of the statements he made, they decided they were done, they were going to resign,” Mrs. Luria said. “That may be very powerful if you heard from them directly.”

The committee has also said it received testimony from Keith Kellogg, a retired lieutenant general who was Mr. Pence’s national security adviser. He told the panel that Ivanka Trump, Mr. Trump’s eldest daughter, urged her father at the very least twice to call off the violence, as did Mark Meadows, the chief of staff, and Kayleigh McEnany, the White House press secretary.

The panel has also released text messages from Fox News hosts, including Sean Hannity and Laura Ingraham, and Donald Trump Jr., one among the president’s sons, calling for him to do more to stop the violence that day.

“Anyone who got here into contact with him that day and everybody who had access to him, from what they’ve shared with the committee, made some extent of effort to attempt to get him to do more,” Ms. Luria said.

At each of its hearings this summer, the panel has presented evidence that lawmakers and aides consider may very well be used to bolster a criminal case against Mr. Trump. The committee has uncovered latest details that they consider could provide evidence of a conspiracy to defraud the American people and Mr. Trump’s own donors; revelations about his plan to submit false slates of electors that could lead on to charges of filing false documents to the federal government; and disclosures about his plot to disrupt the electoral count on Capitol Hill that suggest he may very well be prosecuted for obstructing an official proceeding of Congress.

While there are penalties for members of the military who’re found derelict of their duties, Ms. Luria said she was undecided Mr. Trump may very well be charged with a criminal offense in consequence of his inaction.

Even so, she said, Thursday’s hearing was expected to be a capstone within the a series of hearings throughout June and July during which the panel has laid out its initial findings from greater than 1,000 interviews.

The panel is anticipated to proceed its investigation, adding to its work in anticipation of the discharge of a preliminary report on September. The committee could also call more public hearings, members have said.

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