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Next January 6 committee hearing will concentrate on Trump silence during riot

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A video of former U.S. President Donald Trump from his January sixth Rose Garden statement is played as Cassidy Hutchinson, who was an aide to former White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows throughout the Trump administration, testifies during House Select Committee a public hearing to research the January 6 Attack on the U.S. Capitol, on the Capitol, in Washington, June 28, 2022.

Shawn Thew | Pool | Reuters

The House select committee investigating the Jan. 6 Capitol riot said its next hearing will concentrate on how former President Donald Trump’s failure to quell the violent mob for several hours showed a “supreme dereliction of duty.”

The committee’s eighth public hearing, expected to air in prime time July 21, marks its last scheduled presentation of evidence implicating Trump in a multi-pronged conspiracy to overturn his 2020 election loss that culminated within the deadly invasion.

The ultimate hearing will highlight the more-than-three-hour gap between Trump’s departure from a rally that preceded the riot on Jan. 6, 2021, and his eventual call for the mob to go home, committee members said.

The lawmakers “plan to undergo that 187 minutes,” said Rep. Elaine Luria, D-Va., in an ABC News interview Wednesday afternoon. She is about to steer the hearing with Rep. Adam Kinzinger, R-In poor health.

Trump made “inflammatory remarks” on the pre-riot rally, Luria said. Trump pressured then-Vice President Mike Pence to reject key electoral results and vowed to march along with his supporters to the Capitol. But Trump returned to the White House after the rally and remained there because the riot played out.

The committee will take a look at “what happened between that moment, after which around 4:17 within the afternoon, which is 187 minutes later, when he finally made a press release to the nation, to the people on the Capitol to go home,” Luria said.

The general public heard little from Trump during that interval. After 2 p.m. ET, he sent a series of tweets, first attacking Pence for lacking “the courage to do what must have been done” after which urging the violent mob that stormed the Capitol to “remain peaceful.”

At 4:17 p.m. ET, Trump tweeted a video message urging the rioters to go away, telling them, “Go home. We love you, you are very special.”

On Tuesday afternoon, Luria tweeted that she’s going to detail Trump’s “supreme dereliction of duty on January sixth” during next week’s hearing.

“We will speak about dereliction of duty — what were his duties, because the president of america, to make sure the laws were faithfully executed?” she told ABC on Wednesday. “Did the president live as much as his oath and his responsibility to the American people?”

Luria’s preview of the subsequent hearing built on remarks from Vice Chair Liz Cheney, R-Wyo., who said last month that the panel would show how Trump “did not take immediate motion to stop the violence and instruct his supporters to go away the Capitol.”

“In our final hearing, you’ll hear a moment-by-moment account of the hourslong attack from greater than a half-dozen White House staff, each live within the hearing room and via videotaped testimony. There isn’t a doubt that President Trump was well aware of the violence because it developed,” Cheney said.

“Not only did President Trump refuse to inform the mob to go away the Capitol, he placed no call to any element of the U.S. government to instruct that the Capitol be defended. He didn’t call his Secretary of Defense on January sixth. He didn’t discuss with his Attorney General. He didn’t discuss with the Department of Homeland Security,” said Cheney.

Trump, who was impeached within the House for inciting the riot but acquitted within the Senate, has denied wrongdoing and ceaselessly attacked the select committee as a “witch hunt.”

He still spreads false claims that President Joe Biden’s 2020 electoral victory was rigged by widespread voter fraud — the identical claims that motivated a lot of his supporters to march to the Capitol on Jan. 6.

The committee’s work is ongoing. Chairman Bennie Thompson, D-Miss., has not ruled out the potential for scheduling more public hearings because the investigation gathers more evidence in its yearlong probe of the riot.

As an illustration, the panel scheduled a further hearing on short notice as a way to share the testimony of Cassidy Hutchinson, a former aide to a Trump White House chief of staff, Mark Meadows.

One other key witness, former White House counsel Pat Cipollone, sat down for an interview earlier this month after the committee issued a subpoena for his testimony. Clips of Cipollone’s testimony were peppered throughout probably the most recent hearing, on Tuesday, and are expected to feature prominently in the ultimate public hearing, as well.

The ultimate hearing also follows Cheney’s surprising revelation that Trump tried to call a yet-to-be-named witness within the investigation. A lawyer for the witness informed the committee about Trump’s call, and the panel in turn “has supplied that information to the Department of Justice,” Cheney said.

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