Jun 9, 2022 - Politics & Policy

The Jan. 6 committee's Trump targets

Illustration of the Capitol building's dome lifting upward, letting glowing beams of lights escape from inside
Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

The House Jan. 6 committee has extensively investigated the "ripple effect" of President Trump's tweets in egging on Capitol rioters.

Why it matters: The committee is keenly interested in how Trump's tweets shaped extremist groups' actions before and on Jan. 6. Some committee members argue that Trump's tweets provide indirect connective tissue establishing his culpability.

What's happening: The committee, which holds a prime-time hearing Thursday at 8 p.m. ET, has painstakingly traced how these groups — including the Proud Boys and Oath Keepers — interacted with Trump's tweets on TheDonald.win and other message boards.

  • Trump sent a variety of tweets after the election that riled up supporters. "BE STRONG!" he implored on Jan. 6, 2021.

Here are two other committee areas of interest:

1. Efforts by Trump and aides to destroy documents.

  • Trump often tore up White House documents that should have been preserved as presidential records.
  • Some of the presidential records sent to the Jan. 6 committee by the National Archives had been ripped up, then taped back together, the Washington Post reported.
  • A committee witness testified that then-White House chief of staff Mark Meadows burned papers in his West Wing fireplace after meeting with a House Republican about challenging the 2020 election, the N.Y. Times and Politico reported.

2. Trump's consideration of invoking the Insurrection Act, a federal law that allows the president to deploy the military domestically.

  • Committee members have studied how close Trump came to invoking the act immediately after the election and leading up to Jan. 6.

What's next: The committee told reporters on a preview call on Wednesday that the prime-time hearing will show "ongoing threats to American democracy" — and will include clips from the depositions of Trump family members, White House officials and campaign aides.

Editor's note: This story has been corrected to say that the committee traced interactions on TheDonald.win and other message boards. A previous version of the story incorrectly said the interactions were on Reddit.

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