Jun 23, 2022 - Politics & Policy

Here's who's testifying at the fifth Jan. 6 committee hearing

Photo: Aaron Schwartz/Xinhua via Getty Images

The Jan. 6 committee's fifth public hearing will convene at 3 p.m. ET on Thursday for another day of testimony from key witnesses, as the panel continues to lay out its case for former President Trump's culpability in the attack on the Capitol.

Why it matters: Thursday's hearing will showcase Trump's attempts to pressure the Justice Department into supporting his plan to overturn the 2020 election.

What to expect: Three former senior DOJ officials in the Trump administration will testify about Trump's pressure campaign in the months after the election.

  • Former Acting Attorney General Jeffrey Rosen
  • Former acting deputy attorney general Richard Donoghue
  • Former assistant attorney general for the office of legal counsel Steven Engel

Committee aides say the hearing will highlight how Trump was "trying to misuse the department to advance his own agenda to stay in power at the end of his term" and "how that really is different from historic precedent."

Aspects of the pressure campaign: The public will hear about how Trump tried to pressure the DOJ into doing a number of things on his behalf, among them filing lawsuits "for or with the Trump campaign," appointing a special counsel to investigate fraud claims, and issuing letters to states "concerning the sanctity of their elections," according to committee aides.

  • The hearing will also highlight Trump's threats to replace leadership within the DOJ.
  • There will be closed-door testimony from former Attorney General William Barr, who disputed false election claims, as well as from former assistant attorney general Jeffrey Clark, who was supportive of Trump's desire for the DOJ to declare the election fraudulent.

Catch up quick: Trump and his allies pushed senior DOJ officials to challenge 2020 election results. The former president reportedly sent Rosen "talking points" about debunked election fraud claims in Michigan, according to emails released last year by the House Oversight Committee.

  • 40 minutes after that email, Trump announced that Barr would step down and that Rosen would take his place.
  • Donoghue sent the same documents to the U.S. attorneys for the Eastern and Western Districts of Michigan and was promoted to acting deputy attorney general shortly thereafter.
  • Trump also pressed Rosen and Clark to challenge election results during meetings on Dec. 31, 2020, and Jan. 3, 2021.
  • Clark, who mostly refused to answer questions, will be "an important figure" in the hearing.
  • Clark had told Rosen and Donoghue that Trump had offered to install him as acting attorney general, committee aides said.

On at least five occasions, White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows directed DOJ officials to investigate baseless fraud claims, including a conspiracy alleging that electoral data was changed in Italian facilities with the knowledge of the CIA.

  • Rosen forwarded one of Meadows' emails linking to a YouTube video about the Italy conspiracy to Donoghue, who responded: "Pure insanity."

The big picture: At the committee's fourth hearing, state officials testified about Trump's attempts to convince them to change the election results even as his team refused to produce evidence.

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