Updated Oct 13, 2022 - Politics & Policy

What to know ahead of Thursday's closing Jan. 6 hearing

A video of former President Donald Trump played on a screen during a hearing of the Select Committee to Investigate the January 6th Attack

A video of former President Trump plays on a screen during a House Jan. 6 committee hearing. Photo: Al Drago/Bloomberg via Getty Images

The Jan. 6 select committee is convening Thursday for what is its last public hearing before the midterm elections, and, potentially ever.

The big picture: The hearing will center on former President Trump and his efforts to overturn the 2020 election results and his role in events surrounding the violence on Jan. 6, Axios' Alayna Treene reports.

  • Rep. Zoe Lofgren (D-Calif.) on Tuesday previewed the hearing, saying that it will touch on the "close ties between people in Trump world and some of these extremist groups," adding that "there's some new material."
  • "We’re going to be going through, really some of what we’ve already found, but augmenting with new material that we’ve discovered through our work throughout this summer," she told CNN.
  • The hearing, which was originally scheduled for Sept. 28 but postponed due to Hurricane Ian, will not feature live testimony, sources tell Treene.
  • Thursday may be the last public hearing for Rep. Liz Cheney (R-Wyo.), the vice chair of the committee, after she lost an August primary for her re-election to a Trump-backed candidate.
  • Cheney, and Rep. Adam Kinzinger (R-Ill.), who is retiring, are the only two House Republicans on the panel.

How we got here

  • This week's hearing comes after the investigation into the Capitol riot has spanned more than a year and has included more than 130,000 documents and testimony from more than 1,000 witnesses.
  • The select committee in its previous hearings has tried to link Trump directly to the violence of Jan. 6 through witness testimonies and video evidence. Here's some of what we've learned so far ...

Cassidy Hutchinson, a top aide to former White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows, testified that Trump grew increasingly irate on Jan. 6, reportedly lunging at his former security detail when the Secret Service would not drive him to join protesters at the Capitol.

  • Hutchinson also testified that Trump knew that some rallygoers on Jan. 6 had weapons, but he requested that the metal detectors to enter the Ellipse be removed anyway.

Mike Pence's legal aides testified that the former vice president resisted the "pressure campaign" by Trump to reject electoral votes.

  • Top Trump administration and campaign officials, including former Attorney General Bill Barr, described trying to convince Trump that he lost the election — and the 45th president's continued commitment to pushing the "big lie" anyway.

What to watch

  • Conservative activist Ginni Thomas, wife of Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas, sat for a closed-door interview with the committee late last month. Her testimony was transcribed, but not filmed.
  • Thomas, who was in touch with Trump advisers about efforts to overturn the results of the 2020 election, answered "some questions," Rep. Bennie Thompson (D-Miss.), the panel's chair, said of her interview.
  • The committee may show some of the thousands of Secret Service materials obtained in response to a subpoena of the agency about their communications surrounding the Capitol riot, per Treene.
  • The panel is also expected to play some video from a Danish film crew that followed Roger Stone for a documentary, titled "A Storm Foretold."

What's next

  • The select committee has said that it plans to release a final report after the midterm election, but plenty of news could be made before then, Axios previously reported.
  • "We are charged with writing a report, which will not be done in the next few weeks, but we're busily working on that, along with recommendations for policy changes to make us more secure in the future," Lofgren told CNN this week.

The bottom line: One question underpinning the panel's work is whether the final report should include a criminal referral regarding Trump's conduct.

  • Schiff said previously that if a referral is made, it should be unanimous among panel members.
  • “It will be certainly, I think, my recommendation, my feeling that we should make referrals, but we will get to a decision as a committee, and we will all abide by that decision, and I will join our committee members if they feel differently," he told CNN.

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