Oct 12, 2022 - Politics & Policy

Jan. 6 committee's closing arguments

Adam Kinzinger and Liz Cheney

Photo: Tasos Katopodis/Getty Images

Don't hold your breath for surprise appearances from former Vice President Mike Pence, Justice Clarence Thomas' wife Ginni or self-proclaimed "dirty trickster" Roger Stone when the House Jan. 6 committee takes the stage again on Thursday.

The big picture: The committee's last hearing before the midterms, and perhaps ever, will focus overwhelmingly on one central antagonist — former President Trump — and won't feature live testimony, people familiar with the plans tell Axios.

What we're hearing: Lawmakers on the panel want to minimize ancillary players becoming a sideshow and keep the focus on evidence tying Trump to the attack.

Details: The panel will refocus on Trump’s efforts to overturn the 2020 election results and his role in other events before, during and after the violence on Jan. 6.

  • The committee may show some of the roughly 800,000 pages of Secret Service materials received in response to a subpoena about their communications on and around the attack, sources told Axios. A crucial question has been why some Secret Service text messages from Jan. 5-6 went missing.
  • The committee also is expected to use some evidence from a Danish film crew that followed Stone for a documentary, titled "A Storm Foretold." The crew shared text messages with the committee showing Stone's relationship with extremist groups like the Proud Boys and Oath Keepers, as well as how he sought a pardon after Jan. 6.
  • While the panel may reference some testimony from Thomas, the conservative activist and wife of Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas, her closed-door testimony to the committee in late September was transcribed but not videotaped.

Between the lines: The hearing also will serve as a closing moment on the congressional stage for the two Republicans on the panel — Reps. Liz Cheney (R-Wyo.) and Adam Kinzinger (R-Ill.) — who are taking steps to solidify the legitimacy of their political leadership after being cast out of their party.

  • After voting to impeach Trump, Kinzinger announced he would not seek re-election. Cheney lost her GOP primary to a pro-Trump challenger.
  • Kinzinger on Tuesday announced a series of endorsements for Democratic candidates.
  • Cheney has publicly urged voters to oppose Arizona's GOP gubernatorial candidate Kari Lake and secretary of state candidate Mark Finchem, saying she'd "absolutely" vote for a Democrat in these races.
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