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January 6 committee to argue in upcoming hearing Trump remains a ‘clear and present danger’


By Annie Grayer, Jamie Gangel, Zachary Cohen and Sara Murray, CNN

The House Select Committee investigating the January 6 attack on the US Capitol will treat its Thursday hearing as a closing argument ahead of the November midterms, which will seek to hammer home that former President Donald Trump remains a clear and present danger to democracy, particularly in the context of the upcoming 2024 presidential election, multiple sources tell CNN.

Although there will not be witnesses appearing in-person on Thursday, sources say, the hearing will feature new testimony and evidence that the committee has uncovered. Since its last hearing in July, the committee has interviewed more former members of Trump’s cabinet, received more than a million communications from the Secret Service from the lead-up to the riot, and sat down with Ginni Thomas, the wife of Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas.

“We discovered through our work through this summer what the President’s intentions were, what he knew, what he did, what others did,” committee member Rep. Zoe Lofgren told CNN on Tuesday evening, referring to the material gathered since the panel’s last hearing in July.

Some of the evidence presented on Thursday will come from new witnesses, sources say, which could include Trump’s former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, former Secretary of Treasury Steve Mnuchin, and former Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao. Some of the new testimony will come from witnesses the committee has presented in previous hearings.

The committee returns to the public eye amid a markedly changed investigative landscape. In the months since the last hearing, the FBI searched the former President’s Mar-a-Lago estate as part of its investigation into the apparent mishandling and retention of sensitive government documents. In a separate probe, the Justice Department has fired off subpoenas to dozens of individuals connected to Trump, as its investigation into efforts to subvert the 2020 election intensifies and expands.

The hearing also comes less than a month before the midterm elections and the committee is expected to focus on the former President’s continued efforts to claim the 2020 election was stolen and put GOP election deniers in office.

“There remains a clear and present danger to our electoral system and to democratic institutions. So, that is something that will come through in our final hearing. This is not ancient history we’re talking about, this is a continuing threat,” Democratic Rep. Jamie Raskin told CNN.

“I think the single most urgent question is OK, what is the continuing clear and present danger we face now from the forces that Donald Trump unleashed.”

Still, committee members have insisted, albeit with few details, that they will bring new information to the forefront.

“I do think it will be worth watching,” Lofgren said on “The Situation Room” Tuesday evening. “There’s some new material that I found, as we got into it, pretty surprising.”

That will likely include previously unseen video and also new Secret Service emails, sources familiar with the matter told CNN. The trove of communications between agents could reveal more about why certain messages were deleted on the days leading up to and on the day of the Capitol attack.

As part of its closing message, the committee will frame the US Capitol attack within a broader context and emphasize that the “danger to our democracy did not end that day,” according to Democratic Rep. Adam Schiff.

The reason, Schiff told reporters last week, is because Trump and his allies continue to push the same baseless claims about the 2020 election that led to the violence nearly two years ago.

While Schiff declined to discuss specific themes that will be covered during Thursday’s hearing, he made clear that the committee plans to focus not only on how Trump’s failed efforts to overturn the 2020 election culminated in his supporters ultimately storming the US Capitol on January 6 but how the former President remains a threat to democracy.

“I think that what you’ve seen consistently and increasingly is Donald Trump continuing to suggest and to say the same things that we know caused violence on January 6,” GOP Rep. Liz Cheney, who serves as vice chair of the committee, told CNN.

While the committee has gleaned new information in recent months, it has also hit roadblocks.

A late-September effort to obtain testimony from Wisconsin Assembly Speaker Robin Vos ahead of Thursday’s hearing stalled after Vos sued to block the subpoena. The committee had hoped to hear about a call Vos received from Trump in July 2022, in which Trump once again pressed Vos to decertify the state’s 2020 election results.

Members have hinted that the hearing could address more information about longtime Trump ally Roger Stone and his connection to extremist groups.

“The mob was led by some extremist groups,” Lofgren said on “The Situation Room.” “They plotted in advance what they were going to do, and those individuals were known to people in the Trump orbit.”

Sources also say the hearing is likely to feature testimony from former Trump officials who resigned after January 6.

But some topics are not expected to get addressed, sources say. The panel is not planning on releasing an interim report around Thursday’s hearing and has not made a final decision on if or when it will make any criminal referrals to the Department of Justice. Although members have said the upcoming midterms do not impact their timing, it remains an important factor.

Members on the committee are also still deliberating whether to officially call Trump and former Vice President Mike Pence testify before the committee’s investigation ends and the final report gets released at the end of the year.

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