The House committee investigating the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol plans to release new evidence Thursday about how President Donald J. Trump attempted to manipulate the Department of Justice to help him cling to power after losing the 2020 election, aides said.
In its fifth public hearing this month, scheduled for 3 p.m. Thursday, the committee plans to hear testimony from three former senior Justice Department officials who are expected to outline the ways in which Mr. Trump has attempted to abuse the attorney general’s office to strike down. His defeat, an unusual example of a president interfering with the country’s law enforcement to his own personal ends.
Committee aides said the committee would detail how Mr. Trump unsuccessfully pushed administration officials to falsely declare the existence of widespread election fraud, to file lawsuits in favor of his campaign and to appoint a conspiracy theorist as special counsel to investigate the election. It will also trace his failed efforts to send false messages to state officials to sabotage the election results, and finally to Replacing the Acting Attorney Generalwho refused to keep pace with his plans.
Trump eventually backed down after agency officials threatened mass resignations, but the committee presents his actions as a critical step in a multi-level effort by the former president to sabotage the election.
The witnesses scheduled to testify are Jeffrey A. Rosen, Acting Attorney General; Richard B. and Steven A. Engel, former Assistant Attorney General for the Office of Legal Counsel.
Topics for the January 6 Committee sessions in the House of Representatives
Representative Adam Kinzinger, a Republican from Illinois and a member of the committee, is expected to play a central role in questioning witnesses and providing evidence. He hinted that the hearing may reveal more information about members of Congress who sought pardons after January 6.
Trump’s attempt to interfere with the Justice Department’s business to keep his office well was documented by both the Senate Judiciary Committee and the House Committee on Jan. 6, but House investigation aides said Thursday’s hearing will contain new suggestions. .
Time and time again, department officials told Trump after the election that his allegations of widespread fraud were false, and prompted him to retract some of his more radical proposals.
One dramatic moment came at the Oval Office meeting on January 3, 2021, when Jeffrey ClarkAn unidentified attorney in the department who has been strategizing how to keep Mr. Trump in power suggested that the agency issue a legal opinion to Vice President Mike Pence telling him what actions he could take during the joint session of Congress. Three days later, when lawmakers were scheduled to meet for the official election count that would confirm Joseph R. Biden Jr.
“This is a ridiculous idea,” Mr. Engel interjected, according to testimony he gave before the commission. “It is not the role of the Department of Justice to provide legislative officials with legal advice on the scope of their duties.”
Trump then spoke and told Justice Department officials, who had repeatedly told him that his allegations of widespread fraud were false, and that they would not speak to Pence.
“No one should be talking to the vice president here,” Trump said, according to Mr. Engel.
Mr. Trump will go to Over and over again pay Mr. Pence To try to overturn the election results.
Also at that meeting, Mr. Trump proposed removing Mr. Rosen, who had been advising him that the 2020 election had not been stolen, and replacing him with Mr. Clark, who was willing to bid.
“Sir, I will resign immediately,” said Mr. Donoghue, according to testimony he gave. “It is impossible for me to serve a minute under this man,” he said of Mr. Clark.
Mr. Trump then turned to Mr. Engel and said, “Steve, you’re not resigning, are you?” “Of course I will, Mr. President,” replied Mr. Engel. “You leave me no choice.”
Justice Department officials have also been witnesses to interactions between Pat A. Cipollone, the White House counsel, and Mr. Trump. Cipollone has been invited by the commission to testify publicly, but he has so far declined.
Mr. Cipollone opposed the plan put forward by Mr. Clark, who wanted to distribute official letters to several state legislatures falsely alerting them that elections might have been stolen and urging them to reconsider the approved election results.
“That’s the message this man wants to send – that message is a murder and suicide pact,” Mr. Cipollone told Mr. Trump. “It will harm everyone who touches it. And we shouldn’t do anything with this letter. I don’t ever want to see this letter again.”
The committee plans to hold at least two more sessions in July, according to its chair, Representative Benny Thompson, Democrat of Mississippi. These sessions are expected to detail how a mob of violent extremists attacked Congress and how Mr. Trump did nothing to reverse the violence for more than three hours.