Donald Trump has opened the floodgates to “disruption and corruption” and should be held legally responsible for the January 6, 2021 attack, the chairman of the inquiry into the attack on the Capitol said Thursday.
The former Republican leader “tried to destroy our democratic institutions,” Benny Thompson said during a prime-time hearing, capping a series of public presentations on his commission’s work.
“He paved the way for disorder and corruption,” and the elected Democrat, who was infected with Covid, intervened via video link.
According to him, all those responsible for the attack, including the White House, “must answer for their actions before the court”. “It will take serious consequences, otherwise I fear our democracy will not recover.”
Two members of the commission presented the January 6, 2021, “minute-by-minute” experience of Donald Trump, accusing him of “failing in his duty as commander-in-chief by doing nothing to prevent it.” Supporters wreaked havoc in the Capitol.
Nevertheless, on the day members of Congress were to certify the victory of his Democratic rival Joe Biden in the presidential election, he invited them to Washington.
At noon, in a fiery speech in the center of the capital, he asked them to “fight like demons” against “massive electoral fraud”. He then returned to the White House, where the mob launched an attack on the American temple of democracy.
It took more than three hours for his supporters to leave the campus. “I know your pain,” he finally told them in a video posted on Twitter. “But we have to go home now.”
Thursday’s hearing before the House of Representatives, where seven Democrats and two Republicans were rejected by their party, is supposed to take back what happened between the two talks.
In the White House’s private dining room, Donald Trump followed the attack on television as “his closest advisers and family members begged him to intervene,” Democrat Elaine Luria recounted.
But “President Trump refuses to act because of a selfish desire to retain power,” he added.
During this time, he “didn’t even pick up his phone once to order his administration to hand over,” underscoring Republican Liz Cheney, who he had already elected.
Then-Deputy National Security Adviser Matthew Pottinger and Deputy Press Secretary Sarah Matthews were called as witnesses. Both resigned after January 6.
The commission is also expected to show detailed video clips of Pat Cipollone’s testimony: the former White House legal counsel recently said his former boss should have admitted defeat.
Attempts by Donald Trump’s advisers the next day to condemn the violence against the Capitol on video and his difficulty in doing so could also be investigated.
More auditions to come
The public session will be the eighth in six weeks and the second broadcast in prime time across the country. The former have focused, among others, on the role of the far right in the attack or the pressure exerted on election agents by Donald Trump and his cronies.
The “January 6 Commission” will withdraw from public scrutiny to issue its final report, which will be delivered in the fall.
But he will continue to collect evidence and documents and new hearings will be held in September, says Penny Thompson.
Whatever his recommendations, the decision to prosecute Donald Trump will rest with Justice Secretary Merrick Garland, who has not ruled it out. “No one is above the law,” he said Wednesday.
Donald Trump, who is openly flirting with the idea of running for president in 2024, strongly condemns the commission’s work and will not fail to portray himself as the victim of a political mob if he is accused.