Jan. 6 committee hearing today will focus on Trump’s attempt to influence the Justice Department — watch live
Thursday will mark the fifth recent public hearing of the House select committee investigating the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the US Capitol. Committee chair Rep. Bennie Thompson said the hearing was set to focus on former President Trump’s attempts to influence the Justice Department to help him overturn the 2020 presidential election.
« Just as we heard today that Donald Trump was deeply involved in the scheme to pressure state officials to overturn the election results, we will hear on Thursday that Donald Trump was also the driving force behind an effort to corrupt the Justice Department, » Thompson said during Tuesday’s hearing.
CBS News will broadcast the hearing as a special report at 3 p.m. Eastern, led by « CBS Evening News » anchor and managing editor Norah O’Donnell.
Witnesses will include former acting attorney general Jeffrey Rosen; forming acting deputy attorney general Richard Donoghue; and train assistant attorney general Steven Engel. Donoghue has tested before the committee that Trump suggested replacing Rosen with former Justice Department official Jeffrey Clark.
« I said, ‘Sir, I would resign immediately. There is no way I’m serving one minute under this guy, Jeff Clark,' » Donoghue recalled saying, according to a clip of Donoghue the committee played Tuesday.
Rosen, the former acting attorney general, will tell the committee that the DOJ « maintained the position that the department had been presented with no evidence of widespread fraud at a scale sufficient to change the outcome of the 2020 election, » according to testimony obtained by CBS News.
« Some argued to the former president and public that the election was corrupt and stolen, » Rosen is expected to say. « That view was wrong then and it is wrong today, and I hope our presence here today helps reaffirm that fact. »
Committee aides said Thursday that the committee will argue that Trump only failed because the leadership team at the Justice Department threatened to resign. There could potentially be video from Clark’s meeting with the committee, during which he pleaded the Fifth.
In addition to Trump’s efforts to pressure the Justice Department to say there was election fraud, the hearing will also focus on Trump’s efforts to pressure the Justice Department to file for or with the Trump campaign to challenge the election results, committee aides said Thursday morning. The hearing will also look at how Trump wanted the Justice Department to send letters to states concerning the sanctity of their elections, according to committee aides.
Trump’s threats to replace or fire leadership within the Justice Department – which was met with resistance by a few senior leaders – will also be examined, committee aides said.
Committee aides said the hearing will look at Trump’s efforts to supplement a special counsel to investigate election fraud. And there will also be a focus on efforts to pressure Georgia and US Attorney BJay Pak, who tested earlier this month.
GOP Rep. Adam Kinzinger is expected to lead much of Thursday’s hearing and questioning.
Tuesday’s hearing focused on the fake voters scheme and threats made to state lawmakers and election officials sparked by Trump’s direct verbal attacks on them or more general insistence that the election was stolen.
Train election worker Shaye Moss tested Tuesday that she and her family were threatened « all because of lies » about the election being stolen. With her mother and fellow 2020 election worker Ruby Freeman beside her, Moss detailed the threats she received from Trump supporters because of false claims made by Trump and his attorney Rudy Giuliani.
« A lot of threats, » she tested. « Wishing death upon me. … A lot of them were racist. A lot of them were just hateful. »
On Tuesday, Vice Chair Liz Cheney said she thinks Americans deserve to hear publicly from former White House counsel Pat Cipollone, who was in the White House when Trump was attempting to influence election officials and encouraging his own vice president to attempt to thwart the 2020 presidential election.
« The American people have not yet heard from Mr. Trump’s former White House counsel, Pat Cipollone, » Cheney said in her closing statement. « Our is certain that Donald Trump does not want Mr. Cipollone to testify here. Indeed, our evidence shows that Mr. Cipollone and his office tried to do what was right. They tried to stop a number committee of President Trump’s plans for Jan. 6. »
Rebecca Kaplan and Rob Legare contributed to this report.