Committee to investigate how Trump’s ‘siren call’ incited Capitol riots

The House committee is preparing to highlight the way violent far-right extremists answered Donald Trump’s “siren call” to come to Washington for a big rally.

he panel investigating the deadly attack on January 6 2021 is set to convene on Tuesday for a public hearing probing what it calls the final phase of Mr Trump’s multi-pronged effort to halt Joe Biden’s victory.

As dozens of lawsuits and false claims of voter fraud fizzled, Mr Trump tweeted the rally invitation, a pivotal moment, the committee said.

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The committee will probe to see whether extremist groups coordinated with White House allies ahead of the January 6 riots (Carolyn Kaster/AP)

The far-right groups Proud Boys, Oath Keepers and others are now facing criminal charges for readily answering the former president.

This is the seventh hearing in a series that has presented numerous blockbuster revelations from the January 6 committee.

Over the past month, the panel has created a stark narrative of a defeated Mr Trump “detached from reality”, clinging to his false claims of voter fraud and working feverishly to reverse his election defeat. It all culminated with the deadly attack on the Capitol, the committee said.

What the committee intends to probe on Tuesday is whether the extremist groups, including the Proud Boys, Oath Keepers and QAnon adherents who had rallied for Mr Trump before, coordinated with White House allies for January 6. The Oath Keepers have denied there was any plan to storm the Capitol.

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Proud Boys members Zachary Rehl, left, and Ethan Nordean, left, walk toward the US Capitol in Washington, in support of Donald Trump on January 6 2021 (Carolyn Kaster/AP)

The panel is also expected to highlight new testimony from Pat Cipollone, the former White House counsel, who “was aware of every major move” Mr Trump was making, said representative Jamie Raskin who will lead the session.

It is the only hearing set for this week, as new details emerge. An expected prime-time hearing on Thursday has been shelved for now.

This week’s session comes after former White House aide Cassidy Hutchinson provided stunning accounts under oath of an angry Mr Trump who knowingly sent armed supporters to the Capitol on January 6 and then refused to quickly call them off as violence erupted, siding with the rioters as they searched menacingly for then-Vice President Mike Pence.

Mr Trump has said Ms Hutchinson’s account is not true. But Mr Cipollone at Friday’s private session did not contradict earlier testimony. Mr Raskin said the panel planned to use “a lot” of Mr Cipollone’s testimony.

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An image of former President Donald Trump talking to his chief of staff Mark Meadows is seen as Cassidy Hutchinson, former aide to Trump White House chief of staff Mark Meadows, testifies (Sean Thew/Pool/AP)

The panel is expected to highlight a meeting on December 18 2020 at the White House in which Mr Trump’s former lawyers Rudy Giuliani and Sidney Powell, one-time Trump national security adviser Michael Flynn and others floated ideas for overturning the election results, Mr Raskin told CBS over the weekend.

On December 19, Mr Trump would send the tweet beckoning supporters to Washington for the January 6 rally, the day Congress was set to certify the Electoral College count:

He wrote: “Big protest in DC on January 6th. Be there, will be wild!”

The Proud Boys and the Oath Keepers, extremist far-right groups whose leaders and others are now facing rare sedition charges for their roles in the attack, prepared to come to Washington, according to court filings.

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