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Jan. 6 hearing live updates: Panel to focus on Trump’s pressure on Justice Department to overturn election

The Washington Post logo The Washington Post 6/23/2022 John Wagner
Chairman Bennie G. Thompson (D-Miss.) and Vice Chairwoman Liz Cheney (R-Wyo.) appear in Washington on Tuesday at a hearing of the House select committee investigating the Jan. 6, 2021, insurrection. © Jabin Botsford/The Washington Post Chairman Bennie G. Thompson (D-Miss.) and Vice Chairwoman Liz Cheney (R-Wyo.) appear in Washington on Tuesday at a hearing of the House select committee investigating the Jan. 6, 2021, insurrection.

The House select committee investigating the Jan. 6, 2021, insurrection is holding its fifth hearing of the month on Thursday, with a focus on President Donald Trump’s efforts to pressure the Justice Department to help overturn the 2020 presidential election won by Joe Biden. Shortly before the attack on Congress, senior Justice Department officials resisted Trump’s attempt to oust the acting head of the department, Jeffrey Rosen, if Rosen didn’t agree to have the agency publicly suggest the 2020 election results were invalid.

Rosen plans to testify Thursday that the Justice Department “held firm” against political pressure to take sides over the 2020 election results, according to prepared remarks. Also scheduled to testify are Richard Donoghue, another senior Justice Department official, who also pushed back against Trump’s demands, and Steven A. Engel, a long-serving department official who warned Trump that any move to replace Rosen would prompt mass resignations.

What you need to know

  • Here’s more on what to expect from Thursday’s hearing, which begins at 3 p.m. Eastern time.
  • The previous hearing, on Tuesday, focused on Trump’s campaign to pressure state officials to overturn election results and a scheme to install fake electors in seven battleground states won by Biden.
  • Thursday’s hearing will be the final hearing this month by the Jan. 6 committee, but the panel is planning hearings in July as it weighs what members have said is voluminous evidence still coming in.
  • Live coverage anchored by Libby Casey begins at 2:30 p.m. Eastern time. Rhonda Colvin will report from Capitol Hill, with additional reporting from Devlin Barrett, Michael Kranish, Mary Beth Albright, and Hannah Jewell, and analysis from James Hohmann.

10:07 AM: Who is Jeffrey Rosen?

Jeffrey Rosen is among the former Justice Department officials testifying at the Jan. 6 hearing Thursday. © Jabin Botsford/The Washington Post Jeffrey Rosen is among the former Justice Department officials testifying at the Jan. 6 hearing Thursday.

Jeffrey Rosen, the former acting attorney general, will testify about what it was like in the final days of the Trump administration as the former president sought to pressure Justice Department officials to buy into false claims that he won the 2020 presidential election.

The Harvard Law School graduate was a partner at law firm before joining the Transportation Department as a deputy secretary. Rosen was eventually tapped to replace then-Attorney General William P. Barr in an acting capacity as the Justice Department’s top official.

A Trump supporter in the Justice Department attempted to get Rosen to sign a draft letter informing Republican-led legislatures in the key battleground states where the former president lost that the department was going to investigate voter fraud. But Rosen refused.

This hostility toward President Donald Trump’s false claims about the 2020 election put Rosen at risk of losing his job. Trump was vocal about wanting to replace him with a lower-ranking individuals that the former president thought would be more open to defending his debunked claims of voter fraud. But Trump allowed Rosen to remain in place when multiple other top Justice Department officials said they would resign if he were removed from his position.

By: Eugene Scott

9:47 AM: Trump increasingly irate with lack of GOP defenders on panel

House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) walks to his office after a vote on Capitol Hill on June 22. © Oliver Contreras for The Washington Post House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) walks to his office after a vote on Capitol Hill on June 22.

On the morning the House Jan. 6 committee held its second public hearing, House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) was across town, echoing an instruction he has repeatedly given fellow Republicans: Ignore it.

Speaking to donors gathered at the Georgetown Four Seasons, McCarthy instead recommended Republicans talk about other issues that could help them regain the majority in both chambers of Congress, according to people familiar with the meeting, such as the soaring inflation rate and record-high gas prices — all under Democrats’ watch.

While most rank-and-file members in the Republican House conference have heeded his direction, another influential Republican has tuned into every hearing and has grown increasingly irate — to “the point of about to scream at the TV,” according to a close adviser — with what he views as the lack of defense by his Capitol Hill allies.

Former president Donald Trump has said privately for months that McCarthy’s decision to pull pro-Trump Republicans from sitting on the Jan. 6 select committee was a mistake, one that has become clearer as Trump watches the hearings that are working to build the case that he should be criminally charged for conspiring to overturn the 2020 presidential election.

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By: Marianna Sotomayor, Josh Dawsey and Jacqueline Alemany

9:22 AM: Justice Department ratchets up its Jan. 6 probe

Members of the Oath Keepers on the East Front of the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021, in Washington. © Manuel Balce Ceneta/AP Members of the Oath Keepers on the East Front of the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021, in Washington.

Federal agents investigating the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the U.S. Capitol on Wednesday dropped subpoenas on people in multiple locations, widening the probe of how political activists supporting President Donald Trump tried to use invalid electors to thwart Joe Biden’s 2020 electoral victory.

Agents conducted court-authorized law enforcement activity Wednesday morning at different locations, FBI officials confirmed to The Washington Post. One was the home of Brad Carver, a Georgia lawyer who allegedly signed a document claiming to be a Trump elector. The other was the Virginia home of Thomas Lane, who worked on the Trump campaign’s efforts in Arizona and New Mexico. The FBI officials did not identify the people associated with those addresses, but public records list each of the locations as the home addresses of the men.

Among those who received a subpoena Wednesday was David Shafer, the chairman of the Georgia Republican Party, who served as a Trump elector in that state, people familiar with the investigation said. Shafer’s lawyer declined to comment.

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Video: Jan. 6 committee hearing highlights Trump’s efforts to pressure state officials (POLITICO)

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By: Spencer S. Hsu, Josh Dawsey and Devlin Barrett

9:06 AM: In prepared remarks, Rosen says Justice ‘held firm’ against Trump’s election fraud pressure

Then-Deputy Attorney General Jeffrey Rosen arrives at a ceremony at the White House in September 2020. © Jabin Botsford/The Washington Post Then-Deputy Attorney General Jeffrey Rosen arrives at a ceremony at the White House in September 2020.

Former acting attorney general Jeffrey Rosen, who was nearly replaced in a standoff with President Donald Trump, plans to tell the House Committee investigating the Jan. 6 attack that the Justice Department “held firm” against political pressure to take sides over the 2020 election results.

“Some argued to the former President and public that the election was corrupt and stolen,” Rosen plans to say at a Thursday afternoon hearing, according to his prepared written remarks. “That view was wrong then and it is wrong today, and I hope our presence here today helps reaffirm that fact.”

Rosen, who served as the deputy attorney general before becoming the head of the Justice Department for the turbulent final month of the Trump administration, said the department “maintained the position that the Department had been presented with no evidence of widespread voter fraud at a scale sufficient to change the outcome of the 2020 election.”

“We thus held firm to the position that the Department would not participate in any campaign’s or political party’s legal challenges to the certification of the Electoral College votes,” Rosen said. “We also insisted that there must be an orderly and peaceful transfer of power under the Constitution.”

By: Devlin Barrett

8:45 AM: Majority of Americans say they are watching the Jan. 6 hearings closely

President Donald Trump and Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger (R) are seen on the screen as the House Jan. 6 committee holds its fourth public hearing this month on Capitol Hill on Tuesday. © Jabin Botsford/The Washington Post President Donald Trump and Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger (R) are seen on the screen as the House Jan. 6 committee holds its fourth public hearing this month on Capitol Hill on Tuesday.

A majority of Americans say they are following the Jan. 6 committee hearings either very closely or somewhat closely, according to a Quinnipiac University poll released Thursday, ahead of the panel’s fifth hearing of the month.

The poll of U.S. adults finds that 26 percent say they are watching very closely, while 32 percent say they are watching somewhat closely. Another 17 percent say they are following it not so closely, while 24 percent say they are not following it closely at all.

Other findings in the Quinnipiac poll:

  • Sixty-four percent say the attack on the Capitol was planned rather than spontaneous, while 30 percent say it spontaneous. The percentage saying it was planned is higher among Democrats (84 percent) and independents (61 percent) than Republicans (49 percent).
  • Fifty-nine percent say President Donald Trump bears a lot of responsibility (41 percent) or some responsibility (18 percent) for the storming of the Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021. Thirty-nine percent say he bears not much responsibility (14 percent) or none at all (25 percent).
  • Forty-six percent say Trump committed a crime with his efforts to change the 2020 presidential election results, while 47 percent say he did not commit a crime.

By: John Wagner

8:40 AM: Presented with new evidence, committee tweaks hearing schedule

Vice Chairwoman Liz Cheney, (R-Wyo.) and Chairman Bennie G. Thompson (D-Miss.) walk in as members of the House select committee investigating the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol arrive for a hearing on Capitol Hill in Washington on Tuesday. © Jabin Botsford/The Washington Post Vice Chairwoman Liz Cheney, (R-Wyo.) and Chairman Bennie G. Thompson (D-Miss.) walk in as members of the House select committee investigating the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol arrive for a hearing on Capitol Hill in Washington on Tuesday.

The House Jan. 6 committee has modified its hearing schedule because of new evidence it uncovered.

Thursday’s hearing will be the last the committee holds this month. The next one will likely be scheduled in July, Rep. Bennie G. Thompson (D-Miss.), who heads the panel, told reporters Wednesday.

The committee has said that, in light of the new evidence it has obtained since the hearings started, it needs more time to go through it all.

This includes footage from documentarian Alex Holder, who followed President Donald Trump before the attack, emails and records from the National Archives, ongoing interviews and depositions, and information left on investigators’ tip line.

“Rather than present hearings that have not been the quality of the hearings in the past, we’ve made a decision to just move into sometime in July,” Thompson said Wednesday.

The House is going on recess on July 1 and won’t be back until July 12, so it is likely the next hearing will be held deep into July.

By: Mariana Alfaro and Jacqueline Alemany

8:33 AM: Counsel John Wood departs Jan. 6 panel, explores run for Senate in Missouri

John Wood is an investigative counsel for the House select committee probing the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the Capitol. © Susan Walsh/AP John Wood is an investigative counsel for the House select committee probing the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the Capitol.

A senior investigative counsel on the House select committee investigating the Jan. 6, 2021, insurrection is leaving the panel to explore running for Missouri’s U.S. Senate seat as an independent, according to four people familiar with his plans.

John Wood, a former federal prosecutor who has worked closely with Vice Chairwoman Liz Cheney (R-Wyo.), started notifying committee staff this week of his plans to explore a run for office, according to these people.

Wood ran the committee’s “gold team,” which examined President Donald Trump’s possible involvement in the attack on the U.S. Capitol, and appeared alongside lawmakers on the panel last week to question witnesses during the hearing focused on the pressure campaign targeting Vice President Mike Pence. People involved with the investigation say that Wood is leaving his role with the encouragement of his team and is on good terms with committee staff.

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By: Isaac Stanley-Becker, Amy Gardner, Carol D. Leonnig and Jacqueline Alemany

8:25 AM: Sen. Johnson faces big questions stemming from last hearing

Sen. Ron Johnson (R-Wis.) departs following a Republican luncheon on Capitol Hill. (Jabin Botsford/The Washington Post) © Jabin Botsford/The Washington Post Sen. Ron Johnson (R-Wis.) departs following a Republican luncheon on Capitol Hill. (Jabin Botsford/The Washington Post)

Weeks before the Jan. 6, 2021, insurrection, Sen. Ron Johnson (R-Wis.) held a hearing on election fraud in an attempt to legitimize President Donald Trump’s false allegations of voting irregularities. Four days before the attack on the Capitol, Johnson signed a statement with nine other Republican senators saying that they intended to object to certifying Joe Biden’s electors and demand “an emergency 10-day audit of the election.”

This week, the House committee investigating the Jan. 6 Capitol riot revealed that Johnson’s chief of staff tried to deliver to Vice President Mike Pence a slate of fake electors backing Trump, raising questions about the Wisconsin Republican’s role in a deliberate and coordinated plan to block Biden’s win and give Trump the presidency.

The disclosure also underscores the extent of Johnson’s role as one of Congress’s most prominent election deniers and Jan. 6 apologists — spreading conspiracy theories about rigged votes and playing down the severity of the violent assault on the Capitol as mostly “peaceful,” while floating the idea that it might have been an inside job by the FBI.

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By: Colby Itkowitz

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