Perhaps the most compelling and damning moment of the first prime time House committee hearing investigating January 6 The Capitol insurrection has come to an end.
In a heavily edited video montage from official and social media accounts, riot participants said they had come to protest the results of the 2020 election. and stormed the Capitol because Donald Trump asked them to.
This is the essence of the committee’s charge, to show that the former president, in his actions and words, incited the 2021 riot, which was a violent attempt to prevent Joe Biden’s election victory from being recognized by the Electoral College.
For how compelling the first prime time is the hearing was – and some parts were gripping – that leaves significant holes for the committee to fill during the remaining public hearings.
Here are some of the questions that still need to be answered:
Where is the full testimony?
To see a few seconds of Kushner snickering at the thought of White House lawyers resigning is one thing. The public should also see all of his testimony.
The same goes for Ivanka Trump, Barr and other recognizable members of the Trump administration.
CNN’s Kaitlan Collins and Gabby Orr wrote that those still in Trump’s orbit or trying to maintain relations with him will say their testimony was taken out of context in the short clips released by the committee.
More should be released. House Select Committee Chairman Bennie Thompson told CNN’s Jake Tapper that the committee plans to release transcripts, but he did not provide further details.
Is there a direct link between Trump and the planning of the riot?
Rep. Liz Cheney, vice chair of the committee, has promised hearings over the next few days will show that Trump is directly responsible for the riot – which is a significant accusation, since Trump has argued he had nothing to do with it. with that.
“President Trump called the crowd together, rallied the crowd, and lit the flame for this attack,” the Wyoming Republican said in her opening statement. Trump had no intention of relinquishing power, no matter what the Constitution said.
Is there enough evidence for new prosecutions?
These hearings will create a factual basis for the insurgency, which is important, but will not themselves create accountability for Trump or those around him.
The former president has already survived impeachment twice, meaning he can run for president again. Everything indicates that he intends to do so.
It is unclear, as we wrote earlier, when or if the Justice Department will move beyond prosecuting rally attendees to focus on efforts to undermine the election.
CNN’s Evan Perez and Edward-Isaac Dovere wrote ahead of the hearing that Attorney General Merrick Garland planned to watch, but that many Democrats believe Garland may have missed his moment to prosecute people in Trump’s inner circle.
This will remain the biggest question of these hearings – what will happen to it? The Department of Justice should trying to avoid the appearance of influencing the midterm elections by carrying cases just before November.
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