January 6 hearing to focus on Trump’s ‘state of mind’ surrounding the Capitol attack

The House of Representatives committee on Jan. 6 will delve again into Donald Trump’s efforts to undermine the outcome of the 2020 presidential election in a public hearing just 25 days before Election Day.

The panel meets again at 1 p.m. Thursday for what could be its final hearing before it issues a final report on its findings and recommendations to avoid similar attacks in the future.

The hearing will focus on Trump’s “state of mind” up to and around Jan. 6, 2021, committee aides told reporters.

“What you’re going to see is a synthesis of some evidence we’ve already presented with the new, never-before-seen information to, say, illustrate the centrality of Donald Trump from the time before the election,” an aide said. .

There will be no living witnesses, the aides said, but new testimony will be aired, as well as new documentary evidence and video footage showing efforts to respond to the violence.

New Secret Service documents will also be included in the hearing, aides said. The agency has been under intense scrutiny over missing text messages from around the time of the uprising and after bombshell testimony about an alleged incident inside the president’s SUV on Jan. 6 involving Trump and members of his security detail.

“We’ve received a tremendous amount of information from the Secret Service. The select committee has reviewed a lot of it. And I imagine there may be additional witnesses going forward that the select committee wants to hear from related to that, but I have not I don’t have any more details on that right now,” an aide said.

The aides would not say, despite several questions on the subject, what efforts had been made to secure testimony from Tony Ornato and Bobby Engel — two officials named by former White House aide Cassidy Hutchinson in her testimony about the alleged incident in the presidential SUV after Trump’s rally at the Ellipse.

Hutchinson told the committee in live testimony that she heard the account from Ornato, a senior Secret Service official who was the White House deputy chief of staff for operations at the time. Hutchinson said Ornato told her Trump was “furious” after being told he couldn’t join his supporters at the Capitol, going so far as to try to grab the steering wheel of the SUV and threw himself at Engel, who was driving. Hutchinson told the committee that Engel was in the room when Ornato told the story and that Ornato made a gesture toward his collarbone while talking about the outburst against Engel.

After Hutchinson’s testimony, the Secret Service said it was cooperating with the House committee and was prepared for agents to testify under oath in response. Ornato has since retired from the agency.

January 6 hearing to focus on Trump’s ‘state of mind’ surrounding the Capitol attack

A photo of former President Donald Trump is shown during the third hearing of the House Select Committee to investigate the January 6 attack on the Capitol in the Cannon House Office Building, on Capitol Hill, June 16, 2022.

Pool via Reuters, FILE

It’s been nearly three months since the panel met, and since then members have held closed-door interviews with former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, former Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin and former Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao.

Last month, the committee interviewed Ginni Thomas, wife of Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas, about her efforts to pressure state officials to reject the results of the 2020 election. Thomas was also in contact with White House staff, including Trump’s last chief of staff, Mark Meadows, on efforts to overturn the results.

Speaker Bennie Thompson, D-Miss., said Thomas told lawmakers she still believes the 2020 election was stolen and answered some questions, but did not elaborate further on the content of the discussion.

It is not clear whether the committee will reveal more from her deposition Thursday. Her interview was not videotaped, only transcribed, so the committee could only use quotes from Thomas.

As the committee concludes its investigation, Rep. Adam Schiff, D-Calif., ABC News, what he wants the public to take away from their work.

“January 6 was not a date in isolation,” Schiff said. “It was the violent culmination of several lines of effort to overturn the election.”

Schiff highlighted the effort, which was also the focus of several hearings this summer, including Trump’s pressure campaigns against state officials, against Vice President Mike Pence and against the Justice Department.

“It was only when all else failed that Donald Trump resorted to inciting a mob to attack the Capitol. So people, I think, have to look at January 6 in the broader context, but also realize that the danger to our Democracy did not end that day because the big lie that led to the violence of that day continues to be propagated by Donald Trump and his forces.”

— ABC News’ Lauren Peller contributed to this report.

Leave a Comment