Trump accused of attempted coup at Capitol riot hearing

US

An investigation into the US Capitol riots has heard that close allies of former president Donald Trump – and even his daughter – rejected his false claims of election fraud, with one calling it “bulls**t”.

On the first of six days of public hearings before a House of Representatives select committee, a never-seen-before 12-minute graphic video of the insurrection was shown.

The House of Representatives select committee investigating the attack on the Capitol showed graphic footage of thousands of rioters attacking police and smashing their way into the Capitol during the first of its six hearings
The House of Representatives select committee investigating the attack on the Capitol showed graphic footage of thousands of rioters attacking police and smashing their way into the Capitol during the first of its six hearings

In it, rioters could be seen smashing their way into the Capitol building on Washington DC’s National Mall, following then-President Trump’s incendiary speech in which he repeated his claims he had been denied a second term due to voter fraud.

At the time the Capitol was in session, overseeing the congressional certification of Joe Biden’s win. Five people died and more than 100 police officers were injured in the chaos.

An image of Ivanka Trump is seen on a screen as the House select committee investigating the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol holds its first public hearing to reveal the findings of a year-long investigation, on Capitol Hill in Washington, U.S., June 9, 2022. Mandel Ngan/Pool via REUTERS
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An image of Ivanka Trump is seen on a screen during the hearing

The hearing witnessed public statements from key Trump administration figures including his daughter Ivanka Trump and her husband Jared Kushner, Vice President Mike Pence and his chief of staff, Attorney General William Barr and General Mark Milley.

At one point there was an audible gasp when the committee was told that when Mr Trump heard the Capitol mob was chanting for Vice President Mike Pence to be hanged, he responded that maybe they were right, that he “deserves it.”

Mr Trump was angry Mr Pence, presiding in the House chamber, had refused his order to reject the certification of Mr Biden’s victory.

More on Us Capitol Riots

While the facts of the 6 January 2021 attack are well known, the committee is trying to put together the story of how it happened, to prevent a repeat.

Serena Liebengood, widow of Capitol Police officer Howie Liebengood, cries as she attends the hearing of the U.S. House Select Committee to Investigate the January 6 Attack on the United States Capitol, on Capitol Hill in Washington, U.S., June 9, 2022. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst
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Serena Liebengood, widow of Capitol Police officer Howie Liebengood, breaks down as she attends the hearing

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The made-for-TV hearings – shown on US network channels at prime time – included video of police officers being beaten and right-wing extremists leading the crowds into the iconic building.

Republican congresswoman Liz Cheney, the panel’s vice chair who took the lead for much of the hearing, said Mr Trump had “summoned a violent mob”.

“When a president fails to take the steps necessary to preserve our union – or worse, causes a constitutional crisis – we’re in a moment of maximum danger for our republic.”

The committee’s probe came as some have tried to downplay the violence.

“We can’t sweep what happened under the rug,” said Bennie Thompson, the chairman of the committee, “the American people deserve answers.”

He described the attack as an “attempted coup” that put “two and half centuries of constitutional democracy at risk”.

In one video testimony, former US Attorney General Mr Barr called the election fraud claims “bulls**t”, an argument that appeared to have also convinced Mr Trump’s daughter.

“I respect Attorney General Barr. So I accepted what he was saying,” Ivanka Trump said in her videotaped statement.

Testifying in person was one of the offices, Caroline Edwards, who suffered serious injuries as she battled the mob that pushed into the Capitol.

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