The five most damaging allegations against Trump from the Jan. 6 hearings — so far

The House select committee investigating Jan. 6 has dominated the news agenda during the past month, holding six public hearings.

The panel, comprised of seven Democrats and two Republicans critical of Trump — Reps. Liz Cheney (Wyo.) and Adam Kinzinger (Ill.) — has laid out a compelling case against the former president.

By the panel’s account, Trump knew his claims of election fraud were bogus, recklessly encouraged the Jan 6. rioters and endangered his own vice president as members of a mob marching on the Capitol called for Mike Pence’s hanging.

Whether the panel will make a criminal referral of Trump to the Department of Justice has not been settled. And there are still more hearings to go.

Here are five of the most damaging details leveled against Trump during the proceedings so far. 

Ivanka Trump accepted there was no widespread election fraud

The first Jan. 6 hearing was carried in prime time on June 9 and drew an audience of around 20 million people.

There was plenty of dramatic testimony from the hearing room but the most telling detail — and the one with the most lasting impact — came from a video interview with Ivanka Trump.

The president’s elder daughter said that she accepted the view of then-Attorney General William Barr that there was no evidence that fraud altered the outcome of the 2020 election.

“It affected my perspective,” Ivanka Trump said on the video, referring to Barr’s assessment. “I respect Attorney General Barr so I accepted what he was saying.”

Others in Trump’s circle have derided his spurious claims of election fraud, but his own daughter doing so packed a unique emotional force.

The following day, the former president fired back, insisting that “Ivanka Trump was not involved in looking at, or studying, Election results.”

His post, on his Truth Social network, added: “She had long since checked out and was, in my opinion, only trying to be respectful to Bill Barr and his position as Attorney General (he sucked!).”

As is often the case with the former president, the ferocity of the response seemed to betray an awareness that he’d taken a hit.

Trump allegedly knew the Jan. 6 crowd had weapons — and wanted to join them at the Capitol anyways

Cassidy Hutchinson, a 26-year-old former aide to former Trump Chief of Staff Mark Meadows, caused a sensation when she testified to a hastily convened meeting of the committee on June 28.

Hutchinson related all kinds of unflattering details regarding Trump’s behavior around Jan. 6.

Controversy raged for days over her testimony. 

She said she was told a story of Trump lunging for the steering wheel of his vehicle and tussling with a Secret Service agent after being informed he could not go to the Capitol after his rally at the Ellipse on Jan. 6.

The Secret Service agent involved and the driver of the vehicle are reported to be willing to testify that Trump did not make such a lunge and that no one was assaulted. 

But on Friday, CNN reported that two Secret Service agents confirmed they had heard accounts similar to Hutchinson’s.

In any event, the more substantively damning part of Hutchinson’s testimony concerned Trump’s knowledge that many of the people in the Jan. 6 crowd were carrying weapons.

Hutchinson, who was backstage at the Ellipse rally, said she heard Trump “say something to the effect of, ‘I don’t effing care that they have weapons. They’re not here to hurt me … They can march to the Capitol from here.’ ”

Trump again took to Truth Social to insist that he “didn’t want or request that we make room for people with guns to watch my speech,” adding, “Who would ever want that?”

But if Hutchinson’s testimony is accurate — and she says she heard the remarks firsthand — it suggests the then-president was acutely aware of the possibility for violence at the Capitol just before he told the crowd at the Ellipse that they should “fight like hell.”

That raises the stakes politically and could even elevate the chance of criminal prosecution.

Trump’s own campaign manager balked at fraud claims and was proud to be on ‘Team Normal’

The panel’s second hearing, held on June 13, made the case that Trump must have known his claims of election fraud were bogus, given how many people within his own inner circle were telling him this.

The hearing rendered an unflattering portrait of Rudy Giuliani, the former New York City mayor who served as Trump’s personal lawyer.

Trump campaign general counsel Matt Morgan recalled how “law firms were not comfortable making the arguments that Rudy Giuliani was making publicly” because of the dearth of evidence to back them up.

White House lawyer Eric Herschmann said he thought that the overall thrust of the arguments put forth by Giuliani and other Trump backers such as attorney Sidney Powell was “nuts.” 

A memorable phrase from Trump 2020 campaign manager Bill Stepien best summed up the schisms that were developing in the then-president’s orbit.

“I didn’t mind being characterized as being part of ‘Team Normal’, as reporters kinda started to do around that point in time,” Stepien said in a video deposition. 

Stepien said he hoped that he had earned “a good reputation for being honest and professional” over many years in Republican political consultancy.

“I didn’t think what was happening was necessarily honest or professional at that point in time,” he added.

The ‘Election Defense Fund’ that didn’t exist

The second hearing also focused on the Trump campaign’s fundraising efforts in the immediate aftermath of the election.

“The ‘Big Lie’ was also a big rip-off,” Rep. Zoe Lofgren (D-Calif.) contended.

Lofgren cited the barrage of fundraising emails Team Trump sent to supporters between Election Day and Jan. 6. On some days, more than 20 such emails were blasted out.

Many encouraged the recipients to contribute to an “Election Defense Fund,” the suggestion being that the money would be used to push Trump’s claims of fraud in court.

One problem: the Election Defense Fund didn’t exist. 

“I don’t believe there is actually a fund called the ‘Election Defense Fund,’ ” the former digital director for the Trump campaign, Gary Coby, acknowledged.

The nonexistent fund was, at best, a marketing ruse.

It was also an effective one. Between the election and early December 2020, the joint fundraising efforts of Trump and the Republican National Committee raised about $207 million.

Much of the money seemed to go to Trump’s main post-election political action committee, Save America PAC.

According to the panel, this PAC in turn “made millions of dollars of contributions to pro-Trump organizations.” 

Trump reportedly thought Mike Pence deserved to hang

One of many shocking occurrences on Jan. 6 was the call from some in the crowd to hang Pence, who resisted urgings from Trump and his allies to help overturn the election.

Trump had sought both publicity and privately to ratchet up the pressure on Pence, including in his speech at the Ellipse.

According to Hutchinson’s testimony, the then-president was blithely unconcerned with Pence’s fate even after serious violence broke out.

Hutchinson recounted witnessing a conversation between Meadows and White House counsel Pat Cipollone soon after the two had been in Trump’s presence.

Cipollone, she said, urged more direct action to quell the violence because “they are literally calling for the vice president to be effing hung.”

Meadows, according to Hutchinson, said “something to the effect of, ‘You heard him, Pat. He thinks Mike deserves it. He doesn’t think they’re doing anything wrong.’ ”

Tags Adam Kinzinger Cassidy Hutchinson Donald Trump Ivanka Trump Jan. 6 attack Liz Cheney Mark Meadows Mike Pence Mike Pence Rudy Giuliani

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