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'In vivid color': Liz Cheney says weeks of Jan. 6 hearings are coming

·Chief National Correspondent
·4 min read
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  • Liz Cheney
    Liz Cheney
    American politician
  • Donald Trump
    Donald Trump
    45th President of the United States
  • Jeffrey Clark
    American lawyer

WASHINGTON — Congress will hold weeks of public hearings to explain and highlight what happened on Jan. 6 and in the days leading up to the violent assault on democracy, and what then-President Donald Trump’s role in it was, the vice chair of the Jan. 6 House select committee said on Thursday.

“We are making rapid progress. We anticipate next year, we will be conducting multiple weeks of public hearings, setting out for the American people in vivid color exactly what happened, every minute of the day on Jan. 6, here at the Capitol and at the White House, and what led to that violent attack,” said Rep. Liz Cheney, R-Wyo., at a hearing of the House Rules Committee.

Rep. Liz Cheney wears a face mask as she departs a committee meeting on Capitol Hill.
Rep. Liz Cheney, R-Wyo., leaves a committee meeting on Capitol Hill on Wednesday. (Drew Angerer/Getty Images)

Cheney’s comment was a revelation about how the committee plans to proceed next year, when it is expected to wrap up its work, at some point. The committee’s leaders and members have been tight-lipped about many of their plans.

Cheney said that “important details regarding all of these events remain unknown,” and that the committee is working to uncover more of what happened behind the scenes in Trump’s White House. She spoke at a hearing to advance criminal referral to the Justice Department for a key former Trump aide, Jeffrey Clark.

Clark “was reportedly at the center of efforts to spread misinformation about last year’s election and derail the peaceful transfer of power,” said Rep. Bennie Thompson, D-Miss., the chairman of the Jan. 6 committee, at the same hearing. “There’s evidence that he wanted to push state legislatures to delay certification, to use the bully pulpit of the Justice Department to spread unfounded allegations about voter fraud.”

Clark’s alleged role in attempting to overturn the 2020 election was described in a Senate Judiciary Committee report released in October, and key Justice Department officials who were senior to Clark at the time are cooperating with the Jan. 6 committee and have given sworn testimony in deposition.

Clark “reportedly went outside normal channels of communication to deal with the White House, and the former president apparently considered installing him as acting attorney general,” Thompson said. The Senate report disclosed a Jan. 3 meeting in which top Justice Department officials warned that if Trump fired the acting attorney general, Jeffrey Rosen, and installed Clark in that position, there would be mass resignations across the department. Trump’s own White House counsel, Pat Cipollone, said he and his top deputy would also resign. Trump ultimately relented and backed off the plan.

Jeffrey Clark stands at a podium near Jeffrey Rosen, who is wearing a face mask, in front of flags and a blue backdrop bearing a seal that reads: Department of Justice, Washington.
Acting Assistant Attorney General Jeffrey Clark speaks next to Deputy Attorney General Jeffrey Rosen at a news conference on Oct. 21, 2020. (Yuri Gripas/AFP via Getty Images)

But Cheney said the committee is still seeking to nail down the answers to questions like “How did this plan with Mr. Clark originate? Who else was involved? And how did it progress so far?”

Thompson said the committee has spoken with more than 250 “witnesses.”

But Clark has been among the most defiant figures the committee seeks to hear from. The panel agreed to delay finalizing the criminal referral in a vote on the full House floor until Clark could appear in person at a deposition this coming Saturday. He has appeared for one deposition already, but “he wouldn’t answer questions, he bickered with our members and counsel, and then he got up and left,” Thompson said.

If Clark is not cooperative Saturday, a contempt of Congress charge will go to a full House vote and then be sent to the Justice Department for a criminal referral. Justice Department lawyers will then decide whether to indict Clark in front of a grand jury and commence a criminal trial.

The Jan. 6 committee has already taken this route with Steve Bannon, the former top Trump adviser who was then indicted by a federal grand jury. Bannon’s next criminal contempt hearing will be on Dec. 7.

Explore how the events of Jan. 6 unfolded in this 3D experience from the Yahoo immersive team.

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