The Jan. 6 committee began its seventh public hearing on Tuesday by laying out the extent to which former President Trump had been informed by those around him that there was no evidence the election was stolen. Trump was undeterred. The tension between the former president and the fellow election conspiracy theorists he surrounded himself and the administration figures who acknowledged Biden’s win boiled over during a heated Dec. 18 meeting at the White House.
Rep. Jamie Raskin (D-Md.) described the meeting as “heated and profane,” noting that it included “challenges to a physical fight.” The committee revealed a text message from Cassidy Hutchinson, the former Mark Meadows aide who testified publicly last month, calling the West Wing “UNHINGED” as it was taking place.
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Rudy Giuliani, one of the aforementioned election conspiracy theorists, was there. “You’re a bunch of pussies,” he recalled hearing as Michael Flynn, Trump’s former national security adviser, and Sidney Powell, one of the conspiracy theorizing attorney who had Trump’s ear following the election, sparred with those in the White House who didn’t want to go along with the scheme to overturn the election — particularly, as was discussed on Dec. 18, a plan to have the military to seize voting machines.
“What they were proposing, I thought was nuts,” testified former White House lawyer Eric Herschmann, noting that there was a lot of “screaming,” particularly from Flynn. “Either come over or sit your effing ass back down,” Herschmann recounts responding to Flynn.
The meeting ultimately ended a little after midnight. Giuliani was so agitated that Hutchinson took a picture of Meadows escorting him off the premises “to make sure he did not wander back into the Mansion.” The committee displayed the image on Tuesday:
The push from Flynn, Powell, and others to continue challenging the election results was not based on any actual evidence — only a desire to keep Trump in power. “At the end of the day, we landed where we started the meeting, which was Sidney Powell was fighting, Mike Flynn was fighting,” former White House Staff Secretary Derek Lyons testified. “They were looking for avenues for President Trump to remain President Trump for a second term.”
“There was a general disregard for the importance of actually backing up what they were saying with facts,” testified former White House Counsel Pat Cipollone.
The committee also revealed on Tuesday that Giuliani’s team was well aware that such facts did not exist, citing an email from Bernard Kerik, who was working with Giuliani at the time, to Meadows on Dec. 28 that read that they can do all the “investigations we want later, but if the president plans on winning, it’s the legislators that have to be moved.”
Raskin also noted that Kerik’s lawyer wrote to the committee last November that it was “impossible for Mr. Kerik and his team to determine conclusively whether there was widespread fraud or whether that widespread fraud would have altered the outcome of the election.”
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