Bennie Thompson Reveals Potential Trump Crimes During Jan. 6 Hearing

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During his opening remarks at Tuesday’s public hearing of the January 6 committee in the House, chairman Rep. Bennie Thompson (D-Miss.) outlined Trump’s direct responsibility for what happened at the Capitol. Although Thompson didn’t make the connection in the moment, that could constitute criminal activity on Trump’s part.

A federal judge already concluded Trump likely — although not certainly — committed criminal acts amid his attempts to secure another term in office despite losing. Thompson went through a range of options available for responding to losing an election, adding: “But you can’t turn violent. You can’t try to achieve your desired outcome through force or harassment or intimidation. Any real leader who sees their supporters going down that path, approaching that line, has a responsibility to say: stop.”

“On December 14, 2020, the presidential election was officially over,” Thompson added. That date is when members of the electoral college met and cast their votes in accordance with the popular vote outcomes in their respective states. Then-Attorney General Bill Barr indicated he held the same view — that the matter was essentially settled at that point, although he’d already made clear no evidence of systematic fraud emerged. “By that point, many of Donald Trump’s supporters were already convinced that the election had been stolen because that’s what Donald Trump had been telling them,” Thompson added, discussing December 14, 2020. “So what Donald Trump was required to do in that moment… was to say: we did our best, and we came up short. He went the opposite way.”

“He seized on the anger he had already stoked among his most loyal supporters, and as they approached the line, he didn’t wave them off,” Thompson added on Tuesday. “He urged them on. Today, the committee will explain how as a part of his last-ditch effort to overturn the election and block the transfer of power Donald Trump summoned a mob to Washington, D.C. and ultimately spurred that mob to wage a violent attack on our democracy.”

Relatedly, Trump appears to be trying to engage in witness intimidation — which is a federal crime. According to committee vice chair Rep. Liz Cheney (R-Wyo.), Trump tried to call a witness in the committee investigation after the hearing featuring Cassidy Hutchinson, a former White House aide. (It wasn’t Hutchinson herself.) The unidentified witness didn’t respond to Trump and instead informed their lawyer of the call, who notified the committee. Cheney said the panel provided its information to the Department of Justice. The days of public harassment of Hutchinson in which Trump engaged following her public appearance before the panel could also be reasonably characterized as an attempt at witness intimidation. Trump presented what appeared to be completely unfounded claims about her, including allegations she had been rejected for some kind of position with the Trump team following her stint in D.C. However, there’s no apparent evidence of this claim — and obviously Trump isn’t exactly credible himself. Watch Thompson’s remarks below: