Jan. 6 committee exposed evidence of Trump's criminal intent with devastating testimony from unexpected sources
Donald Trump holds a press conference at Trump Turnberry. (Shutterstock.com)

Shocking new footage and testimony in the January 6th Committee’s first public hearing brought home the savage violence of Trump’s attempted coup. But calm testimony from Trump insiders, including his daughter Ivanka, was far more damaging, going to the issue of criminal intent. And the timing of actions by indicted members of the Proud Boys and the Oathkeepers made it clear that the violence was planned, not the result of an innocent demonstration “getting out of hand.”

This article was originally published at Random Lengths News

More broadly, Republican Vice-Chair Liz Cheney said, “Over multiple months Donald Trump oversaw and coordinated a sophisticated seven-part plan to overturn the presidential election and prevent the transfer of presidential power. In our hearing, you will see evidence of each element of this plan.”

Capitol Police officer Caroline Edwards, the first to be wounded–who was knocked unconscious, but then recovered–described the confrontation.

“What I saw was just a war scene,” she said. “There were officers on the ground. They were bleeding. They were throwing up. I saw friends with blood all over their faces. I was slipping in people’s blood. I was catching people as they fell. It was carnage. It was chaos.”

But calm taped testimony from Trump’s daughter Ivanka, his Attorney General Bill Barr, and others, such as campaign lawyer Alex Cannon, were ultimately the most damaging. They provided clear evidence that Trump certainly knew his claims of having won the election were bogus–and thus he had criminal intent in trying to hold onto power. Barr called claims of software manipulation “complete nonsense” and “crazy stuff.”

“I did not agree in putting out this stuff, which I told the president was bullshit,” Barr testified. “I didn’t want to be part of it, and that’s one of the reasons that went into me deciding to leave when I did,” he said. “I observed, I think it was on December First, that you can’t live in a world where the incumbent administration stays in power based on its view, unsupported by specific evidence, that there was fraud in the election.”

In response to Barr’s statement that he found no fraud, Ivanka said, “It affected my perspective. I respect Attorney General Barr, so I accepted what he was saying.”

Former Trump campaign lawyer Alex Cannon testified about a call he had with Trump’s Chief of Staff Mark Meadows in mid-to-late November. “I remember sharing with him that we weren’t finding anything that would be sufficient to change the results in any of the key states,” Cannon said. Meadow’s response was to say, “So there’s no there there.”

After playing Cannon’s testimony, Cheney said, “The Trump campaign’s general counsel Matt Morgan gave similar testimony. He explained that all of the fraud allegations and the campaign’s other arguments taken together and viewed in the best possible light for President Trump could still not change the outcome of the election.”

These were but highlights of what lies ahead, Cheney said. The hearing Monday at 10 a.m. will be devoted to exploring how Trump and his advisers knew he lost the 2020 election, but still spread false and fraudulent information.

The hearing also highlighted how Trump’s encouragement was received by the Proud Boys and how it aided their recruitment and motivated them to come to Washington on Jan 6. Nick Quested, a documentary filmmaker who was embedded with them that day, was surprised when they didn’t attend Trump’s rally, but instead marched to the Capitol, arriving as Trump was still speaking.

After the hearings, MSNBC’s Chris Hayes summarized what had been shown—something that had been known to those reading DOJ indictments, perhaps, but not to the general public.

“There was a vanguard to every key action that happened that day, every key transgression across a line, every key first assault on police, first entrance in the Capitol,” Hayes said. “And that vanguard was an organized, proto-fascist militia that had congregated and assembled, called by the president of the United States, for the explicit purpose of stopping the peaceful transfer of power.

“They went to the Capitol while the President was speaking, they were the first to that line. We’ll see later if they were the first ones in through the west side of the Capitol. They cased the joint. This vanguard, members of whom are now under indictment for seditious conspiracy, were pursuing a plan that led the point of the spear, and the crowd followed behind them. And that key fact, which we’ve known to some extent—it’s available in DOJ filings—but the footage we saw today, the testimony from the filmmaker, who was there when they were first there, literally as the vanguard, as the first people on the scene, and the testimony from Officer Edwards as the frontline protector, establishes the degree to which this forethought, planned out, and executed, in the key moments of aggression and transgression, by this group of people.”

Hayes called it, “The alley-oop aspect—throw the ball up, the other player dumps it. They went to the Capitol first. The President hadn’t said that before. They cased the Capitol.”

How close they came to succeeding is something we still don’t understand. But it should become clearer by the time this round of hearings ends.