Trump Lashes Out At ‘Evil And Demented’ January 6 Investigation
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Former President Trump attacked the House select committee investigating January 6 from the stage of the Conservative Political Action Conference on Saturday evening. Trump suggested the investigation is taking place because “the Washington swamp knows that we are coming to break their grip on power forever.”
“They are so desperate to stop us. They will go to any lengths,” Trump said. “That is why the corrupt Democrat prosecutors and unconstitutional unselect committee on January 6 … could you imagine a committee made of these thugs? They hate us all.”
Trump’s remarks at the gathering of conservative activists in Orlando, Florida came as the committee is seeking testimony from members of his family.
“They’re continuing their evil and demented persecution of me my family, my staff, my supporters, and you,” Trump said. “It’s the same witch hunt that’s been going on since day one, since actually the day that I came down the escalator.”
Trump’s argument echoed ones he has made when faced with multiple other congressional, state, and federal investigations. Spokespeople for the select committee did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
The House select committee was established last July with the goal of investigating and reporting “upon the facts, circumstances, and causes relating to the January 6, 2021, domestic terrorist attack upon the United States Capitol Complex … and relating to the interference with the peaceful transfer of power.” There are only two Republicans among the nine members of the committee, Rep. Adam Kinzinger (R-IL) and Rep. Liz Cheney (R-WY), both of whom are frequent Trump critics.
Since it was formed, the committee has subpoenaed multiple former Trump administration officials, top advisers to the former president, pro-Trump activists, and members of right wing extremist groups. Witnesses who have spoken to the committee have alleged officials from Trump’s White House and campaign helped plan demonstrations on January 6 and other efforts to overturn the former president’s 2020 election loss. Trump gave a speech on the White House Ellipse that day where he reiterated his false claim that he won the election and urged his supporters to march to the U.S. Capitol where the vote was being certified.
In recent weeks, the committee has targeted members of the former president’s family. Last month, the committee requested information from Trump’s daughter, Ivanka, who was a White House adviser. Statements from the committee indicated they have evidence Ivanka was aware of efforts by White House staff “to intervene in an attempt to persuade President Trump to address the ongoing lawlessness and violence on Capitol Hill.” According to the committee, Ivanka also may have heard her father’s conversations with former Vice President Mike Pence about overturning the election. Trump pressured Pence to reject the certification, but the former vice president has said that was “wrong.” On Wednesday, a spokesperson for Ivanka told CBS News she is “in discussions with the Committee to voluntarily appear for an interview.”
Along with Ivanka, the committee has threatened it could compel testimony from Kimberly Guilfoyle, a Trump campaign aide who is engaged to the former president’s son, Donald Jr. Guilfoyle, who reportedly cut short a voluntary interview with the committee, boasted in text messages that she raised $3 million dollars for the Ellipse rally.
The committee has no criminal authority, but it can make referrals to the Justice Department, which is conducting its own criminal investigation into the January 6 attack. So far, the Justice Department has charged hundreds of people who entered the Capitol complex that day.
Trump has previously indicated he would be open to pardoning the people arrested on January 6. In his CPAC speech, Trump accused the Justice Department of “waging war on an opposing party.”
CPAC is organized by the American Conservative union. Matt Schlapp, chairman of the ACU, helped create a legal fund to defend Trump aides who have been targeted by the committee.
Trump used his CPAC speech to air his false conspiracy theories about the 2020 election, which he called “rigged.” As he framed the coming midterm races and 2024 presidential vote as a battle with “left wing fascists,” Trump claimed he won “twice” rather than his sole victory in 2016. The former president also suggested he plans to run again.
“We did it twice and we’ll do it again,” Trump said. “We’re going to be doing it again a third time
While hinting at his own electoral ambitions, Trump made multiple comments supporting Republican efforts to restrict voting and take over election infrastructure. And as he described “securing our elections” as something Republicans “must do,” Trump had the same battle cry that he used on the Ellipse on January 6.
“We’ve got to fight like hell,” Trump said to the CPAC crowd. “We can’t let them destroy our country