Jan 6 live news: Panel examines Trump’s pressure on DoJ officials

Jan 6 live news: Panel examines Trump’s pressure on DoJ officials

    Former top officials from the US Justice Department will testify at Thursday’s hearing. House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy defends his decision to pull Republican picks from the panel last year. The hearing will focus on Trump’s efforts to “corrupt” the Justice Department in his attempt “to cling to power”, committee chair Bennie Thompson has said. The previous hearing looked at Trump’s push to pressure local and state officials to overturn President Joe Biden’s victory.

These are the latest updates:

56 seconds ago (19:33 GMT)

Hearing will expose Trump’s ‘disregard’ for Constitution: Kinzinger

Adam Kinzinger, one of two Republicans on the committee who is set to play a leading role at the hearing, hit out at Trump’s efforts to politicise the Justice Department, stressing that the attorney general’s loyalty should be to the Constitution, not to the president.

“Today, President Trump’s total disregard for the Constitution and his oath will be fully exposed,” Kinzinger said.

10 mins ago (19:25 GMT)

DoJ draft letter falsely alleging fraud a ‘key focus’

The hearing will highlight a draft letter by former Justice Department officials Jeffrey Clark and Ken Klukowski falsely alleging election fraud that was set to be sent to the Georgia State Legislature, Cheney said.

“Had this letter been released on official Department of Justice letterhead, it would have falsely informed all Americans, including those who might be inclined to come to Washington on January 6, that President Trump’s election fraud allegations were likely very real,” Cheney said.

The letter was drafted without the knowledge of the Justice Department’s top leaders, who refused to sign it.

15 mins ago (19:19 GMT)

Trump oversaw ‘planning and coordination’ that led to Capitol riot: Cheney

Liz Cheney, co-chair outlined what the panel has laid out so far in previous hearings: that Trump launched a fraudulent media campaign to convince Americans the election was fraudulent; that he tried to pressure Vice President Pence to refuse to count electoral votes, and how he provoked the mob on January 6.

“These efforts are not some minor or ad hoc enterprise concocted overnight, ” Cheney said. “Each required planning and coordination. Some required significant funding. All of them were overseen by President Trump.”

25 mins ago (19:09 GMT)

Trump wanted Justice Department to ‘legitimise his lies’: Thompson

Thompson has said that Trump wanted the Justice Department to “legitimise his lies” about election fraud.

“When these and other efforts failed, Donald Trump sought to replace Mr Rosen, the acting attorney general, with a lawyer who he believes would inappropriately put the full weight of the Justice Department behind the effort to overturn the election,” Thompson said.

Kinzinger

31 mins ago (19:03 GMT)

Hearing starts

Chairman Thompson has gavelled in the fifth January 6 hearing of the month.

The session is underway.

46 mins ago (18:48 GMT)

US agents search home of Trump-era DoJ official: Reports Federal agents have searched the home of a Trump-era Justice Department official who helped lead efforts to overturn the 2020 election, the Associated Press news agency and other US news outlets have reported, citing unidentified officials.

Jeffrey Clark’s role in the run-up to the Capitol riots is expected to feature prominently at Thursday’s hearing.

2 hours ago (17:53 GMT)

Top ex-Justice officials to testify

Former top officials from the Department of Justice will testify at Thursday’s hearing, the panel has announced.

Jeffrey Rosen, former acting attorney general; Richard Donoghue, former acting deputy attorney general; and Steven Engel, former assistant attorney general for the Office of Legal Counsel are set to appear before the committee.

2 hours ago (17:50 GMT)

Committee to look at pressure on Department of Justice

Thursday’s hearing will focus on Trump’s efforts to “corrupt” the Department of Justice in his attempt “to cling to power”, panel chair Bennie Thompson said earlier this week.

He added that Trump was the “driving force” behind that campaign.

Previous hearings have looked at Trump’s efforts to pressure local and state officials to overturn the vote and the panel’s argument that the former president knew his voter fraud allegations were false.

2 hours ago (17:48 GMT)

Republican House leader defends pulling members from panel

House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy has defended his decision to pull Republican picks from the January 6 panel last year after Speaker Nancy Pelosi rejected two of his nominees for the panel who are staunch Trump allies.

“I do not regret not appointing anybody at all. How can you have an honest investigation if the speaker can appoint and pick and choose who can be on?” McCarthy said, calling the committee “political”.

Two Republicans – Liz Cheney, who serves as vice chair of the panel, and Adam Kinzinger – remain on the committee, but they have been all but ostracised by their party.

Kevin McCarthy

2 hours ago (17:46 GMT)

Key takeaways from last hearing

In the last hearing, the congressional committee investigating the January 6, 2021 attack on the US Capitol featured emotional testimonies from witnesses who highlighted former President Donald Trump’s efforts to overturn the 2020 elections.

Trump – once again – was the main focus of the session on Tuesday, which examined his push to pressure local and state officials to reject the election results.

Read the key takeaways from that hearing here.

Welcome to Al Jazeera’s live coverage of a United States congressional committee’s public hearing on its inquiry into the January 6, 2021 US Capitol riot.