The US House Jan. 6 committee will begin presenting evidence on Thursday, but it’s not yet clear if any Texans will testify
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WASHINGTON – The United States House Select Committee investigating the January 6, 2021 United States Capitol insurrection will begin publicly presenting evidence of the violent riot and its precipitating events at 7 p.m. central, Thursday.
The select committee “will present never-before-seen materials documenting January 6, receive testimony, preview additional hearings, and provide the American people with a summary of its findings on the multi-step coordinated effort to overturn the results of the 2020 presidential election. and prevent the transfer of power,” according to a press release.
The committee has yet to release the list of witnesses who will testify in the live hearings, so it remains unknown if any will appear before the panel.
The committee subpoenaed several allies of former President Donald Trump with ties to Texas: Ali Alexander, who grew up in Tarrant County; Austin-based conspiracy theorist Alex Jones; Katrina Pierson, Dallas’ longtime curator; retired Army Col. Phil Waldron of Central Texas; and former Trump fundraiser and Austinite native Caroline Wren.
No Texans are on that panel, which is rare given the state’s House delegation is the second-largest in the nation.
The fact that the initial hearing is taking place during prime time television viewing — rather than the typical mid-day nature of most congressional hearings — indicates investigators are hoping to make their presentation in front of as many Americans. as possible.
Alexander, who led the “Stop the Steal” movement and attended the rally before the riot, testified before the committee behind closed doors in December. He also handed over thousands of communication documents with Republican members of Congress and members of Trump’s inner circle.
Jones also testified, repeatedly arguing the Fifth Amendment. In 2021, he said on his show that he “was invited by the White House around January 3 to ‘lead the march’ to the Capitol, and paid nearly $500,000, mostly donations, to help organize the event on the Ellipse,” referring to the park south of the White House, according to the Washington Post.
Waldron, a retired U.S. Army colonel, spent preparing for the Capitol attack briefing lawmakers on how to cancel the 2020 election. The PowerPoint presentation outlining that plan eventually ended up in the possession of White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows.
Pierson testified before the committee, Politico reported earlier this year. On Jan. 6, 2021, Pierson was backstage at the morning rally and was on the speakers list, according to The Washington Post. At one point, she was involved in a backstage argument with Wren that escalated to the point that law enforcement was called in.
Wren also testified, telling MSNBC in March that she had no choice in the matter.
“It was either to cooperate with them or to be held in contempt of Congress and face a $100,000 fine and potentially a year in jail, which you’ve seen happen to a few individuals,” she said. .
Wren is a longtime GOP fundraiser and was closely aligned during Trump’s re-election campaign with Kimberly Guilfoyle, a conservative activist and girlfriend of Donald Trump Jr.
Wren’s name appeared on a National Park Service permit as a “VIP Advisor” for the rally near the White House on the morning of the uprising.
U.S. House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy originally nominated U.S. Representative Troy Nehls, a Richmond Republican and former law enforcement officer, to serve on the committee last summer. But afterwards, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi objected to having two non-Texan Republicans sit on the panel. She had no objections to Nehls, but McCarthy removed the entire GOP slate from serving on the committee.
Instead, two frequent critics of former President Donald Trump, U.S. Representatives Liz Cheney of Wyoming and Adam Kinzinger of Illinois, joined Democrats in pursuing the investigation. Nehls criticized the committee earlier this week.
“These January 6 Committee hearings are a waste of Congress time and taxpayer dollars,” he wrote on Twitter earlier this week. “The truth is that January 6 should never have happened.
“If the committee really cared about Jan. 6, then it would be investigating the negligent leadership of the Capitol police…instead of trying to hurt President Trump before 2024,” he wrote on Twitter earlier this week. “Capitol Police had the information and they refused to act, but that is not the concern of the SHAM committee.”
Nehls helped barricade a door leading to the floor of the house during the mob attack, but he also has a controversial history with the United States Capitol police.
Although no Texas member sits on the panel, several current and former state officials have surfaced in parallel investigations.
U.S. Representative Ronny Jackson, an Amarillo Republican, recently surfaced in a group text string among the Oathkeepers, a paramilitary group that spearheaded the violence that day. In this conversation, the Oathkeepers discussed Jackson’s location and their need for security during the riot. A spokesperson for Jackson said the freshman congressman never had contact with anyone involved in the text conversation.
U.S. Representative Louie Gohmert, a Republican from Tyler, made comments in the days leading up to the attack that law enforcement officials feared had the potential to encourage violence.
Former Texas Governor Rick Perry’s phone number surfaced in a series of text messages to former Trump chief of staff Mark Meadows’ phone. In the days between Election Day and TV stations calling for a 2020 election for President Joe Biden, messages sent from Perry’s phone encouraged three state legislatures to ignore voters’ wishes and send voters of Trump in the Electoral College. A spokesperson for Perry denied to CNN that Perry was the author of these texts.
Disclosure: Politico was a financial supporter of The Texas Tribune, a nonprofit, nonpartisan news organization that is funded in part by donations from members, foundations and sponsors. Financial supporters play no role in the journalism of the Tribune. Find a full list here.
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This article originally appeared in The Texas Tribune at https://www.texatribune.org/2022/06/09/us-house-jan-6-hearings-texans/.
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