The next Jan. 6 committee hearing will focus on extremist organizations

The next Jan. 6 committee hearing will focus on extremist organizations

Published July 12, 2022
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Ximena Bustillo

Video from Jan. 6, 2021 plays as Cassidy Hutchinson, former aide to Trump White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows, testifies on June 28. Anna Moneymaker/AP hide caption

Video from Jan. 6, 2021 plays as Cassidy Hutchinson, former aide to Trump White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows, testifies on June 28.

The House Jan. 6 committee holds its seventh hearing on its months-long investigation Tuesday, focusing on the involvement of extremist groups like the Oath Keepers, Proud Boys and the QAnon movement and the groups’ possible connection to Trump associates, including Roger Stone and Michael Flynn.

Former Oath Keepers spokesman Jason Van Tatenhove will testify. Van Tatenhove left the organization well before the Capitol insurrection and will appear as a live witness to give a historical perspective on the group.

Check back here for live updates throughout Tuesday’s hearing, and watch the livestream here beginning at 1 p.m. ET:

The hearing will also look at a Dec. 19 tweet from the former president that read: “Big protests in D.C. on January 6. Be there. Will be wild!” The tweet is viewed as “a pivotal moment that spurred a chain of events, including a pre-planning by the Proud Boys,” according to a committee aide.

Tuesday’s hearing will be led by Reps. Stephanie Murphy and Jamie Raskin.

Beyond Van Tatenhove, committee aides declined to provide insight into other witnesses or how many will appear, citing security and harassment concerns.

“We’ll give the American public a more complete understanding of the final phase of President Trump and his supporter’s use of radical measures to prevent the peaceful transfer of power and overturn the 2020 election,” a committee aide told reporters, adding that there will also be a focus on a pressure campaign from members of Congress on the vice president to not certify the election.

Since its first hearing on its investigation last month, the panel has pointed to the involvement of both the Proud Boys and Oath Keepers on Jan. 6.

“In our hearings to come, we will show specifically how a group of Proud Boys led a mob into the Capitol building on January 6,” committee Vice Chair Liz Cheney, R-Wyo., said during opening statements.

Van Tatenhove, the former Oath Keepers spokesman testifying Tuesday, started working for the group in 2014 for about two years. He was “only an employee,” not a member of the group, and “purged my life of that world years ago,” he told Denver TV station KDVR in an interview that aired on CNN Monday.

Members of the Proud Boys and Oath Keepers have faced charges in connection with the Jan. 6 attack over the past year and, most recently, federal prosecutors have alleged that an Oath Keeper member brought explosives into D.C. on that day.

That first panel hearing featured testimony from Nick Quested, a documentary filmmaker who was following the Proud Boys in the days leading up to the insurrection. As a part of interviews for the hearing, the committee reached out to some members of the Proud Boys and Oath Keepers who said they went to the Capitol that day because they believed that’s what Trump asked them to do.

And when the panel last met, Cheney said the Trump White House had received information about planned demonstrations for Jan. 6 that included organizing and planning by the Proud Boys to attend related events that day.

The warnings included details about the events including that “unlike previous post-election protests, the targets of the pro-Trump supporters are not necessarily the counter-protesters as they were previously, but Congress itself if the target on the 6th,” according to reports shown by the committee.

At that hearing, former White House aide Cassidy Hutchinson testified that she heard the words “Proud Boys” and “Oath Keepers” more often on the days leading up to Jan. 6 and there were intelligence reports warning of the potential for violence that week. Some of the reports included listings for events such as “Fight for Trump” which described the “need to flood” the Capitol and “show America, and the senators and representatives inside voting that we won’t stand for election fraud!”

Committee aides specifically mentioned the hearing will discuss the extremists groups’ alleged ties to Stone and Flynn.

Stone, a long-time Trump ally, was charged by the Justice Department in 2020 with witness tampering and lying to Congress in a case resulting from the Mueller investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election. Trump pardoned him later that year.

Flynn, Trump’s first national security adviser, was also pardoned by Trump from crimes also in connection to the Mueller investigation.

Those watching the hearings have already heard from Flynn. In a videotaped deposition when he was asked if the violence on Jan.6 was legal, he invoked the 5th Amendment protection against self-incrimination. Both Stone and Flynn have come up at past hearings as links between Trump and the people beyond the White House wanting to keep him in power after he lost the legal 2020 presidential election.

Two other names that could come up are Enrique Tarrio and Stewart Rhodes. Tarrio, leader of the Proud Boys, is one of the five charged with seditious conspiracy related to Jan. 6. He wasn’t at the Capriol on that day, but prosecutors argue he helped coordinate the efforts. Rhodes, the founder of the Oath Keepers, attempted to be put in contact with the White House leading up to Jan. 6, according to NBC.

The committee is eyeing next week for a hearing that had been expected to take place this Thursday evening during prime time, according to select committee aides. That hearing will be led by Reps. Elaine Luria and Adam Kinzinger.

Kinzinger, one of the two Republicans on the 9-member committee, told ABC News on Sunday that the hearing would focus on the hours in the middle of the insurrection that Trump was seemingly absent.

The panel had originally planned on issuing a final report in September. However, committee aides told reporters that the timeline has shifted as the committee has received additional information. The report is still expected to be released sometime this fall though there is no specific timing.