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The 14 most compelling lines from today’s January 6 committee hearing

I looked at the entire audience and pulled out the 14 lines that mattered the most. They are down. (These are in rough chronological order.)

1. “The Trump campaign legal team knew there was no legitimate argument… to overturn the election, and yet President Trump went ahead with his plan for January 6th anyway.” — Wyoming Republican Party Rep. Liz Cheney

Cheney, the committee’s vice chair, laid out here the point of not only today’s hearing, but also the committee’s broader presentation: Trump knew he had lost, was told he had lost dozens of times, and not only refused to accept. but he actively pushed conspiracy theories and other false claims that he knew were wrong to stir up his party base. Demonstrating that what is at the heart of the question of whether Trump can or should be criminally charged by the Justice Department.

2. “Mr. Trump decided before the election… that he would claim it was all rigged.” — California Democratic Representative Zoe Lofgren

This is 100% true. I wrote as early as March 2019 that “Donald Trump is laying the groundwork to delegitimize the 2020 election,” pointing to quotes from the president that suggested it. “When the Republicans had the majority, they never acted with such hate and contempt,” Trump said at the time. “The Democrats are trying to win an election in 2020 that they know they can’t legitimately win!” Reminder: this was almost 18 months before the 2020 election.

3. “The mayor was definitely intoxicated.” — former Trump adviser Jason Miller

So here’s what we learned about election night 2020 at the White House in today’s hearing: a) Former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani showed up at the White House wanting to talk to Trump b ) Giuliani was, according to Miller, drunk c) Giuliani ended up talking to the president, a conversation in which he said that Trump should declare victory, which the president then did. Amazing. Awesome.

4. “I don’t know if I had a firm vision of what I should say.” –Ivanka Trump

The eldest daughter of the former president was, and is, clearly and very carefully calibrating how her closeness (or lack of it) with her father is perceived after the elections. She, more than any other witness whose testimony before the January 6 committee we have seen, speaks haltingly (and briefly) as she tries to distance herself from her father’s actions without him realizing what he is doing.

5. “My recommendation was to say ‘The votes were still being counted. It’s too early to tell, too early to call the race, but we’re proud of the race we did and we think we’re in a good position.'” — former Trump campaign manager Bill Stepien

Stepien, knowing that there were still plenty of fully legal votes to be counted, advised the president not to declare victory on election night. Instead, Trump followed the advice of the allegedly drunk Giuiliani

6. “From the get-go, on election night, the president claimed there was a huge fraud going on. I mean, this happened, as far as I know, before there was really a chance to look at the evidence.” –Attorney General Bill Barr

Barr was the star of the second public hearing, making it clear that he not only believed the voter fraud claims were ridiculous, but also told Trump that opinion in several face-to-face conversations. This quote, in particular, is deeply damning, as it suggests that Trump was claiming fraud even before a substantial number of votes had been counted.

7. “Very, very, very, very gloomy.” — Stephen

This was Stepien’s analysis of Trump’s chances of winning as the week after the election unfolded. She added that she had told Trump at the time that the campaign had only a 5-10% chance of winning.

8. “I didn’t mind being considered part of the Normal Team.” — Stephen

Stepien drew a sharp line between the “Normal Team” (those inside the campaign who, as time went on, clearly believed Trump had lost) and another team populated by people like Giuliani and lawyers like Sidney Powell and John Eastman. . What, well, wow.

9. “Not the approach I’d take if I were you.” –Jared Kushner

After much hesitation and hesitation as to whether he had spoken to the president about his views on Giuliani and the effort to overturn the election results, Kushner finally acknowledged saying this to the president. Trump obviously ignored him and his advice.

10. “The Department does not take sides in elections, and the Department is not an extension of its legal team.” — barr

The attorney general told Trump this in an in-person meeting on November 23, 2020. Trump, neither in this conversation nor before or after, seemed to understand that the Justice Department had long been viewed as an independent organization within the government in general.

11. “I told him that the things his people were saying to the public were nonsense.” — barr

That quote came from a Dec. 1 meeting between Trump and Barr. It followed an Associated Press story earlier in the day in which Barr had this to say: “To date, we haven’t seen fraud on a scale that could have affected a different election outcome.”

12. “There was never an indication of interest in what the real facts were.” — barr

Barr said that before the 2020 election he felt he could persuade Trump of the facts and realities, even if, at times, it took a while and was a bit painful for everyone involved. After the election, Barr said that all changed: that Trump simply wasn’t interested in any point of view that didn’t support his unsubstantiated claims of voter fraud. “After the election, he didn’t seem to be listening,” Barr told the Jan. 6 committee.

13. “The 2020 election was not close.” — Republican campaign attorney Ben Ginsberg

Ginsberg was intimately involved in the 2000 presidential election, which garnered just over 500 votes in Florida. He pointed out during his testimony on Monday that there was no state even remotely that close in 2020. (The smallest margin, just over 10,000, was in Arizona.)

14. “The Trump campaign didn’t make its case.” –Ginsberg

This is a statement of fact often lost in the back and forth of legal cases brought by Trump after the 2020 election. Here are the facts: The Trump campaign brought 62 cases to a variety of courts around the country. country. They lost 61 of those cases. And which one they won had no material effect on the vote. (It was to disqualify a relative shortage of mail-in ballots because voters hadn’t confirmed his ID before Nov. 9.)

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