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What to watch for in the Jan. 6 committee’s Thursday prime-time hearing

‘This is going to open people’s eyes in a big way,’ Rep. Adam Kinzinger, R-Ill., says

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Rep. Adam Kinzinger, R-Ill., is shown leaving a House select committee investigating the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol.

Rep. Adam Kinzinger, R-Ill., left, leaves following a House select committee investigating the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol hearing at the Capitol in Washington, Tuesday, July 12, 2022.


The House select committee investigating the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the U.S. Capitol is holding a prime-time hearing Thursday to share its findings about what former President Donald Trump did during the three hours between when the attack began and he finally told his supports to leave.

“We have filled in the blanks,” Rep. Adam Kinzinger, R-Ill., told “Face the Nation” on Sunday. “I can’t necessarily say the motives behind every piece of information that we know we’ll be able to explain, but this is going to open people’s eyes in a big way.”

Former Trump White House deputy press secretary Sarah Matthews and former Trump National Security Council member Matthew Potting are expected to testify Thursday, according to The Associated Press, and on Friday the select committee subpoenaed Secret Service text messages from Jan. 5 and Jan. 6, 2021, that were believed to have been deleted when devices were replaced.

The committee is debating whether to seek an interview with Trump himself, something Kinzinger wasn’t personally keen on.

“Donald Trump has made it clear that he doesn’t mind not telling the truth, let’s just put that mildly,” he said. “He lies all the time, I wouldn’t put it past him to even lie under oath so I’m not sure what the value is there.”

Trump “didn’t do very much but gleefully watch television” during the time between the attack beginning and his video message asking supporters to go home, Kinzinger said. He said he hoped Republicans would watch the hearing with an open mind.

“I say this to my fellow Republicans: Watch this with an open mind, and is this the kind of strong leader that you think you deserve?” he said.

Earlier this month, leaked audio obtained by Mother Jones found former Trump White House chief strategist Steve Bannon saying on Halloween 2020 that Trump was planning to declare victory whether or not he won.

“After then, Trump never has to go to a voter again,” Bannon allegedly said, according to the leaked audio.

Bannon is facing a trail for contempt of Congress, and jury selection for the trial began Monday in Washington.

Trump remains the leading potential 2024 Republican candidate, with 49% support among primary voters, a recent New York Times-Siena College poll found, but there’s growing anecdotal evidence that some Republicans are ready for someone new.

A Fox News digital segment filmed in Maricopa County, Arizona, this month included interviews with Republican voters who said they liked Trump and his policies but they preferred someone less divisive in 2024. And in a focus group with Trump supporters, Bulwark publisher Sarah Longwell said no one wanted Trump to run again.

“His support is noticeably softer,” Longwell tweeted. Although they believed the hearings were a “witch hunt,” she believed they served as “a reminder to them of how much baggage Trump has. They want someone who can win in 2024 and are increasingly unsure he can.”

Thursday’s hearing, the select committee’s eighth, will be its first prime-time hearing since its first hearing of the year on June 9. Future hearings could be held if the select committee finds new evidence, Kinzinger said, as well as when its final report is released.