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“If he is the nominee, I won’t be a Republican.”
That’s how Wyoming GOP Rep. Liz Cheney framed the danger of another Donald Trump presidency, vowing on Saturday, “I’m going to do everything I can to make sure he is not the nominee” should he run again.
Her pointed comments come ahead of what’s likely to be the final public hearing from the House select committee investigating January 6, 2021, before it releases its final report.
As Cheney’s fate last month showed, the committee is up against the clock. Neither she nor Illinois Rep. Adam Kinzinger – the only two Republicans on the panel – will be returning to Congress next year, when a possible House GOP majority could look much different
Here’s what you need to know.
What will the committee present?
Panel members are keeping this close to the chest.
“I think it’ll be potentially more sweeping than some of the other hearings, but it too will be in a very thematic – it will tell the story about a key element of Donald Trump’s plot to overturn the election,” Democratic Rep. Adam Schiff of California told CNN’s Jake Tapper on “State of the Union” Sunday.
The chairman of the committee, Democratic Rep. Bennie Thompson of Mississippi, said last week, “We have substantial footage of what occurred that we haven’t used.”
Thompson also said there was “significant witness testimony that we haven’t used in other hearings,” calling it “an opportunity” to get it in front of the American people.
The committee could incorporate footage of Roger Stone, the long-time Republican operative and Trump ally, from a documentary film crew that followed Stone for portions of about three years.
The filmmakers told CNN they came to an agreement to share certain clips of their un-released documentary with the committee after a subpoena for the footage was signed by Thompson. Some of the footage, clips of which were obtained by CNN, shows Stone pre-Election Day.
Committee member Rep. Jamie Raskin suggested publicly over the weekend that the panel has more to reveal about the connection between Stone and domestic extremist groups, as well as efforts to keep Trump in power after the US Capitol attack and the ongoing threats to democracy.
“Stay tuned,” Raskin said at the Texas Tribune festival when asked about Stone’s possible connections to the Capitol riot.
“He’s someone who I think saw where things were going,” the Maryland Democrat said.
Stone disputed the authenticity of the footage. Read more here.
Why not in primetime?
The 1:00 p.m. ET start time on Wednesday is perhaps more calculated than meets the eye. Discussing the timing on CNN Sunday, Democratic Rep. Zoe Lofgren noted, “In the past, Fox News does play our hearings if the hearing is in the daytime.”
“So that’s a factor in reaching an audience that is not watching CNN,” the California Democrat added.
Will Trump and Pence testify before the end of the year?
While Cheney said Saturday she believes former Vice President Mike Pence has an “obligation” to speak with the committee, Lofgren was pessimistic on Sunday that the committee would hear from either the former President or former vice president.
“The vice president had said publicly that he thought he might want to come in, and so we were very encouraged by that. But since that time, his people have walked it back,” Lofgren said on CNN.
“And to be honest, given that select committees of this Congress – not just this select committee but all the select committees – exist only for the life of the Congress, if we were trying to get into a subpoena fight with either the former vice president or the former President, that litigation could not be concluded during the life of this Congress.”
One person who may be showing up for an interview in the coming weeks, though? Ginni Thomas. The House committee has come to an agreement with the conservative activist and wife of Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas, CNN first reported last week.
Has the committee already proven its point?
Over the course of the summer’s hearings, the committee tapped into the hundreds of taped depositions, as well as key witnesses who testified live, to present a devastating case that Trump sought multiple avenues to try to overturn the 2020 presidential election even after he was told he lost.
A refresher on some of the biggest revelations:
Secret Service incident. Cassidy Hutchinson, an aide in the Trump White House, testified about hearing a secondhand account of how Trump was so enraged at his Secret Service detail for blocking him from going to the US Capitol that he lunged to the front of his vehicle and tried to turn the wheel.
Hutchinson also testified that she heard her boss, then-Trump chief of staff Mark Meadows, say that Trump seemed to agree with the suggestion from some rioters, caught on tape that day, that Pence should be hanged.
Corrupt pressure campaign. The panel used the fourth hearing to detail the private and public effects that Trump’s pressure campaign had on election officials.
Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger, a Republican, told the committee he and his family faced threats he believed were attempts to make him quit over his unwillingness to participate in overturning the election.
Plan to replace the then-attorney general. During the fifth hearing, the panel described a January 2021 meeting where the then-President considered replacing acting Attorney General Jeffrey Rosen with Jeffrey Clark, a top Justice Department official who became a proponent of Trump’s false election fraud claims.
Trump’s failure to act. The committee used its final hearing this summer to detail the 187 minutes Trump refused to act while the Capitol was under attack, despite learning about the assault just minutes after he returned to the White House.
What are the latest January 6-related revelations heading into Wednesday?
Records obtained by CNN show that, during the attack, a cell phone registered to a Capitol rioter who had stormed the building received a 9-second phone call from a White House landline.
Who placed the call and why remains a mystery, but it’s notable as the only known call made from the White House to the phone of a rioter during the critical time period. It’s also unclear what, if any, connection exists between the White House and the rioter, including whether the call was made by mistake or whether the call went to voicemail.
The cell phone belonged to Anton Lunyk, a 26-year-old Trump supporter from Brooklyn, New York, who had traveled to Washington, DC, the night before January 6 with two friends, according to multiple sources familiar with the investigation, as well as a search of public records.
According to multiple sources familiar with the investigation, Lunyk says he doesn’t remember receiving the call and claims he doesn’t know anyone who worked in the Trump White House.
Former Rep. Denver Riggleman expressed doubt about that claim in an interview with CNN’s Kasie Hunt on Monday. Riggleman – a Republican who lost a 2020 primary and who left his job working as a technical adviser for the January 6 committee in April – first disclosed the call in an interview with CBS’ “60 Minutes.”
“I really don’t count anybody who says, ‘I don’t know anybody in the White House, I don’t remember the call,’” he told Hunt. “For me as a data guy, I don’t pay attention to what somebody is saying when the data is telling me something else.”
Read more from CNN’s Jamie Gangel and Elizabeth Stuart here.
What happens after Wednesday?
Following this week’s hearing, all eyes will turn to the committee’s final report, which Lofgren said is “highly unlikely” to “be done before early November” ahead of the midterm elections.
Raskin, a Democratic said earlier this month that he expects the report to come out by the end of the year. (He’s also “hopeful” that the committee will hold another hearing presenting recommendations to Congress, he told NBC’s “Meet the Press” on Sunday.)
CNN reported in July that the committee had already started writing its report, but there was still much debate over which direction it should go.
A key question has been whether the report should include a criminal referral of Trump.
Where does the panel stand on a criminal referral?
It’s not entirely clear. Schiff said Sunday that if the panel does make a criminal referral for Trump, it should be unanimous.
“We operate with a high degree of consensus and unanimity,” the California Democrat told Tapper.
“It will be certainly, I think, my recommendation, my feeling that we should make referrals, but we will get to a decision as a committee, and we will all abide by that decision, and I will join our committee members if they feel differently.”
CNN reported earlier this year that although the bipartisan committee was in wide agreement that Trump committed a crime when he pushed a conspiracy to prevent the peaceful transfer of power, panelists were split over what to do about it.
This story has been updated with additional information Monday.