Donald Trump has called the investigation into the Capitol riots “pitiful” and a “kangaroo court” as the inquiry continues to probe his involvement in the attack.
A House select committee investigating the assault on the US Capitol on 6 January 2021 was told that the form US president was becoming “detached from reality” during the 2020 election and clung to outlandish theories to stay in power.
The hearing was also told he was taking advice from a “definitely intoxicated” Rudy Giuliani.
In the 12-page rebuttal released through his Save America PAC, Mr Trump lashed out at the investigation, likening it to a “kangaroo court” to distract the American people before the November midterm elections.
Teasing the possibility of him returning for the 2024 presidential elections, he said the probe was “merely an attempt to stop a man that is leading in every poll, against both Republicans and Democrats by wide margins, from running again for the presidency”.
“The Democrats know that I would correct all of this, and they are doing everything in their power to stop me – but we can’t be stopped,” he continued. “We have to Save America.”
Mr Trump then went on to blame the Democrats for inflation and high gas prices.
“Our nation is SUFFERING. Our economy is in the gutter. Inflation is rampant. Gas prices have reached an all-time high. Ships are unable to unload cargo. Families cannot get needed baby formula. We are an embarrassment around the world.”
He also accused Democrats of being fixed on the events of 6 January and being “unable to offer solutions” to the country’s issues.
“Democrats are desperate to change the narrative of a failing nation, without making mention of the havoc and death caused by the Radical Left just months earlier,” he said.
“Make no mistake, they control the government. They own this disaster. They are hoping that these hearings will somehow alter their failing prospects.”
Much of the 12-page document was used to rehash his unsubstantiated claims that the 2020 presidential election was supposedly “rigged and stolen”.
“Politicians from both parties, but mostly the Democrats, worked in conjunction with corporate elitists to strip Americans of our right to elect our own leaders,” he said.
The House of Representatives select committee has been looking into how and why the riots took place on 6 January last year.
On the second day of public hearings, the investigation heard how the former US president’s closest campaign advisers, senior government officials and even his family tried to dismantle his false claims of voter fraud on election night.
Mr Trump’s claims fueled his defeated efforts to overturn the election and provoked a mob of his supporters to storm the US Capitol.
Giving evidence to the committee on Monday, former Justice Department official Richard Donoghue recalled breaking down one claim after another and telling Mr Trump that “much of the info” he was receiving was “false”.
Some of the claims included a truckload of ballots being found in Pennsylvania, a “suspicious black suitcase” containing fake ballots that turned out to be a local election lock box, and computer chips being swapped into voting machines that automatically awarded Mr Trump votes to Joe Biden.
The Trump aides and advisers dismissed all of them as having no merit.
“He was becoming detached from reality,” said former attorney general William Barr, who also gave evidence to the committee.
Trump sided with ‘definitely intoxicated’ Giuliani
Instead of listening to his aides, the advisers said Mr Trump sided with a “definitely intoxicated” Mr Giuliani to launch a movement that culminated in the 6 January attack.
Mr Giuliani, a former US attorney and New York City mayor, has been among Mr Trump’s supporters and made repeated claims that the election had been stolen.
Previously recorded evidence given by Mr Trump’s 2020 campaign manager Bill Stepien was played to the committee after he was forced to leave the hearing due to his wife going into labour.
In the clip, he described how the festive mood at the White House on election night quickly turned after Fox News announced Mr Trump had lost the state of Arizona to Mr Biden.
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He told the committee that he and other aides viewed themselves as “Team Normal” as they tried to steer Mr Trump away from dubious fraud claims being peddled by Mr Giuliani.
Aides worked to counsel him on what to do next, but Mr Trump chose to listen to Mr Giuliani instead, who told him to declare a victory.
“My belief, my recommendation, was to say that votes were still being counted, it’s too early to tell, too early to call the race,” Mr Stepien said in his recorded evidence.
Mr Trump’s son-in-law Jared Kushner also tried to deter him from listening to Mr Giuliani, but he responded by saying he had confidence in the lawyer.
‘He intentionally misled his donors’
The committee also heard that – after the election – a series of Mr Trump’s fundraising appeals based on the allegation of voter fraud raised $250m (£200m).
Legal experts have said these fundraising activities could have been fraudulent.
Democratic Representative Zoe Lofgren said: “It’s clear that he intentionally misled his donors, asked them to donate to a fund that didn’t exist and used the money raised for something other than what he said.
“Now it’s for someone else to decide whether that’s criminal or not.”
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The committee has interviewed 1,000 witnesses and compiled 140,000 documents as part of its investigation.
Legislators hope to show that Mr Trump’s effort to overturn Mr Biden’s election victory posed a grave threat to democracy.
Some members say they have uncovered enough evidence for the Justice Department to consider an unprecedented criminal indictment against the former president.