Trump’s inner circle goes on offense and insists no one will care about the January 6 public hearings

Trump loyalists souded off on multiple media platforms ahead of the public hearings, slamming the them as ‘illegitimate’

Jamie Raskin doesn't say whether the Jan 6 Committee will get Mike Pence to testify

A number of Republicans from Donald Trump’s inner circle has begun what many have called a mass counterprogramming effort ahead of the first public hearings from the January 6 committee, scheduled to begin this week.

The House Select Committee investigating the violent insurrection at the Capitol, which resulted in about 140 officers getting injured and one police officer dying, has conducted its work largely behind closed doors for the better part of a year. On Thursday, however, the bipartisan panel is set to open its first of six hearings during a primetime televised event.

The public hearings are a culmination of 125,000 documents collected and the more than 1,000 people who have been called for interviews or depositions, all of which is intended to provide essential context to the key moments leading up to January 6.

While nearly every major news network has indicated that they intend to air the hearings live, Fox News released a statement earlier this week stating they won’t be airing the proceedings during prime time on its main network. The network has instead opted to screen the hearings through Fox Business Network, meaning regularly scheduled programming like Tucker Carlson Tonight and Hannity will remain on this week’s docket undisturbed. Fox will also stream the proceedings online without authentication.

Ahead of the hearings, House Republicans from within the Trump-sphere began sounding off on some of the central counterprogramming points, many of which were highlighted in a memo from the Republican National Committee, which was first reported on by Axios.

One of the central points in the memo that GOP members seeking to deflate the hearings’ importance sought to hammer home was the message that the select committee “lacks merit and legitimacy”.

House Republicans Matt Gaetz of Florida, Elise Stefanik of New York and Lauren Boebert of Colorado all neatly parroted the line from last week’s leaked memo by this week labelling the primetime proceedings as “illegitimate”.

“House Republicans will NOT let Nancy Pelosi get away with her sham illegitimate committee,” tweeted congresswoman Stefanik, while the Florida congressman Gaetz kept it more succinct by tweeting: “The January 6 Committee is ILLEGITIMATE!”

Ms Stefanik, who replaced Liz Cheney as chair of the House Republican Conference, told Breitbart News that her team was working in close contact with the former president and that the conference “will be pushing back in a rapid response fashion”.

Ms Boebert wove two of the counterprogramming blizes talking points into one tweet, as she highlighted the hearings as “illegitimate” and simultaneously tried to shift the focus to Democrats being considered “out of touch” by most Americans.

“The national average for a gallon of gas is nearly $5. And what are Dems in DC doing to fix this? Holding illegitimate ‘Jan 6’ hearings during primetime. November will not be kind to these partisan hacks,” tweeted Ms Boebert.

This point of view was echoed by major players from within the former US president’s world, including his current spokesperson who slammed the live broadcast as providing evidence of just how “disgustingly out of touch” Washington and the mainstream media that covers it are.

“No one wants to see prime time about January 6. They want to see prime time how they’re gonna have baby formula on the shelf,” Ms Harrington said during an interview on the right-wing network Real America’s Voice.

Senior congressional aides informed Axios that House Republicans would attempt to pivot the conversation around the hearings this week ahead to topics that Americans care about, such as the baby formula shortage, inflation, gas prices and even mass shootings.

These points were loudly echoed by Republican congresswoman Marjorie Taylor Greene, who in one tweet hit on all four points – “Americans are suffering from out of control inflation & gas prices, high crime, no baby formula” – while also condemning the Democrats for dredging up a hearing on January 6, an event that she said people won’t care about.

“Dems think people care about J6 after Dems caused violent riots w/ $2+ B in damage all over the US in ‘20. Yeah. Dig that hole deeper,” the Georgia congresswoman tweeted.

On the airwaves, Lara Trump took to Hannity to call the hearings a “scam”, while CPAC chairman Matt Schlapp went on Newsmax to claim that indictments of key political figures who have been indicted for failing to cooperate with the panel, such as Peter Navarro and Steve Bannon, are being penalised for not having the right politics.

“It is untenable to be in a system with a two-tiered justice system,” the former White House political director told Newsmax hosts on the day before the first hearing. “It’s actually not based on race. It’s based on your politics.”

The committee is set to hold two hearings in primetime at 8pm on Thursday 9 June and on 23 June. In between the primetime hearings, additional public sessions will be conducted at 10am on 13 June, 15 June, 16 June, and 21 June.

The hearings are expected to outline how Donald Trump and some of his associates violated the law as they tried to overturn the 2020 election,according to reports.

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