Biden calls testimony from Jan. 6 committee hearing ‘devastating’

U.S. President Joe Biden speaks about lowering costs for American families during a visit to the East Portland Community Center in Portland, Oregon, U.S., October 15, 2022.
Kevin Lamarque | Reuters

President Joe Biden said Saturday that he found testimony presented during the House Jan. 6 committee’s hearing last week to be “devastating” and that the panel has made an “overwhelming” case.

Asked by reporters about his thoughts on the committee’s ninth hearing during a stop at a Baskin-Robbins in Portland, Oregon, Biden said, “I think the testimony in the video are actually devastating.”

“And I’ve been going out of my way not to comment and see what happens. But it’s — I think it’s been devastating,” he said. “I mean, the case has been made, it seems to me, fairly overwhelming.”

He added, “But any more I say about it, you — justified — are going to ask me if I’m trying to influence the Attorney General. I’m not. I’ve not spoken with him at all.”

The committee’s hearing Thursday — the last before the midterm elections — delve into former President Donald Trump’s mindset as the violence at the Capitol unfolded on Jan. 6, 2021.

The hearing featured never-before-seen footage of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., and other congressional leaders calling for help during the riot as Trump refused to call off the mob of his supporters.

Former Trump White House aides testified that Trump privately knew he had lost the 2020 election, despite espousing false claims of widespread election fraud.

The hearing concluded with the committee voting unanimously to subpoena the former president for documents and testimony.

Biden previously weighed in on the importance of the Jan. 6 congressional hearings in June, saying that Americans should know what unfolded and that “the same forces that led to Jan. 6 remain at work today.”

“The insurrection on Jan. 6 was one of the darkest chapters in our nation’s history — a brutal assault on our democracy, a brutal attack on law enforcement, some losing their lives, and we heard about it last night again,” Biden said in June, at the top of remarks focused on inflation at the Port of Los Angeles.

Although he said he was unable to watch the committee’s first public hearing in June, the president stressed that it is important that the public understands “what truly happened.”

“We have to protect our democracy,” he said, adding that “the soul of America has been far from won.”

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