Trump mobilizes his MAGA allies to defend him ahead of Jan. 6 hearings – Boston News, Weather, Sports

(CNN) – Former President Donald Trump has made it clear that he is seeking cover from his closest allies the forthcoming public hearing by the House of Representatives special committee investigating the January 6 riot – and some prominent names in Congress and the Republican Party are heeding the call.

Trump’s team has told some of his most staunch supporters on Capitol Hill that the former president wants people to vigorously defend him and push back on the select committee while the public hearings unfold, according to GOP sources familiar with the request.

Committee members have teased that hearings could focus on Trump’s direct role undermine election results. The committee has been working towards a thesis describing Trump’s obsession with losing the election and his peddling of it false claims the results have laid the groundwork for the violent and deadly uprising in the Capitol.

Trump’s insistence that his allies defend his honor has mobilized Republicans into action both on and off the Hill, with a wide array of plans to protect him. This is despite a belief by some Republicans that they should divert attention away from Jan. 6 and instead continue to beat the drum on today’s economic and cultural issues that resonated with voters.

In Congress, the targeted response to the hearings will be overseen by House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy of California, who has coordinated response efforts with GOP members.

The California Republican is under additional pressure to show his support for Trump after he was caught on tape earlier this year criticizing the former president and some of his GOP peers in the immediate aftermath of the Capitol attack.

The key player to keep Republicans in the loop will be House GOP conference chair Elise Stefanik of New York, who emerged as one of Trump’s most vocal defenders during his first impeachment, and Wyoming Rep. Liz Cheney in replaced by the Republican leadership. Sources say Stefanik will be tasked with coordinating the party’s news response and ensuring key allies and proxies have talking points.

“Just as with impeachment, at the urging of President Trump and his team, Stefanik will play an outsized role in defending President Trump and House Republicans on the issue of election integrity,” a senior GOP source said.

Two members who House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has refused to serve on the select committee will also play key roles on the messaging front: Rep. Jim Banks of Indiana, chair of the conservative Republican Study Committee; and Rep. Jim Jordan of Ohio, who was involved in efforts to overturn the 2020 election results.

“We’re going to push back,” Banks told CNN. “On January 6th, serious errors occurred that need to be fixed. This mock committee has done nothing to address them.”

Banks and other Republicans, including Illinois Rep. Rodney Davis, the top Republican on the House Administration Committee, have also been working on their own Jan. 6 counter-inquiry, which focuses squarely on the day’s security flaws. Banks said they are putting the “final touches” on a report setting out their findings and expect it to be released in “a matter of weeks,” which could coincide with the end of the select committee hearings.

Part of the challenge for Republicans — particularly after they voted to boycott the select committee — is that they have little insight into what the investigation uncovered and what might be revealed in the public hearings, making it difficult for them to to commit to a precise strategy .

Another reason is the prospect that the committee will rely heavily on witness testimony by former aides to Vice President Mike Pence to make their case — a scenario that could force Republicans to choose sides more openly than they have been up to now.

Trump allies and some Republican activists are already expecting testimony from Pence’s former aide to be featured prominently in the hearings – only adding to the already simmering animosity between the two camps.

While the Republican House Conference has its plans, there is a more specific challenge for the five members subpoenaed by the committee as part of their investigations. McCarthy, Jordan, Rep. Scott Perry of Pennsylvania, Representative Mo Brooks of Alabama, and Representative Andy Biggs of Arizona have all resisted attempts by the committee to promote affidavits and provide documents as part of their investigation.

All five risk the committee having information about their role in attempts to undermine the election results or the riot itself, which could be uncovered during the hearing.

Jordan and other lawmakers have tried to forestall this risk by attempting to define the committee and its work as nothing more than a partisan witch hunt. Jordan has made this point in calls with conservative donors organized by Republican fundraising groups, including CPAC.

But these lawmakers, and more broadly Republicans, are weighing whether they could benefit from a full-scale response — especially considering they’ve had the opportunity to testify behind closed doors, and all have so far refused.

From over the Hill, the Republican National Committee and Conservative Political Action Conference chair Matt Schlapp are expected to be key players in the GOP counterattack, sources said. However, it is unclear whether Trump himself will appear during the hearings or make public statements.

While the party’s plans are being fleshed out, Republican opposition is likely to take the form of press conferences, commentary, cable news and social media posts, sources familiar with the discussions said. There has also been talk of a “war room” to better enable the GOP to trigger rapid, real-time responses to the hearings.

Trump is scheduled to meet with many of the players next week, where his personal strategy and demands could become clearer. He will host a fundraiser for Stefanik on Monday and then the next day will meet with members of the hardline House Freedom Caucus, home to some of his staunchest allies.

Push back or change the subject

But while Republicans stand ready to do Trump’s bidding, there is a real fear that pushing back too far will divert focus from the areas they believe will help them most in the fall election.

“We just need to reinforce the narrative that Democrats are obsessed with Trump and the past and not interested in addressing the issues of the present,” said a senior Republican aide who works on Senate elections across the country. “It’s Biden, it’s inflation, it’s the limit, it’s gas prices. Most Americans don’t talk about January 6th.”

Instead, some agents offer their clients topics of conversation to prepare them for the inevitable questions that will arise at the hearing, but with the aim of returning the conversation to domestic matters.

“We have to take care of things as they arise, but the goal is to stay current,” the employee said. “If we do our job right, we will show that we are focused on the issues that concern most Americans every day.”

This sentiment is shared by rank and file Republican members anxious to win back the majority.

“Most Americans don’t like what happened on Jan. 6 but rank it pretty low on their list of importance compared to inflation, gas costs, the border and crime,” said Rep. Don Bacon, a Nebraska Republican who a Biden-won district, CNN said. “Once Pelosi has fired two members on the GOP side, which has never happened before this Congress in the history of the House, the perceived legitimacy of the select committee on our part is nil.”

Others within the party, including lawmakers and activists, have suggested the best course of action might be to do nothing, believing most Republican voters are paying very little attention to the upcoming hearings and the presentations are likely to shape public opinion among them will not change the GOP base.

“A lot of people think we shouldn’t even push back,” a source said, adding the idea is to just let the committee keep doing what it’s doing because it’s actually causing political harm to members and has very limited impact on the Republicans have.

“There may be no competition, no formal pushback of any kind, and no organizational costs because our power base isn’t looking,” they added.

But, as with anything in Republican politics, the best of plans could easily be blasted by Trump, who may insist his supporters show their support loudly and unreservedly.

(Copyright (c) 2022 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, transcribed, or redistributed.)

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https://whdh.com/news/trump-mobilizing-his-maga-allies-to-defend-him-ahead-of-january-6-hearings/ Trump mobilizes his MAGA allies to defend him ahead of Jan. 6 hearings – Boston News, Weather, Sports

Nate Jones

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