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Have hearings convinced Americans that Trump was singularly responsible for Jan. 6?


California Representative Pete Aguilar is a member of the January 6 House Committee, and he's with us now. Good morning, Congressman. Thanks for being on the program.

PETE AGUILAR: Good morning, Leila. Thanks for having me.

FADEL: So I want to start with a question that my colleague Rachel Martin just raised. Are you planning to ask President Trump to testify - former President Trump?

AGUILAR: Well, we're going to - correct. We're just going to go through the hearing today, and we'll see what lies ahead. But clearly, you know, we have laid out a clear and compelling narrative for the American public to tell the truth and to find the facts related to January 6. That's our charge and our responsibility, and that's what we've been undertaking. But, you know, to the extent that there are more questions to ask, the committee isn't going to be shy about doing that.

FADEL: But have you asked him?

AGUILAR: Well, we're not going to get into witnesses and conversations that we've had with the president and the vice president and their teams. But I'll let the chairman and the vice chairman talk about what's next.

FADEL: Now, The Washington Post first reported that your committee today will be showing video of outtakes of the president's January 7 speech, in which he's struggling to condemn the violence, refusing to admit that the election was over. And this is the day after the attack on the Capitol. What can you tell us about that video?

AGUILAR: Yeah. We're going to go through the topic of the - of - the hearing is a hundred and eighty-seven minutes. We want to give the public an opportunity and a clear view into what was going on in the White House. But we do think it's incredibly informative to talk about what happened on January 7, as well. How did the president end his day? How did the former president end his day on the sixth? What did that look like on the seventh? How angry and upset was he that the mob did not help him achieve his means, which was to stop a peaceful transfer of power?

FADEL: Now, we've heard some stunning testimony about what Trump was doing as the Capitol was attacked. How will today, this possible final hearing, connect the dots?

AGUILAR: Well, what we plan with this hearing is to bring the public along, all the way through, you know, January 6 and January 7. We feel that we've talked about, you know, how the president knew from his closest advisers in November and December that he had lost the election, continued to try to do everything he could, even after he lost 60 lawsuits, to stop a peaceful transfer of power. But we also need to lay out to the American public that this can happen again. What steps do we need to take in the future? So all of this is relevant. We'll see what the future holds. We're not going to close any doors, and we continue to seek testimony and receive important information.

FADEL: Now, you mentioned the concern that this could happen again. And right now, the Senate has a bipartisan deal on legislation to reform the Electoral Count Act to prevent another January 6 attack. Is that enough to stop this from happening again?

AGUILAR: Well, it's definitely one piece of it. No single event, no single piece of legislation is going to prevent this from happening again. We need to look at multiple things, and I think that's what the committee plans to do in a future report.

FADEL: Now, some of the most memorable testimony during these hearings came from Cassidy Hutchinson, testimony that other officials disputed. Will we hear testimony that corroborates what Hutchinson said - that Trump knew people were armed in the crowd, that he got physical with a Secret Service agent to try to get to the Capitol?

AGUILAR: Well, we're - we have not heard - and I think it's important to note we have not heard from anyone anything that contradicts what Cassidy Hutchinson has said under oath. We feel that, if anything, the information that we have received only supports what she had testified to the committee under oath.

FADEL: Now, the testimony has revealed so much about what was happening in the White House during this attack. But does it matter if a large swath of the country with different politics than yours are not watching or not convinced by what this committee presented - or has presented?

AGUILAR: Well, we're convinced that there are a lot of individuals who are in the middle, who have been watching the hearings and have been paying attention and have been formulating their own opinions based on what the president did leading up to January 6. We feel that the American public needs to know that. And while there is a segment of the population that continues to probably believe that the election was stolen, that's not our audience. And we continue to reach out to those folks in the middle. And the fact that over 55 million people have watched the hearings, I think, speaks directly to that.

FADEL: Congressman Pete Aguilar, thank you so much for taking the time.

AGUILAR: Thank you, Leila.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC) Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

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