Trump issues 12-page statement amid Jan. 6 hearings alleging he plotted a 'coup'

The statement did not directly respond to the specifics laid out by the committee to the public thus far.

ByOren Oppenheim ABCNews logo
Wednesday, June 15, 2022

WASHINGTON -- Former President Donald Trump on Monday responded in a lengthy statement to the House's ongoing Jan. 6 committee hearings, assailing the panel as illegitimate and their presentation as one-sided -- but rather than refute their evidence, he reiterated the same baseless claims about the 2020 presidential election that are at the center of the proceedings and the group's case that he had attempted a "coup."

Trump's 12-page statement, sent to reporters on Monday night, comes after the second public hearing held by the House select committee investigating last year's deadly Capitol attack. His statement, marked by characteristic exclamations and insults, called the hearings "a smoke and mirrors show" that failed to include "all exculpatory witnesses, and anyone who so easily points out the flaws in their story."

The statement, however, did not directly respond to the specifics laid out by the committee to the public thus far -- including testimony earlier Monday from Trump's inner circle that he knew he had lost the last presidential race and had no legitimate reason to claim widespread fraud, instead choosing to listen to Rudy Giuliani to falsely claim victory over Joe Biden.

Much of Trump's statement, instead, went after President Biden and the Democratic majority in Congress, building on arguments Republicans are making ahead of November's midterms. Trump said Democrats were at fault for various issues plaguing the country, and he framed the effort to investigate Jan. 6 as a way to deflect attention away from these issues.

"America is crumbling, and Democrats have no solutions. Our nation has no hope of change for the better under Democrat leadership," Trump said. "People are desperate. Rather than solving problems, Democrats are rehashing history in hopes of changing the narrative."

Members of the committee, which includes two Republicans, have pushed back at the characterization that their investigation is motivated by partisanship. Instead, they have said, their work uncovered the extent to which the former president worked to undercut the democratic process and remain in power.

"The Constitution doesn't protect just Democrats or just Republicans. It protects all of us, we, the people. And this scheme was an attempt to undermine the will of the people," Rep. Bennie Thompson, D-Miss., who chairs the committee, said during the first public hearing on Thursday.

Throughout much of his Monday statement, Trump rehashed false or unfounded claims by him, his campaign and his supporters that the 2020 election was rigged in favor of Biden through stolen ballots, mistaken vote counts and various other means.

Trump said the ongoing Jan. 6 hearings were a "narrative" authored by Democrats "to detract from the much larger and more important truth that the 2020 Election was Rigged and Stolen."

Numerous legal challenges by Trump and others as well as audits and investigations in the wake of the 2020 election discovered no pattern of widespread issues. Likewise, local election officials across the country -- both Democrats and Republicans -- said the fraud claims were without merit.

Trump used his statement to make arguments beyond the last election, targeting Biden and the Democratic Party's perceived vulnerabilities with voters, such as rising inflation.

"Our country is in a nosedive," Trump said. "Americans are struggling to fill their gas tanks, feed their babies, educate their children, hire employees, order supplies, protect our border from invasion, and a host of other tragedies that are 100% caused by Democrats ... and the people of our country are both angry and sad."

The Jan. 6 investigations and its hearings, Trump contended, were meant to bar him from running in the next presidential election. "This is merely an attempt to stop a man that is leading in every poll, against both Republicans and Democrats by wide margins," he boasted, without offering evidence.

Trump has repeatedly teased but has not formally announced if he will run for president in 2024. He has played a large role in the ongoing 2022 midterm election primaries by endorsing candidates in races across the country, with mixed results.

Video depositions played at the first two hearings included witnesses who were close with Trump at the time of the election and on Jan. 6, including his daughter and adviser Ivanka Trump and then-Attorney General Bill Barr.

Barr, who has stated his team found no evidence of extensive fraud, described how he felt about Trump's increasing focus on such claims, telling investigators: "He's become detached from reality if he really believes this stuff."

The next open hearing by the committee is currently set for Thursday, after one scheduled for Wednesday was postponed.