US Capitol riot: What we know, what's next

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Through seven hearings, the inquiry into 2021's US Capitol riots has maintained two consistent themes: Donald Trump's stubborn resistance to advisers who told him Joe Biden won the election, and the former president's role in inciting the insurrection.

Each hearing has had a separate focus - this week's was domestic extremism - but the nine-member panel investigating the January 6, 2021, attack has not strayed from its central findings: that Trump made historically unprecedented moves to overturn his 2020 election defeat and then turned a blind eye as his supporters beat police and broke into the Capitol to defend him.

Below is a rundown of what has been learned from the committee's public hearings - and what happens next.

TRUMP IGNORED HIS ADVISERS

At every hearing, the panel has played video testimony from White House aides and Trump associates who said they told the then-president Biden won the election and advised him to drop his false claims of widespread voter fraud. Many were emboldened by former attorney-general Bill Barr's declaration in early December 2020 there was no evidence of mass fraud.

Among those aides was Trump's daughter Ivanka, who told the panel she accepted Barr's conclusions. Barr, who told Trump to his face that the fraud claims were "bulls**t", said he feared the president was becoming "detached from reality".

But Trump ignored those advisers and instead listened to a small group of allies outside the White House who were pushing the fraud claims, the inquiry heard.

At Tuesday's hearing, video testimony from White House lawyers described theories pushed by lawyers Rudy Giuliani and Sidney Powell they described as "nuts", including compromised voting machines and thermostats.

A December 18 meeting in the White House lasted six hours and devolved into "screaming" and profanity, several participants said.

Trump's White House counsel, Pat Cipollone, told the committee in a video interview lawyers kept asking Powell and Giuliani for evidence.

THE PRESIDENT'S CALLS TO ACTION

Rebuffed by many of those closest to him, Trump turned to a wider audience on social media. Hours after the December 18 meeting, he tweeted that his supporters should come to a "big protest" on January 6, when congress would certify Biden's win.

Trump tweeted: "Be there, will be wild!".

The committee showed a montage of videos and social media posts after the tweet as supporters reacted and planned trips to Washington, some of them using violent rhetoric and talking about killing police officers.

Far-right extremist groups like the Proud Boys and the Oath Keepers mobilised their members to travel to Washington. Members of those groups descended on the Capitol before Trump had even finished his fiery speech outside the White House that morning.

Last month, former White House aide Cassidy Hutchinson testified Trump knew some of his supporters were armed because they had been turned away at security checkpoints. She quoted Trump as directing his staff, in profane terms, to take away metal-detectors if their presence meant fewer people would be at the rally. He then took the stage and urged the entire crowd to march to the Capitol.

Stephen Ayres, who broke into the Capitol on January 6 and pleaded guilty last month to a misdemeanour count of disorderly conduct, testified at Tuesday's hearing. He said he believed Trump's lies as they were amplified on social media, and added he came to Washington at the behest of his president.

A MISSED MARCH TO THE CAPITOL

The committee has focused in particular on Trump's efforts to go to the Capitol with his supporters after his speech. Hutchinson said many of Trump's aides, and even House Republican leader Kevin McCarthy, were aware of his plan and tried to stop it. She described Trump's anger as security officials refused to take him there.

On Tuesday, the committee revealed more evidence Trump had planned to call for his supporters to march to the Capitol, and that he would go with them.

They showed texts and email exchanges between planners and White House aides about a secret plan for the march.

"This stays only between us, we are having a second stage at the Supreme Court" after Trump's rally, wrote one of the rally's organisers, Kylie Kremer, to a Trump confidant. "POTUS is going to have us march there/the Capitol". People will try to "sabotage" it if they found out, she said.

PRESSURE TO OVERTURN THE ELECTION

The committee's first few hearings focused on Trump's pressure campaign to thwart Biden's victory - aimed at state election officials, the Justice Department and Vice President Mike Pence. The president's pressure ramped up as courts rejected dozens of lawsuits and after the states certified the electors in mid-December.

At a hearing with state officials, Georgia's Republican secretary of state, Brad Raffensperger, told of Trump's phone call in which he asked him to "find 11,780 votes" that could give him a win.

And Greg Jacob, a lawyer to Pence, testified about scheming within the White House to try and convince Pence to object to the results or delay the certification in his traditional ceremonial role presiding over the count. But Jacob said that as he and Pence reviewed the constitution, the law, "and frankly just common sense," they confirmed that Pence did not have that authority.

WHAT'S NEXT

The committee is planning to hold its eighth hearing next week. It is expected to feature the testimony of White House aides and centre on what Trump was doing during the hours his supporters were violently breaking into the Capitol.

Maryland representative Jamie Raskin, a member of the committee, said the hearing "will be a profound moment of reckoning for America".

The panel is expected to issue a final report, possibly before November's midterm elections.

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