White House: Biden will follow Jan. 6 hearing but ‘not going to get involved’
White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said Tuesday that President Biden will likely follow the news from the the House Jan. 6 select committee hearing later this week but emphasized he is “not going to get involved” in the proceedings.
“Of course, he will be keeping up on the committee’s work as he has been,” Jean-Pierre said, noting that Biden will be on a trip to California for the Summit of Americas when the panel’s first public hearing takes place on Thursday. “And I’m sure he’ll be following the news from the hearing as well.”
The committee investigating the Capitol attack has set its first public hearing for prime time — Thursday evening at 8 p.m. — to examine the events that occurred on Jan. 6, 2021, when a violent mob of Trump supporters stormed the building in a failed effort to prevent Biden’s election from being certified. The committee has not disclosed who its first witnesses will be.
The White House has repeatedly expressed support for the panel’s investigation, calling its work vital. Biden condemned the Jan. 6 attack as an attempted coup in an address on its one-year anniversary earlier this year, forcefully rebuking former President Trump for spreading a “web of lies” about the legitimacy of the 2020 vote.
“We will continue to speak out as appropriate or to defend our democracy and the rule of law and to support those who are doing work to protect our democracy,” Jean-Pierre said Tuesday.
At the same time, she indicated Biden would keep the proceedings at arm’s length when asked if he would be making calls to Republican leaders to try to get them to support the process.
“He supports the bipartisan effort … but we’re not going to get involved,” Jean-Pierre said. “That is something that is independent and needs to stay independent.”
The committee wrote in a notice last week that it plans to “present previously unseen material documenting January 6th, receive witness testimony, preview additional hearings, and provide the American people a summary of its findings about the coordinated, multi-step effort to overturn the results of the 2020 presidential election and prevent the transfer of power.”
In addition to the hearing on Thursday, the panel has also scheduled a second hearing for Monday morning. Chairman Bennie Thompson (D-Miss.) has told reporters there could be as many as eight public hearings held during the month of June.
The committee has conducted hundreds of interviews with witnesses, including former high-level Trump White House officials such as the former president’s children, and poured over official documents provided by the National Archives.
Biden waived executive privileges for tranches of Trump White House records, allowing them to be turned over to the panel despite the former president’s objections. Trump unsuccessfully tried to prevent the release of the documents to the committee through legal proceedings.