Watch: Why Was Sean Penn Sitting Front & Center During January 6 'Witch Hunt' Show Trial

By Jacob Taylor | Saturday, 25 June 2022 16:45
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Actor Sean Penn appeared Thursday at a hearing before the House Select Committee examining the Jan. 6 Capitol riot. The focus of Thursday’s hearing was the pressure campaign then-President Donald Trump conducted to persuade officials at the Department of Justice to try to flip the results of the 2020 election in his favor rather than then-candidate Joe Biden’s.

Penn told reporters he was "just here to observe" as “a citizen” and was a guest of former D.C. police officer Michael Fanone.

Fanone was harshly wounded during his efforts to support the Capitol during the Jan. 6 attack and later left the force. He has been a vocal critic of lawmakers who he said downplayed the day’s events.

Penn recently starred as John Mitchell, President Richard Nixon's attorney general, in the Watergate drama Gaslight. Penn also has engaged in political and social activism, including his humanitarian work in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina in 2005 and the 2010 Haiti earthquake.

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The House Select Committee investigating the Jan. 6 Capitol riot held another hearing Thursday on how former President Donald Trump and his allies pushed the Department of Justice officials to recall the results of the 2020 election in his favor rather than then-President-elect Joe Biden.

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Trump urged DOJ officials to cast doubts on the integrity of the 2020 election despite the department finding no evidence of widespread fraud. The officials in the discussion said they would leave rather than do so. Rep. Adam Kinzinger (R-IL), one of two Republicans on the committee, led the questioning of the witnesses, former acting Attorney General Jeffrey Rosen, former acting Deputy Attorney General Richard Donoghue, and Steven Engel, former assistant attorney general for the Office of Legal Counsel.

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Republican members of Congress requested blanket pardons in case they faced prosecution for their claims about the election, according to an email from Rep. Mo Brooks (R-AL) shown by the committee that also referenced Rep. Matt Gaetz. Recorded witness testimony also named Reps. Andy Biggs and Louie Gohmert as having requested pardons from Trump.

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Rep. Bennie Thompson (D-MS), the panel’s chairman, said in an opening statement that Trump’s pressure campaign to take the election stretched to the highest levels of government, including the DOJ.

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“Donald Trump didn’t just want the Justice Department to investigate. He wanted the Justice Department to help legitimize his lies,” Thompson said.

The panel’s vice chairwoman, Rep. Liz Cheney (R-WY), during her own opening statement, played footage of a recorded interview with former Attorney General William Barr saying, “I shudder to think” what would have happened had the department not resisted the pressure.

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