June 14, 2022

Durbin: We Came Close to Losing Democracy in America on January 6

In a speech on the Senate floor, Durbin speaks about the revelations the bipartisan Select Committee to Investigate the January 6 Attack on the U.S. Capitol has shared in its first two public hearings

WASHINGTON – In a speech on the Senate floor, U.S. Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin (D-IL), Chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee, today spoke about the revelations the bipartisan Select Committee to Investigate the January 6 Attack on the U.S. Capitol has shared in its first two public hearings.

“After 11 months and more than a thousand interviews, the bipartisan Select Committee to Investigate the January 6 Attack on the U.S. Capitol is sharing its findings with America and the revelations are so damning.  In its first two public hearings, the Committee has shown that the attack on the Capitol was not a demonstration that changed spontaneously and became a riot.  The attack on our nation’s Capitol, the attack on this chamber, was the result of a plan—a violent effort to prevent the peaceful transfer of power from the Trump administration to the Biden administration, to stop the peaceful transition of power in America for the first time in our history.  To quote Congresswoman Liz Cheney, President Donald Trump ‘summoned the mob, assembled the mob, and lit the flame of this attack.’”

During his speech, Durbin also spoke about the Senate Judiciary Committee’s October 2021 report titled, “Subverting Justice: How the Former President and His Allies Pressured DOJ to Overturn the 2020 Election.”  Following an eight-month investigation, the Judiciary Committee released testimony and a staff report that revealed that we were only a half-step away from a full blown constitutional crisis as Donald Trump and his loyalists threatened a wholesale takeover of the Department of Justice (DOJ).  Donald Trump’s efforts to pressure DOJ will be the topic of one of the Select Committee’s upcoming public hearings. 

“In a coming hearing, the Committee will show how Donald Trump pressured the Justice Department into helping him overturn the election.  I know a little bit about that.  Our Senate Judiciary Committee, which I chair, documented this attempt to subvert the Justice Department in an eight-month investigation and report that we produced last fall,” Durbin said.  “We interviewed former Justice officials like Jeffrey Rosen and Richard Donoghue, the then-Acting Attorney General and Deputy Attorney General, who resisted Donald Trump’s pressure to take over the Justice Department.  They told us how repeatedly they informed the former President that his bogus election claims were false.  They told us how Trump, nevertheless, asked the Justice Department to ‘just say the election was corrupt and leave the rest to me and the Republican congressmen.’  And they resisted Donald Trump’s plan to replace Jeffrey Rosen with the Big Lie lawyer Jeffrey Clark, who wanted the Justice Department to help overturn the election.  The facts that the Senate Judiciary Committee uncovered are damning.  The January 6 Committee will unveil those—many of their own discoveries and reporting and some that we sent to them from our testimony that we gathered in the Senate Judiciary Committee.”

Durbin concluded, “We came close to losing this democracy in America on January 6.  I believe that by laying out the truth, for us and for future generations, the members of the Committee are performing a public service of heroic proportions.  It is sad that given an opportunity of a bipartisan commission, just as we had with 9/11, that the Senate Republicans stopped it.  Why?  It is a question they’re going to have to answer.”

Video of Durbin’s remarks on the Senate floor is available here.

Audio of Durbin’s remarks on the Senate floor is available here.

Footage of Durbin’s remarks on the Senate floor is available here for TV Stations.

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