Former U.S. President Donald Trump Friday sharply criticized the House committee investigating the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the U.S. Capitol, in his first appearance since the committee began its public hearings.

Speaking to a gathering of religious conservatives in Nashville, Tennessee, Trump said, “Let’s be clear, this is not a congressional investigation — this horrible situation that’s wasting everyone’s time.”

“This is a theatrical production of partisan political fiction that’s getting these terrible, terrible ratings and they’re going crazy,” he added.

The hearings have laid out how the attack on the Capitol occurred and Trump’s role in it by inviting his supporters to come to Washington and “fight like hell” to keep him in office.

In the latest day of hearings, on Thursday, witnesses presented testimony that Trump repeatedly pressured then-Vice President Mike Pence to thwart Congress from certifying that Democrat Joe Biden won the 2020 presidential election, even after being repeatedly advised that it was illegal to do so.

Pence was presiding over Congress as lawmakers were in the initial stages of the state-by-state count of Electoral College votes to verify Biden’s victory when about 2,000 Trump supporters stormed the Capitol to disrupt the proceeding.

Trump, in private and publicly at a rally near the White House just before Congress convened, implored Pence to reject the electoral count from states where Biden narrowly won and send the results back to the states so that Republican-controlled legislatures could order another election or submit the names of Trump electors to replace those favoring Biden.

Pence, a Trump loyalist during their four years in the White House, refused Trump’s demands, saying his role was limited by the Constitution to simply open the envelopes containing the Electoral College vote counts from each state.

Trump criticized Pence again on Friday for failing to stop the vote certification, saying, “Mike Pence had a chance to be great. He had a chance to be, frankly, historic.”

Source: Voice of America

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