Congressman Pete Aguilar (D-31st District) played a significant role on June 16 as a member of the House select committee that has been investigating the Jan. 6, 2021 riot at the U.S. Capitol.
Aguilar, whose district includes part of Fontana, made a lengthy presentation during the panelâs third hearing and also was involved in the questioning of two witnesses, J. Michael Luttig, a retired federal judge, and Greg Jacob, a lawyer for former Vice President Mike Pence.
In his opening statement at the televised hearing, Aguilar said that the committee intended to show the American people that Jan. 6 was not an isolated incident because there was a âlegal scheme and deceptionâ in the weeks beforehand.
âWeâve already learned that President Trump knew he lost the 2020 election,â Aguilar said, according to a transcript supplied by his office. âShortly after, he began to look for a way to circumvent our countryâs most fundamental civic tradition: the peaceful transfer of power. The President latched on to a dangerous theory and would not let go because he was convinced it would keep him in office. We witnessed firsthand what happened when the President of the United States weaponized this theory. The Capitol was overrun. Police officers lost their lives. And the Vice President was taken to a secure location because his safety was in jeopardy.â
This hearing revealed details of the imminent danger that Pence faced during the riot, when a mob of extremists came within 40 feet of finding him before he was escorted to safety.
âHow did we get to the point where President Trumpâs most radical supporters led a violent attack on the Capitol and threatened to hang President Trumpâs own Vice President?â Aguilar asked.
âYouâll hear from witnesses that Donald Trump pressured Mike Pence to adopt a legally and morally bankrupt idea that the Vice President could choose who the next President can be. Youâll hear about how the Vice President, the White House Counsel, and others told Donald Trump that the Vice President had no such authority. But President Trump would not listen. Youâll hear how Vice President Pence withstood an onslaught of pressure from President Trump both publicly and privately â a pressure campaign that built to a fever pitch with a heated phone call on January 6th. Youâll also hear that the President knew there was a violent mob at the Capitol when he tweeted at 2:24 p.m. that the Vice President did not have the âcourageâ to do what needed to be done.
âLet me be clear: Vice President Pence did the right thing that day; he stayed true to his oath to protect and defend the Constitution.â
The committee, which includes Aguilar and eight other members, will continue to hold hearings on upcoming days this month.