Investigation into a “crisis unit” set up during the assault on the Capitol

On January 6, when thousands of supporters of Donald Trump stormed the Capitol to prevent elected officials from validating the victory of Democrat Joe Biden in the presidential election, secret meetings were held not far from there, in a hotel in Washington luxury. Lawyers Rudy Giuliani and John Eastman, as well as Steve Bannon, a close ally of the former president, met at the Willard InterContinental, near the White House, before and after the assault on the seat of Congress.

This “crisis unit” is today at the heart of the parliamentary inquiry into the murderous attack. Indeed, the members of these meetings are suspected, along with other Republican officials, of having made the connection between the White House and groups that participated in the big demonstration “Stop the steal” (“Stop the flight” of the elections). .

Steve Bannon suspected of “taking part in the events”

The House of Representatives special commission of inquiry, which wants to prosecute Steve Bannon for refusing to testify. The explanations of the 67-year-old former adviser, one of the architects of Donald Trump’s victory in 2016, are considered essential to understand what the White House host was doing on the day of the assault.

Steve Bannon is suspected by parliamentarians of having played a role “in the communication operation of the + Stop theft + campaign which motivated the attack” on the Capitol, and of having “participated in the events that day From the Crisis Staff at the Willard Hotel.

The waltz of Trump’s relatives at the hotel

Since 1847, the elegant hotel has welcomed a wealthy clientele, politicians and dignitaries visiting the American capital or the White House. The term “lobbyist” also seems to have been popularized in Washington to designate those who frequented the lobby of the Willard Hotel, hoping to approach President Ulysses Grant, a regular here.

In the lead-up to Jan.6, dozens of Donald Trump’s relatives involved in the attempt to overturn Biden’s election victory also visited the facility, according to freelance journalist Seth Abramson. On his Proof website, Seth Abramson quotes, among other things, conservative political adviser Roger Stone, former spokesperson Jason Miller, campaign adviser Boris Epshteyn and ex-New York police chief Bernard Kerik. The commission of inquiry wants to determine their responsibilities, and that of the former president himself, in the attack.

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Donald Trump called the “crisis cell” at least once on January 5

The Willard Hotel is also cited in the book “Peril”, by Washington Post journalists Bob Woodward and Robert Costa, which recounts the final weeks of Donald Trump’s tenure. According to them, the lawyer John Eastman would have developed an unprecedented legal argument allowing Vice President Mike Pence to block the certification by Congress of the results of the presidential election by arguing of fraud – accusations hammered out by the Trump camp but which do not ‘have never been proven.

On January 5, Donald Trump announced to his supporters that Mike Pence had agreed to block the vote. But according to the authors of “Peril”, the vice-president had refused this option during a meeting the same evening. After the interview, Donald Trump called at least once the “crisis cell” of the Willard hotel to “coordinate this attempt to speak in place” of his vice-president, Robert Costa explained on MSNBC on Monday. Who did he talk to? What did they say to each other? The parliamentary commission of inquiry would like to obtain the telephone records of the exchanges linked to the events of January 6, and to question other people present in the hotel.

The operations at the Willard were no secret

According to “Peril”, Steve Bannon in December encouraged Donald Trump to use so-called electoral fraud to prevent the January 6 vote. In a January 5 podcast, he predicted the “victory” of this strategy the next day. “Everything converges and it’s time to attack,” he said. The operations at Willard, however, were no secret.

In May, John Eastman mentioned on a Denver radio this “Crisis Staff at the Willard Hotel (which) coordinated all communications.” The exchanges between the White House and the occupants of the Willard hotel will in any case have been decisive for the attack the next day, estimated Bob Woodward Monday on MSNBC. Steve Bannon and Donald Trump “realized this was the time to blow things up, and that’s exactly what they did,” he said.

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