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© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: U.S. Capitol Police Sergeant Aquilino Gonell and Metropolitan Police Department officer Daniel Hodges, who were both injured defending the Capitol and members of Congress on January 6, 2021, watch as the U.S. House Select Committee to Investig


By Jeff Mason and Mike Stone

PORTLAND, Oregon (Reuters) -U.S. President Joe Biden said testimony and video from a Jan. 6 committee hearing two days ago, featuring congressional leaders in tense phone calls with Pentagon and White House officials during the assault on the U.S. Capitol, was “devastating.”

Biden was speaking to reporters during a stop at an ice cream shop in Oregon as he campaigned for Tina Kotek, who is running for governor of Oregon.

“I think the testimony and the video are actually devastating and I’ve been going out of my way not to comment,” Biden said.

Biden says he would not comment further on the work of the Jan. 6 committee because he did not want to be perceived as influencing the attorney general, which he said he was not doing.

Some of the video footage came from the family of U.S. House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi who were at the Capitol that day. One of the clips showed the California Democrat in a call with Republican Vice President Mike Pence.

“When I spoke to him, I said, ‘I’m so afraid for you to be in the Capitol still,'” Pelosi said on Saturday during remarks at a San Francisco community farming event.

Pence responded that the Secret Service thought more attention would be drawn if he and his entourage left the Capitol, Pelosi said. “Lord knows what might have happened if that entourage went out there,” she added.

The House committee probing the Jan. 6, 2021, attack by Donald Trump’s supporters voted unanimously on Thursday to subpoena the former president, a move that could lead to criminal charges if he does not comply.

The hearing followed eight others earlier this year and one in July 2021. There were no live witnesses on Thursday, but the panel presented videotaped testimony to build a case that Trump’s efforts to overturn his November 2020 presidential election defeat constituted illegal conduct far beyond normal politics.

The committee’s vote on Thursday may have been its last public action before the Nov. 8 congressional elections that will determine whether Biden’s Democrats continue to control the House and Senate.


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By Reuters