Jan 6 panel abruptly sets Tuesday hearing on 'recently obtained evidence'

The island nation's cabinet of ministers decided to limit distribution of fuel to essential services until July 10. PHOTO: NYTIMES

WASHINGTON (NYTIMES) - The House committee investigating the Jan 6 attack on the Capitol on Monday (June 27) abruptly scheduled a hearing for Tuesday afternoon to hear what the panel called "recently obtained evidence" and take witness testimony, a surprise move that touched off a wave of speculation about a potentially explosive revelation.

The hearing is scheduled for 1pm ET (1am Wednesday Singapore time) on Capitol Hill, according to a news release issued by the committee, in which it provided no other details about the session. The announcement - and its sudden and secretive nature - gave way to a day of guesswork about what the panel might have learned, or whose cooperation it may have secured, to warrant upending a carefully choreographed hearing schedule during a week when members had left Washington to spend time in their districts around the country.

"BETTER BE A BIG DEAL," John Dean, the White House counsel under former president Richard Nixon known for his role in the Watergate scandal, wrote on Twitter. "There was only one surprise witness during the Senate Watergate Committee hearings. On July 16, 1973 an unannounced witness appeared: Alex Butterfield, who testified to Nixon's secret taping system - forever changing history!"

The Jan 6 panel has held a series of hearings this month laying out the findings of its nearly year-long investigation, but it had not been scheduled to have any additional sessions until July.

Still, its investigators have continued to gather evidence and record interviews with witnesses even as the committee presents its findings. At the end of each hearing, lawmakers have issued calls for more people to come forward and offer public testimony. And in recent days, the committee has indicated that it has gathered crucial new information that bears further exploration.

One key witness the committee has yet to hear from publicly is Cassidy Hutchinson, a former aide to Mark Meadows, the final White House chief of staff to former president Donald Trump.

Hutchinson has provided the panel with some of its biggest revelations to date, all made during videotaped closed-door testimony, portions of which have been shown or alluded to in previous hearings.

She is said to have been present when Meadows described hearing Trump react approvingly to chants by his supporters to hang former vice-president Mike Pence. And she testified that a half-dozen Republican lawmakers who led the efforts in Congress to overturn the election sought pardons after the riot.

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