House January 6 committee postpones public hearing citing

The House January 6 select committee has postponed what was expected to be its final public hearing on Wednesday.

In a joint statement, the Democratic committee chair, Bennie Thompson, and Republican vice-chair, Liz Cheney, said: “In light of Hurricane Ian bearing down on parts of Florida, we have decided to postpone tomorrow’s proceedings.

“We’re praying for the safety of all those in the storm’s path.”

The hurricane, forecast to reach category 4, is heading for the Tampa area, which has not suffered a direct hit from a major storm since 1921.

Committee members had been expected to arrive in Washington for rehearsals before the hearing.

The committee had not yet provided an agenda for the hearing. Last weekend, Adam Schiff, a California Democrat who chairs the House intelligence committee and is a member of the January 6 panel, said the hearing would “tell the story about a key element of Donald Trump’s plot to overturn the election”.

Reports said the hearing would feature footage in which the Trump ally Roger Stone would be shown to have predicted violence between right- and leftwing activists and to have forecast long before the 2020 election that Trump would seek to stay in power.

On Tuesday, the committee said its “investigation goes forward and we will soon announce a date for the postponed proceedings”.

The Wednesday hearing was intended to close the series of public sessions the nine-member committee began in early June.

The seven Democrats and two Republicans on the committee have sought to show the American public how Trump ignored many of his closest advisers and amplified his false claims of election fraud after he lost the 2020 election to Joe Biden.

Some of more than 1,000 witnesses interviewed by the panel, some of them Trump’s closest allies, recounted in videotaped testimony how the former president declined to act when supporters attacked the Capitol as Congress certified Biden’s victory on 6 January 2021.

The committee has said its work is not done. During the August recess, investigators continued to interview witnesses, including several Trump cabinet members, some of whom discussed invoking the constitutional process outlined in the 25th amendment to remove Trump from office after the insurrection.

Cheney said the committee “has far more evidence to share with the American people and more to gather”.

Questions surrounding the effort to overturn the election remain unanswered.

The committee wants to get to the bottom of missing Secret Service texts from 5 and 6 January 2021, which could shed light on Trump’s actions during the insurrection, particularly after earlier testimony about a confrontation with security as he tried to join supporters at the Capitol.

Thompson said earlier this month the committee had obtained “thousands” of documents from the Secret Service.

The committee has also secured an interview with the conservative activist Ginni Thomas, who is married to the supreme court justice Clarence Thomas.

Lawmakers want to know more about her role in trying to help Trump overturn the election. She contacted lawmakers in Arizona and Wisconsin as part of that effort.

By the end of the year, the committee is expected to turn over a comprehensive report that will include legislative reforms to help prevent a future attempt to subvert democracy.