In a Sunday interview with the French Journal du Dimanche (JDD), Alexandre Benalla, who was formally charged with group violence, interference in public service, the illegal wearing of a police badge and complicity in the unauthorized use of surveillance footage, claimed that he was ready for parliamentary hearings.
He added that the commission of inquiry needed explanations, and he could provide them with some.
At the same time, French media outlets have been speculating that it’s unlikely that Benalla will testify: President of the Laws Committee of the National Assembly Yaël Braun-Pivet, who is also a member of Macron’s governing La Republique en Marche, told the JDD that there would be “no further hearings or examination of documents” because the commission of inquiry had carried out hearings that would be “useful in search of the truth.”
Her remarks came amid repeated demands from both left- and right-wing opposition for new hearings at the National Assembly, as they insisted that Alexis Kohler, general secretary of the Elysee, and Christophe Castaner, Executive Officer of La Republique en Marche, also be called to testify alongside Benalla.
“#AlexisKohler claimed under oath that #Benalla was not in charge of the president’s security. The pictures of Benalla alongside the president and Brigitte Macron, like a bodyguard, seem to suggest otherwise,” Younous Omarjee, MEP, who sits with the Confederal Group of the European United Left – Nordic Green Left, tweeted.
. #AlexisKohler declare sous serment que #Benalla n’était pas en charge de la sécurité du Président. Les photos de Benalla aux côtés du Pdt comme de Brigitte Macron, proche comme un garde du corps, semblent attester du contraire. #CommissiondEnquete— younous omarjee (@younousomarjee) 26 июля 2018 г.
Marine Le Pen, president of the party National Rally (formerly known as National Front), suggested that the Elysee and Macron’s ruling party was attempting to cover up his aide’s misconduct, which rapidly became une affaire d’etat.
“We are facing an En Marche party that prevents the normal holding of a parliamentary commission of inquiry in order to protect the president and the general secretary of En Marche,” Le Pen tweeted.
"Nous sommes face à un parti En Marche qui empêche la tenue normale d'une commission d'enquête parlementaire, pour protéger le Président de la République et le secrétaire général d'En Marche." #BourdinDirect— Marine Le Pen (@MLP_officiel) 27 июля 2018 г.
“The Senate demonstrates that the National Assembly’s commission of inquiry is a masquerade in the hands of En Marche party,” she added.
Last week France’s opposition conservative party The Republicans called for a vote of no-confidence in the government, with its leader Christian Jacob saying that “the government has failed and must be held responsible in front of parliament.”
Nearly two weeks ago, Le Monde identified Benalla as the man in riot police gear in the May Day video assaulting a young demonstrator before fleeing. Preliminary charges have also been brought against his accomplice, Vincent Crase, and three police officers who are suspected of illegally passing video surveillance footage of the incident to Benalla.