Jan. 6 hearing focuses on Trump’s inaction during Capitol riot
WASHINGTON – Aides to President Donald Trump and his children have begged him to stop the Capitol Rebellion. Secret Service officers prepare for Vice President Mike Pence to say goodbye to their families and use “fatal choices” to pave the way to safety. A Trump supporter was shot dead as the MAGA mob tried to keep the president in power by force.
Such as Violent and deadly riots erupted Around him, Trump sat secludedly in a private dining room next to the Oval Office watching Fox News.
He did not ask for help. He contacted allies in Congress who came under attack and former New York City mayor Rudy Giuliani, an outside adviser who played a key role in efforts to overturn the election results.
When his aides told Trump that Pence’s life was in danger — and that the crowd wanted to hang the man first in the presidential line — Trump urged his supporters by tweeting that Pence lacked courage.
Sarah Matthews, a former White House press aide, testified that he ignored repeated pleas from his aides who believed he could stop the rebellion at any time and chose instead to “pour gasoline on the fire.”
“If anyone can stop them, it’s him,” Matthews testified. “I’ve seen the effect his words have on his supporters. They really hang on to his every word and every tweet he says.”
The Jan. 6 panel focused its last hearing on the time – 187 minutes – between the “Stop the Robbery” rally where Trump encouraged supporters to “fight like hell” at the Capitol and his tweet calling for calm.
In the sometimes explosive testimony, witnesses in the hearing room and pre-recorded testimony detailing an urgent attempt to persuade Trump to speak out to help stop the violence — and Trump’s refusal to act — throughout those three hours and seven minutes.
Even the next day, when Trump recorded a video referring to the riots as “outrageous,” he refused to refute the lie that inspired the rebellion, according to excerpts presented at Thursday’s hearing.
“I don’t want to say the election is over,” said Trump, repeating a lie that he won for a year and a half.
In one clip, Trump begins reciting from a scenario saying that anyone “broke the law” and then pauses to tell aides, “I can’t say that.”
During the riots, Trump’s son, Don Jr. told then-White House chief of staff Mark Meadows in a text message that Meadows needed to “go to bed” to persuade Trump to scrap the mob, a message echoed by lawmakers and. media personalities. In recorded testimony, the younger Trump said he meant Meadows needed to “make a huge effort” to pressure the president to do something.
The commission also provided witnesses who confirmed their previous testimony about Trump’s outraged order that his security team move him to the Capitol instead of returning to the White House after his remarks. The committee played a voice to Vice President Mike Pence’s Secret Service team trying to find a path to safety through smoke and protesters in the Capitol.
An unnamed White House security official said in an audio recording that Pence’s frightened security team came close to “having to use lethal options” to get him safely out. While this was happening, Trump tweeted that Pence lacked courage.
Matthews testified that the tweet was “pushing gasoline on the fire” and a “green light” for the rebels.
“The tweet seemed to me like the opposite of what we really needed at that moment, which is de-escalation,” Matthew Pottinger, who was a former National Security Council official, said Thursday.
Trump aides and family members appealed to the commander in chief to quell the violence, then-White House counsel Pat Cipollone said in recorded testimony. He seemed to confirm that his advice to the president was to make a statement.
“I can’t talk about conversations with the president, but I can say in general that I said people need to be told, there has to be a quick public announcement that they need to leave the Capitol,” Cipollone said.
Several witnesses in key positions testified that they were unaware of any attempt by Trump to mobilize the military or law enforcement to help quell the insurgency.
“This man of unbridled destructive energy cannot be moved–neither by his aides, nor by his allies, nor by the violent chants of the rioters or the desperate pleas of those facing the riots,” President Benny Thompson, D-Mies. Thompson spoke via video and handed over the responsibilities of the president to Vice President Liz Cheney, Republican of Wu, because of New covid diagnosis.
“Most importantly, Donald Trump has ignored the desperate pleas of his family, including Ivanka and Don Jr,” Thompson added.
If the commission succeeded, it showed Americans that Trump did not tolerate the violence waged on his behalf – and against the peaceful transfer of political power at the heart of democracy – but was pleased.
“The mob that attacked the Capitol quickly caused the evacuation of both the House and the Senate,” said Representative Adam Kinzinger, R-Illinois. “The counting stopped absolutely, and eventually was put off for hours. The mob was fulfilling President Trump’s goal, and it didn’t interfere.”
Pottinger and Matthews testified in person on Thursday.
Cheney said the committee’s eighth session would not be the last. Citing incoming evidence and legal battles to coerce testimony, Cheney — facing an uphill bid for re-election in Wyoming in August — pledged that the committee would resume hearings in the fall.
“We have a lot of evidence we’d like to share, and more to gather,” she said. “So our committee will spend the month of August pursuing emerging information on multiple fronts, before holding further hearings in September.”
After three hours of chaos after pleading with his supporters to march to the Capitol on January 6, Trump will finally ask the rioters to return home safely.
During that time, according to previous testimony from Hutchinson, an aide to then-chief of staff Mark Meadows, Trump was told that rioters were attacking the Capitol and that some were chanting “hang Mike Pence,” the vice president and the man in charge of oversight. The congressional vote count that decided Trump’s 2020 re-election defeat.
“Within 15 minutes of leaving the stand, President Trump learned that the Capitol was surrounded and under attack,” Luria said.
After Trump’s speech, he was “determined to go to the Capitol” and had a “hot” exchange with his security agents, and retired D.C. Police Sergeant Mark Robinson, who was part of the presidential motorcade, testified that he was told.
His testimony confirmed an earlier claim by Cassidy Hutchinson, a former White House aide, and Robinson added that the motorcade was told – once Trump returned to the White House – to stand in case he wanted to move to the Capitol.
In the series of hearings, the committee heard evidence that Trump and a team of outside advisors sought every means available to try to annul the election, often in conflict with lawyers and official advisers in the White House.
This effort included Trump’s direct order To Georgia Secretary of State Brad Ravensberger to find out exactly how many votes it would have taken to change the outcome in that state. Ravensberger, a Republican, refused.
It also included a campaign to persuade legislative leaders in key swing states to replace duly selected voter lists with alternate members who support Trump, according to the Testimony of Arizona House Speaker, Rusty PowersRepublican and others. When That Failed, Trump’s Outside Advisers Fake Voters In the States, which have been referred to the Pence and the National Archives.
And Rona McDaniel, the chair of the Republican National Committee, testified in one video that Trump invited to introduce to John Eastman, a lawyer who wanted to help the FNC “gather” what she called “emergency voters.”
At the same time, Trump pressured then-Attorney General William Barr and other Justice Department officials to declare that the election was riddled with fraud. When Trump learned that Barr had said in a news interview that the Justice Department had concluded there was no widespread fraud, Barr testified that the former president was furious.
Trump then pressured Barr’s successor, then-acting attorney general Jeffrey Rosen, along with then-acting deputy attorney general Richard Donoghue, to reverse Barr’s finding.
“Just say the election was corrupt and leave the rest to me and the Republican members of Congress,” Trump implored in a conversation on December 27, 2020 Remembrance in Contemporary Donoghue Notes. In a raucous meeting in the Oval Office, Trump threatened to replace Rosen with Jeffrey Clark, a lower-level judicial official who endorsed the “fake voters” scheme, according to witnesses.
By early January, Trump had trained his focus on Pence’s heart, according to aides of the two men who have testified in previous hearings. Trump reprimanded Pence for refusing to tamper with the election count in a Jan. 6 phone call, in which a witness said he called his second person in the matter a “p-word.”
Trump, according to documents obtained by the committee, added references to Pence in the rally’s speech to “stop the robbery.” He told his supporters that Pence was the only man who could keep him in office because he ordered them to march to the Capitol.
When he was told backstage that the crowd was thinner because some of his supporters were armed and didn’t want to go through magnetometers – metal detectors – he attacked, According to Hutchinson.
According to Hutchinson, Trump said angrily, “I don’t care if they have guns. They’re not here to hurt me. Take the mugs away.”
Hutchinson testified that he would become even more annoyed after the rally when his security team told him he would be taken back to the White House, instead of the Capitol, where he promised to join his supporters.
Then, as rioters attacked the police, breached the Capitol, and stormed the Senate Chamber and Congressional offices, Trump watched events unfold from the relative calm of one of the safest havens on the planet.