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Trump ‘chose not to act,’ Sen. Hawley ‘riled up’ the crowd, then fled: Jan 6 hearings replay

July 28, 2022 | Author: | Posted in U.S. Government

Correction: The original version of this story incorrectly attributed a quote. The story has been updated to accurately attribute the quote to a former Trump aide.

WASHINGTON – The House committee investigating the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the U.S. Capitol  chronicled at its Thursday hearing what was happening in Congress and at the White House during the 187 minutes between then-President Donald Trump’s fiery speech and his video encouraging the mob to go home.

Committee members have argued that Trump’s lack of response was a dereliction of duty under the Constitution to protect Congress.

Here’s what happened at tonight’s hearing:

  • Trump outtakes: The committee showed a never-before-seen video of Trump’s statement on the day after the Capitol riot, in which he refused to accept losing the 2020 election. “I don’t want to say the election’s over,” he said.
  • Congress stood up: In never-before-seen photos and videos, the committee showed a congressional leaders, including then-Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and Speaker Nancy Pelosi, huddling in a secured location telling Acting Secretary of Defense Chris Miller how the building needed to be secured.
  • McCarthy was ‘scared’: Jared Kushner, a special adviser to Trump and his son-in-law, told the committee how House Republican Leader McCarthy called and pleaded for help as his own aides were fleeing their office. “I got the sense that they were scared… that (McCarthy) was scared.”
  • Hawley fled: The committee spotlighted how lawmakers had to be evacuated to avoid the Jan. 6 mob, including Sen. Josh Hawley, R-Missouri, who had thrown a fist in the air in support of the protesters who were at the gates before they breached the Capitol.
  • Watching Fox News: The in-person and videotaped testimony detailed what President Trump was doing during the height of the Jan. 6 violence, and witnesses said he was mostly watching cable news, specifically Fox News, for more than two and half hours.
  • Thompson by remote: Democratic Rep. Bennie Thompson, of Mississippi, who is the chairman of the committee, presided over Thursday’s hearing remotely after testing positive for Covid-19 this week.
  • Witnesses back up Hutchinson: Two witnesses on Thursday supported previous testimony from Cassidy Hutchinson, a former White House aide, who said during a previous hearing how Trump demanded to be taken to the Capitol with protesters. One national security aide, who was kept anonymous by the panel, said if the former president had been allowed join the rioters it would have turned into an “insurrection, coup”.
  • ️ Why is this important?: While snippets of what happened behind-the-scenes have been revealed through testimony and evidence, there are still large gaps of the day we don’t know abou.
  • Taking the lead: The primetime hearing was led by two lawmakers who are military veterans — Democrat Elaine Luria, of Virginia, and Republican Adam Kinzinger, of Illinois — who are expected to focus in specific detail how former President Donald Trump did nothing as his supporters stormed the Capitol.

Live timeline of Trump’s actions during the Capitol attack: On Jan. 6, Trump was out of public view as aides urged him to act. A breakdown of those 187 minutes.

In the last remarks of Thursday’s Jan. 6 hearings, Rep. Liz Cheney, R-Wyo., stressed the responsibility of the committee’s work is not lost on its members.

“Let me assure every one of you this: our committee understands the gravity of this moment. The consequences for our nation. We have much work yet to do,” Cheney said before adjourning the hearing.

“We will see you all in September,” Cheney concluded.

— Mabinty Quarshie

In her closing statement, Liz Cheney made the point that the witnesses criticizing Trump’s behavior are all Republicans – and they would not change their stories even under cross-examination by the former president’s backers.

Some Republicans have criticized the committee because there are no Trump defenders on it, but Cheney said that makes no difference when it comes to testimony from so many witnesses, especially the lawyers who advised the president he was acting improperly.

Former Attorney General William Barr, for example.

“Do you really think Bill Barr is such a delicate flower that he would wilt under cross examination?” Cheney said. “Pat Cipollone? Eric Herschmann? Jeff Rosen? Richard Donoghue?”

— David Jackson 

In her closing statement to the committee, Vice Chair Rep. Liz Cheney, R-Wyo., shared resurfaced audio of Trump ally Steve Bannon predicting Trump would say he stole the election no matter the outcome.

In audio from Oct. 31, Bannon said that “Trump’s just going to declare victory. That doesn’t mean he’s a winner.” Bannon said things would get even “crazier” if Trump lost.

“He’s gonna sit right there and say he stole it,” Bannon said. “Trump’s gonna do some crazy sh*t.”

– Katherine Swartz

Two of former President Trump’s communication officials, Tim Murtaugh and Matthew Wolking, criticized his response to the attack on law enforcement, while also explaining why he didn’t condemn the violence more forcefully.

It was “sh**ty” not to have acknowledged the death of Capitol Police Officer Brian Sicknick, Murtaugh said.

“That’s enraging to me. Everything he said about supporting law enforcement was a lie,” Wolking  said.

Murtaugh explained that if Trump had “acknowledged the dead cop, he’d be implicitly faulting the mob and he won’t do that because they’re his people.”

— Candy Woodall

What they went through: Capitol police protected democracy on Jan. 6; their scars keep the day’s memory ever-present

The committee showed outtakes of Trump rehearsing his public remarks about Jan. 6.

“I don’t want to say the election is over,” Trump told aides at one point, even as they urged him to do just that.

Trump has never conceded his loss to President Joe Biden.

The outtakes also showed Trump stumbling over certain words – “yesterday’s a hard word for me” – and acting at times like he didn’t want to give a speech at all.

— David Jackson

Biden: Jan 6 ‘flagrant violation’ of Constitution


Raw video shows Trump fumbling in recorded speech day after Jan. 6

Previously-unseen video shows a visibly frustrated President Donald Trump rehearsing a speech while being directed by his daughter, Ivanka.

Ariana Triggs, USA TODAY

The attack on democracy gave countries like China, Russia, Iran, and others a unique opportunity to again criticize the United States as hypocrites, testified Matthew Pottinger, who resigned as Trump’s deputy national security advisor over his behavior.

“It emboldened our enemies,” Pottinger said.

— David Jackson

What they saw: Police officers describe the Jan. 6 Capitol attack like ‘a medieval battle’

Former United States Secretary of Labor Eugene Scalia said in videotaped testimony that he had considered resigning like many other White House officials following the insurrection, but instead decided to stay on and made his top priority to urge former President Donald Trump to assemble the Cabinet.

In a memo to Trump, Scalia wrote that he believed “it is important to know that while President, you will no longer publicly question the election results.” He also urged Trump to limit the role of “certain private citizens” who he said served Trump “poorly” with their baseless stolen election claims.

While Scalia didn’t name who those private citizens were in his memo, Rep. Adam Kinzinger, R-Ill., said in the hearing he was referencing Trump attorney Rudy Giuliani and the “clown car” that had been advising him for weeks on overturning the election.

Mark Meadows did not wish to assemble the Cabinet immediately following Jan. 6 because he was concerned of how Trump would react. Meadows had told other White House officials that Trump was “very emotional, and in a bad place.”

– Katherine Swartz

Merrick Garland: Nothing to prevent investigating Trump or anyone else for Jan. 6 attack

Former White House counsel Pat Cipollone considered resigning after Jan. 6 among a mass exodus of other members of the Trump administration, according to his recorded testimony.

“Did I consider it? Yes. Did I do it? No,” he said.

Cipollone said he was worried about who would replace him. “I had some concerns that it might be somebody who has been giving bad advice.”

“You know, I thought that trying to work with the administration to steady the ship was likely to have greater value than simply resigning,” he said.

— Candy Woodall

More: Jan. 6 rioter apologizes to police officers who defended Capitol against insurrection

Former President Donald Trump told a White House employee former Vice President Pence “let him down” during the Jan. 6 Capitol riot. Trump did not say anything about the attacks going on.

The employee was the same employee who met the former president after he returned from the Ellipse, according to Rep. Adam Kinzinger, R-Ill.

The last tweet that Trump sent on Jan. 6 at 6:01 pm said: “These are the things and events that happen when a sacred landslide victory is so unceremoniously, viciously stripped away from great patriots who have been badly unfairly treated for so long. Go home with love and peace. Remember this day forever.”

“He showed absolutely no remorse,” Kinzinger said of Trump’s tweet.

— Mabinty Quarshie

Gallery: January 6 committee on Capitol riots: See photos from Congress’ public hearings

Though former President Trump refused to act during the attack, other federal leaders were working behind the scenes to secure the Capitol and proceed with the certification of the 2020 presidential election.

Never-before-seen photos and videos revealed a portion of a call from 4:45 p.m. on Jan. 6, 2021, between Acting Secretary of Defense Chris Miller and congressional leaders, including Sens. Mitch McConnell and Chuck Schumer and Speaker Nancy Pelosi.

They told Miller they needed to finish their business and they wanted clearance to return to the floor as soon as possible. Schumer said Capitol Police believed it would take several days to secure the building, and he asked Miller if he agreed with that analysis.

Miller said he did not agree with that and estimated it would take 4 to 5 hours.

Former Vice President Mike Pence also worked the phones after being evacuated, calling the Miller and other military leaders. Pence was “very animated” and “very explicit,” according to testimony.

Trump never called the president, vice president or anyone in the military or law enforcement, according to the committee.

— Candy Woodall

After former President Donald Trump had retired for the day, former Chief of Staff Mark Meadows was working to establish a narrative that Trump remained in charge of the situation, not former Vice President Mike Pence, who throughout the day was making calls to officials and handling security instead of Trump

“We have to kill the narrative that the Vice President is making all the decisions. We need to establish the narrative that the president is still in charge and that things are steady or stable,” Meadows said to Gen. Mark Milley, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.

Milley told the Jan. 6 Committee that he refused to comply with Meadows’s request.

“I immediately interpreted that as politics, politics, politics, red flag for me personally, no action,” Milley testified. “But I remember distinctly, and I don’t do political narratives.”

– Katherine Swartz

Who is Mark Meadows?: Meet Trump’s chief of staff who defied Jan. 6 committee subpoena

Aides to former President Donald Trump prepared a speech for him to give condemning the violence, and the president saw it, but when it came time to record his remarks, aide Nicholas Luna said he went “off the cuff.”

“I urge all of my supporters to do exactly as 99.9% of them have already been doing – express their passions and opinions PEACEFULLY,” the original script read. “My supporters have a right to have their voices heard, but make no mistake – NO ONE should be using violence or threats of violence to edpress themselves. Especially at the US Capitol. Let’s respect our institutions. Let’s all do better.”

The draft comments concluded: “I am asking you to leave the Capitol Hill region now and go home in a peaceful way.”

Instead, Trump repeated lies about the election outcome, saying it was “stolen,” “fraudulent” and that the other side knew “it was a landslide election.” He told them, “We can’t play into the hands of tese people.”

Eric Herschmann, a lawyer in the White House at the time, said there had been no discussion about recording a second video.

“When he finished his video, I think everyone was like ‘day’s over,’” Herschmann told the committee. “People were pretty drained.”

—  Erin Mansfield

During the Jan. 6 committee hearing Thursday night, testimonial video evidence showed House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., called Trump’s son-in-law, Jared Kushner, asking for help.

Kushner said he could tell McCarthy was fearful during their conversation. “He told me it was getting really ugly over at the Capitol and said please, you know, anything you could do to help, I would appreciate it.,” Kushner said.

“He was scared,” Kushner added.

— Mabinty Quarshie

Ketchup, regrets, blood and anger: A guide to the Jan. 6 hearings’ witnesses and testimony

Concern from White House press office that condemning rioters would be “handing a win to the media” 

Former deputy press secretary Sarah Matthews said that she and White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany urged former President Donald Trump to condemn the violence over Twitter, but that view wasn’t the consensus among the White House press office.

Matthews testified that another press staff member told her that Trump shouldn’t condemn the violence or tell the mob to go home because “we would be handing a win to the media if he condemned his supporters.”

Debate continued in the office and Matthews said she became “visibly frustrated” that they were arguing about Trump’s tweet when rioters were flooding into the Capitol.

“I motioned up at the TV, and I said, ‘Do you think it looks like we’re f–ing winning, because I don’t think it does,’” Matthews said to her colleague.”

– Katherine Swartz

Administration officials told the committee that they were pretty much unanimous in wanting to see the insurrectionists leave the Capitol building, but one kept balking at the idea: President Donald Trump.

Witnesses from White House Counsel Pat Cipollone to press spokeswoman Sarah Matthews said Trump either ignored entreaties or argued about the wording of tweets or video statements he might make on the riot.

This for more than three hours, they said.

Cipollone said in a deposition that “I can’t think of anybody, you know, who didn’t want people to get out of the Capitol.”

Trump “should have been telling them to leave and go home,” Matthews told the committee.

– David Jackson

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Trump did not call for backup at Capitol, former WH officials says

Former White House officials testified that former president Donald Trump did not call for any assistance to the Capitol during the riots.

Ariana Triggs, USA TODAY

Former White House Deputy Press Secretary Sarah Matthews told the committee Trump avoided mentioning the word “peace” in a tweet to condemn the violent rioters who were already in the Capitol.

Matthews described a conversation between her and former White House Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany about Trump’s refusal to tweet a stronger condemnation.

“She looked directly at me and in a hushed tone shared with me that the president did not want to include any sort of mention of peace in that tweet.”

There was back and forth between White House staff and Trump about what to exactly tweet, until Ivanka Trump “suggested the phrase ‘stay peaceful,'” according to Matthews.

– Kenneth Tran

Day 7 recap: Jan. 6 rioter blames his participation on Trump, false claims of election fraud


Trump didn’t want to use word ‘peace’ in Jan. 6 tweet, witness says

Sarah Matthews, the former White House deputy press secretary, said former President Trump did not want to use the word ‘peace’ in tweets on Jan. 6.

Patrick Colson-Price, USA TODAY

Donald Trump Jr. reached out to his father’s Chief of Staff Mark Meadows during the Capitol attack and implored him to get the former president to end the insurrection, warning Trump’s legacy was in jeopardy.

“This (is) one you go to the mattresses on,” he said. “They will try to (expletive) his entire legacy on this if it gets worse.”

Trump Jr. said in recorded testimony that “go to the mattresses” was a “Godfather” reference that he used to urge Meadows to go “all in” and persuade the former president to condemn the violence at the Capitol.

“The capitol police tweet is not enough,” Trump Jr. said in his texts to Meadows.

“I’m pushing it hard. I agree,” Meadows replied.

— Candy Woodall

Miss Day 6 of the Jan. 6 hearing?: Trump knew mob was armed and dangerous, bombshell witness says

Security video of rioters besieging the Capitol on Jan. 6 and accessing the second floor of the building mere feet from where former Vice President Mike Pence sheltered shocked those in the hearing room.

There fear was palpable in radio communications between members of the White House Security Counsel who debated over when to get Pence out of the building.

The room was silent while the committee played imagery of the few officers facing down dozens of rioters and audio of Secret Service detail growing more and more frantic. Some attendees uttered “wow” as the evidence concluded.

— Chelsey Cox

Miss Day 5 of the Jan. 6 hearing?: Trump’s plan to topple the Justice Department and more

Vice President Mike Pence had to be evacuated a second time inside the Capitol at 2:26 p.m. on Jan. 6 after a tweet from Trump said Pence “didn’t have the courage to do what should have been done.”

The committee showed surveillance footage of Pence and his security heading back to hiding inside the Capitol, coming within 40 feet of rioters.

“The attack escalated quickly right after the tweet,” said Rep. Elaine Luria, D-Va.

— Joey Garrison

Miss Day 4 of the Jan. 6 hearing?: Fake electors, Trump pressuring state leaders and more.

Sen. Josh Hawley, R-Mo., raised his fist in the air on the east side of the Capitol building in the early afternoon in a show of solidarity with protesters before the crowd stormed the building, according to a picture the Jan. 6 committee showed.

The audience in the committee room laughed as Rep. Elaine Luria, D-Va. showed a surveillance video of Hawley running down an empty hall in the Capitol building to get out. Then he made it to a set of stairs where other senators were also trying to evacuate.

Luria referenced testimony from an unnamed Capitol Police officer, who she said was upset that Hawley would rile up the crowd, because “he was doing it in a safe space, protected by the officers and the barriers.”

— Erin Mansfield and Dylan Wells

Former Trump aide Matthew Pottinger said former President Donald Trump’s tweet on Jan. 6 attacking former Vice President Mike Pence for not having “the courage to do what should have been done to protect our country and our constitution,” was the “the opposite of what we really needed at that moment.”

What was needed at the time according to Pottinger was a “de-escalation.”

Furthermore, Trump’s tweet was the moment he decided to resign from the White House.

“I simply didn’t want to be associated with the events that were unfolding on the Capitol,” Pottinger said.

— Mabinty Quarshie

Miss Day 3 of the Jan. 6 hearing?: Pence’s role opposing insurrection takes center stage

Trump’s national security staff was fully aware of the threats posed by the Jan. 6, 2021, insurrection, and even that did not move the president to speak out, witnesses told the investigating committee.

“VP being pulled,” said a National Security Council “chat log” during the breach of the U.S. Capitol.

Vice President Mike Pence’s security detail “thought that this was about to get very ugly,” a national security official told the committee in a deposition.

The committee also played radio chatter from Pence’s Secret Service detail: “If we lose any time, we may lose the ability to leave.”

In any event, Pence did not leave the Capitol, spending time in a secure location within the complex.

– David Jackson

Hearing Day Two: Bill Barr returns, election lies debunked and more


Vice President Pence’s security team concerned for lives on Jan. 6

A White House security official detailed how VP Mike Pence’s security staffers called “to say goodbye to family members” during Jan. 6 riots.

Patrick Colson-Price, USA TODAY

Secret Service called to say goodbye to family members

As rioters breached the Capitol, at one point getting 40 feet away from former Vice President Mike Pence, his Secret Service detail feared for their lives and told security to say goodbye to their families, an anonymous White House security member testified.

“There were calls to say goodbye to family members, so on and so forth. For whatever the reason was on the ground, the VP detail thought that this was about to get very ugly,” the security official said.

Over the radio, the official heard the vice president’s detail screaming, calling it “chaos,” and were concerned they would have to use “lethal options” to protect Pence.

– Katherine Swartz

Hearing Day One: Jan. 6 committee says probe shows Trump led and directed effort to overturn 2020 election: hearing recap

Secret Service agents “feared for their lives”

An anonymous White House Security Official told the Jan. 6 Committee in an interview that Vice President Pence’s Secret Service detail “started to fear for their own lives” as they organized an evacuation route for Pence while rioters were in the Capitol.

“At that point it was just reassurances,” the official said of the Secret Service radio chatter. “I think there were discussions of reinforcements coming but again, it was just chaos.”

The situation started to look so dire, Secret Service “became very close to either sort of having to use lethal options or worse,” according to the official.

— Kenneth Tran

Both former White House counsel Pat Cipollone and former Trump communications aide Sarah Matthews testified the former president could have gone to the press briefing room at any moment to make a statement that encouraged an end to the Capitol attack.

It would have taken about 60 seconds for Trump to walk from the White House Dining Room, where he was watching the insurrection live on Fox News, to the press briefing room to deliver a televised address to the nation, Matthews said.

He “could’ve been on camera almost instantly” to condemn the violence at the Capitol, she said.

The White House press corps could have probably been assembled “in a matter of minutes,” Matthews said.

“Although President Trump was aware of the ongoing rioting, he did not take any immediate action to address the lawlessness,” Rep. Elaine Luria said.

Instead, the former president called his personal counsel Rudy Giuliani for a second time during the riot. That call lasted 8 minutes, she said.

-Candy Woodall

Former White House Counsel Pat Cipollone said the chants to hang the vice president were “outrageous” and that he raised his concerns with Chief of Staff Mark Meadows on Jan. 6, 2021.

“The nature of his response, without recalling exactly, was that he, you know, people were doing all they could,” Cipollone said in his interview. The interviewer then asked if Meadows indicated that the president “was doing all that he could to protect the vice president.”

Cipollone went silent for a few seconds before his lawyer instructed him that the information could not be disclosed under attorney-client privilege.

— Erin Mansfield

Pat Cipollone, Trump’s White House Counsel, said he told the former president in a “forceful” manner to urge Jan. 6 rioters to go home.

“I think I was pretty clear there needs to be an immediate and forceful response, statement, public statement, that people need to leave the Capitol now,” Cipollone said during testimonial video.

Cipollone said he told the president this message “almost immediately after I found out people were getting into the Capitol or approaching the Capitol in a way that was violent.”

He also said that many people, including former White House chief of staff Mark Meadows, suggested Trump call off the rioters.

“Many people suggested it and not just me. Many people felt the same way,” Cipollone said.

— Mabinty Quarshie

Who is Mark Meadows?: Meet Trump’s chief of staff who defied Jan. 6 committee subpoena

Trump ignored pleases to make ‘strong statement’ condemning attack

Former White House attorney Pat Cipollone said multiple advisers and family members of Trump advised the former president to make a “strong statement” condemning the attack but that he ignored their pleas.

“Many people suggested it,” he said. “Not just me. Many people felt the same way.”

He added: “White House Counsel’s Office wanted there to be a strong statement out to condemn the rioters’ violence. I’m confident that Ivanka Trump wanted him to give a strong statement to condemn the rioters.”

— Joey Garrison

Two separate witnesses, including a protected witness, corroborated there was a heated discussion in Trump’s motorcade during the Jan. 6 riot.

“After seeing the initial violence at the Capitol on TV, the individual went to see Tony Ornato, the deputy chief of staff in his office,” said Rep. Elaine Luria, D-Va, of the witnesses testimony.

Also in the room was Bobby Engel, Trump’s lead Secret Service agent, according to the witness’ testimony.

“This employee told us that Mr. Ornato said that the president was quote, ‘irate’ when Mr. Engel refused to drive him to the Capitol,” Luria said. “Mr. Engel did not refute what Mr. Ornato said.”

Similarly. Sgt. Mark Robinson said Trump wanted to travel to the Capitol after he returned to the White House but the motorcade was placed on standby.

“We do know that while inside the limo the president was still adamant about going to the Capitol,” Robinson said. “However, the POTUS motorcade was placed on standby.”

— Mabinty Quarshie

Previously: In ‘combustible’ testimony, Cassidy Hutchinson, surprise Jan. 6 witness, quietly drops bombshells

Rep. Elaine Luria, D-Va., said the Jan. 6 committee has subpoenaed further information from the Secret Service and that some agents who have been witnesses have retained legal counsel.

It comes as the Department of Homeland Security’s inspector general has launched a criminal investigation into the destruction of Secret Service text messages sought as part of investigations.

Bobby Engel, the former head of Trump’s Secret Service security detail, and Anthony Ornato, who served as Trump’s deputy chief of staff for operations, were named in prior testimony by former Trump aide Cassidy Hutchinson about an alleged outburst by Trump inside the presidential vehicle when he learned he would not be going to the Capitol on Jan. 6.

“The committee is also aware that certain Secret Service witnesses have now retained new private counsel,” Luria said. “We anticipate further testimony under oath and other new information in the coming weeks.”

— Joey Garrison

Related: Watchdog launches criminal inquiry into deleted Secret Service text messages

Luria and other committee members have listed a number of things Trump could have done during the Jan. 6 riot, but didn’t – including calling law enforcement or the military to ask them to help stop the mayhem.

Trump didn’t contact anybody “to offer assistance” or to “quell the attack,” Luria said.

Noting that Trump did not reach out to the National Guard, the FBI, the Pentagon, the Justice Department, or homeland security, Luria said: “He did not call to issue orders or call for assistance.”

During the hearing, the Jan. 6 committee tweeted out a statement on Trump’s inactivity during the riot.

“We have confirmed in numerous interviews with senior law enforcement and military leaders, VP Pence’s staff, and D.C. government officials: None of them heard from President Trump during the attack on the Capitol,” the committee statement said. “Trump did not call to issue orders or to offer assistance.”

— David Jackson

Former President Donald Trump spent more than two and a half hours in the presidential dining room sitting at the head of the table with the television tuned to Fox News, Rep. Elaine Luria, D-Va. said witnesses have told the committee.

During that time period from approximately 1:25 p.m. to about 4:00 p.m., official records at the White House do not document the former president’s actions, Luria said. The official call logs and the presidential diary do not contain entries from those times.

“There are also no photos of President between this critical period between 1:21 p.m. in the Oval Office and when he went outside to the Rose Garden” to record a message to the rioters, Luria said. The White House photographer wanted to take pictures for historical purposes but was not allowed, she said.

— Erin Mansfield

While in the White House dining room watching the Capitol being breached, former President Donald Trump called multiple senators, encouraging them to delay the certification of electoral votes.

The Jan. 6 Committee isn’t aware of which senators Trump called because the White House call logs are empty for hours during the insurrection, Rep. Rep. Elaine Luria, D-Va., said in the hearing.

Former White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany confirmed that Trump wanted a list of senators to call, but was not aware of who Trump called that afternoon.

– Katherine Swartz

As the Capitol attack unfolded, the Pentagon had a pending call with the White House to coordinate a response to the riot. Former Senior Advisor Eric Herschmann told former White House Counsel Pat Cipollone that Trump “didn’t want anything done.”

Cipollone ended up having to take the call from the Pentagon himself, he said in video played Thursday.

— Kenneth Tran

A White House security official, who spoke anonymously to the Jan. 6 Committee out of fear of retribution, said security knew that the crowd gathered at Jan. 6 moved from being a “normal, democratic public event” into a security threat.

The security official said that White House security became concerned long before rioters breached the Capitol, as they were aware of multiple reports of weapons in the crowd at the Ellipse for former President Donald Trump’s rally.

“The President wanted to lead tens of thousands of people to the Capitol. I think that was enough grounds for us to be alarmed.”

– Katherine Swartz

Rep. Adam Kinzinger, R-Ill., said Trump deliberately “chose not to act” as rioters breached the Capitol building because the mob was doing his bidding.

“Why did he not take immediate action in a time of crisis?” Kinzinger said. “Because President Trump’s plan for January 6 was to halt or delay Congress’ official proceedings to count the votes.”

When the mob of rioters entered the Capitol, both the House and Senate were evacuated, delaying the certification of the 2020 election, which Kinzinger said was Trump’s intent.

“The mob was accomplishing President Trump’s purpose. So of course he didn’t intervene,” said Kinzinger. “President Trump did not fail to act during the 187 minutes before leaving the Ellipse and telling the mob to go home. He chose not to act.”

— Kenneth Tran

Ketchup, regrets, blood and anger: A guide to the Jan. 6 hearings’ witnesses and testimony

Rep. Elaine Luria, D-Va., stressed tonight’s main theme: Trump did nothing to object to the insurrection for 187 minutes.

This even though aides urged him to speak out.

“President Trump was being advised, by nearly everyone, to immediately instruct his supporters to leave the Capitol, disperse, and halt the violence,” Luria said.

He did not for more than three hours, she said.

— David Jackson

The committee said the former president refused the advice of his closest aides and family members on Jan. 6, 2021, who urged him to call off the violent mob at the Capitol.

Trump “refused to defend our nation,” Vice Chair Liz Cheney said.

Luria said “virtually everyone told President Trump to condemn the violence in clear and unmistakable terms,” but he chose not to because of his desire to stay in power.

Instead, Luria said the hearing will show, Trump “sat in his dining room and watched the attack on television.”

— Candy Woodall

Who are the Proud Boys?: Extremist group at the center of prime-time Jan. 6 committee hearings

Rep. Liz Cheney, R-Wyo., was optimistic about the status of the committee’s investigation, signaling that the committee continues to get more information and get through barriers in the legal system that have stood in the way for the past several months.

“In the course of these hearings, we’ve received new evidence, and new witnesses have bravely stepped forward,” Cheney said. “Efforts to litigate and overcome immunity and executive privilege claims have been successful, and those continue. Doors have opened. New subpoenas have been issued, and the dam has begun to break.”

— Erin Mansfield

The committee’s chairman, Rep. Bennie Thompson, D-Miss., opened the hearing by saying that Trump “stopped for 187 minutes” as the attack on the U.S. Capitol happened, unable to be moved from his television to stop the riot he encouraged.

“This man of unbridled destructive energy could not be moved,” said Thompson, who was appearing by video as he recovers from COVID-19. “Not by his aides, not by his allies, not by the violent chants of rioters.”

Thompson said Trump even ignored the pleas of his own family, including his children Donald Trump Jr. and Ivanka Trump, to call off the mob.

“He could not be moved to rise from his dining room table and walk a few steps down the White House hallway press briefing room, where cameras were anxiously and desperately waiting to carry his message.”

— Joey Garrison

Was Trump’s call witness tampering?: Jan. 6 hearing disclosure lacks crucial details, analysts say

Committee Chair Bennie Thompson said there are more hearings to come in September.

“We will reconvene in September to continue laying out our findings to the American people,” he said.

The committee’s investigation ramped up in June, and the panel has continued to collect evidence to prompt the additional sessions.

Rep. Elaine Luria, who was one of the members to lead questioning Thursday night, told reporters earlier in the day that the committee’s investigation was ramping up in light of new evidence.

— Candy Woodall

More: Capitol police protected democracy on Jan. 6; their scars keep the day’s memory ever-present

Several members of the “gallery group” of lawmakers who were trapped in the House chamber are back in the Cannon Caucus room to watch tonight’s proceedings, including Reps. Veronica Escobar of Texas, Lizzie Fletcher of Texas, Sara Jacobs of California, Pramila Jayapal of Washington, Annie Kuster of New Hampshire and Melanie Stansbury of New Mexico.

Kuster said a group went to dinner before coming to the hearing tonight and that they plan on supporting each other during what is expected to be an emotional evening. Kuster said she hopes the public sees just how close rioters came to the members on Jan. 6.

The Capitol and DC police who have attended each hearing are back again tonight, in addition to Serena Liebengood, the widow of Capitol Police Officer Howie Liebengood, and Sandra Garza, the longtime partner of Brian Sicknick, who died after suffering two strokes after fighting off the mob.

– Dylan Wells

WASHINGTON – The Department of Homeland Security’s inspector general has launched a criminal investigation into the destruction of Secret Service text messages sought as part of investigations into the Jan. 6, 2021 Capitol attack, an official with knowledge of the matter said Thursday.

A letter notifying the Secret Service of the probe was directed to Director James Murray Wednesday night, said the official who is not authorized to comment publicly on a pending investigation.

The existence of the criminal investigation was first disclosed by NBC News.

In a statement, the Secret Service acknowledged receipt of the inspector general’s letter.

Read the whole story here: Watchdog launches criminal inquiry into deleted Secret Service text messages sought by Jan. 6 panel

Former first lady Melania Trump said she was “unaware” the Jan. 6, 2021 insurrection at the Capitol was happening because she was preoccupied with taking archival photos of White House renovations as part of her duties as first lady.

Trump gave her account in an interview Thursday with Fox News after her former chief of staff and onetime White House press secretary, Stephanie Grisham, released text messages last month showing the first lady not approving a drafted statement condemning the attack.

“On January 6, 2021, I was fulfilling one of my duties as First Lady of the United States of America, and accordingly, I was unaware of what was simultaneously transpiring at the U.S. Capitol Building,” Trump said in the interview.

Trump said, “I always condemn violence” and that if she had been informed she would have “immediately denounced the violence that occurred at the Capitol Building.” She added, “And while Ms. Grisham’s behavior is disappointing, it is not surprising or an isolated incident.”

— Joey Garrison

Previously: Ex-White House press secretary’s book likens Melania Trump to Marie Antoinette

The news comes to you: Keep up with the latest breaking politics news with On Politics

Rep. Elaine Luria, a former Navy commander, said she and other members of the select House committee will “detail Donald J. Trump’s dereliction of duty” on Jan. 6, 2021.

In the 8 p.m. hearing tonight, the panel will zero in on the 187 minutes from the end of his “Stop the Steal” speech at 1:10 p.m. to his video message at 4:17 p.m., when he told the rioters ransacking the Capitol to go home.

She emphasized Thursday afternoon he also told the violent mob “he loved them.”

Luria compared him to a captain abandoning a ship and said Thursday’s hearing will show in graphic detail his actions and inaction during those crucial three hours.

— Candy Woodall

Who is Mark Meadows?: Meet Trump’s chief of staff who defied Jan. 6 committee subpoena

Trump was glued to the television in the White House dining room as a pro-Trump mob stormed the Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021, according to testimony previewed by Rep. Adam Kinzinger, R-Ill., one of the Jan. 6 committee’s members.

“To the best of my recollection, he was always in the dining room,” former Trump press secretary Kayleigh McEnany told the committee.

Kinzinger released a short video Thursday teasing evidence to come during the eighth hearing from the committee investigating the Jan. 6 Capitol attack. Committee members are expected to zero in on the 187 minutes between Trump’s speech that morning and his tweet for rioters to go home.

Keith Kellogg, Trump’s former national security advisor, and Molly Michael, former executive assistant to the president, both told the committee that Trump was watching television as the Capitol came under assault. Former White House attorney Pat Cipollone told the committee the violence from the attack was visible on the television as Trump watched.

– Joey Garrison

Sign up for our newsletter: Keep up with the latest breaking politics news with On Politics

The committee will scrutinize events from 1:10 p.m. EDT, when Trump stopped speaking at his rally near the White House, until 4:17 p.m., when he posted a tweet with a video urging rioters to go home.

The committee pieced together testimony from more than 1,000 witnesses and 100,000 pages of documents. But gaps remain. For example, White House logs show no calls placed to or by Trump from 11:17 a.m. to 6:54 p.m. on Jan. 6.

“He was doing nothing to actually stop the riot,” a committee member, Rep. Elaine Luria, D-Va., told CNN’s “State of the Union” on Sunday. “We will go through pretty much minute by minute during that time frame, from the time he left the stage at the Ellipse, came back to the White House, and really sat in the White House, in the dining room, with his advisers urging him continuously to take action, to take more action.”

Two new witnesses expected to testify each resigned in the aftermath of the Jan. 6 attack, along with cabinet secretaries and a special envoy to Northern Ireland.

Sarah Matthews was a deputy press secretary and Matthew Pottinger, who was a deputy national security adviser. Both were disturbed by Trump’s tweet at 2:24 p.m. calling Vice President Mike Pence a coward. Pence had refused to single-handedly reject electoral votes for President Joe Biden, as Trump and his lawyers had urged.

“It was clear that it was escalating and escalating quickly,” Matthews said in a videotaped deposition played at the June 16 hearing. “The situation was already bad, and so it felt like he was pouring gasoline on the fire by tweeting that.”

Big question for Jan. 6 committee: Did Trump aide Mark Meadows help stop – or fuel – the insurrection?

The Jan. 6 committee chair, Rep. Bennie Thompson, D-Miss., will lead the hearing remotely after announcing Tuesday he was diagnosed with COVID-19. He said in a statement he was experiencing mild symptoms despite being fully vaccinated.

Reps. Adam Kinzinger, R-Ill., and Elaine Luria, D-Va., will oversee the presentation of evidence. Members of the nine-member committee have taken turns during the eight hearings in June and July leading the questioning of witnesses or introducing videotaped depositions and documentary evidence.

Political organizations go on attack on Trump before Jan. 6 hearing

Political action committees and public interest groups are preparing for tonight’s Jan. 6 hearing by releasing videos, reports, and statements seeking to promote their case against Donald Trump.

  • The Lincoln Project, the organization created by Republicans to oppose Trump’s re-election campaign in 2020, released a video Thursday describing the Jan. 6, 2021, insurrection as a Trump-directed effort to stay in power.
  • Just Security, an online forum for national security, foreign policy, and human rights issues, released an update of its “Criminal Evidence Tracker,” summarizing testimony from previous hearings of the Jan. 6 committee. Said the report: “The House January 6th Select Committee hearings have presented powerful, compelling evidence that former President Donald Trump led a criminal conspiracy to steal the 2020 presidential election.”

– David Jackson 

The committee subpoenaed Secret Service texts Friday for Jan. 5 and 6, 2021, but the service replied the texts were deleted in a routine swap of staffers’ phones.

Former White House aide Cassidy Hutchinson testified she heard from Anthony Ornato, then-White House deputy chief of staff for operations, that Trump tried to grab the wheel of his vehicle and lunged for an officer while trying to join the mob at the Capitol. Secret Service officials said witnesses have volunteered to testify, to challenge aspects of the testimony.

“I was shocked to hear that they didn’t back up their data before they reset their iPhones. That’s crazy,” Rep. Zoe Lofgren, a member of the committee, told ABC’s “This Week” on Sunday. “But we need to get this information to get the full picture.”

The federal trial against Steve Bannon, a political strategist for Trump, began Monday. Bannon was charged with contempt after defying a House subpoena for documents and testimony. He faces 30 days in jail and a $100,000 fine on each of the two charges, if convicted.

The committee wants to ask Bannon about two calls he had with Trump on Jan. 5, 2021.

After the first call, Bannon said on his podcast, “All hell is going to break loose tomorrow.” The two spoke again for six minutes, but the contents of the call are unknown.

Steve Bannon on trial: Attorneys for Steve Bannon call no witnesses in contempt trial; final arguments set for Friday

The Justice Department has charged more than 850 people associated with the Capitol attack. But some lawmakers and advocacy groups have urged charges against people who financed and organized the attack, potentially including Trump. Rep. Elaine Luria, a member of the Jan. 6 committee, noted the president was “the only person in the Constitution whose duty is explicitly laid out to ensure that the laws are faithfully executed.”

“Well, I do think that there’s a much broader plot here. I think that’s pretty obvious,” said Rep. Zoe Lofgren, also a member of the committee. “I would not want to tell the attorney general how to conduct his investigations. But I will say this, they have subpoena power and they have a lot easier way to enforce their subpoenas than the Congress does.”

The committee simply gathers information, which it plans to pass along to the Justice Department, but the department must decide which charges to pursue. Attorney General Merrick Garland has said he would follow the facts and the law.

Capitol riot arrests: See who’s been charged across the U.S.

During seven previous public hearings, the Jan. 6 committee sought to prove the former president oversaw and coordinated a plan to prevent the peaceful transfer of power.

The hearings covered:

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