Members of the House committee investigating the Capitol riot are saying unequivocally that Donald Trump is to blame for the violence and they're saying lawmakers will recommend ways to prevent another Jan. 6.
As the committee wrapped up its prime-time hearing Thursday, Democratic Rep. Elaine Luria of Virginia said "President Trump did not then and does not now have the character or courage to say to the American people what his own people know to be true. He is responsible for the attack on the Capitol on Jan. 6.”
And fellow committee member Adam Kinzinger, a Republican congressman from Illinois, said that "whatever your politics, whatever you think about the outcome of the election, we as Americans must all agree on this. Donald Trump’s conduct on Jan. 6 was a supreme violation of his oath of office and a complete dereliction of his duty to our nation. It is a stain on our history.”
Vice chair Liz Cheney, a Wyoming Republican, said Trump "made a purposeful choice to violate his oath of office, to ignore the ongoing violence against law enforcement, threatening our constitutional order.”
Kinzinger said it's important that the committee recommend ways to prevent a future Jan. 6 because “the forces that Donald Trump ignited have not gone away.”
MORE ON THE COMMITTEE'S INVESTIGATION
— Rep. Luria, Kinzinger put careers on line in riot investigation
— Arizona GOP censures state House speaker after his Jan. 6 testimony
— Steve Bannon’s defense seeks acquittal then rests case
Follow AP’s coverage of the Capitol riot: https://apnews.com/hub/capitol-siege
The House committee investigating the Capitol riot has shown never-before-seen outtakes from a speech prepared for then-President Donald Trump on Jan. 7, 2021, in which he was supposed to say that the election he lost to Joe Biden was over.
But Trump is seen in the video as bristling at that line — that the 2020 election was in fact decided and over.
In a room of supporters that included his daughter Ivanka Trump, the president is heard saying, “I don’t want to say the election is over.”
The clips that were left on the cutting room floor show a president unwilling to admit defeat even hours after his supporters violently breached the Capitol to try to stop the electoral count in his name.
Trump is seen trying to take out several lines of the script he believed went too far.
In the outtakes, Trump is visibly angry. At one point he hits his hand on the podium -- as he works through the prepared remarks, with Ivanka Trump and others heard chiming in with suggestions.
The Jan. 6 committee has depicted a chaotic and tumultuous Trump White House in the hours and days after the Capitol riot. Presidential aides and Cabinet members were resigning as a response to the attack and how the president acted.
Deputy national security adviser Matt Pottinger testified at a prime-time hearing Thursday that he told his boss, national security Robert O’Brien, that he was submitting his resignation on Jan. 6, 2021, but agreed to stay on until O’Brien could return to Washington. The next morning, on Jan. 7, Pottinger left the White House for the last time, he said.
Pottinger testified that he didn’t want to “leave his chair empty,” so he stayed through the night until he was able to handoff his national security duties to another staffer the next days.
Pottinger said he was concerned that foreign adversaries would see the chaos as an opportunity to test the U.S.
“I think it emboldened our enemies by having give ammunition to the narrative that our system of government doesn’t work,” he said.
The Jan. 6 committee has shown part of a video statement prepared for Donald Trump to give from the White House Rose Garden as rioters raged at the Capitol. And he’s heard saying in the script of what he was supposed to follow: “I am asking you to leave the Capitol Hill region NOW and go home in a peaceful way.”
But the president didn’t actually say that. Instead he repeated baseless claims of voter fraud without condemning the violence by his supporters in Washington.
Trump said: “So go home. We love you. You’re very special.”
And: “I know how you feel.”
The committee showed the video to detail how the president deviated from what was written for him.
Sarah Matthews, a deputy press secretary, told the committee she was relieved that Trump ultimately told followers to go home but was also dismayed that he had repeated the “lie” that the election was stolen.
She testified: “To me, his refusal to act and call off the mob that day and his refusal to condemn the violence was indefensible.” Matthews decided that day to resign.
The Jan. 6 committee has displayed text messages between Donald Trump Jr. and Mark Meadows, the White House chief of staff as the Capitol riot unfolded, to show there was pressure on the then-president take action to halt the violence by a mob of his supporters.
Donald Trump’s son implored Meadows to get the president to act in order to help preserve his legacy.
The younger Trump told Meadows that getting the president to condemn the violence was something to “go to the mattresses on.” Trump Jr. told the committee in a videotaped testimony that was a reference to a line from the movie “The Godfather” and it was shorthand for going “all in” on something.
Former White House press aide Sarah Matthews testified about the process before Trump finally tweeted for the mob to be peaceful. She said “there was a back and forth, going through different phrases that he was comfortable with.”
Matthews said it was a suggestion by Ivanka Trump, the president’s daughter, to include the phrase “stay peaceful,” in the statement that got her father to finally put out a statement.
“He put a target on his own vice president’s back.”
That’s what Jan. 6 committee member Elaine Luria says about Donald Trump’s tweet during the Capitol riot when the president called Vice President Mike Pence a “coward” for deciding to go ahead and preside over the congressional certification of Joe Biden’s election victory.
Trump issued that tweet instead of tweeting to his supporters that they should to go home, and despite knowing that the Capitol had been breached.
“A terrible tweet,” former White House counsel Pat Cipollone told the committee.
At a prime-time hearing Thursday, the committee played Secret Service radio traffic of agents working frantically to keep Pence safe in the Capitol. One agent was heard saying, “There’s six officers between us and the people who are 5 to 10 feet away from us.”
Chat logs maintained by the White House national security staff included a reference to the fact that Secret Service agent inside the Capitol “did not sound good right now.”
And according to an unnamed White House security official, Pence’s security detail was terrified as rioters assaulted the Capitol. “There were calls to say goodbye to family members,” the official testified.
Former Trump White House counsel Pat Cipollone says he supported an “immediate and forceful” response from Donald Trump to the mob gathering outside the Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021, and he had pushed for a strong statement to be issued.
The committee investigating the Capitol riot played parts of a videotaped interview with Cipollone during a prime-time hearing Thursday.
Cipollone said during that interview that “I can generically say that I said that people need to be told, there needs to be a public announcement, fast, that people need to leave the Capitol.”
He said it would have been possible for Trump to issue a statement from the White House press briefing room, but Trump didn’t do that.
Former press aide Sarah Matthews testified that Trump could have gotten in “less than 60 seconds” to the briefing room, where a camera is on at all times.
She said “he could have been on camera almost instantly.”
What was Donald Trump doing in the White House as a mob of rioters breached the Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021?
According to a member of the House committee investigating the insurrection, Trump stayed in the dining room at the White House, facing a television that was tuned to Fox News, for more than 2 1/2 hours.
Democratic Rep. Elaine Luria of Virginia says there is no official record of Trump placing or receiving a call for that entire afternoon, and there are no photos of him until after he surfaced in the Rose Garden after 4 p.m.
Luria says that despite the lack of an official record, the committee has learned what Trump did that day.
The committee played snippets of a recorded interview it conducted with a former White House national security staffer. That staffer, whose voice was obscured to conceal his identity, said White House officials were “in a state of shock” over what was happening at the Capitol on Jan. 6.
Luria says Trump “did not call to issue orders. He did not call to offer assistance.”
A member of the Jan. 6 committee say Donald Trump was advised by almost everyone around him on the day of the 2021 riot to direct the mob to disperse from the Capitol.
“But the former president chose not to do what all those people begged,” according to Democratic Rep. Elaine Luria of Virginia. At a prime-time committee hearing, she then played a video Trump recorded in which he reminded the insurrectionists that “we love you.”
Luria also says Trump watched the attack on television in the White House dining room even as staff around him implored him to act.
She says “President Trump refused to because of his selfish desire to stay in power.”
The vice chair of the Jan. 6 committee says “doors have opened, new subpoenas have been issued and the dam has begun to break″ due to the panel’s continuing investigation and its successful effort to overcome reluctance from witnesses.
Republican Rep. Liz Cheney of Wyoming says at the committee’s prime-time hearing that Donald Trump’s goal was to halt or delay the congressional certification of Joe Biden’s election victory, and that the then-president tried to strong-arm his own vice president, state election officials and the Justice Department.
Cheney says that on Jan. 6, 2021, the only thing that was succeeding was the “angry armed mob that President Trump sent to the Capitol. ... That mob was violent and destructive, and many came armed.”
She says that on that day, Trump for hours chose not to answer pleas from Republican lawmakers to intervene and stop the violence, and never picked up the phone to request the help from the military or from law enforcement.
Cheney says “he refused to do what every American president must.”
The chairman of the House committee investigating the Capitol riot has opened Thursday’s prime-time hearing by saying that congressional investigators have told the story in public sessions over the past weeks of a president — Donald Trump — who did everything he could to stay in power.
Democratic Rep. Bennie Thompson of Mississippi says of Trump: “He lied, he bullied, he betrayed his oath.”
The committee is taking a close examination of Trump’s actions on Jan. 6, 2021 — a day of violence in Washington. The focus of this hearing is on the three-plus hours during the insurrection at the Capitol when Trump failed to act to stop the attack.
Thompson says that despite the erupting violence that day, Trump “could not be moved.”
The congressman also says the committee continues to hear from witnesses and plans to reconvene in September to continue laying out its story to the public.
Thompson is isolating after testing positive for COVID-19 and is attending the hearing by video.
The Jan. 6 committee has gaveled open its second prime-time hearing on Capitol attack and is pledging close scrutiny of then-President Donald Trump’s actions on Jan. 6, 2021 — a day of violence in Washington.
An estimated 20 million people watched the House committee’s first evening session, in early June, which kicked off a series of televised sessions.
Thursday’s hearing is focusing on the three-plus hours during the insurrection at the Capitol when Trump failed to act to stop the attack. The committee is planning to offer a “minute by minute” accounting of Trump’s actions during the insurrection.
One committee member has said Trump was “gleefully” watching the riot unfold on TV at the White House.
The Jan. 6 committee returns to prime time on Thursday evening with a hearing focusing on three-plus hours during the insurrection at the Capitol when then-President Donald Trump failed to act to stop the violence.
The defeated president’s lies about a stolen election drove his supporters to the Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021, and despite pleas from aides, allies and even members of his family, Trump did nothing to rein in the mob.
And what was Trump doing at the White House during those 187 minutes of inaction?
One committee member says Trump was “gleefully” watching the riot unfold on television at the White House.
Three hours and 7 minutes after the assault began, Trump released a video that day at 4:17 p.m., recorded in the Rose Garden, in which he praised the rioters as “very special,” but asked them to disperse.
The hearing could be the committee’s final one after a series of public sessions over the past six weeks.
Live testimony is coming from two former White House aides. They are Matt Pottinger, who was deputy national security adviser, and Sarah Matthews, a press aide. Both submitted their resignations on Jan. 6, 2021, after what they saw that day.
Expect to see never-before-seen outtakes of a Jan. 7 video in which White House aides pleaded for Trump to make as a message of national healing for the country. The footage is said to show how Trump struggled to condemn hos supporters who violently breached the Capitol.
Leading the hearing will be Democratic Rep. Elaine Luria of Virginia, a former Naval officer, and Republican Rep. Adam Kinzinger of Illinois, who flew combat missions in Iraq and Afghanistan.
The committee chairman, Democratic Rep. Bennie Thompson of Mississippi, is isolating after testing positive for COVID-19 and plans to attend the hearing by video.