Trump 'chose not to act' as mob attacked, Jan. 6 committee says

Al Drago/Bloomberg via Getty Images

(WASHINGTON) — The House Jan. 6 committee’s second prime-time hearing focused on what it said was then-President Donald Trump’s “187 minutes” of inaction — from the time he left the rally at the Ellipse, to then watching the attack on the U.S. Capitol on TV at the White House until he finally called on his violent supporters to go home.

Here is how the hearing unfolded:

Jul 21, 10:55 PM EDT
Cheney asks: Can Trump ever be trusted to hold power again?

Rep. Liz Cheney, one of two Republicans on the committee, criticized Trump for “preying” on the patriotism of his supporters by lying to them about the 2020 election. His conduct on Jan. 6, she said, was “indefensible.”

“In our hearing tonight, you saw an American president faced with a stark and unmistakable choice between right and wrong. There was no ambiguity, no nuance. Donald Trump made a purposeful choice to violate his oath of office, to ignore the ongoing violence against law enforcement, to threaten our constitutional order. There is no way to excuse that behavior,” she said.

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“And every American must consider this: can a president who is willing to make the choices Donald Trump made during the violence of Jan. 6 ever be trusted with any position of authority in our great nation again?” she asked.

Jul 21, 10:46 PM EDT
Cheney thanks witnesses for their testimony

In her closing statements, committee vice chair Rep. Liz Cheney, R-Wyo., acknowledged the testimony from dozens of Republican witnesses throughout its investigation.

“The case against Donald Trump in these hearings is not made by witnesses who were his political enemies,” she said. “It was, instead, a series of confessions by Donald Trump’s own appointees.”

That included those who served Trump loyally for years and his own family members, she said.

She thanked the witnesses — including ex-staffers Sarah Matthews, Matthew Pottinger and Cassidy Hutchinson — for their bravery in speaking out publicly before millions of Americans.

“[Hutchinson] knew all along that she would be attacked by President Trump and by the 50-, 60- and 70-year-old men who hide themselves behind executive privilege,” Cheney said.

Jul 21, 10:38 PM EDT
Trump’s conduct on Jan. 6 a ‘supreme violation’ of his oath: Kinzinger

Rep. Adam Kinzinger said one area where all Americans must agree is on Trump’s behavior on Jan. 6.

“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,” the Illinois Republican said.

“It is a stain on our history,” Kinzinger continued. “It is a dishonor to all those who have sacrificed and died in service our democracy.”

Jul 21, 10:35 PM EDT
Trump in Jan. 7 statement outtakes: ‘I don’t want to say the election is over’

The House select committee shared never-before-seen raw footage of outtakes from former President Donald Trump’s recorded message on Jan. 7, in which he “still could not say that the election was over,” Rep. Elaine Luria, D-Va., said.

“This election is now over. Congress has certified the results,” Trump starts to say, then adding, “I don’t want to say the election is over.”

“I just want to say Congress has certified the results, without saying the election is over, OK?” he continues.

Trump had refused to record the address for hours, Luria said, but ultimately relented “because of concerns that he might be removed from power by threats of the 25th Amendment.”

The 25th Amendment lays out the procedures for replacing the president in the event of death, removal, resignation or incapacitation.

Jul 21, 10:11 PM EDT
Panel airs new footage of urgent call between congressional leaders, defense secretary

Rep. Elaine Luria, D-Va., introduced what she called “never-before-seen” photos and videos of what lawmakers were doing during the attack.

Congressional leaders called then-acting Secretary of Defense Chris Miller at 4:45 p.m. that day to regain control of the Capitol.

“We’re not going to let these people keep us from finishing our business,” GOP Sen. Mitch McConnell can be heard saying in a huddle of lawmakers. “So, we need you to get the building cleared, give us the okay so that we can go back in session and finish the peoples’ business as soon as possible.”

Sen. Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., then asked Miller if he agreed with one assessment that it was going to take “several days” to secure the area. Miller disagreed, stating it would take four to five hours.

At one point, Schumer, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and House Majority Steny Hoyer grouped together taking a phone call about securing the Capitol.

Jul 21, 10:03 PM EDT
Trump went off-script in never-before-seen footage of Rose Garden message

When President Trump recorded his message in the Rose Garden more than three hours after rioters stormed the Capitol, he went “off the cuff,” according to committee testimony.

“His staff had prepared a script for him to read, but he refused to use it,” Rep. Elaine Luria, D-Va., said.

The prepared script said, “NO ONE should be using violence or threats of violence to express themselves. Especially at the U.S. Capitol.”

The committee shared raw footage from the recording, in which Trump told his supporters, “We love you. You’re very special,” while urging them to go home.

The committee juxtaposed the filming of this message with footage of the heavy violence still occurring on the Capitol at that moment.

Jul 21, 9:53 PM EDT
Kushner testifies that a ‘scared’ Kevin McCarthy asked for help during riot

Jared Kushner, Trump’s son-in-law and White House adviser, told the committee in taped deposition that House Republican Leader Kevin McCarthy wanted help to stop the violence as rioters breached the U.S. Capitol building.

Kushner said McCarthy told him it was “getting really ugly.”

“He was scared, yes,” Kushner said of McCarthy’s state of mind during their call.

The committee also discussed a tense phone call between Trump and McCarthy where Trump alleged it was Antifa at the Capitol — an allegation that’s been debunked by FBI Director Chris Wray and other intelligence officials. McCarthy told Trump it was “your people” and told him to call them off.

Jul 21, 9:40 PM EDT
Donald Trump Jr. texted that his father needed to ‘condemn’ riot

Text messages displayed by the committee show Donald Trump Jr. thought more needed to be done by his father besides his two tweets calling on rioters to “stay peaceful” even though violence had already begun.

Trump Jr. texted chief of staff Mark Meadows the message: “He’s got to condemn this sh**. Asap. The capitol police tweet isn’t enough.”

When Meadows responded that he was pushing hard for Trump to do so, Trump Jr. told him: “go to the mattresses.” “They will try to f*** his entire legacy on this if it gets worse,” Trump Jr. added.

Fox News personality Sean Hannity also texted Meadows to get Trump to instruct the mob to peacefully leave.

Sarah Matthews, the former deputy press secretary, testified White House staff had to ask several times for the president to include the word “peaceful” in his tweet on Jan. 6. She said it wasn’t until Ivanka Trump said “stay peaceful” that he decided to include it.

Jul 21, 9:22 PM EDT
Witnesses react to Trump ‘courage’ tweet on Pence: ‘Fuel being poured on the fire’

The House select committee highlighted strong reaction to a tweet by former President Trump about his vice president amid the riot.

“Mike Pence didn’t have the courage to do what should have been done to protect our Country and our Constitution, giving States a chance to certify a corrected set of facts, not the fraudulent or inaccurate ones which they were asked to previously certify. USA demands the truth!” the tweet, posted at 2:24 p.m. on Jan. 6, stated.

“He put a target on his own vice president’s back,” Rep. Elaine Luria, D-Va., said after sharing the message.

Witness Matthew Pottinger, a deputy national security adviser, said it was in that moment that he decided to resign.

“It looked like fuel being poured on the fire,” he told the committee. “I did not want to be associated with the events that were unfolding on the Capitol.”

Witness and ex-staffer Sarah Matthews, who served as deputy press secretary, said she thought the tweet “was the last thing that was needed in that moment” from Trump.

“He should have been telling these people to go home, and to leave, and to condemn the violence that we were seeing,” she said. “For him to tweet out the message about Mike Pence, it was him pouring gasoline on the fire, and making it much worse.”

Jul 21, 9:32 PM EDT
Committee shows Hawley’s raised fist, then video of him fleeing

In a moment that’s resonated from Thursday’s hearing, the committee shared a photo of Missouri GOP Sen. Josh Hawley walking across the Capitol before protesters who had started to gather at the security gates.

“As you can see in this photo, he raised his fist, in solidarity, with the protesters,” Rep. Elaine Luria, D-Va., said.

Luria said a Capitol police told the committee that the gesture “riled up the crowd.”

“It bothered her greatly because he was doing it in a safe space, protected by the officers and the barriers,” Luria said.

The committee then showed footage of Hawley, who had voted against certifying the results of the election, later fleeing “after those protesters he helped to rile up stormed the Capitol,” Luria said.

Jul 22, 9:14 PM EDT
Secret Service agents began to ‘fear for their own lives’: Witness

The Jan. 6 committee played new audio of Secret Service radio traffic as the attack occurred.

The traffic indicated that officers were very concerned about safely evacuating Vice President Mike Pence after the Capitol was breached.

“If we lose any more time, we may lose the ability to leave. So, if we’re going to leave, we need to do it now,” one agent is heard saying.

An unidentified White House security official said in chilling testimony that members of Pence’s detail “were starting to fear for their own lives.”

“There were calls to say goodbye to family members,” the official said in a recorded interview. “Whatever the reason was on the ground, the DCPD (D.C. police department) felt that it was going to be very ugly.”

Jul 21, 8:57 PM EDT
White House logs show Trump did not make calls to issue orders

White House logs showed that former President Donald Trump “did not call to issue orders,” according to Rep. Elaine Luria, D-Va.

Senior law enforcement officials, military leaders, members of former Vice President Mike Pence’s staff and D.C. government officials that the committee interviewed also said they did not hear from Trump that day, Luria said.

Call logs shown during the hearing indicated that Trump did not make any calls between 11:04 a.m and 6:54 p.m. that day.

Kayleigh McEnany, former White House press secretary, testified for the committee that Trump did want a list of senators to call.

“He was calling senators, to encourage them to delay, or object, the certification,” Luria said.

Jul 21, 8:54 PM EDT
Pat Cipollone describes effort to have Trump make a ‘strong’ statement

Former White House counsel Pat Cipollone told the committee he and other officials attempted to push Trump to make a strong statement condemning the violence almost immediately.

“I think it was pretty clear there needed to be an immediate and forceful response, statement, public statement, that people needed to leave the Capitol now,” Cipollone said in a taped deposition.

Ivanka Trump, White House lawyer, Eric Herschmann and then-chief of staff Mark Meadows all felt the same, Cipollone testified.

Cipollone said it would’ve been “possible” for Trump to go to the White House briefing room to make a statement at any time. Sarah Matthews, the deputy press secretary at the time, testified live that it would have taken “probably less than 60 seconds” for Trump to go to the briefing room from his position in the dining room off the Oval Office.

Jul 21, 8:45 PM EDT
Witness confirms ‘heated’ exchange in Trump’s SUV on Jan. 6

Rep. Elaine Luria said that there is “evidence from multiple sources regarding an angry exchange in the presidential SUV” confirming Cassidy Hutchinson’s previous bombshell testimony.

Hutchinson told the committee on June 28 that a member of Trump’s security detail told her the president tried to grab the steering wheel as he demanded to join his supporters after his speech at the Ellipse. His team ultimately refused the request.

Sgt. Mark Robinson, a retired member of the Metropolitan Police Department responsible for the motorcade that day, told the committee he heard a similar description of what took place inside the vehicle.

“The description I received was the president was upset and was adamant about going to the Capitol, and there was a heated discussion about that,” Robinson said in a videotaped interview.

Jul 21, 8:27 PM EDT
Trump ‘chose not to act’ during attack: Kinzinger

Rep. Adam Kinzinger, R-Ill., attempted to explain Trump’s behavior on Jan. 6, when it took him several hours to respond to the riot.

“The mob was accomplishing President Trump’s purpose, so of course he didn’t intervene,” Kinzinger said, noting the congressional certification of Joe Biden’s victory was delayed for hours due to the violence.

“Here’s what will be clear by the end of this hearing,” Kinzinger said. “President Trump did not fail to act during the 187 minutes between leaving the Ellipse and telling the mob to go home. He chose not to act.”

Jul 21, 8:29 PM EDT
Cheney swears in witnesses

Committee vice chair Rep. Liz Cheney, R-Wyo., has sworn in the hearing’s witnesses — ex-staffers Matthew Pottinger, who was a member of the National Security Council, and Sarah Matthews, who served as deputy press secretary.

Both witnesses, seen as Trump White House insiders and supporters, resigned from their positions on Jan. 6 in the wake of the riot.

Jul 21, 8:11 PM EDT
Vice Chair Liz Cheney gavels in hearing, committee to reconvene in September

Rep. Liz Cheney, R-Wyo., gaveled in the committee around 8 p.m. as Chairman Bennie Thompson participates virtually after testing positive for COVID-19.

Cheney, the committee’s vice chair, will preside over the hearing. Thompson said she will be responsible for maintaining order and swearing in witnesses.

Thompson also gave a preview of what’s in store tonight as the committee analyzes Trump’s response to the attack as it unfolded on Jan. 6, 2021.

“For 187 minutes, this man of destructive energy could not be moved,” Thompson said of Trump. “He could not be moved to rise from his dining room table, and walk the few steps down to the press room.”

Thompson said the committee’s work won’t stop here, stating it will reconvene in September.

Jul 21, 7:59 PM EDT
Bennie Thompson will chair the committee remotely after contracting COVID-19

Rep. Bennie Thompson, D-Miss., will chair the committee remotely after testing positive for COVID-19. He announced his diagnosis on Monday.

“Gratefully, I am fully vaccinated and boosted,” he said at the time. “I am continuing to follow CDC guidelines and will be isolating for the next several days.”

Jul 21, 7:56 PM EDT
Hearing expected to show outtakes from Trump’s Jan. 7 message

During Thursday’s hearing, the House select committee is expected to show outtakes from former President Donald Trump’s recorded message delivered on Jan. 7, in which he condemned the attack on the Capitol and pledged a “seamless transition of power.”

But sources familiar with their contents tell ABC News that Trump had to be pressured to condemn the attack, taking about an hour to record this message: “The demonstrators who infiltrated the Capitol have defiled the seat of American democracy. To those who engaged in the acts of violence and destruction, you do not represent our country.”

Sources say Trump argued with aides as the statement was being written and wanted to call the attackers patriots. — ABC News Chief Washington Correspondent Jonathan Karl

Jul 21, 7:45 PM EDT
Rep. Aguilar: ‘Our responsibility is to find the truth’

Just ahead of Thursday’s hearing, committee member Rep. Pete Aguilar, D-Calif., said Americans can expect to learn “exactly what was happening” on Jan. 6 from when former President Donald Trump left his rally to his address in the Rose Garden three hours later.

“Where was the president at? Who was talking to him? What was he saying?” Aguilar told anchor Linsey Davis on ABC News Live Prime. “Those are the types of details that we want to get to, because while the Capitol was being overrun and law enforcement officers were providing the last line of defense to save democracy, I think it’s important that the American public knows what was going on at the White House.”

Aguilar said the hearing will also address Trump’s statements on social media the day after the attack.

“The statements and addresses that he made on Jan. 6 and Jan. 7 are both important to his state of mind at the time and what he was willing to say and more importantly, what he wasn’t willing to say,” he said.

Aguilar said the committee continues to receive investigative material that may come out.

“To the extent that we need to share that with the American public, we plan to do that,” he said. “Our responsibility is to find the truth here. And that’s what we plan to do.”

Jul 21, 7:25 PM EDT
Bannon on trial for defying House select committee subpoena

As the House select committee’s last scheduled session gets underway, Steve Bannon, a former top political adviser in Donald Trump’s White House, is currently on trial for defying a subpoena in connection with its investigation.

Bannon was subpoenaed by the Jan. 6 panel for records and testimony and ultimately charged with two counts of criminal contempt of Congress.

His defense attorney, David Schoen, said in court Thursday that Bannon wanted to testify but decided not to based on the advice of his attorney at the time, who reportedly told Bannon that “executive privilege had been invoked and he was not permitted by law to comply with the subpoena.”

The House committee and federal prosecutors have said the executive privilege claims never covered Bannon, since the insurrection occurred long after he left his post as chief White House strategist in 2017.

Ahead of the contempt trial, Bannon had said he would be willing to testify in a live, public hearing.

Closing arguments and jury instructions in the trial are planned for Friday morning.

Jul 21, 7:07 PM EDT
Criminal probe opened into Secret Service’s deleted Jan. 6 messages

A revelation about deleted text messages by the Secret Service is looming large over Thursday’s hearing.

The House committee subpoenaed the agency earlier this month for text messages sent on Jan. 5 and Jan. 6, 2021. But the agency said most of those records were lost in a planned data migration.

So far, the Secret Service has provided a single text exchange to the Department of Homeland Security inspector general investigating the agency’s record-keeping, according to an agency letter to the House Jan. 6 committee obtained by ABC News on Wednesday.

The committee is suggesting the Secret Service broke federal records keeping laws. Hours before the hearing, news broke that the Department of Homeland Security’s inspector general has turned the inquiry into a criminal investigation.

Jul 21, 6:45 PM EDT
Kinzinger: Trump was ‘derelict in his duty’ to try to stop mob

The House select committee plans to focus Thursday night’s hearing on what it says was Trump’s dereliction of duty to act to stop the insurrection.

“It’s obvious the president was derelict in his duty, but for all the details you have to watch,” Rep. Adam Kinzinger, R-Ill., who is co-leading the hearing, told ABC Congressional Correspondent Rachel Scott.

Jul 21, 6:37 PM EDT
Kinzinger previews testimony about Trump watching Capitol attack on television

Rep. Adam Kinzinger, R-Ill., on Thursday morning teased snippets of depositions previewing testimony from Kayleigh McEnany, former press secretary; Ret. Lt. Gen. Keith Kellog, then-national security adviser to Vice President Mike Pence; Molly Michael, Trump’s former executive assistant; and Pat Cipollone, the White House counsel at the time.

In the montage, the former White House officials recall how Trump was in the private dining room off the Oval Office watching television as the violence unfolded.

“To the best of my recollection, he was always in the dining room” McEnany said in her deposition.

Jul 21, 5:53 PM EDT
Former White House staffers to testify about resigning in protest

Two former White House aides are expected to testify before the committee on Thursday, sources previously confirmed to ABC News.

Those ex-staffers are Sarah Matthews, who served as deputy press secretary, and Matthew Pottinger, who was deputy national security adviser. Both resigned from their positions after the pro-Trump mob stormed the Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021.

At the committee’s June 16 hearing, a clip from Matthews’ prior testimony was played in which she described what it was like on the White House press team as the insurrection unfolded. She said that Trump’s tweet attacking then-Vice President Mike Pence during the attack “felt like he was pouring gasoline on the fire.”


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