Jul 23, 2022
Full Jan. 6 Committee Hearing – Day 8 Transcript
Full Jan. 6 Committee Hearing – Day 8. Read the transcript here.
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Speaker 1: (00:00)
Committee will be in order.
Chairman Thompson: (00:10)
Good evening. Earlier this week I received a positive COVID diagnosis. Per CDC guidelines, I’ve received the initial two shots and all of the boosters. Thus far, I’ve been blessed to experience very minimal symptoms. Because I’m still quarantined, I cannot participate in person with my colleagues. I’ve asked our vice chair, Ms. Cheney to preside over this evening’s hearing, including maintaining order in the room and swearing in our witnesses.
Chairman Thompson: (00:46)
Over the last month and a half, the select committee has told a story of a president who did everything in his power to overturn an election. He lied, he bullied, he betrayed his oath. He tried to destroy our democratic institutions, he summoned a mob to Washington. Afterward on January 6th, when he knew that the assembled mob was heavily armed and angry, he commanded the mob to go to the Capitol, and he emphatically commanded the heavily armed mob to fight like hell.
Chairman Thompson: (01:25)
For the weeks between the November election and January 6th, Donald Trump was a force to be reckoned with. He shrugged off the factuality and legality correct sober advice of his knowledgeable and sensible advisors. Instead, he recklessly blazed a path of lawlessness and corruption, the cost to which democracy be damned, and then he stopped. For 187 minutes on January 6th, this man of unbridled destructive energy could not be moved, not by his aids, not by his allies, not by the violent chance of rioters or the desperate pleas of those facing down the riot. And more tellingly, Donald Trump ignored and disregarded the desperate pleas of his own family, including Ivanka and Don Jr. Even though he was the only person in the world who could call off the mob he sent to the Capitol, he could not be moved to rise from his dining room table and walk the few steps down the White House hallway into the press briefing room where cameras were anxiously and desperately waiting to carry his message to the armed and violent mob savagely beating and killing law enforcement officers, revenging the Capitol, and hunting down the vice president and various members of Congress. He could not be moved.
Chairman Thompson: (03:07)
This evening, my colleagues, Mr. Kinzinger of Illinois and Ms. Luria of Virginia will take you inside the White House during those 187 minutes. We also remind you of what was happening at the Capitol minute by minute, as the found violent tragic part of Donald Trump’s scheme to cling to power unraveled while he ignored his advisors, stood by and watched it unfold on television. Let me offer a found thought about the select committee’s work so far. As we’ve made clear throughout these hearings, our investigation goes forward. We continue to receive new information every day. We continue to hear from witnesses. We will reconvene in September to continue laying out our findings to the American people.
Chairman Thompson: (04:02)
But as that work goes forward, a number of facts are clear. There can be no doubt that there was a coordinated multi-step effort to overturn an election overseen and directed by Donald Trump. There can be no doubt that he commanded a mob, a mob he knew was heavily armed, violent, and angry to march on the Capital to try to stop the peaceful transfer of power. And he made targets out of his own vice president and the lawmakers gathered to do the people’s work. These facts have gone undisputed. And so there needs to be accountability, accountability under the law, accountability to the American people, accountability at every level from the local precincts in many states where Donald Trump and his allies attacked election workers for just doing their jobs all the way up to the Oval Office, where Donald Trump embraced illegal advice of insurrectionists that a federal judge has already said was a coup in search of a legal theory.
Chairman Thompson: (05:21)
Our democracy withstood the attack on January 6th. If there is no accountability for January 6th, for every part of this scheme, I feel that we will not overcome the ongoing threat to our democracy. There must be stiff consequences for those responsible. Now I’ll turn things over to our vice chair to start telling this story.
Ms. Cheney: (05:51)
Thank you, Mr. Chairman. Without objection the presiding officer is authorized to declare the committee in recess at any point. Pursuant to house deposition authority regulation 10, I announce that the committee has approved the release of the deposition material presented during today’s hearing. And let me begin tonight by wishing Chairman Thompson a rapid recovery from COVID. He has expertly led us through eight hearings so far, and he has brought us to the point we are today.
Ms. Cheney: (06:23)
In our initial hearing the chairman and I described what ultimately became Donald Trump’s seven-part plan to overturn the 2020 presidential election. A plan stretching from before election day through January 6th. At the close of today’s hearing, our ninth, we will have addressed each element of that plan. But in the course of these hearings, we have received new evidence and new witnesses have bravely stepped forward. 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.
Ms. Cheney: (07:07)
And now, even as we conduct our ninth hearing, we have considerably more to do. We have far more evidence to share with the American people and more to gather. So our committee will spend August pursuing emerging information on multiple fronts before convening further hearings this September. Today, we know far more about the president’s plans and actions to overturn the election than almost all members of Congress did. When President Trump was impeached on January 13th, 2021, or when he was tried by the Senate in February of that year, 57 of 100 senators voted to convict President Trump at that time. And more than 20 others said they were voting against conviction because the president’s term had already expired. At the time, the Republican leader of the United States Senate said this about Donald Trump.
Mitch McConnell: (08:06)
A mob was assaulting the Capital in his name. These criminals were carrying his banners, hanging his lies and screaming their loyalty to him. It was obvious that only President Trump could end this. He was the only one.
Ms. Cheney: (08:41)
Leader McConnell reached those conclusions based on what he knew then without any of the much more detailed evidence you will see today. Lawlessness and violence began at the Capital on January 6th, 2021 before 1:00 PM and continued until well after darkness fell. What exactly was our commander in chief doing during the hours of violence? Today, we address precisely that issue. Everything you’ve heard in these hearings thus far will help you understand President Trump’s motives during the violence.
Ms. Cheney: (09:15)
You already know Donald Trump’s goal, to halt or delay Congress’s official proceedings to count certified electoral votes. You know that Donald Trump tried to pressure his vice president to illegally reject votes and delay the proceedings. You know he tried to convince state officials and state legislators to flip their electoral votes from Biden to Trump. And you know Donald Trump tried to corrupt our department of justice to aid his scheme. But by January 6th, none of that had worked. Only one thing was succeeding on the afternoon of January 6th. Only one thing was achieving President Trump’s goal. The angry armed mob President Trump sent to the Capital broke through security, invaded the Capital and forced the vote counting to stop. That mob was violent and destructive and many came armed.
Ms. Cheney: (10:13)
As you will hear, secret service agents protecting the vice president were exceptionally concerned about his safety and their own. Republican leader Kevin McCarthy was scared as were others in Congress, even those who themselves helped to provoke the violence. And as you will see today, Donald Trump’s own White House council, his own White House staff, members of his own family, all implored him to immediately intervene to condemn the violence and instruct his supporters to stand down, leave the Capital and disperse. For multiple hours, he would not. Donald Trump would not get on the phone and order the military or law enforcement agencies to help. And for hours, Donald Trump chose not to answer the plea from Congress, from his own party and from all across our nation to do what his oath required. He refused to defend our nation and our constitution. He refused to do what every American president must. In the days after January 6th, almost no one of any political party would defend President Trump’s conduct and no one should do so today. Thank you, and I now recognize the gentlewoman from Virginia.
Elaine Luria: (11:36)
Thank you, Madam Vice Chair. Article two of our constitution requires that the president swear a very specific oath every four years. Every president swears or affirms to faithfully execute the Office of President of the United States and to the best of their ability preserve, protect, and defend the Constitution of the United States. The president also assumes the constitutional duty to take care that our nation’s laws be faithfully executed and is the commander in chief of our military. Our hearings have shown the many ways in which President Trump tried to stop the peaceful transfer of power in the days leading up to January 6th. With each step of his plan, he betrayed his oath of office and was derelict in his duty.
Elaine Luria: (12:32)
Tonight we will further examine President Trump’s actions on the day of the attack on the Capitol. Early that afternoon, President Trump instructed tens of thousands of supporters at and near the Ellipse rally, a number of whom he knew were armed with various types of weapons, to march to the Capitol. After telling the crowd to march multiple times, he promised he would be with them and finished his remarks at 1:10 PM like this-
Speaker 2: (13:03)
We’re going to walk down and I’ll be there with you. We’re going to walk down. We’re going to walk down, anyone you want. But I think right here, we’re going to walk down to the Capitol. So let’s walk down Pennsylvania Avenue.
Elaine Luria: (13:25)
By this time, the vice president was in the Capital, the joint session of Congress to certify Joe Biden’s victory was underway and the proud boys and other rioters had stormed through the first barriers and begun the attack. Radio communications from law enforcement informed secret service and those in the White House Situation Room of these developments in real time. At the direction of President Trump, thousands more rioters marched from the Ellipse to the Capitol and they joined the attack. As you will see in great detail tonight, President Trump was being advised by nearly everyone to immediately instruct his supporters to leave the Capital, disperse and halt the violence. Virtually everyone told President Trump to condemn the violence in clear and unmistakable terms, and those on Capitol Hill and across the nation begged President Trump to help. But the former president chose not to do what all of those people begged. He refused to tell the mob to leave until 4:17 when he tweeted out a video statement filmed in the Rose Garden, ending with this-
Speaker 2: (14:39)
So go home. We love you. You’re very special. You’ve seen what happens. You see the way others are treated that are so bad and so evil. I know how you feel, but go home and go home at peace.
Elaine Luria: (14:57)
By that time, two pipe bombs had been found at locations near the Capitol, including where the vice president elect was conducting a meeting. Hours of hand-to-hand combat had seriously injured scores of law enforcement officers. The Capital had been invaded. The electoral count had been halted. As members were evacuated, rioters took the floor of the Senate. They rifled through desks and broke into offices and they nearly caught up to Vice President Pence. Guns were drawn on the House floor and a rioter was shot attempting to infiltrate the Chamber. We know that a number of rioters intended acts of physical violence against specific elected officials. We know virtually all the rioters were motivated by President Trump’s rhetoric that the election had been stolen and they felt they needed to take their country back.
Elaine Luria: (15:50)
This hearing is principally about what happened inside of the White House that afternoon from the time when President Trump ended his speech until the moment when he finally told the mob to go home, a span of 187 minutes, more than three hours. What you will learn is that President Trump sat in his dining room and watched the attack on television while his senior most staff, closest advisors and family members begged him to do what is expected of any American President.
Elaine Luria: (16:22)
I served proudly for 20 years as an officer in the United States Navy. Veterans of our armed forces know firsthand the leadership that’s required in a time of crisis, urgent and decisive action that puts duty and country first. But on January 6th, when lives and our democracy hung in the balance, President Trump refused to act because of his selfish desire to stay in power. And I yield to the gentleman from Illinois, Mr. Kinzinger.
Adam Kinzinger: (16:54)
Thank you. Thank you, Ms. Luria. One week after the attack, Republican leader Kevin McCarthy acknowledged the simple truth, President Trump should have acted immediately to stop the violence. During our investigation, General Mark Milley, the chairman of the joint chiefs of staff, also remarked on the president’s failure to act. Let’s hear what they had to say.
Speaker 3: (17:20)
The president bear’s responsibility for Wednesday’s attack on Congress by mob rioters. He should have immediately denounced the mob when he saw what was unfolding. These facts require immediate action by President Trump.
Speaker 4: (17:35)
Yeah. [inaudible 00:17:36] commander in chief, we got an assault going on on the capital of the United States of America. And there’s nothing, no call nothing, zero.
Adam Kinzinger: (17:49)
Like my colleague from Virginia, I’m a veteran. I served in the Air Force and I serve currently in the Air National Guard. I can tell you that General Milley’s reaction to President Trump’s conduct is 100% correct and so was leader McCarthy’s. What explains President Trump’s behavior? Why did he not take immediate action in a time of crisis? Because President Trump’s plan for January 6th was to halt or delay Congress’s official proceeding to count the votes. The mob attacking the Capital quickly caused the evacuation of both the House and the Senate, the count ground to an absolute halt and was ultimately delayed for hours. The mob was accomplishing President Trump’s purpose so of course he didn’t intervene.
Adam Kinzinger: (18:42)
Here’s what’ll be clear by the end of this hearing, 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. But there were hundreds that day who honored their oaths and put their lives on the line to protect the people inside the Capital and to safeguard our democracy. Many of them are here tonight with us and many more are watching from home. As you already know, and we’ll see again tonight, their service and sacrifice shines a bright light on President Trump’s dishonor and dereliction of duty. I yield to the vice chair.
Ms. Cheney: (19:26)
Thank you very much, Mr. Kinzinger. I’d like to begin by welcoming our witnesses this evening. Tonight we’re joined by Mr. Matthew Pottinger. Mr. Pottinger is a decorated former Marine intelligence officer who served this nation on tours of duty in Afghanistan and Iraq. He served in the Trump White House from the first day of the administration through the early morning hours of January 7th, 2021. The last role in which he served in the White House was as deputy national security advisor to the President of the United States. We’re also joined by Sarah Matthews. Ms. Matthews started her career in communications working on Capitol Hill, serving on the Republican staffs of several house committees. She then worked as deputy press secretary for President Trump’s reelection campaign before joining the Trump White House in June of 2020. She served there as deputy press secretary and special assistant to the president until the evening of January 6th, 2021.
Ms. Cheney: (20:28)
I will now swear in our witnesses. The witnesses will please stand and raise their right hands. Do you swear or affirm under penalty of perjury that the testimony you are about to give is the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth, so help you God. Thank you. You may be seated and let the record reflect that the witnesses answered in the affirmative. Thank you both again for being here tonight. Mr. Pottinger, thank you for your service to the nation as well as for joining us this evening. Can you please briefly explain what your responsibilities were as deputy national security advisor to the president?
Matt Pottinger: (21:13)
Thank you, Madam Vice Chair. When I started at the White House, I was a senior director for Asia on the National Security Council staff. So that was a job that involved helping coordinate the president’s Asia policy. I supported the president when he met or interacted with Asian leaders. Later in 2019, I was promoted to the job of deputy national security advisor. In that role, I was the chairman of the deputies committee. That’s an NSC meeting of all of the deputy cabinet secretaries. We would settle important matters of national policy related to our national security and we would also tee up options for the president and for his cabinet members. I felt then as I do now that it was a privilege to serve in the White House. I’m I’m also very proud of President Trump’s foreign policy accomplishments. We were able to finally compete with China. We were also able to broker peace agreements between Israel and three Arab states. I mean, those are some examples of the types of policies that I think made our country safer.
Ms. Cheney: (22:28)
Thank you, Mr. Pottinger. And were you in the White House during the attack on the Capital on January 6th?
Matt Pottinger: (22:35)
For most of the day I was in the White House. Although when the president was speaking at the rally, I was actually offsite at a scheduled meeting with India’s ambassador to the United States. The National Security Council staff was not involved in organizing the security for what was a domestic event, the rally, but I did return to the White House at roughly 2:30 PM.
Ms. Cheney: (23:02)
Thank you. And I know my colleagues will have additional questions for you about that afternoon. Let me turn now to you, Ms. Matthews. How did you come to join President Trump’s White House staff?
Sarah Matthews: (23:13)
Thank you, Madam Vice Chair. As you outlined, I am a lifelong Republican and I joined the Trump reelection campaign in June of 2019. I was one of the first communications staffers actually on board for his reelection campaign. And during that time I traveled all around the country and met Kayleigh McEnamy who was also working on his reelection campaign. I worked there for a year and I formed a close relationship with Miss McEnamy. And she moved over to the White House in April of 2020 to start as White House Press Secretary and she brought over a group of campaign staff with her. And so I joined her over at the White House in June of 2020 to start as her deputy.
Ms. Cheney: (23:59)
And were you, Ms. Matthews, at work in the White House on January 6th?
Sarah Matthews: (24:03)
Yes, I was working out of the West Wing that day.
Ms. Cheney: (24:06)
Thank you. And now I’d like to recognize the gentlewoman from Virginia and the gentleman from Illinois.
Elaine Luria: (24:14)
Thank you, Madam Vice Chair. As you’ve seen in our prior hearings, President Trump summoned the mob to DC on January 6th. Before he went on stage, he knew some of them were armed and prepared for combat. During his speech he implored them to march to the Capitol, as he had always planned to do. By the time he walked off the stage, his supporters had already breached the outer perimeter of the Capitol at the foot of Capitol hill. Since our last hearings, we’ve received new testimony from a security professional working in the White House complex on January 6th, with access to relevant information and responsibility to report to national security officials. This security official told us that the White House was aware of multiple reports of weapons in the crowd that morning. We as a committee are cognizant of the fear of retribution expressed by certain national security witnesses who have come forward to tell the truth. We’ve therefore taken steps to protect this national security individual’s identity. Listen to this clip from their testimony.
Speaker 8: (25:26)
… Message from the people about this idea of the President to walk to the Capitol?
White House Security Official: (25:32)
To be completely honest, we were all in a state of shock.
Speaker 8: (25:38)
White House Security Official: (25:39)
Because it just, one, I think the actual physical feasibility of doing it. And then also we all knew what that indicated and what that meant. That this was no longer a rally, that this was going to move to something else if he physically walked to the Capital. I don’t know if you want to use the word insurrection, coup, whatever. We all knew that this would move from a normal democratic public event into something else.
Speaker 8: (26:06)
What was driving that sentiment considering this part of it, the actual breach of the Capital hadn’t happened yet?
White House Security Official: (26:15)
Why were we alarmed?
Speaker 8: (26:16)
White House Security Official: (26:18)
The president wanted to lead tens of thousands of people to the Capital. I think that was enough grounds for us to be alarmed.
Elaine Luria: (26:27)
Even though he understood many of his supporters were armed, the president was still adamant to go to the Capital when he got off the stage at the Ellipse, but his secret service detail was equally determined to not let him go. That led to a heated argument with the detail that delayed the departure of the motorcade to the White House. We have evidence from multiple sources regarding an angry exchange in the presidential SUV, including testimony we will disclose today from two witnesses who confirmed that a confrontation occurred. The first witness is a former White House employee with national security responsibilities.
Elaine Luria: (27:04)
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. Mr. Ornato was there with Bobby Engel, the president’s lead secret service agent. This employee told us that Mr. Ornato said that the president was quote “irate” when Mr. Engel refused to drive him to the Capitol. Mr. Engel did not refute what Mr. Ornato said. The second witness is retired Sergeant Mark Robinson of the DC Police Department, who was assigned to the president’s motorcade that day. He sat in the lead vehicle with a secret service agent responsible for the motorcade, also called the TS agent. Here’s how Sergeant Robinson remembered the exchange.
Speaker 5: (27:51)
Was there any description of what was occurring in the car?
Speaker 6: (27:57)
No. The only description I received was that the president was upset and that he was adamant about going to the Capitol and there was a heated discussion about that.
Speaker 5: (28:12)
And when you say heated, is that your word or is that the word that was described by the TS agent?
Speaker 6: (28:16)
The word described by the TS agent meaning that the president was upset and he was saying there was a heated argument or discussion about going to the Capital.
Speaker 7: (28:30)
About how many times would you say you’ve been part of that motorcade with the president?
Speaker 6: (28:36)
Probably over a hundred times.
Speaker 7: (28:40)
And in that a hundred times, have you ever witnessed another discussion of a argument or heated discussion with the president where the president was contradicting where he was supposed to go or what the secret service believe was safe?
Speaker 6: (28:55)
Elaine Luria: (28:58)
Like other witnesses, Sergeant Robinson also testified that he was aware that individuals in the crowd were armed.
Speaker 6: (29:08)
Yes, I believe we was on special events channel and I was monitoring the traffics. And so I could hear some of the units pointing out to individuals that there were individuals along Constitution Avenue that were armed, that were up in the trees. And I can hear the units responding to those individuals. And so there’s always a concern when there’s a POTUS in the area.
Elaine Luria: (29:35)
And like other witnesses, Sergeant Robinson told us that the president still wanted to travel to the Capital even after returning to the White House.
Speaker 5: (29:51)
So at the end of the speech, what was the plan supposed to be?
Speaker 6: (29:53)
So at the end of the speech, we do know that while inside the limo, the president was still adamant about going to the Capital. That’s being relayed to me by the TS agent. And so we did depart the Ellipse and we responded back to the White House. However, we being the motorcade, the POTUS motorcade was placed on standby. And so we were told to stand by on the West [inaudible 00:30:21] until they confirmed whether or not the president was going to go to the Capital. And so I may have waited, I would just estimate maybe 45 minutes to an hour waiting for secret service to make that decision.
Elaine Luria: (30:40)
The motorcade waited at the White House for more than 45 minutes before being released. The committee is also aware that accounts of the angry confrontation in the presidential SUV have circulated widely among the secret service since January 6th. Recent disclosures have also caused the committee to subpoena yet further information from the secret service, which we’ve begun to receive and will continue to assess. The committee is also aware that certain secret service witnesses have now retained new private counsel. We anticipate further testimony under oath and other new information in the coming weeks.
Elaine Luria: (31:19)
After the secret service refused to take President Trump to the Capitol, he returned to the White House. What you see on the screen is a photo of him inside the Oval Office immediately after he returned from the rally still wearing his overcoat. A White House employee informed the president as soon as he returned to the Oval about the riot at the Capitol. Let me repeat that, within 15 minutes of leaving the stage, President Trump knew that the Capitol was besieged and under attack. At 1:25 President Trump went to the private dining room off the Oval Office. From 1:25 until four o’clock, the president stayed in his dining room.
Elaine Luria: (32:02)
Just to give you a sense of where the dining room is situated in the West Wing, let’s take a look at this floor plan. The dining room is connected to the Oval Office by a short hallway. Witnesses told us that on January 6th, President Trump sat in his usual spot at the head of the table facing a television hanging on the wall. We know from the employee that the TV was tuned to Fox News all afternoon. Here, you can see Fox News on the TV showing coverage of the joint session that was airing that day at 1:25. Other witnesses confirmed that President Trump was in the dining room with the TV on for more than two and a half hours. There was no official record of what President Trump did while in the dining room. On the screen is the presidential call log from January 6th. As you can see, there’s no official record of President Trump receiving or placing a call between 11:06 and 6:54 PM. As to what the president was doing, that afternoon-
Elaine Luria: (33:03)
… 6:54 PM. As to what the president was doing that afternoon, the Presidential Daily Diary is also silent. It contains no information from the period between 1:21 PM and 4:03 PM. There are also no photos of President Trump during this critical period between 1:21 in the Oval Office and when he went outside to the Rose Garden after 4:00. The chief White House photographer wanted to take pictures because it was, in her words, “very important for his archives and for history,” but she was told, “no photographs”. Despite the lack of photos or an official record, we’ve learned what President Trump was doing while he was watching TV in the dining room. But before we get into that, it’s important to understand what he never did that day. Let’s watch.
Liz Cheney: (33:51)
So are you aware of any phone call by the president of the United States to the secretary of defense that day?
Pat Cipollone: (33:58)
Not that I’m aware of. No.
Liz Cheney: (34:01)
Are you aware of any phone call by the President of the United States to the Attorney General of the United States that day?
Pat Cipollone: (34:06)
Liz Cheney: (34:06)
Are you aware of any phone call by the President of the United States to the Secretary of Homeland Security that day?
Pat Cipollone: (34:13)
I’m not aware of that. No.
Did you ever hear the president-
Gen. Keith Kellogg: (34:16)
… ask for the national guard?
Gen. Keith Kellogg: (34:17)
Did you ever hear the president ask for law enforcement response?
Gen. Keith Kellogg: (34:27)
So as somebody who works in the national security space and with the National Security Council, if there were going to be troops present or called up for a rally in Washington DC, for example, is that something that you would’ve been aware of?
Gen. Keith Kellogg: (34:41)
Yeah, I would’ve.
Do you know if he asked anybody to reach out to any of those that we just listed off? National Guard, DOD, FBI, Homeland Security, Secret Service, Mayor Bowser, the Capitol Police about the situation at the capital?
Nicholas Luna: (34:58)
I am not aware of any of those requests. No, sir.
Elaine Luria: (35:04)
We have confirmed in numerous interviews with senior law enforcement and military leaders, Vice President Pence’s staff and DC government officials, none of them, not one, heard from President Trump that day. He did not call to issue orders. He did not call to offer assistance. This week we received additional testimony from yet another witness about why the President didn’t make any efforts to quell the attack. The former White House employee with national security responsibilities told us about a conversation with Senior Advisor, Eric Herschmann and Pat Cipollone, the top White House lawyer.
Elaine Luria: (35:46)
This conversation was about a pending call from the Pentagon seeking to coordinate on the response to the attack. Mr. Herschmann turned to Mr. Cipollone and said, “The President didn’t want to anything,” and so Mr. Cipollone had to take the call himself. So if President Trump wasn’t calling law enforcement or military leaders, what did President Trump spend his time doing that afternoon while he first settled into the dining room? He was calling senators to encourage them to delay or object to the certification. Here’s Kayleigh McEnany, his press secretary, to explain.
All right, then it says back there and he wants list of senators. And then he’s calling them one by one. Do you know which ones he called?
Kayleigh McEnany: (36:34)
To the best of my recollection, no. As I say in my notes, he wanted a list of the senators and I left him at that point
Elaine Luria: (36:44)
Because the Presidential Call Log is empty, we do not yet know precisely which senators President Trump was calling. But we do know from Rudy Giuliani’s phone records, that President Trump also called him at 1:39, after he had been told that the riot was underway at the Capitol. Mr. Giuliani was President Trump’s lead election attorney. According to the phone records, the President’s call with him lasted approximately four minutes. Recall that Fox News was on in the dining room. Let’s take a look at what was airing as this call was ending.
Speaker 9: (37:19)
The President, as we all saw, fired this crowd up. They’ve all, tens of thousands, maybe a hundred thousand or more, have gone down to the Capitol or elsewhere in the city, and they’re very upset. Now I jumped down, as soon as we heard the news that Brett gave you about Mike Pence, I started talking to these people. I said, “what do you think?” One woman, an Air Force veteran from Missouri said she was, “disgusted to hear that news,” and that, “it was his duty to do something.” And I told her, I said, “there’s nothing in the Constitution unilaterally that Vice President Pence could do.” She said, “that doesn’t matter, he should have fought for Trump.”
Elaine Luria: (38:01)
At 1:49, here’s what was happening at the Capitol with President Trump’s fired up supporters.
Speaker 10: (38:07)
We’re going to give riot warning. We’re going to try and get compliance, but this is now effectively a riot.
Speaker 11: (38:20)
13:49 hours, declaring it a riot, [inaudible 00:38:20].
Elaine Luria: (38:30)
What did President Trump do at 1:49, as the DC Police, at the same time, were declaring a riot at the Capitol. As you can see on the screen, he tweeted out a link to the recording of his Ellipse speech. This was the same speech in which he knowingly sent an armed mob to the capital, but President Trump made no comment about the lawlessness and the violence. I yield to the gentleman from Illinois.
Adam Kinzinger: (38:59)
The next action President Trump took was to tweet, at 2:24 PM. What happened during the 35 minutes between his last tweet at 1:49 and 2:24? His staff repeatedly came into the room to see him and plead that he make a strong public statement condemning the violence and instructing the mob to leave the Capitol. He did not relent until after 4:00 when he went out to go to the Rose Garden to film his, now infamous, “go home” message. Pat Cipollone was a top White House lawyer. Here’s what he told us about his reaction to seeing the violence and his advice throughout the afternoon.
When did you first realize that there was actually violence or rioting at the Capitol?
Pat Cipollone: (39:51)
I first realized that, it may have been on television or it may have been Tony or it may have been Philbin, but I found out that people were… They weren’t in the Capitol yet, but they were… And then I started watching it and then I was aware.
What specifically did you think needed to be done?
Pat Cipollone: (40:14)
I think I was pretty clear there need to be an immediate and forceful response statement, public statement, that people need to leave the Capitol now.
My question’s exactly that. That it sounds like you, from the very onset of violence at the Capitol, right around 2:00, we’re pushing for a strong statement that people should leave the Capitol. Is that right?
Pat Cipollone: (40:36)
I was. And others were as well.
Liz Cheney: (40:39)
Pat, you said that you expressed your opinion forcefully. Could you tell us exactly how you did that?
Pat Cipollone: (40:46)
Yeah, I can’t. I’m going to have… I have to, on the privilege issue, I can’t talk about conversations with the President, but I can generically say that I said, “people need to be told, there needs to be a public announcement, fast, that they need to leave the Capitol.”
Liz Cheney: (41:08)
And, Pat, could you let us know approximately when you said that?
Pat Cipollone: (41:13)
Approximately when? Almost immediately after I found out people were getting into the Capitol or approaching the Capitol in a way that was violent.
Do you remember any discussion with Mark Meadows with respect to his view that the President didn’t want to do anything or was somehow resistant to wanting to say something along the lines that you suggested?
Pat Cipollone: (41:40)
Just to be clear, many people suggested it. Not just me. Many people felt the same way. I’m sure I had conversations with Mark about this during the course of the day and expressed my opinion, very forcefully, that this needs to be done.
So your advice was, “tell people to leave the Capitol” and it took over two hours when there were subsequent statements made, tweets put forward, that in your view were insufficient. Did you continue Mr. Cipollone, throughout the period of time, up until 4:17, continue, you and others, to push for a stronger statement?
Pat Cipollone: (42:22)
Were you joined in that effort by Ivanka Trump?
Pat Cipollone: (42:26)
By Eric Herschmann?
Pat Cipollone: (42:27)
By Mark Meadows?
Pat Cipollone: (42:27)
Cassidy Hutchinson: (42:30)
White House Counsel’s Office wanted there to be a strong statement out to condemn the rioters. I’m confident in that. I’m confident that Ivanka Trump wanted there to be a strong statement to condemn the rioters. I don’t know the private conversation she had with Mr. Trump, but I remember when she came to the office one time with White House Counsel’s Office, when she came to the Chief of Staff’s Office with White House Counsel’s Office, she was talking about the speech later that day and trying to get her dad on board with saying something that was more direct than he had wanted to at the time and throughout the afternoon.
Pat Cipollone: (43:11)
And I think Mark also wanted… I remember him getting Ivanka involved because he’s like, “get Ivanka down here,” because he thought that would be important. I don’t think Jared was there in the morning, but I think he came later. I remember thinking he was important to get him in there too. And, of course, Pat Philbin was expressing the same things. Pat Philbin was very… As I said, I don’t think there was one of these meetings where, there might have been, but for the most part, I remember the both of us going down together, going back, getting on phone calls. He was also very clearly expressing this view.
Adam Kinzinger: (43:53)
Pat Cipollone and Cassidy Hutchinson, an aide to Chief of Staff, Mark Meadows, also told us about the “hang Mike Pence” chants. As you will see Mr. Cipollone recalled conversations about those chants in the West Wing. But he relied on executive privilege to maintain confidentiality over his and others’ direct communications with the President. Although Mr. Cipollone was unwilling to provide more detail, Ms. Hutchinson provided more explicit information filling in those blanks. See that for yourself.
Cassidy Hutchinson: (44:26)
Wasn’t until Mark hung up the phone, handed it back to me, I went back to my desk. A couple minutes later, him and Pat came back, possibly Eric Herschmann, too. I’m pretty sure Eric Herschmann was there, but I’m confident it was Pat that was there. I remember Pat saying something to effect of “Mark, we need to do something more. They’re literally calling for the vice president to be f- ing hung.” And Mark had responded something to the effect of, “you heard him, Pat, he thinks Mike deserves it. He doesn’t think they’re doing anything wrong.” To which Pat said something, “this is f-ing crazy. We need to be doing something more.” Briefly stepped into Mark’s office.
Do you remember any discussion at any point during the day about rioters at the Capitol chanting, “hang Mike Pence”?
Pat Cipollone: (45:30)
Yes. I remember hearing that, about that, yes. I don’t know if I observed that myself on TV.
I’m just curious, I understand the privilege line you’ve drawn. But do you remember what you can share with us about the discussion about those chants? The “hang Mike Pence” chants?
Pat Cipollone: (45:53)
I can tell you my view that.
Pat Cipollone: (45:56)
My view of that is that is outrageous. And for anyone to suggest such a thing against the Vice President of the United States, for people in that crowd to be chanting that, I thought it was terrible. I thought it was outrageous and wrong. And I expressed that very clearly.
With respect to your conversations with Mr. Meadows though, did you specifically raise a concern over the Vice President with him and how did he respond?
Pat Cipollone: (46:28)
I believe I raised a concern about the vice president and I, again, the nature of his response, without recalling exactly, was he… People were doing all that they could.
And what about the President? Did he indicate whether he thought the President was doing what needed to be done to protect the Vice President?
Speaker 12: (46:51)
You have to assert it. That question [inaudible 00:46:57].
Pat Cipollone: (46:58)
I’m being instructed on.
Adam Kinzinger: (47:02)
In addition, Mr. Cipollone testified that it would’ve been feasible, as commentators on television were suggesting, for President Trump to immediately appear at the podium in the press room to address the nation.
Would it have been possible, at any moment, for the President to walk down to the podium in the briefing room and talk to the nation, at any time between when you first gave him that advice at 2:00 and 4:17, when the video statement came out? Would that have been possible?
Pat Cipollone: (47:30)
Would it have been possible?
Pat Cipollone: (47:33)
Yes, it would have been possible.
Adam Kinzinger: (47:36)
We just heard Mr. Cipollone say that President Trump could have gone to the Press Briefing Room to issue a statement at any moment. To give you a sense of just how easy that would’ve been, let’s take a look at a map of the West Wing. As we saw earlier, the President’s private dining room is at the bottom of the map. The Press Briefing Room is at the top highlighted in blue. And the Rose Garden, where the President ultimately filmed his go home video, is on the right next to the Oval Office and that’s highlighted in green. Ms. Matthews, how quickly could the President have gotten on camera in the Press Briefing Room to deliver a statement to the nation?
Sarah Matthews: (48:17)
So, as you outlined, it would take probably less than 60 seconds from the Oval Office dining room over to the Press Briefing Room. And for folks that might not know the briefing room is the room that you see the White House Press Secretary do briefings from, with the podium and the blue backdrop. And there’s a camera that is on in there at all times. And, so if the President had wanted to make a statement and address the American people, he could have been on camera almost instantly. And conversely, the White House Press Corps has offices that are located directly behind the briefing room. And, so if he had wanted to make an address from the Oval Office, we could have assembled the White House Press Corps, probably in a matter of minutes, to get them into the Oval for him to do an on camera address.
Adam Kinzinger: (49:07)
Hm. Thank you. Other witnesses have given us their views on that question. For example, General Keith Kellogg told us that some staff were concerned that a live appearance by the President at the microphones, at that moment, could actually make matters worse. He told us he recommended against doing a press conference because during his four years in the Trump administration, “there wasn’t a single clean press conference we had had”. President Trump’s advisors knew his state of mind at that moment and they were worried about what he would say in unscripted comments. I yield to the gentlewoman from Virginia.
Elaine Luria: (49:46)
Thank you. As you’ve heard, by 2:00 multiple staff members in the white house recognize that a serious situation was underway at the Capitol. Personally, I recall being evacuated from the house office building where we’re sitting, before this time, and it was due to the discovery of two pipe bombs in nearby buildings. Ms. Matthews, around the same time you were watching the violence unfold on television and social media with colleagues, including with Ben Williamson a senior aid to Mark Meadows and the Acting Director of Communications. You told us that before President Trump sent his next tweet at 2:24, Mr. Williamson got up to go see Mr. Meadows, and you got up to go see, Kayleigh McEnany. Why did you both do that?
Sarah Matthews: (50:36)
So Ben and I were watching the coverage unfold from one of the offices in the West Wing. And we both recognized that the situation was escalating and it was escalating quickly and that the President needed to be out there immediately to tell these people to go home and condemn the violence that we were seeing. So I told him that I was going to make that recommendation to Kayleigh and he said he was going to make the same recommendation to the Chief of Staff, Mark Meadows.
Elaine Luria: (51:04)
Thank you. And one of your colleagues in the press office, Judd Deere, told us he also went to see Ms. McEnany at that time, let’s hear what he said about this critical period of time, right as the rioters were getting into the Capitol.
And why did you think it was necessary to say something?
Judd Deere: (51:22)
Well, I mean, it appears that individuals are storming the US Capitol building. They also appear to be supporters of Donald Trump who may have been in attendance at the rally. We’re going to need to say something.
And did you have a view as to what should be said by the White House?
Judd Deere: (51:52)
If I recall, I told Kayleigh that I thought that we needed to encourage individuals to stop, to respect law enforcement, and to go home.
Elaine Luria: (52:12)
Although President Trump was aware of the ongoing riot, he did not take any immediate action to address the lawlessness. Instead, at 2:03, he called Rudy Giuliani again, and that call lasted for over eight minutes. Moments later, at 2:13, rioters broke into the Capitol itself. One of the Proud Boys charged with seditious conspiracy, Dominic Pezzola, used an officer’s shield to smash a window and rioters flooded into the building. As rioters were entering the building, the Secret Service held Vice President Pence in his office right off the Senate chamber for 13 minutes, as they worked to clear a safe path to a secure location. Now listen to some of that radio traffic and see what they were seeing as the protestors got just feet away from where the Vice President was holding.
Secret Service Radio: (53:43)
Hold. Hold. They’ve entered the building. Hold. Harden that door up. If we’re moving, we need to move now. Copy. If we lose any more time, we may have… We may lose the ability to leave, so if we’re going leave we need to do it now. They’ve gained access to the second floor and I’ve got public about five feet from me down here below. Okay, copy. They are on the second floor moving in now. We may want to consider getting out and leaving now. Copy? Will we encounter the people once we make our way? Repeat? … encounter any individuals if we made our way to the (beep). There’s six officers between us and the people that are 5 to 10 feet away from me. Stand by, I’m going down to evaluate. Go ahead. We have a clear shot if we move quickly. We got smoke downstairs. Standby. Unknown smoke set downstairs. By protestors? Is that route compromised? We have this (beep) is secure. However, we will bypass some protestors that are being contained. There is smoke. Unknown what kind of smoke it is. Copy? Clear. We’re coming out now, all right? Make a way.
Elaine Luria: (55:02)
The President’s National Security Council staff was listening to these developments and tracking them in real time. On the screen, you can see excerpts from the chat logs among the among the President’s National Security Council staff. At 2:13, the staff learned that the rioters were kicking in the windows at the Capitol. Three minutes later, the staff said the Vice President was being pulled, which meant agents evacuated him from the Senate floor. At 2:24, the staff noted that the Secret Service agents at the Capitol did not, “sound good right now”. Earlier you heard from a security professional who had been working in the White House complex on January 6th with access to relevant information and a responsibility to report to national security officials. We asked this person what was meant by the comment that the secret service agents did not ” sound good right now”? In the following clip of that testimony, which has been modified to protect the individual’s identity, the professional discusses, what they heard from listening to the incoming radio traffic that day.
Okay. That last entry on this page is “service at the Capitol does not sound good right now”.
White House Security Official: (56:23)
What does that mean?
White House Security Official: (56:27)
The members of the VP detail at this time were starting to fear for their own lives. There was a lot of yelling, a lot of very personal calls over the radio, so it was disturbing. I don’t like talking about it, but there were calls to say goodbye to family members. So on and so forth. It was getting, for whatever the reason was on the ground, the VP detail thought that this was about to get very ugly.
And did you hear that over the radio?
White House Security Official: (57:05)
Okay. What was the response by the agents, the Secret Service agents who were there?
White House Security Official: (57:11)
Everybody kept saying… At that point it was just reassurances or I think there were discussions of reinforcements coming, but again, it was just chaos. It was just yelling.
Obviously you’ve conveyed it was disturbing, but what prompted you to put it into an entry? As it states, there, “Service at the Capitol”-
White House Security Official: (57:30)
If they’re running out of options and they’re getting nervous, it sounds like, that we came very close to either Service having to use lethal options or worse. At that point, I don’t know. Is the VP compromised? Is the detail… I don’t know. We didn’t have visibility, but it doesn’t… If they’re screaming and saying things like “say goodbye to the family,” the floor needs to know this is going to whole nother level soon.
Elaine Luria: (57:59)
As this next video shows the rioters’ anger was focused primarily on Vice President Mike Pence.
Janet Buhler: (58:08)
This woman comes up to the side of us and she says, “Pence folded.” So it was kind of like, “okay, well,” in my mind I was thinking, “well, that’s it.” Well, my son-in-law looks at me and he says, “I want to go in.”
What percentage of the crowd is going to the Capitol?
Jessica Watkins: (58:38)
100%. It has spread like wildfire that Pence has betrayed us and everybody’s marching on the Capitol. All million of us. It’s insane.
Mike Pence will not stick up for Donald Trump. Mike Pence, traitor. Mike Pence has screwed us, in case you haven’t heard yet. What happened? What happened? I keep hearing that Mike Pence has screwed us. That’s the word. I keep hearing reports that Mike Pence has screwed us.
Did people appear angry as you were walking to the Capitol?
Stephen Ayres: (59:14)
Yeah. A lot of people seemed like they were very upset.
Tell us some of the things they were saying, if you recall.
Stephen Ayres: (59:19)
Oh, they were saying all type… People were screaming all types of stuff. They were mad that Vice President Pence was going to accept the electorals. I mean it was a lot of… If you could think it up, you were hearing it.
I believed Vice President Pence was going to certify the electoral votes and… Or not certify them, but I guess that’s just changed, correct? And it’s a very big disappointment. I think there’s several hundred thousand people here that are very disappointed.
Elaine Luria: (59:59)
President Trump did not try to calm his thousands of disappointed supporters. Instead, at almost the same moment violence was getting completely out of hand, Donald Trump sent his 2:24 tweet. The President said, “Mike Pence didn’t have the courage to do what should have been done to protect our country and our constitution”. Despite knowing the Capitol had been breached and the mob was in the building, President Trump called Mike Pence a coward and placed all the blame on him for not stopping the certification. He put a target on his own Vice President’s back. Mr. Pottinger and Ms. Matthews, when we ask you about your reaction to seeing the 2:24 tweet in real time, you both use the same imagery to describe it. President Trump was adding fuel to the fire. Mr. Pottinger, you made the decision to resign after seeing this tweet. Can you please tell us why?
Matt Pottinger: (01:00:57)
Yes. So that was pretty soon after or shortly before I’d gotten back to the White House. I’d come from offsite. I began to see, for the first time, those images on TV of the chaos that was unfolding at the Capitol. One of my aids handed me a sheet of paper that contained the tweet that you just read. I read it and was quite disturbed by it. I was disturbed and worried to see that the President was attacking Vice President Pence for doing his constitutional duty. So the tweet looked to me like the opposite of what we really needed at that moment, which was a deescalation. And that’s why I had said earlier that it looked like fuel being poured on the fire. So that was the moment that I decided that I was going to resign. That that would be my last day at the White House. I simply didn’t want to be associated with the events that were unfolding on the Capitol.
Elaine Luria: (01:02:03)
Thank you. And Ms. Matthews, what was your reaction to the President’s tweet about Vice President Pence?
Sarah Matthews: (01:02:10)
So it was obvious that the situation at the Capitol was violent and escalating quickly. And, so I thought that the tweet about the Vice President was the last thing that was needed in that moment. And I remember thinking that this was going to be bad for him to tweet this because it was essentially him giving the green light to these people. Telling them that what they were doing at the steps of the Capitol and entering the Capitol was okay, that they were justified in their anger, and he shouldn’t have been doing that. He should have been telling these people to go home and to leave and to condemn the violence that we were seeing. And I’m someone who has worked with him… I worked on the campaign, traveled all around the country, going to countless rallies with him, and I’ve seen the impact that his words have on his supporters. They truly latch onto every word and every tweet that he says. And, so I think that in that moment, for him to tweet out the message about Mike Pence, it was him pouring gasoline on the fire and making it much worse.
Elaine Luria: (01:03:18)
Thank you both. And let’s watch what others also told us about their reactions to this tweet.
Pat Cipollone: (01:03:25)
I don’t remember when exactly I heard about that tweet, but my reaction to it is “that’s a terrible tweet,” and I disagreed with the sentiment, and I thought it was wrong.
What was your reaction when you saw that tweet?
Judd Deere: (01:03:43)
Judd Deere: (01:03:52)
It wasn’t the message that we needed at that time. It wasn’t going to… The scenes at the US Capitol were only getting worse at that point. This was not going to help that
Were you concerned it could make it worse?
Judd Deere: (01:04:14)
Liz Cheney: (01:04:14)
Ms. Hutchinson, what was your reaction when you saw this tweet?
Cassidy Hutchinson: (01:04:18)
As a staffer that works to always represent the administration to the best of my ability and to showcase the good things that he had done for the country, I remember feeling frustrated, disappointed, and really, it felt personal. I was really sad. As an American, I was disgusted. It was unpatriotic. It was un-American. We were watching the Capitol building get defaced over a lie.
Elaine Luria: (01:05:06)
As you will see at 2:26, the Vice President had to be evacuated to safety a second time and came within 40 feet of the rioters. The attack escalated quickly, right after the tweet. During this chaos, what did President Trump do at that point? He went back to calling senators to try to further delay the electoral count. While the Vice President was being evacuated from the Senate, President Trump called Senator Tommy Tuberville, one of his strongest supporters in…
Elaine Luria: (01:06:03)
…Trump called Senator Tommy Tuberville, one of his strongest supporters in the Senate. As Senator Tuberville later recalled, he had to end the call so that he could evacuate the Senate chamber himself. Let’s listen.
Sen. Tommy Tuberville: (01:06:14)
He didn’t call my phone, called somebody else, and they handed it to me. I basically told him, I said, “Mr. President, we’re not doing much work here right now because they just took our Vice President out. Matter of fact, I’m going to have to hang up on you. I’ve got to leave.”
Elaine Luria: (01:06:30)
Senator Josh Hawley also had to flee. Earlier that afternoon, before the joint session started, he walked across the east front of the Capitol.
Elaine Luria: (01:06:42)
As you can see in this photo, he raised his fist in solidarity with the protestors already amassing at the security gates. We spoke with the Capitol Police officer who was out there at the time. She told us that Senator Hawley’s gesture riled up the crowd, and it bothered her greatly because he was doing it in a safe space, protected by the officers and the barriers.
Elaine Luria: (01:07:10)
Later that day, Senator Hawley fled after those protestors he helped to rile up stormed the Capitol. See for yourself. Think about what we’ve seen: Undeniable violence at the Capitol. The Vice President being evacuated to safety by the Secret Service. Senators running through the hallways of the Senate to get away from the mob. As the Commander in Chief, President Trump was oath and duty-bound to protect the Capitol. His senior staff understood that.
Liz Cheney: (01:08:01)
Do you believe, Jared, that the President has an obligation to ensure a peaceful transfer of power?
Jared Kushner: (01:08:09)
Liz Cheney: (01:08:11)
Do you think the President has an obligation to defend all three branches of our government?
Jared Kushner: (01:08:17)
I believe so.
Liz Cheney: (01:08:22)
I assume you also would agree the President has a particular obligation to take care that the laws be faithfully executed?
Pat Cipollone: (01:08:31)
That is one of the President’s obligations, correct.
Liz Cheney: (01:08:34)
No, I mean, I asked what his duty is.
Keith Kellogg: (01:08:39)
Well, I mean, there’s a Constitutional duty, what he has. He’s the Commander in Chief. That was my biggest issue with him as National Security Advisor.
Elaine Luria: (01:08:51)
Rather than uphold his duty to the Constitution, President Trump allowed the mob to achieve the delay that he hoped would keep him in power. I reserve.
Liz Cheney: (01:09:03)
The gentlewoman reserves. I request that those in the hearing room remain seated until the Capitol Police have escorted members and witnesses from the room. I now declare the committee in recess for a period of approximately 10 minutes.
Rachel Maddow: (01:09:20)
January 6th hearing, live tonight in Washington, DC. This is our special coverage here on MSNBC. We thank you for watching these hearings with us. Our special coverage will continue through this recess, through the second half of the hearing that will start up after the recess, and then thereafter.
Rachel Maddow: (01:09:38)
This first half of this hearing tonight, a number of revelations. Let’s start with the small ones, comparatively speaking. We got confirmation from two witnesses, one of whom we saw a written deposition from, one of whom we saw tape from, corroborating earlier bombshell testimony from White House staffer Cassidy Hutchinson, that there had been a serious confrontation between the President and his Secret Service detail, where he tried to go to the Capitol to join the mob that was physically attacking Congress.
Rachel Maddow: (01:10:11)
We also got additional information about senior members of the White House staff and advisors to the President, telling him for hours that he should act to call off the mob while he did not.
Rachel Maddow: (01:10:25)
We also, for what it’s worth, got confirmation from the Committee that this will not be the last public hearing, that there will be more public hearings in September.
Rachel Maddow: (01:10:32)
I described those as comparatively small, but concrete, specific new revelations from the Committee. But then let’s talk about the big stuff.
Rachel Maddow: (01:10:41)
Committee confirming something that we had seen hinted at in public reporting. There are no photos, no call logs, no official record of any time from the White House of the President’s behavior after his speech at the ellipse, which was roughly two-and-a-half hours of him sitting in the dining room, watching Fox News.
Rachel Maddow: (01:10:59)
The Committee confirming that what he was doing during that time, they’ve been able to discern, was that he was calling US senators and telling them to delay the count. Also, placing calls to Rudy Giuliani.
Rachel Maddow: (01:11:10)
They confirmed with multiple witnesses that he did not call the military or law enforcement to defend the Capitol at that time. That itself is something we’ve heard, seen hinted at in public reporting. We’re getting confirmation of that here from multiple witnesses from the Committee.
Nicolle Wallace: (01:11:24)
Puts him in the driver’s seat of the conspiracy and it makes the violence not ancillary but central to his plot. His plot and the reason he’s dialing for dollars, the reason he’s on the phone with the senators in the missing call log is because he’s trying to carry out that part of the plot. The insurrectionists, the extremists are carrying out their role. He’s acutely aware that’s underway. There’s this call with Rudy Giuliani seconds before the Capitol’s actually breached by an extremist who has been charged. And Trump is on the phone with the senators, trying to carry out his part.
Joy Reid : (01:11:56)
Also, and laying on the additional pressure on Mike Pence in the most egregious and dangerous way, to the point where, per the testimony we’ve heard, Mike Pence’s Secret Service agents were so terrified that they were calling family members and expressing real fear for their own safety. That’s something else that was, I think, pretty dramatic.
Rachel Maddow: (01:12:16)
We got that in two parts, Joy. We got that, right, from the radio traffic from the Secret Service, which we have not seen before, and it was cued and synced with video surveillance footage. You could actually see the officer visually, as you can hear him speaking on the radio about trying to clear a path to get the Vice President out of there.
Rachel Maddow: (01:12:36)
I’m going to ask the control room right now, whether or not we have the sound queued up of the anonymous official talking about the Secret Service agents fearing for their lives. You don’t have that one yet? You’ll have it in a second.
Rachel Maddow: (01:12:48)
The other way we get confirmation about that is we have, for the second time in all of these hearings, we have somebody testifying whose identity is being protected. The first one was that Twitter employee. The second one, this is described by Elaine Luria as an anonymous, well, as an official with national security responsibilities who was working in the White House complex on January 6th. Their identity has been protected
Chris Hayes: (01:13:10)
We should note, and I don’t know where this person works, but of course the National Security Council staff in the White House is very large and there’s a huge portion of it that’s essentially permanent civil service. They don’t cycle out, right. This was a person who is monitoring what’s happening second by second, who’s talking about Secret Service members saying goodbye to their family.
Chris Hayes: (01:13:32)
I mean, how close it all came, that and the Secret Service radio traffic and the images where they’re discussing, “If we don’t move in the next 30 seconds, if we don’t move right away. We may not get out of here.” This is-
Rachel Maddow: (01:13:46)
Yeah, let’s actually play that. We’ve just queued that up right now so you can hear that again, what that, again, anonymized, anonymous official says about that Secret Service action in those crucial moments.
Speaker 8: (01:13:58)
What was the consistent message from the people about this idea of the President to walk to the Capitol?
White House Security Official: (01:14:05)
To be completely honest, we were all in the state of shock.
Speaker 8: (01:14:07)
White House Security Official: (01:14:12)
Because it just, one, I think the actual physical feasibility of doing it, and then also we all knew what that was implicated and what that meant, that this was no longer a rally, that this was going to move to something else, if he physically walked to the Capitol. I don’t know if you want to use the word insurrection, coup, whatever, we all knew that this would move from a normal, democratic, public event into something else.
Speaker 8: (01:14:40)
What was driving that sentiment, considering this part of it, the actual bridge of the Capitol hadn’t happened yet?
White House Security Official: (01:14:47)
Why were we alarmed?
Speaker 8: (01:14:47)
White House Security Official: (01:14:47)
The President wanted to lead tens of thousands of people to the Capitol. I think that was enough ground for us to be alarmed.
Rachel Maddow: (01:15:00)
That’s a security official with national security responsibilities, working in the White House complex on January 6th, that was actually the part of that person’s testimony, where they talked about how they believed that if Trump did go to the Capitol himself, this would no longer be a normal democratic event. This would be a [inaudible 01:15:17] insurrection.
Chris Hayes: (01:15:18)
Rachel Maddow: (01:15:18)
They understood that.
Joy Reid : (01:15:19)
Rachel Maddow: (01:15:19)
Same official also testifies in listening to Secret Service radio traffic. Now tell me control room and let me believe you, do you have it? Good. Thank you.
Rachel Maddow: (01:15:29)
This is the same official testifying about hearing Secret Service agents discussing both their own safety and the Vice President’s safety while the mob attack was underway.
White House Security Official: (01:15:40)
The members of the VP detail at this time were starting to their own lives. There was a lot of yelling, a lot of very personal calls over the radio, so it was disturbing. I don’t like talking about it, but that 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.
Speaker 8: (01:16:16)
Did you hear that over the radio?
White House Security Official: (01:16:18)
It sounds like that we came very close to either Service having to use lethal options or worse. At that point, I don’t know. Is the VP compromised? Is the detail? I don’t know. We didn’t have visibility, but it doesn’t, if they’re screaming and saying things like, “Say goodbye to the family,” the floor needs to know this is going to on a whole ‘nother level soon.
Rachel Maddow: (01:16:42)
Joy Reid : (01:16:42)
Chris Hayes: (01:16:43)
I mean, just to abut that to the discussion we had before, I mean, boy, it would be interesting to read the texts from the Secret Service on the day of January 6th, was my first thought as I heard that characterization of the live traffic from the National Security individual in the White House.
Nicolle Wallace: (01:16:58)
My first thought was what they erased for the 9/11 airplane-like calls to their family to say goodbye. I mean, it raises the question of what are they covering up and who are they covering it up for, in the most harrowing and haunting way so far.
Chris Hayes: (01:17:11)
Can I also just say one more detail about that? The block of time where we don’t have any record, he’s calling the senators. A small, but really I think illuminating detail. The White House photographer who chronicles everything for the archives tries to come into the dining room where the President has camped himself watching television and is…
Joy Reid : (01:17:32)
Rachel Maddow: (01:17:32)
Told no pictures.
Joy Reid : (01:17:33)
Told no pictures.
Rachel Maddow: (01:17:33)
Chris Hayes: (01:17:36)
That’s a weird thing.
Rachel Maddow: (01:17:37)
Chris Hayes: (01:17:37)
I mean, that is a very, to me that says a lot about what he knew about what he was doing in there and his consciousness of his own guilt in that moment that he did not want to be photographed.
Rachel Maddow: (01:17:46)
Makes it all the more remarkable the Committee has been able to piece together what he was doing, which is calling senators to make sure the coup worked.
Lawrence O’Donnell: (01:17:52)
Well, it’s been summarized by Sarah Matthews as: “Pouring gasoline on the fire.” That’s the phrase that takes the place of doing nothing. He was not doing nothing. He was pouring gasoline on the fire.
Joy Reid : (01:18:04)
And he was buying time. I mean, the thing is, what you’re seeing now is that the delay, the 187 minutes, is Donald Trump letting the clock tick and letting the pressure build on Mike Pence, letting the pressure build inside of that chamber and then-
Nicolle Wallace: (01:18:15)
And calling Rudy to say, “Hurry up.”
Joy Reid : (01:18:17)
And calling Rudy to say, “Organize it.” Yeah.
Nicolle Wallace: (01:18:18)
I mean, we don’t know what he said, but it’s possible that he was. He had the cameras out. He had the call log blocked. He had Cipollone at bay. He was walled into his dining room. He wouldn’t go into the Oval because there’s more access to him in the Oval.
Joy Reid : (01:18:30)
Right. There’s more access. Yeah.
Nicolle Wallace: (01:18:31)
What did he call Rudy for?
Joy Reid : (01:18:33)
Yeah. Some of the video that we showed during the part where you could hear and they were syncing up the calls from Secret Service to the video, you could see the piece of Eugene Goodman, which has then sort of become quite famous. Right? He has. Remember where he was when he did that thing that has made him famous and made people know who he is. He’s directing people away from the place where they’re counting the vote, right, where they’re actually doing the certification. Had they gone the other direction, that’s the hallway they would have gone down.
Rachel Maddow: (01:19:03)
Do we have that sound queued up, which is this the Secret Service radio sound? Let’s just listen to that one more time. Again, the way they’ve synced the audio of the radio transmissions and the video of the surveillance footage is very, very eyeopening. Watch.
Elaine Luria: (01:19:16)
As rioters were entering the building, the Secret Service held Vice President Pence in his office right off the Senate chamber for 13 minutes, as they work to clear a safe path to a secure location. Now listen to some of that radio traffic and see what they were seeing as the protestors got just feet away from where the Vice President was holding.
Speaker 13: (01:19:43)
Hold! Hold, they’ve entered the building. Hold.
Speaker 14: (01:19:44)
Harden that door up.
Secret Service Radio: (01:19:46)
If we’re moving, we need to move now.
Speaker 13: (01:19:47)
Secret Service Radio: (01:19:48)
If we lose any more time, we may lose the ability to leave. If we’re going to leave, we need to do it now.
Speaker 13: (01:19:57)
They’ve gained access to the second floor. I’ve got public about five feet from me down here below.
Secret Service Radio: (01:20:05)
Okay, copy. They are on the second floor. Moving in now. We may want to consider getting out and leaving now. Copy?
Speaker 14: (01:20:12)
Will we encounter the people once we make our way?
Secret Service Radio: (01:20:15)
Speaker 14: (01:20:16)
Encounter any individuals if we made our way to the (beep).
Speaker 13: (01:20:20)
There’s six officers between us and the people that are 5 to 10 feet away from me.
Secret Service Radio: (01:20:27)
Stand by. I’m going down to evaluate.
Speaker 14: (01:20:29)
Secret Service Radio: (01:20:30)
We have a clear shot if we move quickly. We got smoke downstairs. Standby. Unknown smoke downstairs.
Speaker 15: (01:20:37)
By the protestors?
Speaker 14: (01:20:39)
Is that route compromised?
Secret Service Radio: (01:20:40)
We have the (beep) is secure. However, we will bypass some protestors that are being contained. There is smoke. Unknown, what kind of smoke it is. Copy?
Speaker 14: (01:20:55)
Clear, we’re coming out now. All right, make a way.
Rachel Maddow: (01:20:59)
Secret Service radio transmissions, newly released tonight as part of this live ongoing hearing from the January 6th Committee. It will be noted that, and the point they made quite dramatically after playing that footage for the first time, is that after that is when Trump sent his tweet targeting Pence. When he was in that much danger, then targeting Pence further.
Chris Hayes: (01:21:20)
I mean, you could read a transcript of that, but you could hear in the vocal chords of every one of those individuals the amount of adrenaline and sheer animal fear that is running through them. These are people that train, that could deal with risk. They are out past the frontier at this point of what any of them have ever experienced before.
Joy Reid : (01:21:40)
By the way, sheer animal fear, speaking of that, I love that they included that Josh Hawley…
Nicolle Wallace: (01:21:44)
Joy Reid : (01:21:44)
He went from pumping his fist to sheer animal fear as he ran from [inaudible 01:21:48].
Rachel Maddow: (01:21:47)
Running out of the Rotunda.
Nicolle Wallace: (01:21:48)
Can I just say something though about what we learned. We learned from this that Trump is holed up, and it’s very important, they’ve illustrated it with maps. He’s holed up with no photogs. We learned that they think that Pence might die, or one of his agents. They’re saying the agents are saying goodbye and they think something worse might happen.
Rachel Maddow: (01:22:02)
Saying goodbye to their family.
Nicolle Wallace: (01:22:02)
Right, and they think something worse might happen. The only thing worse than agents dying is their protectee getting compromised. They say compromised. We know that Pelosi was the target of the rioters. This was damn near a decapitation of the US government.
Rachel Maddow: (01:22:15)
We’re about to hear from the Committee again, they’re going to be back here. We’re not sure what’s going to happen in the second half of the hearing. We have not heard of any additional witnesses. We don’t know if the first witnesses Pottinger and Matthews will be here for the second half. But at this point, they have said that they know the President was calling senators. They have said that the President and the National Security Council were aware of the threat to the President and that senior White House staff at this point knew that the violence had to be called off to avert catastrophe and that the President would not do it.
Rachel Maddow: (01:22:45)
Let’s rejoin the Committee. Second half of tonight’s live primetime January 6th hearing starting back up again now.
Liz Cheney: (01:22:56)
The Committee will be in order. I now recognize the gentleman from Illinois.
Adam Kinzinger: (01:23:02)
We left at the recess just after President Trump’s 2:24 tweet attacking the Vice President. By this time the President had been in his dining room for an hour. I want you to just think of what you would’ve done if you were in his shoes and had the power to end the violence. You would’ve immediately and forcefully told the rioters to stop and leave. Stop and leave. Done. As you heard, that’s exactly what his senior staff had been urging him to do, but he resisted. And he kept resisting for another almost two hours.
Adam Kinzinger: (01:23:41)
In the meantime, all the President did was post two tweets. One at 2:38, and the other at 3:13. One said, quote: “Stay peaceful.” The other said, quote: “Remain peaceful.” But the President already knew that the mob was attacking the police and had invaded the Capitol. Neither tweet condemned the violence or told the mob to leave the Capitol and disperse.
Adam Kinzinger: (01:24:12)
To appreciate how obvious it was that President Trump was not meeting this moment, it’s helpful to look at the real-time reactions of his own son, Don, Jr., to the first tweet captured in a series of text messages with Mark Meadows. I’ll warn the audience that these messages contain some strong language. As you can see, Don, Jr. first texted Mr. Meadows at 2:53. He wrote: “He’s got to condemn this shit. ASAP. The Capitol Police tweet is not enough.”
Adam Kinzinger: (01:24:44)
Mr. Meadows replied: “I am pushing it hard. I agree.”
Adam Kinzinger: (01:24:49)
Don, Jr. responded: “This is one you go to the mattresses on. They will try to fuck his entire legacy on this if it gets worse.” Here’s what Don, Jr. told us he meant by “go to the mattresses.”
Speaker 16: (01:25:05)
At 2:58, when you say that he need, that Mr. Meadows needs to go to the mattresses on this issue. When you say, “go to the mattresses,” what does that mean?
Donald Trump Jr.: (01:25:16)
Just a reference for going all in. I think it’s a “Godfather” reference.
Adam Kinzinger: (01:25:22)
Sean Hannity agreed, and he also turned to Mark Meadows for help after the President’s second tweet. As you can see, Mr. Hannity texted at 3:31 to say Trump needed to deliver a statement to the nation, telling the rioters to leave the Capitol.
Adam Kinzinger: (01:25:38)
Mr. Meadows responded that he was quote: “On it.”
Adam Kinzinger: (01:25:42)
Don Jr. and Sean Hannity were not the only ones who implored Mr. Meadows to get the President to speak to the nation and tell the mob to leave, to go home. Go home. Throughout the attack, Mr. Meadows received texts from Republican members of Congress, from current and former Trump administration officials, from media personalities and from friends. Like President Trump’s staff, they knew President Trump had to speak publicly to get the mob to stop. Let’s look at just a few of these text messages.
Adam Kinzinger: (01:26:16)
Fox News personality Laura Ingram said: “The President needs to tell the people in the Capitol to go home.” Former chief of staff Mick Mulvaney urged: “Mark, he needs to stop this now.” Fox News personality Brian Kilmeade said: “Please get him on TV. Destroying everything that you guys have accomplished.”
Adam Kinzinger: (01:26:40)
When we interviewed White House council, Pat Cipollone he told us that he knew the President’s two tweets were not enough. Let’s listen to what he said.
Speaker 17: (01:26:51)
I think the question is, did you believe that tweets were enough, not anything about your advice to the President?
Pat Cipollone: (01:26:58)
No, I believe more needed to be done. Okay. I believed that a public statement needed to be made.
Liz Cheney: (01:27:05)
When you talk about others on the staff thinking more should be done, or thinking that the President needed to tell people to go home, who would you put in that category?
Pat Cipollone: (01:27:23)
Well, I would put Pat Philbin, Eric Herschmann, overall Mark Meadows, Ivanka, once Jared got there, Jared, General Kellogg. I’m probably missing some but those are, Kayleigh, I think was there but I don’t, Dan Scavino.
Liz Cheney: (01:28:01)
Who on the staff did not want people to leave the Capitol?
Pat Cipollone: (01:28:08)
On the staff?
Liz Cheney: (01:28:10)
In the White House, how about?
Pat Cipollone: (01:28:14)
I can’t think of anybody on that day who didn’t want people to get out of the Capitol once that, particularly once the violence started. No, I mean…
Rep. Adam Schiff: (01:28:35)
What about the President?
Liz Cheney: (01:28:36)
Pat Cipollone: (01:28:38)
She said the staff, so I answered.
Liz Cheney: (01:28:41)
No, I said in the White House.
Pat Cipollone: (01:28:44)
Oh, I’m sorry. I apologize. I thought you said, who else on the staff? I don’t.
Pat Cipollone: (01:28:58)
I can’t reveal communications. But obviously, I think, yeah.
Adam Kinzinger: (01:29:16)
Let’s pause on that last statement. Although Pat Cipollone is being careful about Executive Privilege, there really is no ambiguity about what he said. Almost everybody wanted President Trump to instruct the mob to disperse. President Trump refused.
Adam Kinzinger: (01:29:35)
To understand how inadequate the President’s tweets were, let’s examine his 2:38 tweet in more detail. For context, here’s what was happening at that time.
Speaker 18: (01:29:44)
They broke the glass? Everybody stay down. Get down!
Speaker 19: (01:30:01)
Doors barricaded. There’s people flooding the hallways outside. We have no way out.
Rep. Peter Welch: (01:30:04)
We were just told that there has been tear gas in the rotunda and we’re being instructed to each of us get a gas mask.
Bret Baier: (01:30:17)
We went from a peaceful protest, and this is a very dangerous situation right now, that there are, I’m being told, these protestors on the inside are around both chambers and there is now tear gas inside the Capitol Rotunda. In fact, members locked in the House are being instructed to put on masks.
Adam Kinzinger: (01:30:40)
Ms. Matthews, after President Trump’s tweet about Vice President Pence, you told us you spoke to, immediately you spoke to Kayleigh McEnany. What did you tell her and where did she go afterwards?
Sarah Matthews: (01:30:55)
After the tweet about the Vice President, I found Kayleigh and told her that I thought the President needed to immediately send out a tweet that condemned the violence that we were seeing and that there needed to be a call to action to tell these people to leave the Capitol. She agreed and walked over to the Oval dining room to find the President.
Adam Kinzinger: (01:31:15)
We interviewed Ms. McEnany and others who were in the dining room with the President urging him to put out a statement. Ms. Matthews, Ms. McEnany told us she came right back to the press office after meeting with the President about this particular tweet. What did she tell you about what happened in that dining room?
Sarah Matthews: (01:31:34)
When she got back, she told me that a tweet had been sent out and I told her that I thought the tweet did not go far enough, that I thought there needed to be a call to action and he needed to condemn the violence. We were in a room full of people, but people weren’t paying attention and so 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, and that it took some convincing on their part, those who were in the room. She said that there was a back and forth going over different phrases to find something that he was comfortable with. It wasn’t until Ivanka Trump suggested the phrase, “Stay peaceful”, that he finally agreed to include it.
Adam Kinzinger: (01:32:20)
The President resisted writing “Stay peaceful” in a tweet. He told Mark Meadows that the rioters were doing what they should be doing, and the rioters understood they were doing what President Trump wanted them to do.
Adam Kinzinger: (01:32:36)
President Trump’s message was heard clearly by Stop The Steal organizer, Ali Alexander. At 2:38, he told another organizer, quote: “POTUS is not ignorant of what his words would do.” Rioters storming the Capitol also heard President Trump’s message.
Adam Kinzinger: (01:32:53)
In this video, you’ll see surveillance footage from the Rotunda that shows a group of Oathkeepers, including Jessica Watkins who’s been charged with seditious conspiracy. You’ll hear her walkie talkie communications with others as they share intelligence and communicate about President Trump’s 2:38 tweet in real time. Again, we warn the audience that this clip also contains strong language.
Speaker 20: (01:33:22)
CNN just said that they evacuated all members of Congress into a safety room.
Speaker 21: (01:33:28)
There’s no safe place in the United States for any of these motherfuckers right now, let me tell you.
Speaker 22: (01:33:35)
I hope they understand that we are not joking around.
Speaker 21: (01:33:40)
It’s military principle 105. Military principle 105, cave means grave.
Speaker 20: (01:33:48)
Trump just tweeted: “Please support our Capitol Police.” They are on our side. Do not harm them.
Speaker 21: (01:33:56)
That’s saying a lot by what he didn’t say. He didn’t say not to do anything to the Congressman.
Speaker 20: (01:34:03)
Well, he did not ask him to stand down. He just said, stand by the Capitol Police. They are on our side and they are good people. It’s getting real down there. I got it on TV, and it’s looking pretty friggin’ radical to me.
Speaker 20: (01:34:20)
CNN said that Trump has egged this on, that he is egging it on, and that he is watching the country burn two weeks before he leaves office. He is not leaving office. I don’t give a shit what they say.
Jessica Watkins: (01:34:32)
We are in the mezzanine. We are in the main dome right now. We are rocking it. They’re throwing grenades. They’re frickin’ shooting people with paintballs. But we’re in here.
Speaker 20: (01:34:41)
Be safe. Be safe. God bless and Godspeed and keep going.
Speaker 23: (01:34:45)
Get it, Jess. Do your shit! This is fucking what we lived up for. Everything we fucking trained for.
Speaker 24: (01:34:53)
Took over the Capitol! Overran the Capitol!
Jessica Watkins: (01:34:55)
We’re in the fucking Capitol, bro!
Adam Kinzinger: (01:35:01)
We’ve now seen how President Trump’s supporters reacted to his tweets. Mr. Pottinger, you told us that you consider the tweets sent to this point to be quote: “Holy inadequate, given the urgency of the crisis.” What in your view would’ve been needed?
Matt Pottinger: (01:35:19)
Yeah, it was insufficient. You could count me among those who was hoping to see an unequivocal, strong statement clearing out the Capitol, telling people to stand down, leave, go home. I think that’s what we were hoping for.
Adam Kinzinger: (01:35:41)
Something a lot more kind of definitive and not ambiguous?
Matt Pottinger: (01:35:45)
Adam Kinzinger: (01:35:46)
Because he has that power over his folks.
Adam Kinzinger: (01:35:48)
Ms. Matthews, you told us about a colleague who said during the attack that the President should not condemn the violence. Can you please tell us about that moment and your reaction?
Sarah Matthews: (01:36:00)
Yes, so a conversation started in the press office after the President sent out those two tweets that I deemed were insufficient. A colleague suggested that the President shouldn’t condemn the violence because they thought it would be quote: “Handing a win to the media if he were to condemn his supporters.” I disagreed. I thought that we should condemn the violence and condemn it unequivocally. I thought that he needed to include a call to action and to tell these people to go home. A debate ensued over it. I became visibly frustrated and my colleagues were well aware of that. I couldn’t believe that we were arguing over this in the middle of the West Wing, talking about the politics of a tweet, being concerned with handing the media win when we had just watched all of that violence unfold at the Capitol. I motioned up at the TV and I said, “Do you think it looks like we’re effing winning? Because I don’t think it does.” I, again, reiterated that I thought that the President needed to condemn the violence because it didn’t matter if it was coming from the left or the right, that you should condemn violence 100% of the time.
Adam Kinzinger: (01:37:11)
We’ve heard this evening how everyone in the President’s orbit was pushing him to do more, to tell the mob to leave the Capitol. One of those people was Republican leader Kevin McCarthy. He managed to get the President on the phone and told him to call off his supporters. As you will hear, the President refused, and so Leader McCarthy reached out for help to Ivanka Trump who was at the White House and Jared Kushner who that afternoon had just arrived back on a flight from the Middle East.
Speaker 25: (01:37:43)
At some point in the afternoon, Mr. McCarthy placed a phone call to Mr. Scavino’s desk line and it was transferred to the President, is that correct?
Molly Michael: (01:37:56)
That’s generally what I recall.
Speaker 25: (01:37:58)
Okay. Were you involved in making that, transferring that call?
Molly Michael: (01:38:05)
Speaker 25: (01:38:06)
Okay. Where was the President at the time that he took that call?
Molly Michael: (01:38:11)
He was in the dining room.
Bill Hemmer: (01:38:12)
Would you personally reach out to the President for more support?
Rep. Kevin McCarthy: (01:38:17)
I’ve already talked to the President. I called him. I think we need to make a statement, make sure that we can calm individuals down.
Speaker 17: (01:38:27)
Did Mr. McCarthy indicate that he had been in touch with President Trump?
Marc Short: (01:38:32)
He indicated that he had had some conversation. I don’t recall whether it was with the President or with somebody at the White House. But I think he’d expressed frustration that, not taken the circumstance as seriously as they should in that moment.
Rep. Jaime Herrera Beutler: (01:38:48)
I asked Kevin McCarthy, who’s the Republican leader, about this, and he said he called Donald. He finally got through to Donald Trump. And he said, “You have got to get on TV. You’ve got to get on Twitter. You’ve got to call these people off.” You know what the President said to him? This is as-
Rep. Jaime Herrera Beutler: (01:39:03)
… Twitter. You’ve got to call these people off. Do you know what the President said to him? This is as it’s happening. He said, “Well, Kevin, these aren’t my people. These are Antifa.” Kevin responded and said, “No, they’re your people. They literally just came through my office windows and my staff are running for cover. They’re running for their lives. You need to call them off.” The President’s response to Kevin to me was chilling. He said, “Well, Kevin, I guess they’re just more upset about the election theft than you are.” You’ve seen widespread reports of Kevin McCarthy and the President having basically a swearing conversation. That’s when the swearing commenced because the President was basically saying, “Nah, I’m okay with this.”
Speaker 26: (01:39:39)
Leader McCarthy, the President of United States has a briefing room steps from the oval office. The cameras are hot 24, 7, as you know. Why hasn’t he walked down and said that now?
Kevin McCarthy: (01:39:53)
I conveyed to the President what I think is best to do, and I’m hopeful the President will do it.
Speaker 26: (01:39:57)
Have you spoken with his Chief of Staff?
Kevin McCarthy: (01:40:01)
I’ve spoken to the President. I’ve spoken to other people in there and to the White House as well.
Speaker 27: (01:40:06)
Who else reached out to Ms. Trump that you know of that afternoon about the attack on the Capitol?
Julie Radford: (01:40:15)
I believe at one point McCarthy did.
Jared Kushner: (01:40:20)
I heard my phone ringing, turned the shower off, saw it was Leader McCarthy who I had a good relationship with. He told me it was getting really ugly over at the Capitol and said, “Please, anything you could do to help. I would appreciate it.” I don’t recall specific ask, just anything you could do. Again, I got the sense that they were scared.
Speaker 28: (01:40:40)
“They,” meaning Leader McCarthy and people on the Hill because of the violence.
Jared Kushner: (01:40:44)
That he was scared. Yes.
Adam Kinzinger: (01:40:46)
Think about that. Leader McCarthy, who was one of the President’s strongest supporters was scared and begging for help. President Trump turned him down. So, he tried to call the President’s children. Republican House member, Mike Gallagher also implored the President to call off the attack.
Mike Gallagher: (01:41:09)
Mr. President, you have got to stop this. You are the only person who can call this off. Call it off. The election is over. Call it off.
Adam Kinzinger: (01:41:26)
President Elect Joe Biden also went live on TV to demand that President Trump tell the mob to leave.
Joe Biden: (01:41:34)
I call on President Trump to go on national television now to fulfill his oath and defend the constitution and demand an end to this siege.
Adam Kinzinger: (01:41:51)
There was a desperate scramble for everyone to get President Trump to do anything. All this occurred and the President still did not act. I yield to my friend from Virginia.
Elaine Luria: (01:42:06)
Thank you, Mr. Kinzinger. President Trump finally relented to the pleas from his staff, his family, and from Capitol Hill for him to do something more at 4:17, 187 minutes, more than three hours after he stopped speaking at the Ellipse. After he stopped speaking to a mob that he had sent armed to the Capitol. That’s when he tweeted a video telling the riots to go home while also telling them that they were special and that he loved them. By that time, although, the violence was far from over. Law enforcement had started to turn the tide. Reinforcements were on the way and elected officials were in secure locations. The writing was already on the wall. The rioters would not succeed. Here’s what was showing on Fox News. The channel the President was watching all afternoon.
Speaker 29: (01:43:05)
Back to Brett Baier with more information now. Brett, what do you have?
Brett Baier: (01:43:08)
Our Pentagon team, Jen Griffin, Lucas Tomlinson confirming the defense department has now mobilized the entire DC National Guard, 1800 troops. Takes several hours, as I was mentioning before, to get them up and running. The Army Secretary, Ron McCarthy is setting up a headquarters at the FBI. You just heard from David Spunt that the FBI is also sending troops to the Capitol.
Elaine Luria: (01:43:32)
It’s no coincidence then that President Trump finally gave in and went out to the Rose Garden at 4:03. His staff had prepared a script for him to read, but he refused to use it. As you can see on the screen, you can see the script is stamped “President has seen.” The script said, “I’m asking you to leave the Capital region now and go home in a peaceful way.” The President was urged to stick to this script, but he spoke off the cuff. Eric Herschmann and Nick Luna went with the President to film the message in the Rose Garden. Let’s hear what they had to say and see the never before seen raw footage of the President recording this video message.
Speaker 27: (01:44:18)
Ultimately, these remarks that we’re looking at here in exhibit 25 were not the remarks that the President delivered in the Rose Garden. Do you know why the President decided not to use these?
Nicholas Luna: (01:44:31)
I don’t know, sir. No, I do not know why.
Speaker 27: (01:44:35)
Did the President use any written remarks to your knowledge, or did he just go off the cuff?
Nicholas Luna: (01:44:42)
To my knowledge, it was off the cuff, sir.
Speaker 30: (01:44:45)
Speaker 31: (01:44:47)
Speaker 30: (01:44:48)
When you’re ready, sir.
Speaker 31: (01:44:48)
I’ll be right behind you.
President Donald Trump: (01:44:56)
Can you tell me when?
Speaker 30: (01:44:57)
When you’re ready, sir.
President Donald Trump: (01:45:03)
Whose behind me?
Speaker 30: (01:45:07)
He’s gone. He’s gone around. We’re all clear now.
President Donald Trump: (01:45:13)
I know your pain. I know you’re hurt. We had an election. Let me see. I know your pain. I know you’re hurt. We had an election that was stolen from us. It was a landslide election and everyone knows it, especially the other side, but you have to go home now. We have to have peace. We have to have law and order. We have to respect our great people in law and order. We don’t want anybody hurt. It’s a very tough period of time. There’s never been a time like this where such a thing happened where they could take it away from all of us, from me, from you, from our country. This was a fraudulent election, but we can’t play into the hands of these people. We have to have peace so go home. We love you. You’re very special. You’ve seen what happens. You see the way others are treated that are so bad and so evil. I know how you feel, but go home and go home in peace.
Jared Kushner: (01:46:24)
When I got there, basically the President just had finished filming the video, and I think he was basically retiring for the day.
Speaker 27: (01:46:31)
Was there any discussion about the President releasing a second video that day?
Eric Herchmann: (01:46:37)
Not that I recall. When he finished his video, I think everyone was like, “Days over. People were pretty drained.”
Speaker 27: (01:46:48)
Were pretty what?
Eric Herchmann: (01:46:49)
Speaker 27: (01:46:52)
When we say, “Day over,” there were still people in the Capital at that point. Weren’t there?
Eric Herchmann: (01:46:58)
There were people in the Capital, but I believe by this stage law enforcement… I’d have to go back and look, but I believe law enforcement was either there or moving in or going to take charge. I just tell you people were emotionally drained by the time that video tape was done.
Elaine Luria: (01:47:19)
Emotionally drained at the White House. Here’s what was happening at the same time at the Capital. We warn the audience that this clip also contains strong language and violence.
Speaker 32: (01:47:34)
Keep pushing, don’t lose the momentum.
Speaker 33: (01:47:36)
We’ve got another officer unconscious at the West Terrace.
Speaker 34: (01:47:50)
Everybody we need gas masks. We need weapons. We need strong, angry Patriots to help our boys. They don’t want to leave.
Elaine Luria: (01:48:22)
While President Trump refused to even lift another finger to help, other leaders honored their oaths and acted to clear the Capital and resume the joint session. For instance, here are never before seen photos and video of Congressional leaders in action during the attack. The video is a portion of a call they had at approximately 4:45 with acting Secretary of Defense, Chris Miller.
Mitch McConnell: (01:48:47)
We’re not going to let these people keep us from finishing our business. So, we need you to get the building cleared. Give us the okay so we can go back in session and finish up the people’s business as soon as possible.
Christopher Miller: (01:49:02)
[inaudible 01:49:02], sir.
Chuck Schumer: (01:49:03)
Mr. Secretary, it’s Senator Schumer. Some people here in the Capital Police believe it would take us several days to secure the building. Do you agree with that analysis?
Christopher Miller: (01:49:14)
I’m not on the ground, but I do not agree with that analysis.
Mitch McConnell: (01:49:17)
So, what is the earliest [inaudible 01:49:19] we could safely resume our proceedings in the Senate and House chambers? The earliest we could safely resume?
Christopher Miller: (01:49:28)
Here’s my assessment, but I prefer to be on the ground which I personally would prefer to be right now, but I need to be here. I would say best case, we’re looking at four to five hours.
Elaine Luria: (01:49:43)
The Vice President also worked the phones from his own secure evacuation location including conversations with acting Secretary of Defense, Miller, and other military leaders well past President Trump’s 4:17 video. Let’s look at some never before seen photographs of the Vice President during this critical time and hear about the Vice President’s conversation with military leaders to secure the capital and ensure everyone was safe.
Mark Milley: (01:50:11)
Vice President Pence? There were two or three calls with Vice President Pence. He was very animated, and he issued very explicit, very direct unambiguous orders. There was no question about that. I can get you the exact quotes, I guess, from some of our records somewhere, but he was very animated, very direct, very firm to Secretary Miller, “Get the military down here. Get the guard down here, put down this situation,” etcetera.
Elaine Luria: (01:50:46)
As you heard earlier in the hearing, the President did not call the Vice President or anyone in the military, Federal law enforcement, or DC government, not a single person. But, General Milley did hear from Mark Meadows. The contrast between that call and his calls with Vice President Pence tell you everything you need to know about President Trump’s dereliction of duty. Let’s listen.
Mark Milley: (01:51:12)
He said… This is from memory. He said, “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, or words to that effect.” I immediately interpreted that as politics, politics, politics, red flag for me personally, no action. But I remember distinctly, and I don’t do political narratives.
Elaine Luria: (01:51:55)
So while President Trump and his advisors were drained, other leaders upheld their oaths to do the right thing. Maybe it was exhausting to get the President to put out that video, but think about the law enforcement officers who were attacked by the mob that day. President Trump had summoned them himself to Washington, and what about President Trump? He watched TV, tweeted, called Senators to try to delay the count of electoral votes, called Rudy Giuliani and argued with his staff who were insisting that he should call off the attack. Ms. Matthews, what was your reaction to president Trump’s message to the mob at 4:17?
Sarah Matthews: (01:52:38)
I was struck by the fact that he chose to begin the video by pushing the lie that there was a stolen election and as the video went on, I felt a small sense of relief because he finally told these people to go home. But, that was immediately followed up by him saying, “We love you. You’re very special.” That was disturbing to me because he didn’t distinguish between those that peacefully attended his speech earlier that day and those that we watched cause violence at the Capitol. Instead, he told the people who we had just watched storm our Nation’s Capital with the intent on overthrowing our democracy, violently attack police officers, and chant heinous things like, “Hang Mike Pence.” “We love you. You’re very special.” And as a spokesperson for him, I knew that I would be asked to defend that. To me, his refusal to act and call off the mob that day and his refusal to condemn the violence was indefensible. I knew that I would be resigning that evening. So, I finished out the workday, went home and called my loved ones to tell them of my decision and resigned that evening.
Elaine Luria: (01:53:56)
Thank you. “Indefensible.” Let’s hear what some of your colleagues in the press office told us about their reaction to the same 4:17 message.
Judd Deere: (01:54:06)
I felt like it was the absolute bare minimum of what could have been said at that point for something on camera.
Speaker 35: (01:54:14)
What else do you think should have been said?
Judd Deere: (01:54:16)
A more forceful dismissal of the violence, a more forceful command to go home, a more forceful respect for law enforcement, even a comparison to the respect that we have given law enforcement as it relates to what was done to them in the prior summer. I thought it was important that an acknowledgment be given to the U.S. Capital building itself. What it’s a symbol of, what it means not only to the people that work there, but to the American people generally and the work of Congress that by law needed to be conducted that day.
Speaker 42: (01:55:21)
Do you wish in hindsight that the President had asked the protestors to leave the Capital earlier than he ended up asking them to do that?
Kayleigh McEnany: (01:55:30)
Of course, I would’ve loved if the go home message would’ve happened earlier in the day.
Elaine Luria: (01:55:36)
The president’s words matter. We know that many of the rioters were listening to President Trump. We heard from one last week, Stephen Ayres. Let’s listen to what he had to say about the 4:17 message from the President and see how rioters reacted to the President’s message in real-time.
Stephen Ayres: (01:55:55)
Well, when we were there, soon as that come out, everybody started talking about it and it seemed like it started to disperse some of the crowd.
QAnon Shaman: (01:56:06)
I’m here delivering the President’s message. Donald Trump has asked everybody to go home.
Speaker 36: (01:56:22)
Speaker 37: (01:56:22)
He said, “Go home.”
Speaker 38: (01:56:22)
That’s our order.
Speaker 39: (01:56:22)
He says, “Go home.”
Speaker 40: (01:56:23)
Yeah, he said to go home.
Elaine Luria: (01:56:30)
But just as Mr. Ayres said, “Police were still fending off the last throes of the brutal assault.” I yield to the gentleman from Illinois.
Adam Kinzinger: (01:56:40)
While everyone else was working to get Congress back in session, what did President Trump do? At 6:01, just one minute after the citywide curfew went into effect, he posted his last tweet of the day. After officers engaged in multiple hours of hand-to-hand combat with over a hundred of them sustaining injuries, President Trump tweeted at 6:01 and justified the violence as a natural response to the election.
Adam Kinzinger: (01:57:10)
He 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 called the mob great patriots. He told people to remember the day forever. He showed absolutely no remorse. A few minutes later, at 6:27, the President left the dining room, and he went up to the white house residence for the night. On the screen is the last photograph of the President that night as he went into the residence. As he was gathering his things in the dining room to leave, President Trump reflected on the day’s events with a White House employee. This was the same employee who had met President Trump in the Oval Office after he returned from the Ellipse. President Trump said nothing to the employee about the attack. He said only, “Mike Pence let me down.” Ms. Matthews what was your reaction to President Trump’s 6:01 tweet?
Sarah Matthews: (01:58:31)
At that point, I had already made the decision to resign and this tweet just further cemented my decision. I thought that January 6th, 2021 was one of the darkest days in our Nation’s history. President Trump was treating it as a celebratory occasion with that tweet. So, it just further cemented my decision to resign.
Adam Kinzinger: (01:58:52)
Others agreed with your assessment of that tweet. Let’s look at what they had to say.
Speaker 27: (01:58:58)
Who asked you about this tweet before it was sent?
Nicholas Luna: (01:59:00)
Speaker 27: (01:59:02)
Tell us about that conversation, everything that you said, and he said to the best of your recollection.
Nicholas Luna: (01:59:07)
Sure. So he said, what do you think of this? And I believe I saw the text message or the, on his phone. And I remember saying to him the wording on the first sentence, I guess it’s one long sentence, but the wording on the first sentence would lead some to believe that potentially he had something to do with the events that happened at the capital.
Speaker 27: (01:59:39)
What did he say?
Nicholas Luna: (01:59:41)
I don’t recall him saying anything in response to that. He, I believe that was the end of the conversation.
Speaker 27: (01:59:48)
Did he change anything in light of your comments?
Nicholas Luna: (01:59:51)
No, sir. He did not.
Speaker 27: (01:59:53)
What about this made you think that someone might perceive the President having a role in the violence of the Capital?
Nicholas Luna: (02:00:01)
It was my interpretation of the words. I don’t write speeches or anything, but the phrase, “These are the things that happen,” to me sounded as if culpability was associated with it, to me.
TIm Murtaugh: (02:00:21)
I don’t think it’s a patriotic act to attack the Capital, but I have no idea how to characterize the people other than they trespassed, destroyed property and assaulted the US Capital. I think calling them patriots is… Let’s say a stretch to say the least.
Speaker 43: (02:00:43)
Is that all it is, a stretch or just flatly wrong?
TIm Murtaugh: (02:00:47)
I don’t think it’s a patriotic act to attack the U.S. Capital.
Speaker 43: (02:00:51)
Would you call it unpatriotic?
TIm Murtaugh: (02:00:54)
Criminal, un-patriotic, sure.
Pat Cipollone: (02:00:57)
What happened at the Capital cannot be justified in any form or fashion. It was wrong, and it was tragic. It was a terrible day. It was a terrible day for this country.
Greg Jacob: (02:01:13)
I thought it was inappropriate.
Speaker 44: (02:01:15)
Greg Jacob: (02:01:19)
To my mind, it was a day that should be remembered in infamy. That wasn’t the tenor of this tweet.
Adam Kinzinger: (02:01:27)
Despite the violence of the day, the effort to delay the certification continued. That evening, Rudy Giuliani called several of President Trump’s closest political allies in the hour before the joint session resumed. Representative Jim Jordan and Senators, Marsha Blackburn, Tommy Tuberville, Bill Hagerty, Lindsey Graham, Josh Hawley, and Ted Cruz. We know why Mr. Giuliani was calling them because at 7:02 he left a voicemail for Senator Tuberville which later became public. Let’s listen to just the start of it.
Rudy Giuliani: (02:02:04)
Senator Tuberville or I should say, Coach Tuberville, this is Rudy Guiliani, the President’s lawyer. I’m calling you because I want to discuss with you how they’re trying to rush this hearing and how we need you, our Republican friends to try to just slow it down so we can get these legislators to get more information to you.
Adam Kinzinger: (02:02:27)
Mr. Giuliani did not even mention the attack on the Capital. Instead, he was pushing on behalf of President Trump to get members of Congress to further delay the certification. Even though some members did proceed with objections, Vice President Pence and Congress stood firm and successfully concluded the joint session in the early morning hours of January 7th. Here are some of what members of the President’s party said in the days and weeks after the attack.
Mitch McConnell: (02:02:58)
There’s no question, none, that President Trump is practically and morally responsible for provoking the events of the day. No question about it. The people who stormed this building believed they were acting on the wishes and instructions of their President and having that belief was a foreseeable consequence of the growing crescendo of false statements, conspiracy theories, and reckless hyperbole which the defeated President kept shouting into the largest megaphone on planet earth.
Kevin McCarthy: (02:03:51)
The violence, destruction, and chaos we saw earlier was unacceptable, undemocratic, and un-American. It was the saddest day I’ve ever had as serving as a member of this institution.
Chip Roy: (02:04:08)
Madame Speaker, today, the People’s House was attacked, which is an attack on the Republic itself. There is no excuse for it. A woman died and people need to go to jail, and the President should never have spun up certain Americans to believe something that simply cannot be.
Adam Kinzinger: (02:04:26)
Well after three in the morning, Congress certified the 2020 election results. Soon after this statement by President Trump was posted on Dan Scavino’s Twitter account because the President’s account by now had been suspended. As you can see, President Trump stuck with his big lie that the election was stolen. But, he did say there would be an orderly transition. We learned though that the statement was not necessarily his idea. Jason Miller, a campaign advisor, told us that after the joint session started, he heard nothing from President Trump or the White House about assuring the Nation that the transfer of power would take place. So, Mr. Miller took it upon himself to draft the statement and called the President at 9:23 that night to convince him to put it out. Let’s listen to what he had to say about the call.
Speaker 28: (02:05:19)
Did he disagree with something that you had put in the statement, some particular word or phrase that he did not want included?
Jason Miller: (02:05:27)
I’d say just that he wanted to say, “peaceful transition.” I said that ship’s kind of already sailed so we’re going to say orderly transition. That was about the extent of disagreement or push back from the conversation.
Adam Kinzinger: (02:05:45)
The last person President Trump spoke to by phone that night was Johnny McEntee, his head of personnel. Mr. McEntee told us that they talked about the events of the day and the multiple resignation by administration officials. The decision whether to resign was one that weighed heavily on people in the administration. On the one hand, people like Mr. Pottinger and Ms. Matthews here, as proud as they were to have served, refused to be associated with President Trump’s dereliction of duty. But, others were sincerely worried that leaving President Trump to his own devices would put the country at continued risk. Listen to what we heard about that tension from Pat Cipollone, from General Mark Milley, and Eugene Scalia, who was the Secretary of Labor.
Pat Cipollone: (02:06:31)
Then, after that, some people were resigning, obviously over January 6th, we know who they were. Did I consider it? Yes. Did I do it? No.
Pat Cipollone: (02:06:45)
… concerned about is, if people in the Council’s office left, who would replace me. I had some concerns that it might be somebody who had been giving bad advice.
Eugene Scalia: (02:06:59)
On the morning of the seventh the decision I arrived at was that the most constructive thing I could think of was to seek a meeting of the Cabinet. I thought that trying to work within the administration to steady the ship was likely to have greater value than simply resigning after which point would’ve been powerless to really affect things with the administration.
Pat Cipollone: (02:07:35)
Eugene thought that there should be a Cabinet meeting.
Speaker 41: (02:07:39)
Do you know why…
Pat Cipollone: (02:07:40)
I don’t remember why. I think it probably had something to do with Mark’s view of how the President might react and things like that.
Mark Milley: (02:07:50)
Now, there was a couple of the calls where Meadows and or Pompeo, but more Meadows. “How’s the President doing?” Like Pompeo might say, “How’s the president doing?” And Meadows would say, “Well, he is in a really dark place.” Here’s one, for example, on the 7th of January, So this is the day after, right? “POTUS is very emotional and in a bad place,” Meadows.
Adam Kinzinger: (02:08:22)
As you heard, Secretary Scalia wanted President Trump to convene a Cabinet meeting. He put his request in a memo to the President and here’s what it said. You can see that Secretary Scalia recommended that the President “no longer publicly question the election results… After Wednesday, no one can deny this is harmful.” Secretary Scalia also highlighted the importance of the public knowing the President would invoke his Cabinet in decision making and not “certain private individuals.” Though Secretary Scalia did not say it, he was referring to Rudy Giuliani and the rest of the so-called clown car working with President Trump to try to overturn the election. Secretary Scalia understood that the President needed to do more to reassure the public about the last few weeks of the Trump administration. Mr. Pottinger, when you made the decision to resign, did you walk out of the White House immediately?
Matt Pottinger: (02:09:25)
No, I wanted to first talk to my immediate boss, that was the National Security Advisor, Robert O’Brien. Robert O’Brien was traveling on the sixth. I reached him at about 4:30 PM and told him that I was submitting my resignation. He accepted the resignation, but he also asked whether I could stay until he could get back to the White House. I agreed to that. We both wanted to make sure that I was leaving in a responsible way. We still have foreign adversaries to worry about, hackers, terrorists, nation states. I did not want to leave my chair empty given that I was the top National Security staffer in the White House. I ended up staying at my desk through the night. When Robert O’Brien arrived back at the White House the next morning, the morning of the seventh, I debriefed with him and left for the last time.
Adam Kinzinger: (02:10:35)
So, you and I both share a passion for national security of our country. Can you share with me, what’s your view on how January 6th impacted our national security?
Matt Pottinger: (02:10:48)
Well, when you have a Presidential transition, even under the best circumstances, it’s a time of vulnerability. When you have a contested election. I was certainly concerned that some of our adversaries would be tempted to probe or test U.S. resolve. As an example, in late December, the Iranian government attacked the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad. They did that using some of their terrorist proxies. President Trump did handle that. He sent a very clear warning to the Iatola and his regime, which I think had a useful effect. I think that we would’ve handled other threats of that nature and luckily, no other threats materialized before the inauguration on the 20th. But, our national security was harmed in a different way by the 6th of January. And that is, I think it emboldened our enemy…
Matt Pottinger: (02:12:03)
I think it emboldened our enemies by helping give them ammunition to feed a narrative that our system of government doesn’t work, that the United States is in decline. China, the Putin regime in Russia, Tehran, they’re fond of pushing those kinds of narratives. And by the way, they’re wrong. We’ve been hearing for the entirety of US history from kings and despots that the United States is in decline, and those kings and despots have been proven wrong every single time. But nonetheless, January 6th helped feed a perception that I think emboldens our adversaries.
Matt Pottinger: (02:12:53)
The other part, I think, is simply our allies. I heard from a lot of friends in Europe, in Asia, allies, close friends, and supporters of the United States, that they were concerned about the health of our democracy. And so I think it’s incumbent upon us to put their minds at ease, to put our own hearts at ease, by investigating what happened on the sixth and making sure that it never happens again.
Adam Kinzinger: (02:13:21)
Look, I’ve always said, democracies are not defined by bad days. They’re defined by how they recover from those bad days. And that’s what we’re doing here, is to bring accountability to that so we can actually come back even stronger than when we went into January 6th.
Adam Kinzinger: (02:13:36)
Ms. Matthews, as you left the White House for the last time that night, January 6th, what did you think Americans needed to hear from President Trump?
Sarah Matthews: (02:13:46)
I think that the American people needed to hear and see him publicly commit to a peaceful, or at least orderly transition of power. In the aftermath of the Capitol attack, it wasn’t just enough for us to ask him to condemn the violence. He needed to agree that he would peacefully transfer power over to the incoming administration, because that’s one of our fundamentals in what it means to live in a democracy. And so that evening, when I resigned, the resignation statement that I drafted, I referenced this, and I said, “Our nation needs a peaceful transfer of power,” in hopes that it would put some sort of public pressure on the White House and President Trump to publicly agree to an orderly transition.
Adam Kinzinger: (02:14:31)
Thank you. I yield to my friend from Virginia.
Elaine Luria: (02:14:35)
Thank you, Mr. Kinzinger. The staff who remained at the White House on the morning of January 7 knew the President needed to address the nation again, and they had a speech prepared for him that morning, but he refused for hours to give it. As you heard Cassidy Hutchinson testify previously, President Trump finally agreed to record an address to the nation later that evening, the evening of January 7, because of concerns he might be removed from power under the 25th amendment, or by impeachment. We know these threats were real. Sean Hannity said so himself in a text message that day to press secretary Kayleigh McEnany. He wrote, “No more stolen election talk. Yes, impeachment and 25th amendment are real.” We obtained the never before seen raw footage of the President recording his address to the nation that day on January 7, more than 24 hours after the last time he had addressed the nation from the Rose Garden. Let’s take a look.
Speaker 45: (02:15:40)
Whenever you’re ready, sir.
Donald Trump: (02:15:41)
I would like to begin by addressing the heinous attack yesterday, and to those who broke the law, you will pay. You do not represent our movement. You do not represent our country. And if you broke the law … I can’t say that. I already said, “You will pay.” The demonstrators who infiltrated the Capitol have defied the seat of … Defiled, right? See, I can’t see it very well. Okay. I’ll do this. I’m going to do this. Let’s go. But this election is now over. Congress has certified the results. I don’t want to say the election’s over. I just want to say Congress has certified the results, without saying the election’s over, okay?
Ivanka Trump: (02:16:36)
But Congress has certified … Now Congress has certified.
Donald Trump: (02:16:38)
Ivanka Trump: (02:16:38)
Now Congress has-
Donald Trump: (02:16:40)
I didn’t say “over.” So let me see. Don’t go to the paragraph before. Okay. I would like to begin by addressing the heinous attack yesterday. “Yesterday” is a hard word for me.
Ivanka Trump: (02:17:01)
Just take it out. “The heinous attack.”
Speaker 45: (02:17:02)
Say, “heinous attack on our nation.”
Donald Trump: (02:17:04)
Ah, good. Take the word “yesterday” out, because it doesn’t work with “the heinous attack on our country.” Say “on our country.” Want to say that?
Ivanka Trump: (02:17:13)
No. Keep it.
Speaker 45: (02:17:13)
Donald Trump: (02:17:13)
My only goal was to ensure the integrity of the vote. My only goal was to ensure the integrity of the vote.
Elaine Luria: (02:17:28)
On January 7, one day after he incited an insurrection based on a lie, President Trump still could not say that the election was over. Mr. Pottinger, you’ve taken the oath multiple times in the Marines and as an official in the executive branch. Can you please share with us your view about the Oath of Office, and how that translates into accepting election results and a transfer of power?
Matt Pottinger: (02:18:02)
Sure. This isn’t the first time that we’ve had a close election in this country, and President Trump certainly had every right to challenge in court the results of these various elections. But once you’ve had due process under the law, you have to conform with the law, no matter how bitter the result. Once you’ve presented your evidence in court, judges have heard that evidence, judges have ruled, if you continue to contest an election, you’re not just contesting an election anymore. You’re actually challenging the Constitution itself. You are challenging the societal norms that allow us to remain unified.
Matt Pottinger: (02:18:56)
I think that one example, for example, you’ve got Vice President Richard Nixon back in 1960, had lost a hard fought election against Senator John F. Kennedy. There were irregularities in that vote, according to a lot of the histories, and a lot of Vice President Nixon’s supporters asked him to, “Fight. Contest it. Don’t concede.” But in one of his finest moments, Vice President Nixon said, “No.” He said it would tear the country to pieces, and he conceded to Jack Kennedy, and announced that he was going to support him as the next President.
Matt Pottinger: (02:19:39)
We have an example of a Democratic candidate for President, Vice President Al Gore, who faced a very similar dilemma. He strongly disagreed with the Supreme Court decision that lost his election bid, and allowed president George W. Bush to take office, but he gave a speech of concession in late December, mid or late December of 2000, where he said, “This is for the sake of the unity of us as a people, and for the strength of our democracy. I also am going to concede. I’m going to support the new President.” His speech is actually a pretty good model, I think, for any candidate for any office, up to and including the President, and from any party to read, particularly right now.
Matt Pottinger: (02:20:38)
The oath that our Presidents take, it’s very similar to the Oath of Office I took as a US Marine Officer, and the oath I took as a White House official. It is to support and defend the Constitution. It’s to protect the Constitution. To bear true faith and allegiance to the Constitution. And it is a sacred oath. It’s an oath that we take before our families. We take that oath before God. And I think that we have an obligation to live by that oath, and I do still believe that we have the most ingenious system of government on earth. Despite its imperfections, I don’t envy countries that don’t have this system that actually allows for a predictable, peaceful transfer of government every four to eight years, and it’s not something that we should take for granted.
Elaine Luria: (02:21:43)
Thank you. As we heard at the start of the hearing, in the immediate aftermath of January 6th, Republican leader Kevin McCarthy understood that President Trump bore responsibility for that day and should have taken immediate action to stop the violence. He was even more candid in calls with Republican colleagues. As you’ll hear in a moment, recordings of some of these calls that were made were later published by the New York Times. The context for these calls was that a resolution had been introduced in the House calling for Vice President Pence and the cabinet to remove President Trump from power under the 25th amendment. Let’s listen.
Rep. Kevin McCarthy: (02:22:23)
I’ve had it with this guy. What he did is unacceptable. Nobody can defend that, and nobody should defend it. The only discussion I would have with him is that I think this will pass, and it would be my recommendation he should resign. I mean, that would be my take, but I don’t think he would take it, but I don’t know.
Rep. Kevin McCarthy: (02:22:49)
But let me be very clear to all of you, and I’ve been very clear to the President. He bears responsibilities for his words and actions. No ifs, ands, or buts. I asked him personally today, does he hold responsibility for what happened? Does he feel bad about what happened? He told me he does have some responsibility for what happened, and he needs to acknowledge that.
Elaine Luria: (02:23:16)
President Trump has never publicly acknowledged his responsibility for the attack. The only time he apparently did so was in that private call with Kevin McCarthy. There’s something else President Trump has never acknowledged. The names and the memories of the officers who died following the attack on the Capitol.
Elaine Luria: (02:23:37)
We’re honored to be joined tonight by police and first responders who bravely protected us on January 6th. Your character and courage give us hope that democracy can and should prevail, even in the face of a violent insurrection. We on this dais can never thank you enough for what you did to protect our democracy.
Elaine Luria: (02:24:03)
On January 9, two of President Trump’s top campaign officials texted each other about the President’s glaring silence on the tragic death of Capitol Police officer Brian Sicknick, who succumbed to his injuries the night of January 7. These campaign officials were Tim Murtaugh, Trump’s Director of Communications, and one of his deputies, Matthew Wolking. Their job was to convince people to vote for President Trump, so they knew his heart, his mind, and his voice as well as anyone, and they knew how he connects with his supporters. Here’s what they had to say about their boss.
Elaine Luria: (02:24:43)
Murtaugh said, “Also shitty not to have acknowledged the death of the Capitol Police officer.” Wolking responded, “That’s enraging to me. Everything he said about supporting law enforcement was a lie.” To which Murtaugh replied, ” You know what this is, of course if he acknowledged the dead cop, he’d be implicitly faulting the mob. And he won’t do that because they’re his people, and he would also be close to acknowledging that what he lit at the rally got out of control. No way he acknowledges something that could ultimately be called his fault. No way.”
Elaine Luria: (02:25:28)
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 January 6th. Thank you. And I yield to the gentleman from Illinois.
Adam Kinzinger: (02:25:50)
Thank you, Ms. Luria. Tonight’s testimony and evidence is as sobering as it is straightforward. Within minutes of stepping off the Ellipse stage, Donald Trump knew about the violent attack on the Capitol. From the comfort of his dining room, he watched on TV as the attack escalated. He sent tweets that inflamed and expressed support for the desire of some to literally kill Vice President Mike Pence. For three hours, he refused to call off the attack. Donald Trump refused to take the urgent advice he received that day, not from his political opponents or from the liberal media, but from his own family, his own friends, his own staff, and his own advisors. In the midst of an attack, when there was no time for politics, the people closest to Trump told him the truth. It was his supporters attacking the Capitol, and he alone could get through to them. So they pled for him to act, to place his country above himself. Still, he refused to lead, and to meet the moment to honor his oath.
Adam Kinzinger: (02:27:13)
It was only once the Vice President and the members of Congress were in secure locations, and the officers defending the Capitol began to turn the tide, that then President Trump engaged in the political theater of telling the mob to go home. And even then, he told them all they were special, and that he loved them.
Adam Kinzinger: (02:27:36)
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 January 6th 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. It is a dishonor to all those who have sacrificed and died in service of our democracy.
Adam Kinzinger: (02:28:16)
When we present our full findings, we will recommend changes to laws and policies to guard against another January 6th. The reason that’s imperative is that the forces Donald Trump ignited that day have not gone away. The militant, intolerant ideologies, the militias, the alienation and the disaffection, the weird fantasies and disinformation, they’re all still out there, ready to go. That’s the elephant in the room. But if January 6th has reminded us of anything, I pray it has reminded us of this: Laws are just words on paper. They mean nothing without public servants, dedicated to the rule of law, and who are held accountable by a public that believes oaths matter more than party tribalism, or the cheap thrill of scoring political points. We the people must demand more of our politicians and ourselves. Oaths matter. Character matters. Truth matters. If we do not renew our faith and commitment to these principles, this great experiment of ours, our shining beacon on a hill will not endure. I yield to the gentlewoman from Virginia.
Elaine Luria: (02:29:48)
Thank you, Mr. Kinzinger. Throughout our hearings, we’ve provided many facts and painted a vivid picture of the events of January 6th. The violence, the human toll, both emotional and physical, including the tragic loss of life. The threats to our Constitution, the rule of law, and the danger to this nation, a nation we all love as Americans.
Elaine Luria: (02:30:17)
In tonight’s hearing, we’ve gone into great detail about the events inside the White House on January 6th. We’ve described how the President of the United States, who was bound by oath to the Constitution, and by duty to ensure the laws are faithfully executed, took no action when the cornerstone of our democracy, a peaceful transition of power, was under attack. But it’s more than that. Donald Trump summoned a violent mob, and promised to lead that mob to the capital to compel those he thought would cave to that kind of pressure. And when he was thwarted in his effort to lead the armed uprising, he instigated the attackers to target the Vice President with violence, a man who just wanted to do his Constitutional duty.
Elaine Luria: (02:31:12)
So in the end, this is not, as it may appear, a story of inaction in a time of crisis. But instead it was the final action of Donald Trump’s own plan to assert the will of the American people, and remain in power. Not until it was clear that his effort to violently disrupt or delay the counting of the election results had failed did he send a message to his supporters in which he commiserated with their pain, and he told them affectionately to go home. That was not the message of condemnation and just punishment for those who broke the law that we expect from a President whose oath and duty is to ensure the laws are faithfully executed. But instead, it was his newest version of, “Stand back and stand by.”
Elaine Luria: (02:32:08)
To me, this is personal. I first swore an oath to support and defend the Constitution against enemies foreign and domestic when I entered the US Naval Academy at age 17. I spent two decades on ships at sea, defending our nation from known and identifiable foreign enemies who sought to do us harm. I never imagined that enemy would come from within. I was not as prescient as Abraham Lincoln, who 23 years before the Civil War said, “If destruction be our lot, we must ourselves be its author and its finisher.” Donald Trump was the author, and we the people, for ourselves and our posterity, should not let Donald Trump be the finisher. Thank you, and I yield to the Vice Chair.
Ms. Cheney: (02:33:06)
Thank you very much, Mrs. Luria. I want to thank our witnesses for joining us today. The members of the Select Committee may have additional questions for today’s witnesses, and we ask that you respond expeditiously in writing to those questions. Without objection, members will be permitted 10 business days to submit statements for the record, including opening remarks and additional questions from our witnesses. I’d now like to turn things to Chairman Thompson for a few closing words.
Chairman Thompson: (02:33:37)
The members of the committee and I appreciate and thank all persons who have come forward voluntarily to provide information to help protect our democracy. And our work continues. As we’ve made clear throughout these hearings, our investigation is going forward. We continue to receive new information every day. We are pursuing many additional witnesses for testimony. We will reconvene in September to continue laying out our findings to the American people and pushing for accountability.
Chairman Thompson: (02:34:16)
In the first hearing of this series, I asked American people to consider the facts and judge for themselves. The facts are clear and unambiguous. I thank the American people for their attention over the past several weeks. I wish you all a pleasant evening.
Ms. Cheney: (02:34:38)
And let me, again, thank our witnesses today. We’ve seen bravery and honor in these hearings, and Ms. Matthews and Mr. Pottinger, both of you will be remembered for that, as will Cassidy Hutchinson. She sat here alone, took the oath, and testified before millions of Americans. She 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. But like our witnesses today, she has courage, and she did it anyway. Cassidy, Sarah, and our other witnesses, including Officer Caroline Edwards, Shaye Moss, and her mother Ruby Freeman, are an inspiration to American women, and to American girls. We owe a debt to all of those who have and will appear here.
Ms. Cheney: (02:35:38)
And that brings me to another point. This committee has shown you the testimony of dozens of Republican witnesses, those who served President Trump loyally for years. The case against Donald Trump in these hearings is not made by witnesses who were his political enemies. It is instead a series of confessions by Donald Trump’s own appointees, his own friends, his own campaign officials, people who worked for him for years, and his own family. They have come forward, and they have told the American people the truth.
Ms. Cheney: (02:36:15)
And for those of you who seem to think the evidence would be different if Republican leader McCarthy had not withdrawn his nominees from this committee, let me ask you this. Do you really think Bill Barr is such a delicate flower that he would wilt under cross examination, Pat Cipollone, Eric Kirschman, Jeff Rosen, Richard Donoghue? Of course they aren’t. None of our witnesses are. At one point in 2016, when he was first running for office, Donald Trump said this: “I could stand in the middle of Fifth Avenue and shoot somebody, and I wouldn’t lose any voters.” That quote came to mind last week, when audio from Trump Advisor Steve Bannon surfaced from October 31, 2020, just a few days before the presidential election. Let’s listen.
Speaker 46: (02:37:09)
And what Trump’s going to do is just declare victory, right? He’s going to declare victory. But that doesn’t mean he’s the winner. He’s just going to say he’s the winner. The Democrats, more of our people vote early that count. Theirs voted in mail, and so they’re going to have a natural disadvantage, and Trump’s going to take advantage. That’s our strategy. He’s going to declare himself the winner. So when you wake up Wednesday morning, it’s going to be a firestorm. Also, if Trump is losing by 10:00 or 11:00 at night, it’s going to be even crazier. Because he’s going to sit right there and said they stole it. If Biden’s winning, Trump is going to do some crazy shit.
Ms. Cheney: (02:37:48)
And of course, four days later, President Trump declared victory, when his own campaign advisors told him he had absolutely no basis to do so. What the new Steve Bannon audio demonstrates is that Donald Trump’s plan to falsely claim victory in 2020, no matter what the facts actually were, was premeditated. Perhaps worse, Donald Trump believed he could convince his voters to buy it, whether he had any actual evidence of fraud or not. And this same thing continued to occur from Election Day onward until January 6th.
Ms. Cheney: (02:38:27)
Donald Trump was confident that he could convince his supporters the election was stolen, no matter how many lawsuits he lost. And he lost scores of them. He was told over and over again in immense detail that the election was not stolen. There was no evidence of widespread fraud. It didn’t matter. Donald Trump was confident he could persuade his supporters to believe whatever he said, no matter how outlandish, and ultimately that they could be summoned to Washington to help him remain President for another term. As we showed you last week, even President Trump’s legal team, led by Rudy Giuliani, knew they had no actual evidence to demonstrate the election was stolen. Again, it didn’t matter.
Ms. Cheney: (02:39:16)
Here’s the worst part. Donald Trump knows that millions of Americans who supported him would stand up and defend our nation, were it threatened. They would put their lives and their freedom at stake to protect her. And he is preying on their patriotism. He is preying on their sense of justice. And on January 6th, Donald Trump turned their love of country into a weapon against our Capitol and our Constitution. He has purposely created the false impression that America is threatened by a foreign force controlling voting machines, or that a wave of tens of millions of false ballots were secretly injected into our election system, or that ballot workers have secret thumb drives and are stealing elections with them. All complete nonsense.
Ms. Cheney: (02:40:14)
We must remember that we cannot abandon the truth and remain a free nation. In late November of 2020, while President Trump was still pursuing lawsuits, many of us were urging him to put any genuine evidence of fraud forward in the courts, and to accept the outcome of those cases. As January 6th approached, I circulated a memo to my Republican colleagues explaining why our congressional proceedings to count electoral votes could not be used to change the outcome of the election. But what I did not know at the time was that President Trump’s own advisors, also Republicans, also conservatives, including his White House Council, his Justice Department, his campaign officials, they were all telling him almost exactly the same thing I was telling my colleagues. There was no evidence of fraud or irregularities sufficient to change the election outcome. Our courts had ruled. It was over. Now we know that it didn’t matter what any of us said, because Donald Trump wasn’t looking for the right answer legally or the right answer factually. He was looking for a way to remain in office. Let’s put that aside for a moment and focus just on what we saw today. 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. It was indefensible, and every American must consider this: Can a President who is willing to make the choices Donald Trump made during the violence of January 6th ever be trusted with any position of authority in our great nation again?
Ms. Cheney: (02:42:25)
In this room in 1918, the Committee on Women’s Suffrage convened to discuss and debate whether women should be granted the right to vote. This room is full of history, and we on this committee know we have a solemn obligation not to idly squander what so many Americans have fought and died for.
Ms. Cheney: (02:42:51)
Ronald Reagan’s great ally, Margaret Thatcher, said this: “Let it never be said that the dedication of those who love freedom is less than the determination of those who would destroy it.” 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, and we will see you all in September. I request those in the hearing room remain seated until the Capitol Police have escorted witnesses and members from the room. Without objection, the committee stands adjourned.