Oct 16, 2022
House Jan. 6 Committee Hearing 10/13/22 Transcript
House Jan. 6 Committee Hearing 10/13/22. Read the transcript here.
Transcribe Your Own Content
Try Rev and save time transcribing, captioning, and subtitling.
Bennie Thompson: (00:05)
The Select Committee to investigate the January 6th attack on the United States capital will be in order. Without objection, the chairs are authorized to declare the committee in recess at any point. Pursuant to House Deposition Authority Regulation 10, the chair announces the committee’s approval to release the deposition material presented during today’s hearing. Good afternoon, and may God bless the United States of America.
Bennie Thompson: (00:37)
Four months ago, this committee started to present our findings to you, the American people. From the beginning, we understood that some people watching those proceedings would wrongly assume that the committee’s investigation was a partisan exercise. That’s why I asked those who were skeptical of our work to simply to listen, to listen to the evidence, to hear the testimony with an open mind and to let the facts speak for themselves before reaching any judgment. Over the course of these hearings, the evidence has proven that they were a multi-part plan led by former president Donald Trump to overturn the 2020 election.
Bennie Thompson: (01:24)
Donald Trump lost his bid for reelection as shown from the testimony of some of the president’s closest allies and advisors. Donald Trump knew he lost. Despite this knowledge, Donald Trump went to court to contest the 2020 election, and he lost in court. The electoral college met and declared Joe Biden the winner. Yet Donald Trump continued to pull out all the stops in his attempt to stay in power. What Donald Trump proceeded to do after the 2020 election is something no president has done before in our country.
Bennie Thompson: (02:03)
In a staggering betrayal of his oath, Donald Trump attempted a plan that led to an attack on a pillar of our democracy. It’s still hard to believe, but the facts and testimony are clear, consistent, and undisputed. How do we know this? How have we been able to present such a clear picture of what took place? Because of the testimony we’ve heard and that we’ve have presented to you through these proceedings, because of the documentary evidence we’ve gathered and also made available directly to you, the American people.
Bennie Thompson: (02:43)
When you look back at what has come out through this committee’s work, the most striking fact is that all this evidence come almost entirely from Republicans. The evidence that has emerged did not come from Democrats or opponents of Donald Trump. Instead, look at who’s written and testified and produced evidence. Who has that been? Aides who’ve worked loyally for Donald Trump for years, republican state officials and legislators, Republican electors, the chairwoman of the Republican National Committee, political professionals who worked at the highest levels of the Trump campaign, Trump appointees who served in the most senior positions in the Justice Department, President Trump’s staff and closest advisors in the White House, members of the President Trump’s family, his own White House counsel.
Bennie Thompson: (03:44)
I’ve served in Congress a long time. I can tell you it’s tough for any congressional investigation to obtain evidence like what we’ve received, least of all such a detailed view and to a president’s inner circle. And I want to be clear, not all these witnesses were thrilled to talk to us. Some put up quite a fight, but ultimately the vast majority cooperated with our investigation. And what we’ve shown you over the last four months has been centered on the evidence. Evidence that has come overwhelmingly from Republican witnesses.
Bennie Thompson: (04:25)
So I say to you again as I did in June, this investigation is not about politics. It’s not about party. It’s about the facts, plain and simple. And it’s about making sure our government functions under the rule of law as our constitution demands. Today, as in previous proceedings, my colleagues and I will present new evidence that includes new testimony from additional Republicans who served in the Trump administration, never foreseen footage of congressional leaders on January 6th working to coordinate the response to the violence and ensure the people’s business went forward. New materials produced to the committee by the Secret Service. Details about the ongoing threat to American democracy.
Bennie Thompson: (05:19)
Today’s proceeding will also be grounded in the facts, but it won’t look exactly like all our other hearings. We’ll also take a step back and look at the evidence in a broader context, providing a summary of key facts we’ve uncovered, facts relevant to former President Trump’s state of mind about his motivation and about his intent. What did President Trump know? What was he told? What was his personal and substantial role in a multi-part plan to overturn the election?
Bennie Thompson: (05:57)
For those of you who’ve watched our prior hearings, some of this evidence will look familiar. For those of you tuning in for the first time, we’ll summarize some of the most important facts and we’ll urge you to go online and watch our hearing in full. There’s one more difference about today. Pursuant to the notice circulated prior to today’s proceedings, we are convened today not as a hearing, but as a formal committed business meeting so that in addition to presenting evidence, we can potentially hold a committed vote on further investigative action based upon that evidence.
Bennie Thompson: (06:39)
Before we get to that evidence, I’d recognize our distinguished vice chair, Liz Cheney of Wyoming for any opening statement she care to offer.
Liz Cheney: (06:49)
Thank you very much Mr. Chairman. Much has happened since our last public hearing on July 21st. As the chairman mentioned, we’ve received new and voluminous documentation from the Secret Service which we continue to analyze. We’ve received new witness testimony including about efforts to obstruct our investigation and conceal key facts. And according to public reporting, the Department of Justice has been very active in pursuing many of the issues identified in our prior hearings.
Liz Cheney: (07:20)
Our committee may ultimately decide to make a series of criminal referrals to the Department of Justice, but we recognize that our role is not to make decisions regarding prosecution. The preamble to our constitution recites among its purposes to “establish justice”. And our nation’s judiciary and our US Department of Justice have that responsibility. A key element of this committee’s responsibility is to propose reforms to prevent January 6th from ever happening again.
Liz Cheney: (07:52)
We’ve already proposed and the house has now passed a bill to amend the Electoral Count Act to help ensure that no other future plots to overturn an election can succeed. And we will make further specific recommendations in our final report based in part on the evidence you will hear today.
Liz Cheney: (08:11)
Our hearings last summer began with an outline of President Trump’s multi-part plan to overturn the 2020 presidential election. We then proceeded to demonstrate each of these elements in detail with more than 20 hours of evidence. Today, we will see new evidence, but as the Chairman said, we will also synthesize evidence you’ve seen before. The vast weight of evidence presented so far has shown us that the central cause of January 6th was one man, Donald Trump, who many others followed.
Liz Cheney: (08:44)
None of this would’ve happened without him. He was personally and substantially involved in all of it. Exactly how did one man cause all of this? Today, we will focus on President Trump’s state of mind, his intent, his motivations, and how he spurred others to do his bidding, and how another January 6th could happen again if we do not take necessary action to prevent it. As you view our evidence today, I would suggest a focus on the following points.
Liz Cheney: (09:16)
First, as you will see, President Trump had a premeditated plan to declare that the election was fraudulent and stolen before election day, before he knew the election results. He made his stolen election claims on election night against the advice of his campaign without any evidence in hand. Then over the next two months, he sought to find those who would help him invent and spread lies about the widespread fraud.
Liz Cheney: (09:46)
Many of those who stepped forward to help including Rudy Giuliani, knew they never had real evidence sufficient to change the election results. And on the evening of January 5th, they admitted they were still trying to find that phantom evidence. Of course, as a result of making intentionally false claims of election fraud, Mr. Giuliani’s license to practice law has now been suspended. Second, please recognize that President Donald Trump was in a unique position, better informed about the absence of widespread election fraud than almost any other American.
Liz Cheney: (10:25)
President Trump’s own campaign experts told him that there was no evidence to support his claims. His own Justice Department appointees investigated the election fraud claims and told him point blank they were false. In mid-December 2020, President Trump’s senior advisors told him the time had come to concede the election.
Liz Cheney: (10:47)
Donald Trump knew the courts had ruled against him. He had all of this information, but still he made the conscious choice to claim fraudulently that the election was stolen. To pressure state officials to change election results to manufacture fake electoral slates, to attempt to corrupt our Department of Justice to some tens of thousands of supporters to Washington, knowing that they were angry, knowing that some of them were armed, he sent them to the capital.
Liz Cheney: (11:19)
Then as the riot was underway, he incited his supporters to further violence by publicly condemning his vice president. And then he refused for hours to disband his rioting supporters and instruct them to leave the capital even when he was begged repeatedly to do so. None of this is normal or acceptable or lawful in our republic.
Liz Cheney: (11:44)
Third, please consider today who had a hand in defeating President Trump’s efforts to overturn the election? Vice President Pence, Bill Barr, Jeff Rosen, and others at the Department of Justice. State Republican officials, White House staff who blocked proposals to mobilize the military to seize voting machines and run new elections are Capital Police aided by the Metropolitan Police, other federal law enforcement and our National Guard who arrived later in the afternoon. All of these people had a hand in stopping Donald Trump.
Liz Cheney: (12:21)
This leads us to a key question. Why would Americans assume that our constitution and our institutions in our republic are invulnerable to another attack? Why would we assume that those institutions will not falter next time? A key lesson of this investigation is this, our institutions only hold when men and women of good faith make them hold regardless of the political cost.
Liz Cheney: (12:49)
We have no guarantee that these men and women will be in place next time. Any future president inclined to attempt what Donald Trump did in 2020 has now learned not to install people who could stand in the way. And also please consider this, the rulings of our courts are respected and obeyed because we as citizens pledge to accept and honor them. Most importantly, our president who has a constitutional obligation to faithfully execute the laws swears to accept them. What happens when the president disregards the court’s rulings as illegitimate when he disregards the rule of law. That my fellow citizens breaks our republic.
Liz Cheney: (13:39)
Finally, as you view the evidence today, also consider this, President Trump knew from unassailable sources that his election fraud claims were false. He admitted he had lost the election. He took actions consistent with that belief. Claims that President Trump actually thought the election was stolen are not supported by fact and are not a defense.
Liz Cheney: (14:08)
There is no defense that Donald Trump was duped or irrational. No president can defy the rule of law and act this way in a constitutional republic, period. Mr. Chairman, our nation’s federal judges are sworn to do impartial justice to preserve our constitution and preserve our union. Dozens of these judges have been addressing January 6th cases and many have given us plain unmistakable warnings about the direction of our republic.
Liz Cheney: (14:41)
Let me read from one judge’s statement given at a recent sentencing hearing, “High ranking members of Congress and state officials who know perfectly well the claim of fraud was and is untrue and that the election was legitimate are so afraid of losing their power, they won’t say so. It has to be crystal clear that it is not patriotism. It is not standing up for America to stand up for one man who knows full well that he lost instead of the Constitution he was trying to subvert.”
Liz Cheney: (15:22)
Mr. Chairman, the violence and lawlessness of January 6th was unjustifiable, but our nation cannot only punish the foot soldiers who stormed our capital. Those who planned to overturn our election and brought us to the point of violence must also be accountable with every effort to excuse or justify the conduct of the former president we chip away at the foundation of our republic. Indefensible conduct is defended, inexcusable conduct is excused. Without accountability, it all becomes normal and it will recur. So as we watch the evidence today, please consider where our nation is in its history. Consider whether we can survive for another 246 years. Most people in most places on Earth have not been free. America is an exception, and America continues only because we bind ourselves to our founders principles to our constitution. We recognize that some principles must be beyond politics in violet and more important than any single American who has ever lived. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I yield back.
Bennie Thompson: (16:41)
Without objections, the Chair recognizes the young woman from California, Ms. Lofgren, for an opening statement.
Zoe Lofgren: (16:48)
Thank you, Mr. Chairman. Very shortly after the election… We begin this meeting by returning to election night November 3rd, 2020. As the chairman noted, we’ve previously presented testimony about how the election results were expected to come in that night. In certain states, ballots cast by mail before election day would be counted only after the poll closed that evening. That meant that election results would not be known for some time.
Zoe Lofgren: (17:23)
Although President Trump’s campaign manager, Bill Stepien, House Republican leader, Kevin McCarthy and Jared Kushner had advised Donald Trump to encourage mail in voting by Republicans. President Trump did not do so.
Jared Kushner: (17:39)
Yeah, I just remembered generally, you had people arguing that we had a very, very robust get out the vote effort and that mail-in ballots could be a good thing for us if we looked at it correctly.
Bill Stepien: (17:52)
There was one meeting that was had in particular. I invited Kevin McCarthy to join the meeting. He being of mind on the issue with me in which we made our case for why we believed mail-in voting not to be a bad thing for his campaign, but the president’s mind was made up.
Zoe Lofgren: (18:34)
So it was expected before the election that the initial counts in some states, in other words, those votes cast on election day would be more heavily Republican and this would create the false perception of a lead for President Trump, a so-called Red Mirage. But as the results of the absentee ballots that were later counted, there could be trends towards Vice President Biden as those mail-in ballots were counted.
Zoe Lofgren: (19:08)
Now on election night, Donald Trump’s advisors specifically told him he didn’t have a factual basis to declare a victory. He should wait for the remaining ballots to be counted. Here is campaign manager, Bill Stepien.
Bill Stepien: (19:24)
It was far too early to be making any calls like that. Ballots were still being counted. Ballots were still going to be counted for days and it was far too early to be making any proclamation like that. I believe my recommendation was to say that votes were still being counted. It’s Too early to tell, too early to call the race.
Zoe Lofgren: (19:59)
But President Trump did declare victory in the late hours of election night. Not only did he declare victory, he also called for the ongoing count of votes to just stop. Stopping the count would’ve violated both federal and state laws and also disenfranchised millions of voters who lawfully cast their vote. He called for that action anyway. Here’s what he said.
Donald Trump: (20:27)
This is a fraud on the American public. This is an embarrassment to our country. We were getting ready to win this election. Frankly, we did win this election. [inaudible 00:20:42] We want all voting to stop.
Zoe Lofgren: (20:48)
We now know more about President Trump’s intention for election night. The evidence shows that his false victory speech was planned well in advance before any votes had been counted. It was a premeditated plan by the president to declare victory no matter what the actual result was. He made a plan to stay in office before election day.
Zoe Lofgren: (21:12)
Now, the Vice President’s staff was concerned with what Donald Trump might do on election night. They took steps to ensure that Mr. Pence would not echo a false victory announcement from President Trump. Here’s what the vice president’s counsel, Greg Jacob told us about his preparations with the vice president’s chief of staff, Mark Short.
Greg Jacob: (21:36)
Mark had indicated to me that there was a possibility that there would be a declaration of victory within the White House that some might push for, and this is prior to the election results being known, and that he was trying to figure out a way of avoiding the vice president sort of being thrust into a position of needing to opine on that when he might not have sufficient information to do so.
Zoe Lofgren: (22:22)
Now, following this conversation, Mr. Jacob drafted a memo to Mr. Short, which the Select Committee got from the National Archives. The memo was sent on November 3rd election day and advised it is essential that the Vice President not be perceived by the public as having decided questions concerning disputed electoral votes prior to the full development of all relevant facts.
Zoe Lofgren: (22:51)
A few days before the election, Mr. Trump also consulted with one of his outside advisors inside activists, Tom Fitton about the strategy for election night. The select committee got this pre-prepared statement from the National Archives. As you can see, the draft statement, which was sent on October 31st declares, “We had an election today and I won.” And the Fitton memo specifically indicates a plan that only the votes counted by the election day deadline, and there is no election day deadline would matter.
Zoe Lofgren: (23:33)
Everyone knew that ballot counting would lawfully continue past election day claiming that the counting on election night must stop before millions of votes were counted was as we now know, a key part of President Trump’s premeditated plan.
Zoe Lofgren: (23:51)
On election day, just after 5:00 PM Mr. Fitton indicated he’d spoken with the President about the statement, ” Sending along again. Just talked to him about the draft below.” Again, this plan to declare victory was in place before any of the results had been determined. In the course of our investigation, we also interviewed Brad Parscale, President Trump’s former campaign manager. He told us he understood that President Trump planned as early as July that he would say he won the election even if he lost.
Zoe Lofgren: (24:34)
And just a few days before the election, Steve Bannon, a former Trump chief, White House strategist, an outside advisor to President Trump, spoke to a group of his associates from China and said this:
Steve Bannon: (24:51)
And what Trump is going to do is just declare a victory. He’s going to declare a 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 is going to take advantage of it. That’s our strategy. This is going to declare himself a winner. So when you wake up Wednesday morning, it’s going to be a firestorm. [inaudible 00:25:18] Also, if Trump is losing by 10:00 or 11:00 at night, it’s going to be even crazier. [inaudible 00:25:27] No, because he’s going to sit right there and say, “They stole it. I’m directing the Attorney General to shut down all ballot places in all 50 states.” It’s going to be… No, he’s not going out easy. If Biden is winning, Trump is going to do some crazy shit.
Zoe Lofgren: (25:42)
As you know, Mr. Bannon refused to testify in our investigation. He’s been convicted of criminal contempt of Congress and he’s awaiting sentencing. But the evidence indicates that Mr. Bannon had advanced knowledge of Mr. Trump’s intent to clear victory falsely on election night, but also that Mr. Bannon knew about Mr. Trump’s planning for January 6th. Here’s what Bannon said on January 5th.
Steve Bannon: (26:12)
All hell is going to break lose tomorrow. It’s all converging and now we’re on, as they say, the point of attack, right? The point of attack tomorrow. I’ll tell you this, it’s not going to happen like you think it’s going to happen, okay? It’s going to be quite extraordinarily different and all I can say is strap in. You have made this happen, and tomorrow it’s game day. So strap in. Let’s get ready.
Zoe Lofgren: (26:38)
Another close associate of Donald Trump apparently knew of Mr. Trump’s intentions as well. Now, Roger Stone is a political operative with a reputation for dirty tricks. In November 2019, he was convicted of lying to congress and other crimes and sentenced to more than three years in prison. He’s also a longtime advisor to President Trump and was in communication with President Trump throughout 2020. Mr. Trump pardoned Roger Stone on December 23rd, 2020.
Zoe Lofgren: (27:13)
Now, recently the select Committee got footage of Mr. Stone before and after the election from Danish filmmaker Christopher Gilbranson, pursuant to a subpoena. Right before the election, here’s Roger Stone talking about what President Trump would do after the election.
Speaker 2: (27:34)
Roger Stone: (27:35)
Let’s just hope we’re celebrating.
Speaker 2: (27:36)
Roger Stone: (27:39)
I really do suspect it’ll still be up in the air. When that happens, the key thing to do is to claim victory. Possession is nine-tenths of the law. “No, we won. Fuck you. Sorry. Over. We won. You’re wrong. Fuck you.”
Speaker 2: (27:50)
Roger Stone: (27:50)
I said fuck the voting, let’s get right to the violence.
Speaker 1: (27:54)
That’s what I’m fucking saying. There’s no point.
Roger Stone: (28:00)
We’ll have to start smashing pumpkins, if you know what I mean?
Speaker 1: (28:02)
Oh, yeah. Sure.
Zoe Lofgren: (28:06)
The select committee called Mr. Stone as a witness, but he invoked his Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination.
Speaker 3: (28:13)
Do you believe the violence on January 6th was justified?
Roger Stone: (28:18)
On the advice of counsel, I respectfully decline to answer your question on the basis of the Fifth Amendment.
Speaker 3: (28:24)
And Mr. Stone, did you have any role in planning for the violence on January 6th?
Roger Stone: (28:30)
Once again, I will assert my Fifth Amendment right to decline to answer your question.
Zoe Lofgren: (28:37)
Although we don’t yet have all the relevant records of Roger Stone’s communications, even Stone’s own social media post acknowledge that he spoke with Donald Trump on December 27th as preparations for January 6th were underway. In this post, you can see how Roger Stone talked about his conversations with President Trump. He wrote, “I also told the president exactly how he can appoint a special counsel with full subpoena power to ensure those who are attempting to steal the 2020 election through voter fraud are charged and convicted, and to ensure Donald Trump continues as our president.”
Zoe Lofgren: (29:20)
As we know by now, the idea for a special counsel was not just an idle suggestion, it was something President Trump had actually tried to do earlier that month. We know that Roger Stone was at the Willard Hotel on January 5th and 6th, and we know from other witness testimony that President Trump asked his chief of staff Mark Meadows to speak with Roger Stone and General Michael Flynn that night.
Zoe Lofgren: (29:46)
In addition to his connection to President Trump, Roger Stone maintained extensive direct connections to two groups responsible for violently attacking the capital, the Oath Keepers and the Proud Boys. Individuals from both of these organizations have been charged with a crime of seditious conspiracy. Now, what is seditious conspiracy? It is a conspiracy to use violent force against the United States to oppose the lawful authority of the United States.
Zoe Lofgren: (30:18)
Multiple associates of Roger Stone from both the Oath Keepers and the Proud Boys have been charged with this crime. Close associates of Roger Stone, including Joshua James have pled guilty to this crime. We know that at least seven Oath Keepers who have been criminally charged, provided personal security for Roger Stone or were seen with him on January 6th, or in the weeks leading up to January 6th. For example, Joshua James, the leader of the Alabama Oath Keepers provided security for Roger Stone and was with him on January 5th. This is the picture of the two together on January 5th.
Zoe Lofgren: (31:02)
The two together on January 5th. James entered the Capitol on January 6th, he assaulted a police officer. Earlier this year, he pled guilty to seditious conspiracy and obstruction of Congress.
Zoe Lofgren: (31:17)
Another example is the married couple, Kelly and Connie Meggs. Now Kelly Megs was the leader of the Florida Chapter of the Oathkeepers. Both he and his wife provided security for Roger Stone and both are charged with leading a military style stack attack of Oathkeepers attacking the Capitol on January 6th. Perhaps even more disturbing is Roger Stone’s Close association with Enrique Tario, the National Chairman of the Proud Boys. Roger Stone’s connection with Enrique Tario and the Proud Boys is well-documented by video evidence, with phone records The Select committee has obtained. Tario along with other proud boys, has been charged with multiple crimes concerning the attack on January 6th, including seditious conspiracy. During the attack, Tario sent a message to other Proud Boys claiming, “We did that.” He also visited the White House on December 12th. Later that day, he posted a disturbing video claiming credit for the attack. This video posted on January 6th was apparently created prior to the attack. This big lie, President Trump’s effort to convince Americans that he had won the 2020 election began before the election results even came in. It was intentional, it was premeditated. It was not based on election results or any evidence of actual fraud affecting the results or any actual problems with voting machines. It was a plan concocted in advance to convince his supporters that he won and the people who seemingly knew about that plan in advance would ultimately play a significant role in the events of January 6th. Mr. Chairman, I yield back.
Chairman Thompson: (33:30)
[inaudible 00:33:30] woman yields back. The chair recognizes the gentleman from Illinois, Mr. Kinzinger, for an opening statement.
Mr. Kinsinger: (33:37)
Thank you, Mr. Chairman. Very shortly after the election, the Trump campaign recognized that they had likely lost the election and they informed Donald Trump of that fact. Even before the networks called the race for President Biden on November 7th, his chances of pulling out a victory were virtually nonexistent and President Trump knew it.
Speaker 4: (34:00)
Do you know if anybody ever told the president that he had lost and that there wasn’t a chance of him winning?
Jason Miller: (34:11)
The I know that the president, when the networks called it, of course, he was informed about the network decision. That afternoon, at some point, myself and a handful of other folks went over and sat down with the president and communicated that the odds of us prevailing in legal challenges were very small.
Zoe Lofgren: (34:38)
After the election as of November 7th, in your judgment, what were the chances of President Trump winning the election?
Mr. Stirewalt: (34:47)
After that point?
Zoe Lofgren: (34:48)
Mr. Stirewalt: (34:49)
Mr. Kinsinger: (34:51)
At times, President Trump acknowledged the reality of his loss, although he publicly claimed that he had won the election, privately, he admitted that Joe Biden would take over his president. Here’s a few examples of that.
General Milley: (35:05)
So we’re in the Oval, and there’s a discussion going on and the President says, I think it could have been Pompeo, but he says words to the effect of, “Yeah, we lost. We need to let that issue go to the next guy,” meaning President Biden.
Alyssa Farah: (35:20)
I remember maybe a week after the election was called, I popped into the Oval just to give the President the headlines, and see how he was doing and he was looking at the TV and he said, “Can you believe I lost to this f-ing guy?”
Cassidy Hutchinson: (35:33)
Mark raised it with me on the 18th. And so, following that conversation where the motorcade ride, driving back to the White House and I had said like, “Does the President really think that he lost?” And he said, “A lot of times he’ll tell me that he lost, but he wants to keep fighting it and he thinks that there might be enough to overturn the election, but he pretty much has acknowledged that he’s lost.”
Mr. Kinsinger: (35:57)
Knowing that he had lost, and that he had only weeks left in office, President Trump rushed to complete his unfinished business. One key example is this; President Trump issued an order for large scale US troop withdrawals. He disregarded concerns about the consequences for fragile governments on the front lines of the fight against ISIS and Al Qaeda terrorists. Knowing he was leaving office, he acted immediately and signed this order on November 11th, which would’ve required the immediate withdrawal of troops from Somalia and Afghanistan all to be complete before the Biden inauguration on January 20th. As you watch these clips, recall that General Keith Kellogg was the national Security Advisor to the Vice president and had served as Chief of Staff to the National Security Council for President Trump and General Milley was the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff at the Pentagon.
General Milley: (36:57)
Are you familiar with a memo that the president reportedly signed up November 11th, 2020, ordering that troops be withdrawn from Afghanistan and Somalia?
General Kellogg: (37:08)
General Milley: (37:10)
So I think you might have seen some things where this memo or something from Johnny McEntee to Douglas McGregor, it says, “Here’s your task to get US forces out of Somalia, get US forces out of Afghanistan.”
Speaker 5: (37:31)
When you first interviewed and met Colonel Douglas McGregor, is it fair to say you this decision of withdrawing from Somalia in Afghanistan? Correct?
John McEntee: (37:43)
Yeah, I’m sure that was part of it, yeah.
Speaker 5: (37:46)
And the position that he was taking over there was Senior Advisor to the Secretary of Defense, is that correct?
John McEntee: (37:53)
Speaker 5: (37:54)
So on that same day, just so I’m clear, he responded back to you that they meaning DOD leadership was not going to take any of those steps without an order?
General Kellogg: (38:07)
Without a directive, yeah.
Douglas Macgregor: (38:09)
I explained in language that should be in the order while I was in the meeting with McEntee and this was my answer to him and said, “If you want this to happen or President wants this to happen, he’s got to write an order.”
Speaker 6: (38:22)
So you never wrote this down in any capacity?
Douglas Macgregor: (38:25)
Well, I sketched on a piece of paper for him, some key statements. ” The president directs,” this is, what’s the right word? Boiler plate language?
Speaker 5: (38:39)
Who within his office, drafted the order?
John McEntee: (38:44)
It was myself and one of my assistants.
General Milley: (38:48)
McEntee duly types it up, brings it in to the president, President signs it and boom, it’s over, faxed over or emailed scan over to Cato delivers it to me.
Speaker 5: (38:58)
Was it by auto pen or was it the president himself signing it?
John McEntee: (39:03)
It was the president.
Speaker 5: (39:07)
And who obtained that signature?
John McEntee: (39:11)
General Milley: (39:12)
It is odd. It is non-standard. It is potentially dangerous. I personally thought it was militarily not feasible nor wise.
General Kellogg: (39:22)
And I proceeded to tell the P and proceeded to tell McGregor that if I ever saw anything like that, I would do something physical because I thought what that was then was a tremendous disservice. The nation, and by the way, that was a very, very contested issue. There were people who did not agree with getting out of Afghanistan. I appreciate their concerns. An immediate departure, that memo said would’ve been a catastrophic. It’s the same thing what President Biden went through. It would’ve been a debacle.
Mr. Kinsinger: (40:05)
Keep in mind the order was for an immediate withdrawal, it would have been catastrophic, and yet President Trump signed the order. These are the highly consequential actions of a president who knows his term will shortly end.
Mr. Kinsinger: (40:20)
At the same time that President Trump was acknowledging privately that he had lost the election, he was hearing that there was no evidence of fraud or irregularities sufficient to change the outcome.
Alex Cannon: (40:33)
I remember a call all with Mr. Meadows where Mr. Meadows was asking me what I was finding, and if I was finding anything, and I remember sharing with him that we weren’t finding anything that would be sufficient to change the results in any of the key states.
Speaker 7: (41:01)
When was that conversation?
Alex Cannon: (41:06)
Probably in November, mid to late November. I think it was before my child was born.
Speaker 7: (41:14)
And what was Mr. Meadows’ reaction to that information?
Alex Cannon: (41:18)
I believe the words he used were, “So there’s no there, there.”
Bill Stepien: (41:21)
It would be our job to track it down and come up dry because the allegation didn’t prove to be true. And we’d have to relay the news that, yeah, that tip that someone told you about those votes, or that fraud, nothing came of it. That would be our job as the truth telling squad and not a fun job. It’s an easier job to be telling the president about wild allegations. It’s a harder job to be telling him on the back end that yeah, that wasn’t true.
Matt Morgan: (42:02)
What was generally discussed on that topic was whether the fraud, maladministration abuse or irregularities, if aggregated and read most favorably to the campaign, would that be outcome determinative? And I think everyone’s assessment in the room, at least amongst the staff, Mark Short, myself and Greg Jacob, was that it was not sufficient to be outcome determinative.
Mr. Kinsinger: (42:33)
Look, it’s the right of any candidate to litigate genuine election disputes. Nobody argues that, but President Trump’s litigation was completely unsuccessful. In our past hearings, we told you that the committee had identified a total of 62 election lawsuits filed by the Trump campaign and its allies between November 4th and January 6th, 2021. Those cases resulted in 61 losses and only a single victory, which did not affect the outcome for any candidate. The claims were not supported by any sufficient evidence of fraud or irregularities. In fact, they were baseless as judges repeatedly recognized. In none of these 62 cases was President Trump able to establish any viable claims of election fraud sufficient to overturn the results of the election. In those hearings we shared with you the words used by judges around the country in rejecting the Trump campaign’s claims at strong language criticizing the lack of evidentiary support for the claims of election fraud in those lawsuits.
Mr. Kinsinger: (43:36)
For example, a federal appeals court in Pennsylvania wrote, quote, “Charges require specific allegations and proof. We have neither here.” A federal judgment in Wisconsin wrote quote, “The court has allowed the former president the chance to make his case and he has lost on the merits.” Another judge in Michigan called the claims, quote, “Nothing but speculation and conjecture that votes for President Trump were either destroyed, discarded, or switched to votes for Vice President Biden.” A federal judge in Michigan sanctioned nine attorneys including Sydney Powell, for making frivolous allegations in an election fraud case describing the case as, “A historic and profound abuse of the judicial process.”
Mr. Kinsinger: (44:24)
Recently a group of distinguished Republican election lawyers, former judges and elected officials issued a report confirming the findings of the courts in their report entitled, Lost Not Stolen, these prominent Republicans analyzed each election challenge and concluded this, “Donald Trump and his supporters failed to present evidence of fraud or inaccurate results significant enough to invalidate the results of the 2020 Presidential election.” On December 11th, Trump’s allies lost a lawsuit in the US Supreme Court that he regarded as his last chance at success in the courts. A newly obtained secret service message from that day shows how angry President Trump was about the outcome, quote, “Just FYI, POTUS is pissed. Breaking news, Supreme Court denied his lawsuit. He is livid now.” Cassidy Hutchinson, an aid to Chief of Staff, Mark Meadows, was present for that conversation and described it in this way.
Cassidy Hutchinson: (45:27)
This is the day that the Supreme Court had rejected that case. Mr. Meadows and I were in the White House residence at a Christmas reception, and as we were walking back from Christmas reception that evening, the President was walking out of the Oval Office so we crossed paths in the Rose Garden colony. The President was fired up about the Supreme Court decision. And so, I was standing next to Mr. Meadows, but I stepped back, so I was probably two, three feet [inaudible 00:45:59] corner from him, diagonal from him. The President just raging about the decision, and how it’s wrong, and why didn’t we make more calls and just his typical anger outburst at this decision. And the President, he had said something to the effect of, “I don’t want people to know we lost, Mark. This is embarrassing. Figure it out. We need to figure it out. I don’t want people to know that we lost.”
Mr. Kinsinger: (46:30)
Our country is a country of laws where every person, including the president, must follow the law and respect the judgment of our courts. President Trump’s closest advisors held that view both then and now.
Speaker 8: (46:45)
Well, do you believe the President should abide by the rulings of the courts?
Mike Pompeo: (46:50)
Oh yes. We should all comply with the law at all times to the best of our ability, every one of us.
Speaker 8: (46:56)
So once the courts had ruled and the electoral college had met, the election was over, in your view?
Mike Pompeo: (47:03)
Yes. I think I’ve said previously that when the Vice President made the certification and the litigation was complete, it was complete.
Speaker 8: (47:12)
When the electoral college met on the 14th?
Mike Pompeo: (47:16)
Yes. That is a December 14th. Is that right? I think that’s the right date, yes.
Speaker 8: (47:21)
I assume, Pat, that you would agree the President is obligated to abide by the rulings of the courts.
Pat Cipollone: (47:28)
Of course. Of course.
Speaker 8: (47:33)
And I assume you also would-
Pat Cipollone: (47:35)
Everybody is obligated to abide by rulings, of course.
Speaker 8: (47:39)
And I assume you also would agree, the President has a particular obligation to take care that the laws be faithfully executed.
Pat Cipollone: (47:49)
That is one of the President’s obligations, correct.
Speaker 8: (47:52)
Ivanka, do you believe the President’s obligated to abide by the rulings of the court?
Mr. Kinsinger: (48:01)
By mid-December of 2020, President Trump’s senior staff were attempting to persuade him to concede the election outcome.
Pat Cipollone: (48:09)
But if your question is that I believe he should concede the election at a point in time, yes, I did.
William Barr: (48:16)
December 14th was the day that the state certified their votes and sent them to Congress. And in my view, that was the end of the matter. I thought that this would lead inexorably to a new administration.
Judd Deere: (48:37)
I told him that my personal viewpoint was that the electoral college had met, which is the system that our country is said under to elect a president and vice president. And I believed at that point that the means for him to pursue litigation was probably closed.
Speaker 9: (49:05)
And do you recall what his response, if any, was?
Judd Deere: (49:08)
Mr. Kinsinger: (49:10)
Secretary of Labor, Gene Scalia, the son of late Justice Scalia, visited President Trump in mid-December and explained the situation clearly.
Eugene Scalia: (49:21)
And so I had put a call into the president. I might have called on the 13th, we spoke I believe on the 14th in which I conveyed to him that I thought that it was time for him to acknowledge that President Biden had prevailed in the election. But I communicated to the President that when that legal process is exhausted, and when the electors are have voted, that that’s the point at which that outcome needs to be expected. I told him that I did believe, yes, that once those legal processes were run, if fraud had not been established, that had affected the outcome of the election, that unfortunately I believed that what had to be done was concede the outcome.
Mr. Kinsinger: (50:07)
Not only did the courts reject President Trump’s fraud and other allegations, his Department of Justice appointees including Bill Barr Jeffrey Rosen and Richard Donaghue did as well. President Trump knew the truth. He heard what all his experts and senior staff were telling him. He knew he had lost the election, but he made the deliberate choice to ignore the courts, to ignore the Justice Department, to ignore his campaign leadership, to ignore senior advisors and to pursue a completely unlawful effort to overturn the election. His intent was plain, ignore the rule of law and stay in power. Mr. Chairman, I yield back.
Chairman Thompson: (50:52)
Gentleman yields back. The chair recognizes the Chairwoman from Virginia, Ms. Luria.
Mrs. Luria: (51:00)
Thank you Mr. Chairman. Mid-December was a turning point. President Trump made a decision, a choice to ignore the courts, and his advisors and to push forward to overturn the election. His efforts to overturn the election were not random or disconnected, rather they were part of a coordinated, multi-part plan to ensure that he stayed in power. Donald Trump was the driver behind each part of this plan. He was personally and directly involved. Of course, a key element of the plan was continuing to convince tens of millions of Americans that he did not in fact lose. Again, he did this even though his own campaign advisors and his Justice Department officials told him his claims of fraud were wrong. In this video, you’ll see that even when top law enforcement officials told the President his election fraud claims were false, he still repeated the claims in the days and weeks that followed sometimes even the very next day.
William Barr: (52:07)
I specifically raised the Dominion voting machines, which I found to be among the most disturbing allegations. Disturbing in the sense that I saw absolutely zero basis for the allegations. I told them that it was crazy stuff and they were wasting their time on that and it was doing a grave disservice to the country.
Donald Trump: (52:30)
We have a company that’s very suspect. It’s name is Dominion. With the turn of a dial or the change of a chip, you could press a button for Trump and the vote goes to Biden. What kind of a system is this?
Richard Donoghue: (52:47)
We definitely talked about Antrim county again. That was sort of done at that point because the hand recount had been done and all of that. But we cited back to that to say, “This is an example of what people are telling you and what’s being filed in some of these court filings that are just not supported by the evidence. And this is the problem. The problem that people keep telling you these things and they turn out not to be true.”
Donald Trump: (53:13)
In addition, there is the highly troubling matter of Dominion voting systems. In one Michigan County alone, 6,000 votes were switched from Trump to Biden and the same systems are used in the majority of states in our country.
William Barr: (53:31)
I went into this and would tell them how crazy some of these allegations were and how ridiculous some of them were. And I’m talking about some of ones like more absentee votes were cast in Pennsylvania than there were absentee ballots requests, stuff like that was just easy to blow up. There was never an indication of interest in what the actual facts were.
Donald Trump: (54:04)
There were more votes than there were voters. Think of that. You had more votes than you had voters. That’s an easy one to figure and spy the thousands.
William Barr: (54:16)
Then he raised the Big Vote Dump, as he called it in Detroit, and that he said people saw boxes coming into the counting station at all hours of the morning. And I said, “Mr. President, there are 630 precincts in Detroit and unlike elsewhere in the state, they centralize the counting process. So they’re not counted in each precinct, they’re moved to counting stations. And so the normal process would involve boxes coming in at all different hours.”
Donald Trump: (54:48)
This is Michigan at 6:31 in the morning, a vote dump of 149,772 votes came in unexpectedly.
Richard Donoghue: (55:04)
With regard to Georgia. We looked at the tape, we interviewed the witnesses. There is no suitcase. The president kept fixating on this suitcase that supposedly had fraudulent ballots and that the suitcase was rolled out from under the table. And I said, “No sir, there is no suitcase. You can watch that video over and over. There is no suitcase. There is a wheeled bin where they carried the ballots and that’s just how they move ballots around that facility. There’s nothing suspicious about that at all.”
Donald Trump: (55:34)
Election officials poll boxes, Democrats and suitcases of ballots out from under a table. Your saw it on television, totally fraudulent.
Mrs. Luria: (55:46)
This happened over and over again and our committee’s report will documented purposeful lies made in public directly at odds with what Donald Trump knew, from unassailable sources; the Justice department’s own investigations and his own campaign. Donald Trump maliciously repeated this nonsense to a wide audience over and over again. His intent was to deceive. President Trump’s plan also involved trying to coerce government officials to change the election outcome in the states. He lost. He personally reached out to numerous state officials and pressured them to take unlawful steps to alter the election results in those states. These actions taken directly by the President himself made it clear what his intentions were; to prevent the orderly transfer of power. We all recall, for example, President Trump’s tape recorded call with Georgia Secretary of State, Brad Raffensperger. At the time this call occurred, President Trump had already been told repeatedly by the US Justice Department, by his campaign, and by his advisors that his allegations of fraud in Georgia were false.
Donald Trump: (57:03)
So look, all I want to do is this. I just want to find 11,780 votes, which is one more than we have because we won the state. Look, we need only 11,000 votes. We have far more than that as it stands now, we’ll have more and more. So what are we going to do here? Votes. I only need 11,000 votes. Fellas, I need 11,000 votes. Give me a break.
Mrs. Luria: (57:35)
“I just want to find 11,780 votes.” That’s an extraordinary demand by President, especially since he already knew from the Justice Department, there was no genuine basis for this request. No one could think it would be legal for the Secretary of State to simply find the votes the President needed in order to win. Secretary Raffensperger told the president the truth that he lost the election in Georgia, but President Trump did not accept that answer. Instead, he suggested that Secretary Raffensperger himself might be prosecuted.
Secretary Raffensperger: (58:15)
That’s a criminal offense and you know can’t let that happen. That’s that’s a big risk to you and to Ryan, your lawyer. That’s a big risk.
Mrs. Luria: (58:26)
We know that President Trump’s White House advisors reacted negatively. Immediately after the call, Cassidy Hutchinson had a conversation with Chief of Staff Mark Meadows.
Cassidy Hutchinson: (58:40)
I remember looking at Mark and I said, Mark, he can’t possibly think we’re going to pull this off. Like that call was crazy. And he looked at me and just started shaking his head and he was like, No pass. He knows it’s over. He knows he lost. But we’re going to keep trying. There’s some good options out there still we’re going to keep trying.
Mrs. Luria: (58:58)
This call and other related activity is now the focus of an ongoing criminal investigation in Fulton County, Georgia. And Georgia’s not the only state where President Trump tried to pressure state officials to change the results. He also attempted to pressure state officials in Arizona, Pennsylvania, and Michigan to change the results in those states as well. While President Trump was pressuring state officials, he was also trying to use the Department of Justice to change the election result. His top officials told him that there was no evidence to support his claims of fraud, but he didn’t care. As he told them, “Just say the election was corrupt and leave the rest to me and the Republican Congressman.” When these officials would not do what he said, President Trump embarked in an effort to install Jeff Clark as acting Attorney General, solely because he would do what others in the department would not do. We know that Trump was doing so for a specific purpose; so Clark could corruptly employ the Justice Department’s authority to help persuade the states to flip electoral votes. For example, when Richard Donaghue and Jeff Rosen, both appointed by President Trump learned of Mr. Clark’s proposal, here’s why they said they forcefully rejected it.
Richard Donoghue: (01:00:22)
And I recall toward the end saying, “What you are proposing is nothing less than the United States Justice Department meddling in the outcome of a presidential election.” But more importantly, this was not based on fact; this was actually contrary to the facts as developed by Department of Investigations over the last several weeks and months. And so, I responded to that and for the department to insert itself into the political process this way, I think would have had grave consequences for the country. It may very well have spiraled us into a Constitutional crisis.
Mrs. Luria: (01:00:58)
We know from our investigation that President Trump offered Jeff Clark the position of Acting Attorney General and that Jeff Clark had decided to accept it. The only reason this ultimately did not happen is that the White House counsel and a number of Justice Department officials confronted the President in the Oval Office and threatened mass resignations.
Richard Donoghue: (01:01:22)
And I said something to the effect of, “You’re going to have a huge personnel blowout within hours because you’re going to have all kinds of problems with resignations and other issues. And that’s not going to be in anyone’s interest.”
Mrs. Luria: (01:01:39)
The President ultimately relented only because the entire leadership of the Department of Justice as well as his White House counsel threatened to resign. Mr. Chairman, I yield back.
Chairman Thompson: (01:01:54)
Chairwoman yields back. The Chair recognizes Chairwoman from Florida, Mrs. [inaudible 01:01:59] for an opening statement.
Mrs. Murphy: (01:02:01)
Thank you Mr. Chairman. President Trumps-
Bennie Thompson: (01:02:03)
Mrs. Murphy: (01:02:03)
Thank you, Mr. Chairman. President Trump’s efforts to unlawfully overturn the results of the 2020 election were not limited to the big lie in pressuring state officials and the Department of Justice officials. Another key part of the president’s effort was a scheme to assemble fake electors to cast false electoral votes in the states that President Trump lost. This was something done not only with the president’s knowledge, but also with his direct participation. Ronna McDaniel, chair of the Republican National Committee testified before this committee that President Trump and his attorney, Dr. John Eastman, called her and asked her to arrange for the fake electors to meet and rehearse the process of casting their fake votes.
Ronna McDaniel: (01:02:48)
When I received the call, again, I don’t remember the exact date. It was from the White House switchboard and it was President Trump who had had contacted me.
Speaker 10: (01:03:02)
And did President Trump have anyone else on the line with him?
Ronna McDaniel: (01:03:06)
He introduced me to a gentleman named John Eastman, so I vaguely remember him mentioning that he was a professor, and then essentially he turned the call over to Mr. Eastman, who then proceeded to talk about the importance of rhe RNC helping the campaign gather these contingent electors in case any of the legal challenges that were ongoing changed the result of any of states.
Mrs. Murphy: (01:03:42)
These fake electors were ultimately part of the president’s plan to replace genuine Biden electors with Trump electors on January 6th. As part of this plan, the false electoral slates were sent to the National archives and to the Capitol. The fake electors plan was also tied to another plan. The coersive pressure campaign to make Vice President Mike Pence reject or refuse to count certain Biden electoral votes so that President Donald Trump would quote win reelection, instead. Here is what Vice President Pence has said about this scheme.
Speaker 11: (01:04:20)
President Trump said I had the right to overturn the election. President Trump is wrong. I had no right to overturn the election. The presidency belongs to the American people and the American people alone, and frankly, there is no idea more un-American than the notion that any one person could choose the American President.
Mrs. Murphy: (01:04:44)
Make no mistake, President Trump knew that what he was demanding Vice President Pence do was illegal. He was informed of this repeatedly and specifically on January 4th. Even his lawyer, John admitted in front of President Trump that this plan would break the law by violating the Electoral Count Act.
Speaker 12: (01:05:07)
Did John Eastman ever admit, as you know in front of the president that his proposal would violate the Electoral Count Act?
Greg Jacob: (01:05:21)
I believe he did on the fourth.
Speaker 12: (01:05:22)
Mrs. Murphy: (01:05:24)
And Dr. Eastman confirmed this in writing. Recall this email written on January 6th in which Vice President Pence’s counsel asked Dr. Eastman, “Did you advise the president that in your professional judgment, the vice President does not have power to decide things unilaterally?” Dr. Eastman replied, “He’s been so advised.” Of course, President Trump’s own White House counsel Pat Cipollone also recognized that this plan was unlawful. Here is Mr. Cipollone’s testimony.
Pat Cipollone: (01:06:00)
My view is that the Vice President had didn’t have the legal authority to do anything except what he did.
Mrs. Murphy: (01:06:05)
There is no doubt that President Trump’s pressure campaign on Vice President Pence was significant. On the morning of January 6th, President Trump called the Vice President from the Oval Office and demanded that he overturn the results of the election. Numerous witnesses told the Select Committee about the invective that President Trump leveled at his own vice president.
Nicholas Luna: (01:06:30)
Something to the effect, this is… The wording’s wrong. I made the wrong decision four or five years ago.
Speaker 13: (01:06:36)
And the word that she relayed to that, the President called the Vice President. I apologize for being impolite, but do you remember what she said her father called him?
Julie Radford: (01:06:47)
The P word.
Mrs. Murphy: (01:06:51)
But Vice President Pence didn’t waiver, even when his own life was endangered by President Trump and the rioters at the Capitol on January 6th, as you’ll see in more detail later. A federal judge concluded based on this and other evidence that President Trump’s pressure campaign against the Vice President likely violated multiple criminal statutes. In the end, all these people, Department of Justice officials, state elections officials, his own Vice President stood strong in the face of President Trump’s immense pressure. But as we now know, President Trump had already summoned tens of thousands of his supporters to Washington on January 6th to take back their country.
Mrs. Murphy: (01:07:34)
On December 19th, President Trump first told his supporters to come to Washington in this and numerous other tweets, he fraudulently and repeatedly promoted January 6th as the day Americans could come and change the election outcome. For weeks, President Trump worked with others to plan the rally intending all along that he would send an assembled crowd of angry supporters to the Capitol after his speech on the Ellipse on January 6th.
Mrs. Murphy: (01:08:06)
We obtained a text message that one rally organizer sent on January 4th. In part, it reads that quote, “POTUS is going to have us march there slash the Capitol,” and, “POTUS is going to just call for it unexpectedly.” Again, each of these examples, the big lie, the pressure campaigns against state officials, the pressure campaign against the Department of Justice and his Vice President, the fake electors, summoning the mob. All of this demonstrates President Trump’s personal and substantial role in the plot to overturn the election. He was intimately involved. He was the central player. Thank you, Mr. Chairman, and I yield back.
Bennie Thompson: (01:08:49)
Young woman yields back. The chair recognizes the gentleman from California, Mr. Schiff, for an opening statement.
Mr. Schiff: (01:08:59)
Thank you, Mr. Chairman. In our past hearings you have seen direct evidence that President Trump sent a crowd of his supporters to the Capitol on January 6th, knowing they were armed and angry. This was the last, most desperate, and dangerous prong of his plan to disrupt the joint session and prevent the orderly transition of power. On the morning of the sixth. The Secret Service was at the Ellipse screening the members of the crowd as they entered the rally site and they noticed something significant about the crowd. Tens of thousands of people were outside the rally site but did not want to go through the magnetometers, the metal detectors that were used to screen for dangerous weapons. Since our last hearings, the Select Committee has received greater cooperation from the Secret Service.
Mr. Schiff: (01:09:48)
Nevertheless, the Secret Service text messages from this period were erased in the days and months following the attack on the Capitol, even though documents and materials related to January 6th had already been requested by the Department of Justice and Congress. But we were able to obtain nearly 1 million emails, recordings, and other electronic records from the Secret Service. Over the month of August, the Select Committee began its review of hundreds of thousands of pages and multiple hours of that material, providing substantial new evidence about what happened on January 6th and the days leading up to it. That review continues. What you’re about to hear is just a sample of the new and relevant evidence that we have received.
Mr. Schiff: (01:10:37)
Mounting evidence before January 6th predicted violence and not just violence generally, but violence directed at the Capitol. Intelligence about this risk was directly available to the US Secret Service and others in the White House in advance of the Ellipse speech, in advance of the march to the Capitol. The committee has shown evidence that President Trump was aware of the risk of violence. The FBI, US Capitol Police, Metropolitan Police, and other agencies all gathered in disseminated intelligence suggesting the possibility of violence at the Capitol prior to the riot. We’re now going to show you just a sample of the evidence we have received.
Mr. Schiff: (01:11:23)
Days before January 6th, the president, senior advisors at the Department of Justice and FBI, for example, received an intelligence summary that included material indicating that certain people traveling to Washington were making plans to attack the Capitol. This summary noted online calls to occupy federal buildings, rhetoric about invading the Capitol building, and plans to arm themselves and to engage in political violence at the event. Other agencies were also hearing predictions suggesting possible violence at the Capitol. On a call with President Trump’s White House National Security staff in early January, 2021, Deputy Secretary of Defense, David Norquist had warned about the potential that the Capitol would be the target of the attack. Here’s General Mark Milley, who is also present for this call describing Deputy Secretary Norquist’s warning.
General Milley: (01:12:25)
So during these calls, I only remember in hindsight because he was almost Clairvoyant, Norquist says during one of these calls, the greatest threat is a direct assault on the Capitol. I’ll never forget it.
Mr. Schiff: (01:12:42)
This email, for example, was an alert that the Secret Service received on December 24th with the heading Armed and Ready, Mr. President. According to the intelligence, multiple users online were targeting members of Congress, instructing others to march into the chambers on January 6th and make sure they know who to fear. In this report received on December 26th, the Secret Service field office related tip that had been received by the FBI. According to the source of the tip, the Proud Boys planned to March armed into DC. They think that they will have a large enough group to march into DC armed, the source reported, and will outnumber the police so they can’t be stopped. The source went on to say their plan is to literally kill people. Please, please take this tip seriously and investigate further. The source also made clear that the Proud Boys had detailed their plans on multiple websites like thedonald.win.
Mr. Schiff: (01:13:50)
Let’s pause here. The Secret Service had advance information more than 10 days beforehand regarding the Proud Boys planning for January 6th. We know now of course that the Proud Boys and others did lead the assault on our Capitol building. On December 31st, agents circulated intelligence reports that President Trump supporters have proposed a movement to occupy Capitol Hill. In particular, they flagged spikes in violent hashtags like WeAreTheStorm, 1776Rebel, and OccupyCapitols. On January 5th, a Secret Service open source unit flagged a social media count on thedonald.win that threatened to bring a sniper rifle to a rally on January 6th. The user also posted a picture of a handgun and rifle with a caption, “Sunday Gun Day Providing Overwatch January 6th Will be Wild.” Later on the evening of January 5th, the Secret service learned during an FBI briefing that right wing groups were establishing armed QRFs or Quick Reaction Forces readying to deploy for January 6th.
Mr. Schiff: (01:15:08)
Groups like the Oath Keepers were standing by at the ready should POTUS request assistance by invoking the Insurrection Act, agents were informed. As we all know now, the Oath Keepers did play a specific role in January 6th and had stashed weapons in Virginia for further violence that evening. Also, on that day, the Secret Service was raiding its security precautions for the President’s speech at the Ellipse the next day. A Secret Service Deputy Chief instructed agents to add certain objects to the list of items that would be prohibited at the rally site, including ballistic vests, tactical vests, armored or not, and ballistic helmets. By the morning of January 6th, that was clear that the Secret Service anticipated violence. It felt like the calm before the storm, one agent predicted in a protective intelligence division chat group. Another marked how agents were watching the crazies on livestream.
Mr. Schiff: (01:16:13)
By 9:09 that morning, the Secret Service could also see that many rally goers were assembled outside the security perimeter. One agent emailed, “Possibly because they have stuff that couldn’t come through? Would probably be an issue with this crowd, just a thought.” By 9:30 that morning, agents reported more than 25,000 people outside the rally site. An hour later, the Secret Service reported that the crowd was on the mall watching, but not in line. The head of the President’s Secret Service protective detail, Robert Engel, was specifically aware of the large crowds outside the magnetometers. He passed that information along to Tony Ornado, who worked for Mark Meadows in the Chief of Staff’s office. The documents we obtained from the Secret Service make clear that the crowd outside the magnetometers was armed and the agents knew it. Take a look at what they were seeing and hearing on the ground.
Mr. Schiff: (01:17:18)
One report from the rally site at 7:58 AM said, “Some members of the crowd are wearing ballistic helmets, body armor, carrying radio equipment, and military grade backpacks.” Another from 9:30 AM said that there were possibly OC spray, meaning pepper spray, and or plastic riot shields. At 11:23 AM. Agents also reported possible armed individuals, one with a Glock, one with a rifle. Over the next hour, agents reported possible man with a gun reported, confirmed pistol on hip located in a tree, and one detained at 14th and I Street Northwest. Individual had an assault rifle on his person. Minutes before President Trump began his speech, members of the Federal Protective Service, an agency tasked with protecting federal buildings, were alerted about an arrest of a protestor with a gun on his waistband and during the speech, the weapons related arrests continued. At 12:13 PM United States Park Police arrested a man with a rifle in front of the World War II Memorial. These agents marked on the number of weapons that had been seized that day, speculating that the situation could get worse.
Mr. Schiff: (01:18:45)
“With so many weapons found so far, you wonder how many are unknown,” one agent wrote at 12:36 PM. “Could be sporty after dark.” At 12:47 PM another agent responded, ” No doubt. The people at the Ellipse said they are moving to the Capitol after the POTUS speech.” As the documents we receive make clear, the Secret Service was aware of weapons possessed by those gathered at rallies in DC as early as the evening before. Take this document, for instance, which details multiple arrests in the crowds demonstrating on January 5th. Those arrests were for weapons offenses, handguns, high capacity feeding devices, ammunition. What the Secret Service saw on the sixth was entirely consistent with a violent rhetoric circulating in the days before the joint session on Pro-Trump websites, at times amplified by the president’s own advisors. On one of these sites, as you’ve heard, one of those was called thedonald.win.
Mr. Schiff: (01:19:56)
The Select Committee has obtained a text message that Jason Miller, a senior communications advisor, sent to Mark Meadows less than a week before January 6th. “I got the base fired up,” he wrote in all caps. He sent a link to this page on thedonald.win. The linked webpage had comments about the joint session of Congress on January 6th. Take a look at some of those comments. Gallows don’t require electricity. If the filthy commie maggots try to push their fraud through, there will be hell to pay. Our lawmakers in Congress can leave one of two ways, one in a body bag. Two, after rightfully certifying Trump the winner. Mr. Miller claimed that he had no idea about the hundreds of comments like these in the link that he sent to Mark Meadows.
Jason Miller: (01:20:51)
If I had seen something like that, I probably would’ve flipped it to someone at the White, or if I had seen something of that nature, I would’ve said we got to flag this for Secret Service or something of that nature.
Mr. Schiff: (01:21:07)
The Trump administration was aware of this type of violent rhetoric prior to January 6th. In fact, as we have seen the Secret Service and other agencies knew of the prospect of violence well in advance of the President’s speech at the Ellipse. Despite this certain White House and Secret Service witnesses previously testified that they had received no intelligence about violence that could have potentially threatened any of the protectees on January 6th, including the Vice President. Evidence strongly suggests that this testimony is not credible and the committee is reviewing additional material from the Secret Service and other sources. The Secret Service was monitoring this online activity, and was sharing and receiving the results of that effort. They worked closely with other agencies sharing intelligence about the joint session of Congress derived from social media and other sources.
Mr. Schiff: (01:22:07)
The same day Jason Miller sent his text message agents received reports about a spike in activity on another platform called Parler. This was December 30th. In this email, an agent received a report noting a lot of violent rhetoric on Parler directed at government people and entities, including Secret Service protectees. One of these protectees was Vice President Pence, perhaps the primary target of President Trump’s pressure campaign in the days leading up to January 6th. The day before the joint session on January 5th, Secret Service was aware of increased chatter focused on Vice President Pence. In particular, whether he would do what President Trump wanted him to do, reverse the results of the election in the joint session the next day, January 6th.
Mr. Schiff: (01:23:05)
On the morning of the sixth, agents received alerts of online threats that Vice President Pence would be a dead man walking if he doesn’t do the right thing. Another agent reported quote, I saw several other alerts saying they will storm the Capitol if he doesn’t do the right thing. The anger reflected in these postings was obvious. The man at the center of the storm on January 6th, President Trump. On the evening of January 5th, President Trump gathered a few of his communication staffers in the Oval Office. The door was open allowing the president and others assembled there to hear the sounds of the crowd gathered at Freedom Plaza, just a few blocks from the White House. President Trump could tell that his supporters were riled up here again as Judd Deere, a Deputy White House a press secretary, describing the President’s reaction.
Judd Deere: (01:24:09)
He fairly quickly moved to how fired up the crowd is or was going to be.
Speaker 14: (01:24:22)
Okay. What did he say about it?
Judd Deere: (01:24:28)
Just that they were fired up. They were angry. They feel like the election had been stolen, that the election was rigged, that… He went on and on about that for a little bit.
Mr. Schiff: (01:24:45)
Yes. The President knew the crowd was angry because he had stoked that anger. He knew that they believed that the election had been rigged and stolen because he had told them falsely that it had been rigged and stolen, and by the time he incited that angry mob to march on the Capitol, he knew they were armed and dangerous. All the better to stop the peaceful transfer of power. Mr. Chairman, I yield back.
Bennie Thompson: (01:25:16)
Gentlemen yields back. At this point in our meeting, we’ll take a brief recess. Pursuant to the order of the committee of today, the Chair declares the committee in recess for a period of approximately 10 minutes.
Speaker 15: (01:41:53)
(Silence) The Chair recognizes the gentleman from California, Mr. Aguilar for an opening statement.
Mr. Aguilar: (01:42:00)
Thank you, Mr. Chairman. In the morning of January 6th, President Trump knew that the crowd was angry. He knew that they were armed and dangerous, and he knew that they were going to the capital. It’s important to understand the lengths the President was willing to go to physically be at the capital because it was part of his strategy to disrupt Congress and to stay in power is the time for the ellipse Rally approached. An email was circulated among intelligence officials, including Secret Service Intelligence official attaching communications among rally goers that specifically contemplated violence. Trump has given us marching orders. One post on the Donald Dot Wynn wrote, Basically, if you’re east of the Mississippi, you can and should be there, advance on the capital, keep your guns hidden, don’t fuck around. Full kits, 180 rounds minimum for main rifle, another 50 for side arm per person.
Mr. Aguilar: (01:43:06)
What is clear from this record is that the White House had more than enough warning to warrant stopping any plan for an Ellipse rally and certainly for stopping any march to the capital. And as evidence from our prior hearings has suggested, the President was aware of this information. But despite awareness of the potential for violence and weapons among the crowd, the Ellipse event nevertheless went forward and Donald Trump instructed the angry crowd, some of whom were armed to march to the capital. As my colleague Mr. Schiff just described, the Secret service reported that thousands in the crowd near the Washington Monument would not enter the rally area because magnetometers used in screening attendees would’ve detect any prohibited items they carried. Mr. Trump knew this. His Secret Service had told him about it that morning. Even in spite of these warnings, Cassidy Hutchinson overheard the president say this shortly before he took stage.
Cassidy Hutchinson: (01:44:12)
He wanted it full and he was angry at that, we weren’t letting people through the mags with weapons, what the Secret Service deemed his weapons and are weapons. I was in the vicinity of a conversation where I overheard the President say something to the effect of, “I don’t f’ing care that they have weapons. They’re not here to hurt me. Take the f’ing bags away, let my people in. They can march the capital from here, let the people in, take the f’ing mags away.”
Mr. Aguilar: (01:44:40)
And when he went on stage, President Trump himself asked law enforcement to let his supporters in the rally site.
Donald Trump: (01:44:49)
And I’d love to have if those tens of thousands of people would be allowed, the military, the Secret Service, and we want to thank you and the police law enforcement, great. You’re doing a great job, but I’d love it if they could be allowed to come up here with us. Is that possible? Can you just let them come up please?
Mr. Aguilar: (01:45:10)
President Trump then told his supporters to march to the capital. Let’s pause at this point to consider President Trump’s state of mind, his motivation at this moment. By that point, it was known to Secret Service that members of the crowd were armed. President Trump had been told, and there was no doubt that President Trump knew what he was going to do, sending an angry mob, a number of whom were clad in tactical gear and military garb, armed with various weapons to the Capitol. There’s no scenario where that action is benign and there’s no scenario where an American president should have engaged in that conduct. It did not matter whether President Trump believed the election had been stolen or not. This could not be justified on any basis, for any reason. You may also recall testimony from our summer hearings regarding Mr. Trump’s efforts to lead the mob to the capital himself in his angry altercation in the presidential SUV when the Secret Service told him it was far too dangerous for him to go.
Mr. Aguilar: (01:46:17)
As we detailed in testimony from the Metropolitan Police and W White House personnel during our July 21st hearing, information about the altercation was widely known, so widely known that one former White House employee with national security responsibilities explained that this information was in fact water cooler talk in the White House Complex. Is that professional told us they remember hearing in the days after January 6th how angry the President was when he was in a limo that afternoon. That professional also testified that they were specifically informed of the President’s irate behavior in the SUV by Mr. Ornato in Mr. Ornato’s office. It was Mr. Engel with Mr. Ornato in that office. They’d expressed to me that the president was irate on the drive up. Mr. Engel did not deny the fact that the President was irate. That of course corresponds closely with the testimony you saw this summer from Cassidy Hutchinson, a metropolitan police officer who was in the motorcade and from multiple sources.
Mr. Aguilar: (01:47:29)
Additionally, after concluding its review of the voluminous additional Secret Service communications from January 5th and January 6th, the committee will be recalling witnesses and conducting further investigative depositions based on that material. Following that activity, we will provide even greater detail in our final report. And I will also note this, the committee is reviewing testimony regarding potential obstruction on this issue, including testimony about advice given not to tell the committee about this specific topic. We will address this matter in our report. We also want to remind you now of how security professionals working in the White House Complex and who reported to national security officials responded when they learned that Mr. Trump intended to lead the mob to the capital.
White House Security Official: (01:48:26)
To be completely honest, we were all in the state of shock.
Speaker 20: (01:48:28)
White House Security Official: (01:48:36)
Because with just one, I think the actual physical feasibility of doing it, and then also we all knew what that 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 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. Why were we alarmed?
Speaker 20: (01:49:00)
White House Security Official: (01:49:01)
The President wanted to lead tens of thousands of people to the capital. I think that was enough grounds for us to be alarmed.
Mr. Aguilar: (01:49:11)
President Trump was still considering traveling to the Capital even after returning to the White House. He knew well before 2:00 PM that a violent riot was underway at the capital. He was aware of the ongoing lawlessness, but his motorcade was held on West Executive Avenue outside the White House because he still wanted to join the crowd. Here’s Kayleigh McNaney, the White House press secretary describing in exchange she had with the President as soon as he arrived back at the White House.
Kayleigh McEnany: (01:49:43)
So to the best of my recollection, I recall him being wanting to, saying that he wanted to physically walk and be a part of the march and then saying that he would ride the [inaudible 01:49:57] if he needed to, right in the Presidential limo.
Mr. Aguilar: (01:50:01)
From the Secret Service, the Select Committee has also obtained important new evidence on this issue. It shows how frantic this hour must have been for the Secret Service, scrambling to get the President of the United States to back down from a dangerous and reckless decision that put people in harm’s way. Take a look at the Secret Service email from 1:19 PM on January 6th, the minute that President Trump got out of the presidential vehicle back at the White House. As soon as the President left his motorcade leadership from the Secret Service contacted Bobby Engel, the lead agent for the presidential detail, and warned him that they were “concerned about an OTR” and off the record movement to the Capital. The people sworn to protect the safety of the President of the United States and who routinely put themselves in harm’s way, were convinced that this was a bad idea.
Mr. Aguilar: (01:50:59)
Secret Service documents also reveal how agents were poised to take President Trump to the Capital later that afternoon. Agents were instructed to don their protective gear and prepare for a movement. A few minutes later, they were told the President would leave for the Capital in two hours. It wasn’t until 1:55 PM that the President’s lead Secret Service agent told them to stand down, “We are not doing an OTR to the Capital.” By then, Rioters had breached the capital and were violently attacking the efforts of the brave men and women in law enforcement trying to resist the mob. President Trump may not have gone to the Capital on January 6th, but what he did from the White House cannot be justified. While congressional leaders, both Democrats and Republicans, worked with Vice President Pence to try and address the violence, President Trump refused urgent pleas for help from nearly everyone around him. And what he did do only made the situation worse. Mr. Chairman, I yield back.
Speaker 16: (01:52:05)
The gentleman yields back. The Chair recognizes the gentleman from Maryland, Mr. Raskin, for an opening statement.
Mr. Raskin: (01:52:13)
Thank you, Mr. Chairman. The President was still exhorting his supporters at the Ellipse to go fight like hell at 12:50 around the time that the first wave of rioters, first breached barricades defending the Capital. Secret Service documents we recently received give a timeline of precisely what the White House knew and when. At 1:19, the President’s Emergency Operations Center sent an email to Secret Service, National Security and military advisors to the President and Vice President informing them that, “Hundreds of Trump supporters stormed through metal barricades at the back of the capital building about 1:00 PM Wednesday, running past security guards and breaking fences.”
Mr. Raskin: (01:52:56)
When the President returned to the White House around 1:20, he entered the Oval Office and was told right then about the onset of violence at the Capital. From that point until approximately 4:00 PM, over the next two hours and 40 minutes, the President stayed in the White House dining room attached to the Oval Office and watched this unprecedented assault take place at the Capital. We have testimony from several members of the President’s White House staff establishing that President Trump refused entreaties from his closest advisors and family members to tell his supporters to stand down and leave the capital. Here’s the testimony of President Trump’s White House counsel Pat Cipollone.
Pat Cipollone: (01:53:44)
I can’t talk about conversations with the President, but I can generically that I said people need to be told, there needs to be a public announcement, fast, that they need to leave the Capital.
Ms. Cheney: (01:54:00)
And Pat, could you let us know approximately when you said that?
Pat Cipollone: (01:54:04)
Approximately when? Almost immediately after I found out people were getting into the Capital or approaching the Capital in a way that was violent.
Ms. Cheney: (01:54:15)
Who on the staff, did not want people to leave the Capital?
Pat Cipollone: (01:54:22)
On the staff?
Ms. Cheney: (01:54:24)
In the White House.
Pat Cipollone: (01:54:25)
I don’t think of anybody on that day who didn’t want people to get out of the Capital, particularly once the violence started. No, I mean…
Mr. Schiff: (01:54:48)
What about the President?
Ms. Cheney: (01:54:49)
Pat Cipollone: (01:54:51)
Well she said the staff, so I answered.
Ms. Cheney: (01:54:55)
No, I said in the White House.
Pat Cipollone: (01:54:58)
Oh, I’m sorry. I apologize. I thought you said who else on the staff. Yeah, I can’t reveal communications, but obviously I think, you know. Yeah.
Mr. Raskin: (01:55:28)
Mr. Cipollone’s testimony is corroborated by multiple other White House staff members, including Cassidy Hutchinson. Here’s Ms. Hutchinson describing what she heard from Mark Meadows.
Cassidy Hutchinson: (01:55:40)
He had said something to the effect of, you heard him Pat, he doesn’t want to do anything anymore. He doesn’t think they’re doing anything wrong.
Mr. Raskin: (01:55:52)
A former White House employee with national security duties similarly recalled an exchange between Mr. Cipollone and Eric Herschman about President Trump’s inaction against the mob assault underway at the Capital. Mr. Herschmann said something to Mr. Cipollone. “He seemed to relay that, you know, the President didn’t want anything done.” Throughout this period some of the President’s, most important political allies, family members and senior staff all begged him to tell his supporters to disperse and go home. They included Sean Hannity, Laura Ingram, and other allies at Fox News, his son, Donald Trump, Jr., the house minority leader Kevin McCarthy, others in Congress and officials in the cabinet and the Executive branch. All of them made appeals to Donald Trump, which he rejected and he ignored. The Select committee interviewed several people who were in the dining room with Donald Trump that afternoon, and every single one of these witnesses told us that he was watching the violent battles rage on television. He did not call his Secretary of Defense or the National Guard, the Chief of the Capital Police or the chief of the Metropolitan Police Department.
Speaker 18: (01:57:10)
And to your knowledge, was the President in that private dining room the whole time that the attack on the Capital was going on? Or did he ever go to again, only to your knowledge, to the Oval Office, to the White House situation room, anywhere else?
Kayleigh McEnany: (01:57:26)
To the best of my recollection. He was always in the dining room.
Speaker 21: (01:57:30)
What did they say, Mr. Meadows or the President at all during that brief encounter that you were in the dining room? What do you recall?
Gen. Keith Kellogg: (01:57:36)
I think they were, he was watching the TV.
Speaker 19: (01:57:38)
Do you know whether he was watching TV in the dining room when you talked to him on January 6th?
Molly Michael: (01:57:46)
It’s my understanding he was watching television.
Speaker 22: (01:57:49)
When you were in the dining room in these discussions, was the violence of the Capitol visible on the screen on the television?
Pat Cipollone: (01:57:53)
Mr. Raskin: (01:58:02)
As the president watched the bloody attack unfold on Fox News from his dining room, members of Congress and other government officials stepped into the gigantic leadership void created by the president’s chilling and studied passivity that day. What you’re about to see is previously unseen footage of congressional leaders, both Republicans and Democrats, is they were taken to a secure location during the riot. You’ll see how everyone involved was working actively to stop the violence, to get federal law enforcement deployed to the scene, to put down the violence and secure the capital complex. Not just Democrats like Speaker Nancy Pelosi and House Majority leader Steny Hoyer, but Republicans like Vice President Pence, Senate majority leader Mitch McConnell, majority whip John Thune and countless other appointees across the Administration. All of them did what President Trump was not doing, what he simply refused to do. Take a listen.
Speaker 17: (01:59:08)
We’re we’re starting to get surrounded. They’re taking the north front scaffolding this. Unless we get more munitions, we are not going to be able to hold. A door has been breached and people are gaining access into the Capital.
Nancy Pelosi: (01:59:28)
We have to finish the proceedings or else they will have a complete victory.
Nancy Pelosi: (01:59:37)
Senator Schumer is at a secure location and they’re locked down in the Senate. There has to be some way we can maintain the sense that people have, that there’s some security or some confidence that government can function and that we can elect the President of the United States. Did we go back into session?
Speaker 23: (02:00:00)
We did go back into session, but now apparently everybody on the floor is putting on tear gas masks to prepare for a breach. I’m trying to get more information.
Nancy Pelosi: (02:00:11)
They’re putting on their?
Speaker 23: (02:00:12)
Tear gas masks.
Nancy Pelosi: (02:00:15)
Do you believe this?
Speaker 24: (02:00:15)
Speaker 25: (02:00:15)
Bring her out. Bring her out here. We’re coming in if you don’t bring her out.
Chuck Schumer: (02:00:17)
I’m going to call up the ‘effing secretary of DOD. We have some Senators who are still in their hideaways. They need massive personnel now? Can you get the Maryland National Guard to come too?
Nancy Pelosi: (02:00:46)
I have something to say, Mr. Secretary. Well, I’m going to call the mayor of Washington, D.C. right now and see what other outreach she has, other police departments as Steny, as Leader Hoyer has mentioned.
Speaker 26: (02:01:04)
Get him up. Up. Officer down. Hold up, get up. Hold up.
Nancy Pelosi: (02:01:13)
Hi Governor, this is Nancy. Governor, I don’t know if you have been approached about the Virginia National Guard. Mr. Hoyer was speaking to Governor Hogan, but I still think you probably need the okay of the federal government in order to come into another jurisdiction. Thank you. Oh my gosh. They’re just breaking windows. They’re doing all kinds, it’s really that somebody, they said somebody was shot. It’s just, it’s just horrendous and all at the instigation of the President of the United States. Okay, Thank you Governor. I appreciate what you’re doing and if you don’t mind, I’d like to stay in touch. Thank you. Thank you. Bye-bye,
Speaker 27: (02:01:58)
Virginia Guard has been called in.
Nancy Pelosi: (02:02:00)
You. I’m just showing to Governor Northam and what he said is they sent 200 state police and a unit of the National Guard. They’re breaking windows and going in, obviously ransacking our offices and all the rest of that. That’s nothing. The concern we have about personal harm-
Chuck Schumer: (02:02:25)
Nancy Pelosi: (02:02:25)
Personal safety is it just transcends everything. But the fact is, on any given day, they’re breaking the law in many different ways. And quite frankly, much of it at the instigation of the President of the United States. And now if he could, could at least, somebody-
Chuck Schumer: (02:02:44)
Yeah. Why don’t you get the President to tell them to leave the capital, Mr. Attorney General in your law enforcement responsibility. A public statement. They should all leave
USA! USA! USA! USA! USA! USA! USA!
Chuck Schumer: (02:03:02)
This cannot be just, we’re waiting for so and so. We need them there now, whoever you got.
Steny Hoyer: (02:03:08)
You have, you also have troops. This is Study Hoyer, troops, Fort McNair, Andrew’s Air Force Base. Active duty, National Guard.
Chuck Schumer: (02:03:19)
How soon in the future can you have the place evacuated? You know, cleaned out.
Speaker 28: (02:03:25)
I don’t want to speak for the leadership that’s going to be, that’s responsible for executing the operation. So I’m not going to say that because they’re the on the ground and they’re the experts.
Nancy Pelosi: (02:03:39)
Well, just pretend for a moment that it were the Pentagon or the White House or some other entity that was under siege. And let me say, you can logistically get people there as you make the plan.
Nancy Pelosi: (02:04:06)
We’re trying to figure out how we can get this job done today. We talked to Mitch about it earlier. He’s not in the room right now, but he was with us earlier. And said, “yeah we want to expedite this and hopefully, they could confine it to just one complaint, Arizona.” And then we could vote and then just move forward with the rest of the state.
Nancy Pelosi: (02:04:28)
The overriding wish is to do it at the Capitol. What we are being told very directly is it’s going to take days for the Capitol to be okay again. We’ve gotten a very bad report about the condition of the house floor. There’s defecation and all that kind of thing as well. I don’t think that that’s hard to clean up, but I do think it is more from a security standpoint of making sure that everybody is out of the building. And how long will that take? I just got off with the vice president.
Speaker 29: (02:05:02)
And I got off with the vice president elect, so I’ll tell you what she said.
Nancy Pelosi: (02:05:06)
Okay. But what we left the conversation with, because he said he had the impression for Mitch that Mitch wants to get everybody back to do it there.
Speaker 29: (02:05:15)
Nancy Pelosi: (02:05:15)
I said that, well, we’re getting a counterpoint, that is that could take time to clean up the poo poo that they’re making all over, literally and figuratively, in the Capitol. And that it may take days to get back.
Mike Pence: (02:05:31)
And so I’m at the Capitol building. I’m literally standing with the Chief of Police of the US Capitol Police. He just informed me what you will hear through official channels. Paul Irving, your sergeant at arms, will inform you that their best information is that they believe that the House and the Senate will be able to reconvene in roughly an hour.
Speaker 29: (02:05:53)
Mike Pence: (02:05:53)
The Sergeant at Arms will be in touch about the process for getting members back into the building.
Nancy Pelosi: (02:06:08)
Thank you very much Mr. Vice President. [inaudible 02:06:08] Good news.
Mr. Raskin: (02:06:17)
In this video you just saw Senator Chuck Schumer urging acting Attorney General Jeff Rosen to get President Trump to call off the riders. Of course, acting AG Rosen did take action to defend the government, as did many other officials. But congressional leadership recognized on a bipartisan basis that President Trump was the only person who could get the mob to end its violent siege of the Congress, leave the Capitol and go home. Here’s Senator McConnell speaking after January 6th about how President Trump abandoned his duties and failed to do his job.
Mitch McConnell: (02:06:52)
It was obvious that only President Trump could end this. He was the only one who could. Former aides publicly begged him to do so. Loyal allies frantically called the administration. The president did not act swiftly. He did not do his job. He didn’t take steps so federal law could be faithfully executed and order restored. No.
Mr. Raskin: (02:07:33)
In the midst of this a violent chaos, Kevin McCarthy implored Donald Trump to tell his supporters in the mob to leave the Capitol. And when that didn’t work, McCarthy called Trump’s adult children to try to get them to intercede with Trump to call off the insurrectionary violence.
Mr. Raskin: (02:07:54)
In our prior hearings, we showed you a description of what McCarthy told Republican congresswoman, Jaime Herrera Beutler, about his conversation with Trump during the violence. Another witness, Mick Mulvaney, President Trump’s former chief of staff, has also come forward and corroborated her shocking account.
Jaime Herrera Beutler: (02:08:11)
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 it’s happening. He said, “Well, Kevin, these aren’t my people. These are Antifa.”
Jaime Herrera Beutler: (02:08:34)
And Kevin responded and said, “No, they’re your people. They literally just came through my office windows and my staff are running for cover. I mean, they’re running for their lives. You need to call them off.” And 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.”
Jaime Herrera Beutler: (02:08:53)
And that’s, 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, “No, I’m okay with this.”
Mick Mulvaney: (02:09:05)
I had a conversation at some point in the day or week after the riot with Kevin McCarthy. Yeah, it was very similar to what Jaime had, the conversation she had retold about how he called and asked the president to get them to stop. And the president told him something along the lines of, “Kevin, maybe these people are just more angry about this than you are, maybe more upset.” I had the conversation similar to that with Kevin in the day to week after the riot.
Mr. Raskin: (02:09:38)
And we know how Kevin McCarthy described President Trump’s conduct both in public and in private.
Kevin McCarthy: (02:09:46)
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. Accept his share of responsibility, quell the brewing unrest and ensure President elect Biden is able to successfully begin his term.
Kevin McCarthy: (02:10:12)
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 need to acknowledge that.
Mr. Raskin: (02:10:39)
At 2:24 PM, knowing the deadly riot was now bearing down on his own vice president, President Trump composed and sent a Tweet attacking Vice President Pence, accusing him of cowardice for not unilaterally rejecting electoral college votes for Joe Biden and simply handing Trump the presidency. The impact of that tweet was foreseeable and predictable. It further inflamed the mob which was chanting, “Hang Mike Pence,” and provoked them to even greater violence.
Mr. Raskin: (02:11:09)
This deliberate decision to further enrage the mob against Vice President Pence cannot be justified by anything that President Trump might’ve thought about the election. The tweet came precisely at the time Pence’s Secret Service detail was most seriously concerned for the vice president’s physical safety. We’ve obtained new documents from the Secret Service, real time chats that underscore the threat they knew the vice president would be facing because of the president’s escalating incitement of the mob.
Mr. Raskin: (02:11:47)
After Trump’s tweet, one agent in the Secret Services Intelligence division immediately warned, “POTUS just tweeted about Pence, probably not going to be good for Pence.” Another agent reported the dramatic impact of Trump’s anti-Pence Tweet on his followers. “POTUS said he lacked courage. Over 24,000 likes in under two minutes.” Employees at Twitter were nervously monitoring the situation. They knew that certain Twitter users were riding at the Capitol and tweeting about it at the same time.
Mr. Raskin: (02:12:24)
As the afternoon progressed, the company detected a surge in violent hashtags on the platform, including lines of lethal incitement like, “Execute Mike Pence.” Listen to this former Twitter employee, Anika Navaroli, who first came to the committee anonymously but has now bravely agreed to be named because she wants to speak out about the magnitude of the threats facing our people.
Speaker 30: (02:12:49)
And you were also seeing content on the platform at that time that was threatening towards the Vice President, #executeMikePence.
Anika Collier Navaroli: (02:12:59)
They were literally calling for his execution.
Speaker 30: (02:13:01)
As this tweet was going out?
Anika Collier Navaroli: (02:13:03)
Yes. And after, in response to this tweet too, because I think as many of Donald Trump’s tweets, it again fanned the flames. And it was individuals who were already constructing gallows, who were already willing and able and wanting to execute someone and looking for someone to be killed. Now, the individual who has called upon them to begin this coup is now pointing the finger at another individual while they’re ready to do this.
Mr. Raskin: (02:13:38)
Here’s a small sample of the reactions that President Trump’s fan the flames tweet provoked among Capitol rioters in real time.
Speaker 31: (02:13:49)
What percentage of the crowd is gone to the Capitol?
Jessica Watkins: (02:13:52)
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.
Speaker 32: (02:14:02)
Mike Pence will not stick up for Donald Trump. Mike Pence, traitor. Mike Pence the traitor.
Speaker 33: (02:14:02)
Mike Pence has screwed us. In case you haven’t heard yet.
Speaker 34: (02:14:02)
What happened? What happened?
Speaker 33: (02:14:18)
I keep hearing that Mike Pence has screwed us. That’s the word. I keep hearing reports that Mike Pence has screwed us.
Mr. Raskin: (02:14:27)
Between 2:30 and 2:35, within 10 minutes of President Trump’s tweet, thousands of riders overran the line that the Metropolitan Police forces’ civil disturbance unit was holding on the west side of the Capitol. This was the first time in the history of the Metropolitan Police Department that a security line like that had ever been broken.
Mr. Raskin: (02:14:45)
President Trump’s conduct that day was so shameful and so outrageous that it prompted numerous members of the White House staff and other Trump appointees to resign. In prior hearings, you’ve heard Deputy National Security Advisor, Matt Pottinger, and Deputy White House Press secretary, Sarah Matthews, explain why they felt compelled to resign on that day.
Mr. Raskin: (02:15:05)
Since then, we’ve spoken to more high ranking officials like President Trump’s envoy to Northern Ireland and former chief of staff, Mick Mulvaney, and transportation secretary, Elaine Chao, who resigned after the sixth in protest of Trump’s misconduct and to dissociate themselves from his role in the violence. Take a listen to what they had to say.
Mick Mulvaney: (02:15:27)
I was stunned by the violence. And was stunned by the president’s apparent indifference to the violence. Now is the time for the president to be presidential. I thought he failed at doing it. I thought he failed at a critical time to be the sort of leader that the nation needed.
Elaine Chao: (02:15:47)
I think the events at the Capitol, however they occurred, were shocking. And it was something that, as I mentioned in my statement, that I could not put aside. And at a particular point, the events were such that it was impossible for me to continue given my personal values and my philosophy. I came as an immigrant to this country. I believe in this country. I believe in a peaceful transfer of power. I believe in democracy. And so, it was a decision that I made on my own.
Mr. Raskin: (02:16:28)
When security assistants began to arrive at the Capitol and the tide turned against the insurrection, President Trump finally gave his painfully belated instruction at 4:17 PM. After multiple hours of rioting and more than 100 serious injuries suffered by our law enforcement officers, the crowd finally began to disperse. Listen carefully to what they said as they decided to leave the Capitol.
Speaker 35: (02:16:54)
I’m here delivering the President’s message. Donald Trump has asked everybody to go home. [inaudible 02:17:03].
Speaker 36: (02:16:56)
That’s our order.
Speaker 37: (02:17:07)
[inaudible 02:17:07] He says, “Go home. He says, “Go home.” [inaudible 02:17:12].
Speaker 38: (02:17:11)
Yeah, he said to go home. [inaudible 02:17:17]
Mr. Raskin: (02:17:19)
Finally, it’s 6:01. President Trump tweeted again not to condemn the mass violence in any way, but rather to excuse and glorify it. Significantly, he made it clear that he considered the violence perfectly foreseeable and predictable. Check it out.
Mr. Raskin: (02:17:34)
“These are the things and events that happen when a sacred landslide election victory is so unceremoniously, viciously, stripped away from great patriots who have been badly, unfairly treated for so long. These are the things that happened,” he said, giving the whole game away. Trump was telling us that the vice President, the Congress, and all the injured and wounded cops, some of whom are with us today, got what was coming to us.
Mr. Raskin: (02:18:01)
According to Trump, January 6th should not be a day that lives in shame and infamy in our history, but rather in glory. “Remember this day forever,” he wrote proudly as if he were talking about D-Day or the Battle of Yorktown. Trump did nothing to stop the deadly violence for obvious reasons. He thought it was all justified. He incited it and he supported it.
Pat Cipollone: (02:18:25)
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 two o’clock and 4:17 when the video statement came? Would that have been possible?
Speaker 39: (02:18:41)
Would it have been possible?
Pat Cipollone: (02:18:42)
Speaker 39: (02:18:42)
Yes, it would have been possible.
Sarah Matthews: (02:18:45)
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.
Mr. Raskin: (02:19:15)
Mr. Chairman, nothing in law or fact could justify the President’s failure to act.
Pat Cipollone: (02:19:23)
And I assume you also would agree, the President has a particular obligation to take care that the law has been faithfully executed.
Speaker 39: (02:19:32)
That is one of the president’s obligations, correct.
Mr. Raskin: (02:19:36)
Mr. Chairman, in numerous places, our constitution strongly opposes insurrection and rebellion. Article one gives Congress the power to call forth the militia to suppress insurrections. Section three of the 14th Amendment disqualified from holding federal and state office anyone who has sworn an oath to defend the constitution but betrays it by engaging in insurrection or rebellion.
Mr. Raskin: (02:20:02)
It was President Lincoln at the start of the Civil War in 1861 who best explained why democracy rejects insurrection. “Insurrection,” he said, “Is a war upon the first principle of popular government, the rights of the people.” American democracy belongs to all the American people, not to a single man. Thank you Mr. Chairman. I yield back.
Bennie Thompson: (02:20:27)
The gentleman yields back. During this committee’s first hearing in July of last year, our witnesses were four police officers who helped repel the riots of January 6th. We asked them what they hoped to see the committee accomplish over the course of our investigation.
Bennie Thompson: (02:20:48)
Officer Gonell wanted to know why the rioters were made to believe that the election process was rigged. Officer Fanone asked us to look into the actions and activities that resulted in the day’s events. Officer Hodges was concerned about whether anyone in power had a role. Officer Dunn put it simply, “Get to the bottom of what happened.”
Bennie Thompson: (02:21:17)
We’ve worked for more than a year to get those answers. We’ve conducted more than 1,000 interviews and depositions. We received and reviewed hundreds of thousands of pages of documents. Thank to the tireless work of our members and investigators we have left no doubt, none that Donald Trump led an effort to upend American democracy that directly resulted in the violence of January 6th.
Bennie Thompson: (02:21:50)
He tried to take away the voice of the American people in choosing their president and replace the will of the voters with his will to remain in power. He is the one person at the center of the story of what happened on January 6th. We want to hear from him. The committee needs to do everything in our power to tell the most complete story possible and provide recommendations to help ensure nothing like January 6th ever happens again.
Bennie Thompson: (02:22:24)
We need to be fair and thorough and gain a full context for the evidence we’ve obtained. But the need for this committee to hear from Donald Trump’s goes beyond our fact finding. This is a question about accountability to the American people. He must be accountable. He is required to answer for his actions. He is required to answer to those police officers who put their lives and bodies on the line to defend our democracy. He is required to answer to those millions of Americans who votes he wanted to throw out as part of his scheme to remain in power.
Bennie Thompson: (02:23:08)
And whatever is underway to ensure this accountability under law, this committee will demand a full accounting to every American person of the events of January 6th. It is our obligation to seek Donald Trump’s testimony. There’s precedent in American history for Congress to compel the testimony of a President. There’s also precedent for presidents to provide testimony and documentary evidence to congressional investigators.
Bennie Thompson: (02:23:43)
We also recognize that a subpoena to a former president is a serious and extraordinary action. That’s why we want to take this step in full view of the American people, especially because the subject matter at issue is so important to the American people and the stakes are so high for our future and our democracy. And so, I recognize the Vice Chair, Ms. Cheney of Wyoming, to offer a motion.
Liz Cheney: (02:24:18)
Mr. Chairman, pursuant to today’s notice, I send to the desk a committee resolution and ask for its immediate consideration.
Bennie Thompson: (02:24:27)
The clerk will report the resolution.
Committee resolution one resolved that the chairman be and is hereby directed to subpoena Donald J. Trump for documents and testimony in connection with the January 6th attack on the United States Capitol, pursuant to section 5C4 of House resolution 503 and clause 2M of Rule 11 of the rules of the House of Representatives.
Bennie Thompson: (02:24:54)
This young woman from Wyoming is recognized on her resolution.
Liz Cheney: (02:24:59)
Thank you Mr. Chairman. Mr. Chairman, our committee now has sufficient information to answer many of the critical questions posed by Congress at the outset. We have sufficient information to consider criminal referrals for multiple individuals and to recommend a range of legislative proposals to guard against another January 6th.
Liz Cheney: (02:25:22)
But a key task remains. We must seek the testimony under oath of January 6th central player. More than 30 witnesses in our investigation have invoked their Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination. And several of those did so specifically in response to questions about their dealings with Donald Trump directly. Here are a few examples. This is Roger Stone with Oath Keepers at the Willard Hotel on the morning of January 6th. And here is Mr. Stone testifying before our committee.
Speaker 40: (02:26:04)
Did you speak to President Trump on his private cell phone on either January 5th or January 6th?
Roger Stone: (02:26:08)
Once again, on advice of counsel, I will assert my Fifth Amendment right to respectfully decline to answer your question.
Liz Cheney: (02:26:16)
This is General Michael Flynn walking with Oath Keepers on December 12th, 2020. And here is General Flynn’s testimony before our committee.
Speaker 41: (02:26:28)
Did you, General Flynn, talk to President Trump at any point on January 6th, 2021?
Michael Flynn: (02:26:36)
Liz Cheney: (02:26:40)
Here is John Eastman fraudulently instructing tens of thousands of angry protestors that the vice president could change the election outcome on January 6th. Later on this same day, Dr. Eastman acknowledged in writing that Donald Trump knew what he was attempting was illegal. Here is John Eastman testifying Before our committee,
Speaker 42: (02:27:05)
Did President Trump authorize you to discuss publicly your January 4th, 2021 conversation with him?
John Eastman: (02:27:11)
Speaker 42: (02:27:11)
Is it your position that you can discuss in the media direct conversations you had with the President of the United States, but you will not discuss those same conversations with this committee?
John Eastman: (02:27:23)
Liz Cheney: (02:27:24)
Here is Jeff Clark, who conspired with Donald Trump to corrupt the Department of Justice. President Trump wanted to appoint Jeff Clark as Acting Attorney General. And as you can see in this call log we obtain from the National Archives, he did so. And here is Mr. Clark testifying before our committee.
Speaker 42: (02:27:47)
Mr. Clark, when did you first talk directly with President Trump?
Jeffrey Clark: (02:27:51)
Speaker 42: (02:27:53)
Mr. Clark, did you discuss with President Trump allegations of fraud in the 2020 election?
Jeffrey Clark: (02:28:00)
Liz Cheney: (02:28:02)
Other witnesses have also gone to enormous lengths to avoid testifying about their dealings with Donald Trump. Steve Bannon has been tried and convicted by a jury of his peers for contempt of Congress. He is scheduled to be sentenced for this crime later this month. Criminal proceedings regarding Peter Navarro continue. And Mark Meadows, Donald Trump’s former Chief of staff, has refused to testify based upon executive privilege. The committee’s litigation with him continues.
Liz Cheney: (02:28:33)
Mr. Chairman, at some point the Department of Justice may well unearth the facts that these and other witnesses are currently concealing. But our duty today is to our country and our children and our Constitution. We are obligated to seek answers directly from the man who set this all in motion. And every American is entitled to those answers so we can act now to protect our republic.
Liz Cheney: (02:29:04)
This afternoon, I am offering this resolution that the committee direct the chairman to issue a subpoena for relevant documents and testimony under oath from Donald John Trump in connection with the January 6th attack on the United States Capitol. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I yield back.
Bennie Thompson: (02:29:26)
This young lady yields back. If there is no further debate, the question is on agreeing to the resolution. Those in favor will say aye.
Bennie Thompson: (02:29:38)
Those opposed it is no. In the opinion of the chair, the ayes have it.
Liz Cheney: (02:29:43)
Ms. Chairman, I request a recorded vote.
Bennie Thompson: (02:29:46)
A recorded vote is requested. The clerk will call the role.
Liz Cheney: (02:29:52)
Ms. Cheney, aye. Ms. Lofgren?
Ms. Lofgren: (02:29:55)
Ms. Lofgren, aye. Mr. Schiff?
Mr. Schiff: (02:30:00)
Mr. Schiff, aye. Mr. Aguilar?
Mr. Aguilar: (02:30:04)
Mr. Aguilar, aye. Mrs. Murphy?
Mrs. Murphy: (02:30:07)
Mrs. Murphy, aye. Mr. Raskin?
Mr. Raskin: (02:30:11)
Mr. Raskin, aye. Mrs. Luria?
Mrs. Luria: (02:30:15)
Mrs. Luria, aye. Mr. Kinzinger?
Mr. Kinzinger: (02:30:18)
Mr. Kinzinger, aye. Mr. Chairman?
Bennie Thompson: (02:30:23)
Speaker 36: (02:30:24)
Mr. Chairman, aye.
Bennie Thompson: (02:30:28)
The clerk will report the vote.
Speaker 36: (02:30:30)
Mr. Chairman, on this vote, there are nine ayes and zero nos.
Bennie Thompson: (02:30:35)
The resolution is agreed to. Without objection, a motion to reconsider is laid on the table. The chair requests that those in the hearing room remain seated until the Capitol police have escorted members from the room. Without objection, the committee stands adjoined.