Thursday marked the start of the Jan. 6 committee’s most important task yet: persuading the public that Donald Trump didn’t just put off ending the violent Capitol mob; rather, he embraced the anarchy.
During its eighth public hearing, they painted a picture of a president who sat idle in the Oval Office and watched on TV as pro-Trump rioters tore through police lines and into the Capitol.
Although Trump’s public silence during much of the violence is already well-known, the panel claims the new information it is disclosing about what happened inside the West Wing will show he purposefully delayed intervening in the chaos until it was clear the mob had failed to prevent the certification of Joe Biden’s election.
The panel’s hearing on Thursday night was meant to have an explosive conclusion; it appears to be nearing its conclusion.
Through its investigation, a host of extraordinary new lines of inquiry have become available. Ranging from Secret Service agents’ deletion of text conversations in the days leading up to January 6, to Trump’s own White House counsel’s office’s reservations about the legality of his intentions for that day.
In September, the committee will meet again to continue informing the American people about the coordinated, multi-step campaign to overturn an election overseen and directed by Donald Trump, according to Thompson.
Two former Trump White House officials, Sarah Matthews and Matthew Pottinger, are the hearing’s recognized witnesses.
However, some panelists included lengthy video snippets of witness interviews, demonstrating the enormous network of Trump friends who attempted to further his agenda.
The now-famous “187 minutes,” or the time between 1:10 p.m. when Trump urged his supporters to march on the Capitol and 4:17 p.m. when Trump haltingly instructed them to leave, were the subject of intense focus during the hearing.
When Trump ordered a throng to descend on Congress while former vice president Mike Pence oversaw the certification of Biden’s election, rioters had already broken through police lines and it is believed that Trump was aware that the crowd included armed supporters. The committee’s evidence also reveals that Trump struggled to go to the Capitol with his followers and became enraged when Secret Service officials and advisers informed him that it was too risky.
Trump then sat in the White House and watched television as the Capitol was under increasing siege. Trump was watching news footage of the incident as it developed, according to a number of advisers, including Cipollone, press secretary Kayleigh McEnany, Molly Michael, Trump’s executive assistant, and national security advisor Keith Kellogg.
In order to highlight what individuals beyond Capitol Hill, including the president who was watching TV, were witnessing on the day of the attack, the select panel is also probably going to show news footage from that day during the hearing on Thursday, according to Luria.
But in his attempt to rig the election, Trump called allies rather than security services or military authorities. He incited the mob at one of the most dangerous times of the attack by tweeting aggressively at Pence as Pence was being escorted from the Senate chamber to a secure loading dock beneath the Capitol. He then called allied MPs, pleading with them to keep contesting the results and postpone business for that day.