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January 6 Hearing Recap Trumps Attempted Coup Comes Into Focus
Capitol Attack

January 6 Hearing Recap: Trump’s Attempted Coup Comes Into Focus

Thursday night’s prime-time January 6 committee hearing explored the 187 minutes that Donald Trump refused to call off his violent mob during the Capitol insurrection, featuring damning live and video testimony from former senior officials, along with text messages from GOP allies, family members, and Fox News hosts. The message, over and over, was that those close to Trump wanted him to do something for hours. Instead, he watched TV. 

The latest public hearing follows previous proceedings in which the bipartisan congressional committee further exposed Trump’s election lies (which even some close allies privately dismissed); his pressure campaigns on Mike Pence and Republican state election officials; his efforts to subvert the Justice Department; his allegedly heated exchange with Secret Service agents; and the role of right-wing extremist groups in the deadly attack on the U.S. Capitol, an attempt to stop the certification of Joe Biden’s clear and decisive victory. 

The hearings will continue in September. As Rep. Liz Cheney said, “Doors have opened, new subpoenas have been issued, and the dam has begun to break.”

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January 6 Panel Closes Hearing With Warning: "Our Committee Understands the Gravity of This Moment"

Elaine Luria closed the January 6’s committee’s explosive prime time hearing by quoting from Abraham Lincoln’s Lyceum address: “If destruction be our lot, we must ourselves be its author and finisher,” Lincoln was quoted as saying in the speech.

Donald Trump was the author,” Luria said. “And we the people, for ourselves and our posterity, should not let Donald Trump be the finisher.”

That marked the end of this series of hearings, which made a compelling case that Trump intentionally sought to overturn the 2020 election through a pressure campaign and by knowingly inciting violence among his supporters. But the hearing did not mark the end of the committee’s work: Liz Cheney opened the hearing by saying that earlier hearings have opened a “dam” of new evidence that the panel would review next month before returning for additional hearings in the fall.

Cheney praised the courage of those witnesses that already came forward — and scorned the “50, 60, and 70 year old men who hide themselves behind executive privilege.”

“We owe a debt to all of those who have or will appear here,” Cheney said. “The case against Donald Trump in these hearings is not made by witnesses who were his political enemies. “It is instead a series of confessions by Donald Trump’s own appointees…and his own family.”

And an effective series of confessions it was: In eight hearings, including two in primetime, the committee presented a damning case that Trump knowingly tried to pressure officials to overturn his loss and to “convince his supporters the election was stolen” in order to “help him remain president,” as Cheney put it. The panel painted a portrait of a man unbound by — and deeply hostile to — democratic norms, and a Republican party aware of his malfeasance but standing by him anyway. It remains to be seen if the committee will break through to the American public, to Attorney General Merrick Garland — but it is vowing to continue its investigation.

“Our committee understands the gravity of this moment,” Cheney said in her closing statement. “We have much work yet to do, and we will see you all in September.”

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Liz Cheney: These Are “Confessions” From Trump’s Own Circle

As Liz Cheney points out, throughout the January 6 hearings, damning testimony against Donald Trump has primarily come from Republicans, and in particular, the former president’s political allies and family members. 

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Kinzinger Delivers Powerful Closing Statement on Trump's "Stain on Our History"

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Kevin McCarthy: "I've Had It With This Guy"

The January 6 committee played audio of House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, who has since continued to publicly support the former president and his political movement, saying that Donald Trump “bears responsibility” for the attack and should resign.

“I’ve had it with this guy,” McCarthy said in the audio played by the committee.

McCarthy wasn't alone. Representative Elaine Luria showed other Trump allies privately venting about his actions, including a January 9 text message from former campaign communications manager Tim Murtaugh blasting him for failing to acknowledge the death of a Capitol police officer in the attack. “No way he acknowledges something that could ultimately be his fault,” he wrote. 

“Donald Trump refused to take the urgent advice he received that day, not from his opponents or from the political media, but from his own family, his own friends, his own staff, and his own advisers," Adam Kinzinger said. "Still, he refused to lead and to meet the moment to honor his oath. It was only after the vice president and the members of congress were in secure locations and the officers defending the Capitol began to turn the tide that then President Trump engaged in the political theater of telling the mob to go home.

“Even then,” Kinzinger added, “he told them all they were ‘special’ and that he ‘loved them.’”

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Pence’s Secret Service Detail Feared Trump’s Mob

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Trump, Unfiltered: “I Don’t Want To Say the Election is Over”

In a revealing outtake from his video message on January 7, a day after the 2020 election was certified in Congress, the former president refused to say it was over. 

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Pottinger: January 6 "Emboldened Our Enemies"

Matthew Pottinger testified that the Capitol attack “emboldened our enemies by helping give them ammunition to feed a narrative that our system of government doesn't work, that the United States is in decline.”

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“January 6 helped feed a perception that I think emboldens our adversaries,” Pottinger told the committee. 

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Kinzinger: Rudy Giuliani Tried To Pressure GOP Lawmakers To Delay Certification — After the Capitol Attack

According to Adam Kinzinger, Rudy Giuliani called several Republican lawmakers following the Capitol attack in an effort to continue his pressure campaign to overturn the results of Donald Trump's election loss. 

Giuliani called Jim Jordan, Marsha Blackburn, Tommy Tuberville, Bill Hagerty, Josh Hawley, Lindsey Graham, and Ted Cruz

“Giuliani did not even mention the attack on the Capitol,” Kinzinger said. 

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Matthews Says She Resigned After "Indefensible" Inaction from Trump

Sarah Matthews told the January 6 committee that she knew she was leave the White House after Donald Trump allowed the attack on Capitol Hill to continue for hours: “His refusal to act and call off the mob that day…was indefensible,” she said. “I knew that I would be resigning that evening."

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Donald Trump, In "Off-the-Cuff" Raw Footage of Address to Supporters: "This Was A Fraudulent Election"

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Matthews: White House Worried Trump Condemning Supporters Would Be "Handing A Win to the Media"

Sarah Matthews testified Thursday that White House officials were “concerned with the politics” of Donald Trump's response to the January 6 riot.

According to Matthews, there was concern that Trump rebuking his supporters would be “handing a win to the media.”

“I became visibly frustrated,” Matthews said. “I couldn’t believe we were arguing over this.”

Matthews said she gestured at the violence playing out on television. “I said, ‘Do you think it looks like we’re f-ing winning?’”

Matthews also said that Ivanka Trump helped convince her father to urge his supporters to “stay peaceful” in his tweet. 

Adam Kinzinger played additional testimony from Jared Kushner, who told the committee that then-Chief of Staff Mark Meadows was “scared” and trying to get the president to call the attackers off. 

“The president still did not act,” Kinzinger said. 

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How Extremist Rioters Reacted To Donald Trump's January 6 Tweets

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Kinzinger: Even Donald Trump Jr. Recognized Riot Was Dangerously Escalating

Adam Kinzinger emphasized how desperately people around Donald Trump urged him to call off the attack, highlighting the fact that the former president's own son evidently thought his actions were inadequate. 

Trump issued two tweets after sitting in the White House dining room: one urging rioters to “stay peaceful,” and another asking that they “remain peaceful.”

Donald Trump Jr. texted Mark Meadows soon after: “He's got to condemn this shit. Asap.”

“Almost everybody wanted President Trump to instruct the mob to disperse,” Kinzinger said, pointing to messages from Trump's own family, allies in the conservative media, and testimony from former White House counsel Pat Cipollone. “President Trump refused.”

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Josh Hawley Flees

The committee aired footage of Senator Josh Hawley, an election-denier who raised his fist in solidarity with the MAGA mob, later running from the rioters. 

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Witnesses Say Trump Gave "Green Light" To Supporters To Go After Mike Pence

Matthew Pottinger said he decided to resign from the Trump administration after the former president issued a tweet attacking Mike Pence — as MAGA rioters called for the ex-veep's execution. 

“I simply didn’t want to be associated with the events that were unfolding at the Capitol,” Pottinger testified Thursday. 

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Sarah Matthews also condemned that tweet in her testimony Thursday, saying it was “essentially him giving the green light to these people” to threaten Pence. Trump's supporters “truly latch onto ever word and every tweet that he says," Matthews testified. “It was him pouring gasoline on the fire and making it much worse.”

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Jan 6 Hearings Reveal Cracks in the Trump Family Facade

Anyone who’s spent any time thinking about the Trump family knows that their core value is flash. It’s not just the gilded everything or the general showmanship, though those are deeply held beliefs to them in their own right. But it’s mostly rooted to a commitment to a public front—an almost militant diligence to an image and narrative that Donald Trump is the best and the brightest and most beloved, and his children are foot soldiers deeply committed to publicly portraying that. 

It’s been that way since they were kids; in nearly every interview they’ve done over the last three decades, all three of his eldest children have stuck to a set of stories and stock answers that further that image. It was certainly true throughout the campaign and well into his time in The White House. Of course, that sometimes flew in the face of Ivanka Trump’s own publicity campaign, in which she was positioned as the moderating voice in the West Wing (until this positioning no longer suited her, and then it was abandoned). But even when moments of disagreement between Ivanka and her father leaked (and they always leaked! Particularly when they disagreed about something the sorts of people she would generally socialize with would object to), Ivanka would insist that she voiced her disagreement in private and that she fully supported her father. Their armor would remain intact.

The committee, however, made those disagreements plain. During its first public hearing, the committee showed an interview clip from her eight-hour deposition in which Ivanka testified that she had been “affected” by former Attorney General Bill Barr disputing her father’s claims of widespread fraud. "I respect Attorney General Barr,” she said. “So I accepted what he was saying." The committee also continued to hammer that Ivanka and her brothers were concerned about his mood and what he would say at the rally. In her testimony she said that a conversation between her father and Vice President Mike Pence before he left the White House “was pretty heated.” Her chief of staff, Julie Radford, testified that Ivanka “felt like she might be able to help calm the situation down, at least before he went on to stage."

On Thursday, the committee played a clip of former Trump White House counsel Pat Cipollone testifying that he and others, including Ivanka, wanted Trump to urge rioters to leave the Capitol. At one point, according to Cipollone, chief of staff Mark Meadows said, “Get Ivanka down here.” Such testimony Thursday suggested that even members of Trump’s own family wanted him to stop. 

Forget, for a moment, what this might mean for the Trump family legally or politically, though that will be of great concern in the weeks and months to come. But, personally, the airing of these cracks in the facade are perhaps the most damaging. Those are the kinds of things that, in Trumpland, are nearly impossible to repair.

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Security Official on Threats to Mike Pence: "It Was Disturbing"

The committee is underscoring the stark contrast between the violent scene that was playing on on Capitol Hill with the willful inaction of the president at the time — including an account of Mike Pence's security detail “starting to fear for their own lives” as they attempted to bring the former vice president to safety. 

“It was disturbing,” a security official told the committee, in testimony presented Thursday evening. “There were calls to say goodbye to family members.”

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Trump Watched Violent Attack From Dining Room For Nearly Three Hours: Committee

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Luria: "Multiple Sources" Confirmed Trump Altercation With Security Detail

“Multiple sources” confirmed Cassidy Hutchinson's account of a confrontation between Donald Trump and a member of his security detail January 6, according to Democrat Elaine Luria. 

The White House aide had said Trump “lunged” toward a guard in a vehicle taking him to the White House following his speech that morning, in an effort to go with supporters to the Capitol. 

That explosive allegation previously received some pushback, including from Trump himself. 

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Security Official Told Committee White House Was "Aware" January 6 Crowd Was Armed

Congresswoman Elaine Luria, a Democrat leading the hearing, said Thursday that the committee had recently talked to a White House security official, who confirmed that administration officials were “aware of multiple reports” that members of the crowd on January 6 had weapons. 

“We were all in a state of shock," the official said in testimony aired by the committee Thursday evening. “This was no longer a rally.”

The assessment aligns with previous testimony from former White House aide Cassidy Hutchinson, who in an earlier hearing said Donald Trump knew ahead of his speech that day that his supporters were armed. “I don’t fucking care that they have weapons,” Trump allegedly said in a backstage exchange, minutes before addressing his supporters. “They’re not here to hurt me…Let my people in.”