Miss Day 8 of the Jan. 6 hearings? Trump’s inaction during the Capitol riot comes into focus


The special congressional committee investigating the Jan. 6 riots used its eighth day of public hearings on their findings to focus on former President Donald Trump’s inaction in stopping his supporters from swarming the Capitol.

Two former Trump administration officials — Matthew Pottinger and Sarah Matthews — testified in great detail about the three hours of Trump’s inaction.

Pottinger served as a deputy national security adviser, while Matthews worked as deputy White House press secretary. Both resigned in protest over the attack.

Here are the highlights from Day 8 of the hearing:

Watching television

Rep. Bennie Thompson, D-Miss, the committee’s chair, said the former president mostly watched television for roughly 187 minutes as the attack on the U.S. Capitol raged. He said Trump even ignored the pleas of his own family, including his children Donald Trump Jr. and Ivanka Trump, to call off the mob.

“This man of unbridled destructive energy could not be moved; not by his aides; not by his allies; not by the violent chants of rioters or the desperate pleas of those facing down the riot,” Thompson said.

September hearings on the way

The panel’s leaders also said their investigation will continue with public hearings in September as their investigation expands.

Rep. Liz Cheney, R-Wyo., the committee’s vice-chair, said they have discovered more evidence and new witnesses have “bravely stepped forward.” She said the committee will spend August examining that information.

“We have considerably more to do,” Cheney said.

Trump betrayed his oath

Rep. Elaine Luria, D-Virginia, said the former president “summoned the mob” to the Capitol and “sat in his dining room and watched the attack on television.”

Luria, a Navy veteran, said Trump was guilty of dereliction of duty and betrayed his oath of office. She said she served proudly for 20 years as many others have in the name of duty and country but that Trump “refused to act because of his selfish desire to stay in power.”

Kinzinger goes further

Rep. Adam Kinzinger, R-Illinois, one of two Republicans on the panel, went further, saying the former president deliberately “chose not to act” as rioters breached the Capitol building.

“The mob was accomplishing President Trump’s purpose. So of course he didn’t intervene,” Kinzinger, an Air Force veteran who flew missions in Iraq and Afghanistan, said. “President Trump did not fail to act during the 187 minutes before leaving the Ellipse and telling the mob to go home. He chose not to act.”

Jan. 6 committee evidence: Is the Jan. 6 committee sitting on explosive evidence of Trump’s role in the Capitol assault?

Watch: Rep. Schiff says Trump pressured election officials

Calling no one

The panel showed testimony from former White House officials detailing how Trump made no attempts to quell the violence even as Pentagon officials were trying to coordinate a response to the riot.

Former Senior Advisor Eric Herschmann told former White House counsel Pat Cipollone that Trump “didn’t want anything done.”

The former president did not reach out to local law enforcement, the Pentagon, the National Guard, the FBI or Homeland Security, according to witnesses.

Trump was lobbying senators on Jan. 6

Instead, Trump was reaching out to GOP senators during the riot about ways to change the 2020 election outcome.

Kayleigh McEnany, who served as White House press secretary, said in a videotaped testimony she left the president a list of lawmakers to contact.

The committee’s leaders said during the hearing the White House call log was empty, and they don’t yet know which senators Trump called on Jan. 6.

Remember Cassidy Hutchinson?

Two different witnesses backed up former White House aide Cassidy Hutchinson’s riveting testimony in an earlier hearing about a heated exchange in Trump’s motorcade during the Jan. 6 riot.

One of those witnesses, whose identity was protected, corroborated Hutchinson’s telling, saying the former president demanded to join the rioters.

If had been allowed, the witness said, the protest would have turned into an “insurrection, coup,” to overthrow the 2020 election.

Big question for Jan. 6 committee: Did Trump aide Mark Meadows help stop – or fuel – the insurrection?

More: 20 million people saw the prime-time Jan. 6 hearing. Here’s why Americans say they’re tuning in.

D.C. cop backs up Hutchinson too

Hutchinson had described Trump as irate about not being allowed to be a part of the march to the Capitol.

That testimony received pushback from anonymous sources with the Secret Service in the following days.

But Mark Robinson, a retired sergeant with the Metropolitan Police Department who was working in the presidential motorcade on Jan. 6, said in a videotaped testimony a Secret Service agent had told him the president was “heated.”

Hawley fleeing the mob

The committee put a spotlight on how lawmakers of both parties had to be evacuated and were afraid as the mob swarmed the Capitol.

It showed a picture of Sen. Josh Hawley of Missouri thrusting his fist in the air in support of the protesters when they had assembled at the building’s gates.

A Capitol Police officer told the panel how the gestured “riled up the crowd” even more.

Then the committee showed a video of Hawley, later that day, running through the Capitol to escape the mob when they breached the building.

Secret Service feared for their lives

The agents assigned to protect Vice President Mike Pence, who was at the Capitol during the riot, worried they might die.

“There were calls to say goodbye to family members,” a national security official told committee members.

More: Secret Service agents feared for their lives during Capitol attack, made goodbye phone calls

Attacking Pence led to resignation

Pottinger told the committee on Thursday Trump’s tweet on Jan. 6 attacking Pence for not supporting his plan to overturn the election was the “the opposite of what we really needed at that moment.”

It was then he decided to resign.

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

Kushner: McCarthy was ‘scared’

House Republican Leader Kevin McCarthy initially slammed the riot and Trump’s response.

Multiple witnesses said McCarthy called the former president pleading for him to intervene before showing his own aides fleeing their office.

House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., on April 6, 2022.

Eventually the GOP leader reached out to Trump’s son-in-law and special adviser, Jared Kushner, asking for him to get the president to do more to stop the violence.

“I got the sense that they were scared… that (McCarthy) was scared,” Kushner said.

Congressional leaders were furious

In never-before-seen photos and videos, the committee showed congressional leaders, including then-Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and Speaker Nancy Pelosi, telling Acting Secretary of Defense Chris Miller the building needed to be secured.

“We’re not going to let these people keep us from finishing our business,” McConnell told Miller.

Merrick Garland: Nothing to prevent investigating Trump or anyone else for Jan. 6 attack

More: Feds rest in Steve Bannon contempt case. Jan. 6 committee repeatedly warned of possible prosecution

Hours or days to retake Capitol?

Then-Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer conveyed he was told by a Capitol Police officer that it would take days to secure the building.

The acting defense secretary, however, said it would take four to five hours.

U.S. enemies gloating?

Pottinger told the committee he was worried about broader implications of the Jan. 6 riot. He said as a national security expert he believed Trump gave U.S. adversaries ammunition to criticize the country’s system.

‘No remorse’

Trump’s last tweet on Jan. 6 decried how the riot was the result of what happens “when a sacred landslide victory is so unceremoniously, viciously stripped away from great patriots who have been badly unfairly treated for so long.”

“Go home with love and peace,” the president added. “Remember this day forever.”

Kinzinger the tweet underscored how Trump didn’t care who was hurt in his pursuit to remain in office.

“He showed absolutely no remorse,” he said.

Jan. 7 outtakes revealed

The committee provided never-before-seen video of Trump’s statement on the day after the Capitol riot, which was meant to criticize the violence.

In the outtakes Trump refused to accept losing the 2020 election to Biden.

“I don’t want to say the election’s over,” Trump said.

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Jan. 6 hearings Day 8: Committee focuses on Trump’s inaction



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