The House select committee investigating the January 6, 2021 insurrection at the U.S. Capitol held another public hearing on Tuesday afternoon, back after a recess for the July Fourth holiday. Here are a few of the most notable revelations of the seventh hearing of its kind.
Focus of Tuesday’s Hearing
As has been the case in the previous six hearings, there was a distinct theme in Tuesday’s testimony. The witnesses and testimony detailed the loose connection between Trump and his allies and advisors with the members of the far-right extremist groups known as the Proud Boys and the Oath Keepers. The panel used sections of witness depositions, previously unseen materials, and official court documents to assert that Trump persuaded the members of the extremist groups to rush the Capitol.
Laying the Groundwork for the InsurrectionRead More »
In addition to various White House attorneys, the meeting also included staunch Trump allies such as Mike Flynn and Sidney Powell. White House lawyer Eric Herschmann testified that the meeting evolved into a screaming match as Trump’s supporters became upset that the White House lawyers were not on board with the plan to keep pushing forward with the “stop the steal” lie.
Trump’s Pivotal Tweet
The committee also examined a pivotal tweet by Trump in the days leading up to January 6. The tweet said that it was “statistically impossible” that Trump lost the election, telling supporters to get to Washington, D.C. on January 6 while imploring them to “be wild.” Committee members assert that this tweet galvanized Trump’s supporters to descend on Washington, D.C. and try to disrupt the transfer of power.
Committee member Rep. Stephanie Murphy said that the tweet was a call to action for Trump’s supporters, including those members of the extremist groups that heeded the call. It was also revealed that “Stop the Steal” leader Ali Alexander registered a website and used it to disseminate information to the public about the planned protest on the day that the electoral votes were set to be certified on Capitol Hill.
The panel also showed a draft of a tweet which Trump did not ultimately send, calling for his supporters to march to the Capitol, asking them to arrive early and expect crowds. While the president viewed the tweet, he did not end up sending it.
Lastly, the committee tried to draw a connection between the former president and the attack, showing a message from a rally organizer to businessman Mike Lindell informing him that Trump would tell his supporters to march to the Capitol during his planned speech at the Ellipse.
Cipollone Takes Center Stage
Former White House counsel Pat Cipollone also took center stage on Tuesday for the first time. Cipollone met with the committee for eight hours on Friday and a portion of these clips were aired on Tuesday. The testimony demonstrated that many of Trump’s top aides repeatedly told him that there was no significant evidence to show that the election was indeed stolen from him.
The purpose of Cipollone’s testimony was to prove that those closest to the president did not believe his claims of fraud, instead choosing to try to convince Trump to let go of the plan to try to overturn the results. It took the committee issuing a subpoena to get Cipollone to agree to testify. Tuesday’s hearings featured 14 clips from Cipollone’s video deposition with the promise of more to come at future hearings.
In-Person Witnesses Describe Experiences
The most moving testimony of the day came from the two in-person witnesses who described in detail how they were radicalized by Trump and the associated right-wing groups. Jason Van Tatenhove, a former national spokesman for the Oath Keepers, testified about how the U.S. was lucky that there were not more lives lost on January 6 at the hands of the extreme radicalization.
Convicted Capitol rioter Stephen Ayers admitted to being “riled up” by Trump’s speech at the Ellipse. Ayers said that while he never planned on marching to the Capitol, he felt compelled to do so after listening to the speech. Both witnesses explained how their involvement destroyed their livelihoods.
Text Messages Provide Inside Glimpse Into Minds of Trump Allies
Also presented on Tuesday was a series of text messages that showed that some of the people closest to Trump were not happy with how the events of January 6 unfolded. Former campaign manager Brad Parscale texted Katrina Pierson, a former Trump campaign spokesperson, about how the president’s rhetoric killed someone. Parscale said that he felt guilty for helping Trump win the presidency in 2016.
When Pierson said it was not Trump’s fault that a woman was dead in the attacks, Parscale texted back that it was. The committee used these text messages to paint the picture that even those closest to the president knew what he was doing was wrong.
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