Even a day after January 6, Trump was reluctant to condemn the violence

A day after the last rioter left the US Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021, Donald Trump’s advisers urged him to address the nation to condemn the violence, to demand accountability for those who stormed the congressional halls had to decide and proclaim the year 2020 election.

He fought for it. Over the course of an hour as he tried to absorb the message, Trump resisted calling the rioters accountable, tried to call them patriots and refused to say the election was over, according to people familiar with the work of the committee.

The public got its first glimpse of excerpts from that recording Thursday night, when the Jan. 6 committee plans to draw a bold conclusion at its eighth hearing: Trump not only did nothing, despite repeated pleas from senior officials, in the termination to help the violence, but he sat back and enjoyed watching it. He grudgingly condemned it – in a three-minute speech on the evening of Jan. 7 – only after efforts to overturn the 2020 election failed and after aides told him members of his own cabinet were discussing moving forward to the 25th. Appeal amendment to remove him from the election office.

“That’s what he wanted,” Rep. Elaine Luria (D-Va.), who is scheduled to chair polling Thursday along with Rep. Adam Kinzinger (R-Ill.), said in an interview this week. “Maybe you said before, ‘Was he incompetent? Was he someone who freezes in a moment when he can’t react to something? Or was that what he wanted?’ And after all that, I’m convinced that’s exactly what he wanted.”

Committee aides dubbed Wednesday’s prime-time presentation the “187-minute hearing,” a reference to the period between Trump’s Jan. 6 speech on the Ellipse before protesters marched to the Capitol and his late-afternoon remarks from the Rose Garden to the rioters go home. The hearing will focus heavily on Trump’s inaction in the White House during this time, the aides said in a background call with reporters.

“The President has not told his supporters to leave the Capitol and go home by 4:17 p.m.,” said one of the advisers, who spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak publicly. “We’re going to remind people that there was this inaction in the White House.”

The hearing, which will be attended by its chairman, Rep. Bennie G. Thompson (D-Miss.), remotely due to his recent Covid diagnosis, is expected to last just under two hours, the aide said.

The hearing is also expected to recap details from previous hearings, including the president’s inflammatory rhetoric that drew thousands to Washington that day, Trump’s willingness to give audiences to fringe figures peddling fabulistic and unconstitutional theories, as he did Presidency and who could hold Many times he was asked to intervene during the violence but refused to do so.

All of this points to a conclusion the committee plans to argue Thursday: Trump wanted the violence, he is responsible for it, and his unwillingness to help end it amounts to a dereliction of duty and a breach of his oath of office.

“It’s very clear that monitoring this violence was part of the plan,” Luria said. “He wanted to see it unfold. And only when he realized that it wasn’t going to work did he finally stand up and say something.”

Trump’s decisions escalated tensions and put the US on track for Jan. 6, the panel finds

A Trump spokesman called the Jan. 6 investigation a “distraction” from Democrats’ “failures.”

“November is coming, and all Democrats will have to show another probe to nowhere for their short-term term with a congressional majority while the world burned,” said Trump spokesman Taylor Budowich.

On Tuesday, the former president posted on social media platform Truth Social that the committee — made up of seven Democrats and two Republicans — “is a fraud and a disgrace to America.” No due process, no cross-examination, no counter-witnesses, nothing!”

In the Jan. 7 taped speech that the White House eventually released, Trump charged that the “protesters who infiltrated the Capitol desecrated the seat of American democracy.” He added that those who broke the law “will pay.”

More recently, however, he has spoken out on behalf of those arrested for involvement in the riots, deploring the “appalling persecution of political prisoners”.

Two living witnesses are scheduled for Thursday’s hearing: former Deputy Press Secretary Sarah Matthews and former Deputy National Security Advisor Matthew Pottinger. Both have resigned following the January 6 events and both are expected to explain why. Additionally, Matthews is expected to provide details of what she saw in the West Wing that day, including whether Trump knew the violence had erupted when he attacked his Vice President Mike Pence, in a 2:24 p.m. tweet .

Pence, as Senate leader, rejected Trump’s demands to refuse to count Electoral College votes that day, arguing he had no authority to do anything other than accept the votes of state-appointed voters.

The committee will also be showing new clips of recorded testimony from Pat Cipollone, the former White House Counsel who was first taped at last week’s hearing. Cipollone is expected to be shown to be among the White House aides who have vigorously defended themselves against unsubstantiated theories of voter fraud.

The committee plans to play taped testimonies from Cipollone, describing his thoughts on Trump’s inaction on January 6 and his dismay at Trump’s taped testimony after the violence had begun to subside. In those comments, the President refused to read out any prepared remarks, instead telling the rioters after urging them to go home, “We love you guys. You are something special.”

The committee is expected to show some of the requests asking him to act and have witnesses describe others, people familiar with the matter said.

The committee also plans to reveal that a significant amount of time elapsed from the moment aides were instructed to set up a camera and microphone for those remarks to when Trump actually spoke. The hearing will examine what happened at the White House later that evening on Jan. 6, including Trump’s tweet at 6:01 p.m. in which he expressed no remorse for the day’s violence.

“These are the things and events that happen when a holy landslide election victory is so summarily and viciously snatched from great patriots who have been mistreated and unfairly treated for so long,” Trump wrote. “Go home with love and in peace. Remember this day forever!”

The committee continues to address security concerns for members and witnesses. Last week, Capitol Police began stationing officers outside the offices of all board members. Committee staffers remain concerned about the prospect of threats and intimidation against witnesses, a staffer told reporters on Wednesday.

The hearing will lean heavily on the idea that Trump’s neglect disqualifies him from holding office again. Trump has repeatedly signaled that he intends to run for president in 2024.

Luria and Kinzinger, both military veterans, will describe their loyalty to the Uniform Code of Military Justice, several people familiar with the committee’s work said. The Commander-in-Chief has a constitutional obligation to “see that the laws are conscientiously carried out” — and Trump has not done so, they expect to say.

Committee members have billed Thursday’s long-awaited hearing — the second scheduled for prime time — as a sort of finale that would bring together the evidence from the seven previous hearings to show how Trump’s refusal to accept the 2020 outcome is leading led to violence.

But as new evidence continues to emerge – and new investigation targets – committee members said this week there are likely to be more hearings later this year. The committee is likely to focus intensely on the apparent deletion of text messages by US intelligence on Jan. 6, the people said.

On Wednesday, Committee Chairs Thompson and Rep. Liz Cheney (R-Wyo.) issued a joint statement suggesting that the Secret Service may have violated the Federal Records Act by failing to read text messages dated April 6. January to keep during a system migration last year. “Every effort must be made to recover the lost data,” they said.

How much Trump and his allies funded and benefited from election denial is being debated for a separate hearing.

“There is no reason to assume that this will be the last hearing,” a committee aide told reporters on Wednesday.

Committee members are already beginning to discuss what sort of recommendations to prevent a repeat of January 6 will emerge from an investigation that has spanned over a year.

Possible recommendations, according to those with knowledge of these discussions, include: proposed changes to the Electoral Counts Act, which a bipartisan group of senators has been negotiating for months to resolve ambiguity about the role of Congress or the vice president in counting Electoral College votes; Passing legislation implementing the 14th Amendment’s riot clause that could pave the way for future attempts to oust Trump; new guidelines for emergency response in Washington; and tougher laws to combat domestic terrorism and online conduct that leads to violence.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/national-security/2022/07/20/even-day-after-jan-6-trump-balked-condemning-violence/ Even a day after January 6, Trump was reluctant to condemn the violence

Dustin Huang

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