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tv   January 6 Hearings Seventh Hearing on Capitol Attack  CSPAN  July 12, 2022 1:00pm-4:06pm EDT

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they select committee to
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investigate the january 6th attack on the united states capitol will be in order. without objection, the chair is authorized to declare the
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committee in recess at any point. pursuing the house deposition authority regulation ten, chair announces the committee's approval to release the deposition material, any coming from today's hearing. good afternoon, when i think about the most basic thing to explain the importance of elections in the united states, there is a phrase that always comes to mind. it may sound straightforward, but, it is meaningful we settle our differences at the ballot box, sometimes my choice prevails, sometimes yours does, but, it is that simple, we cannot stop votes, we count the votes, if something seems off with the results we can challenge them in court and then we accept the results. when you are on the losing side, that does not mean you have to be happy about it, and, in the united states there is plenty
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you can do and say so, you can protest, you can organize, you can get ready for the next election to try to make sure your side has a better chance the next time the people settle their differences at the battle ballot box, but, you cannot turn violent, you cannot try to achieve your desired outcome through force or harassment, or intimidation any real leader who sees their supporters going down that path, approaching that line, has a responsibility to say stop, we gave it our best, we came up short, we will try again next time because we settle our differences at the ballot box, on december 14th 2020, the president election was officially over. the electoral college had cast its vote, joe biden was the
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president-elect of the united states. by that point, many of donald trump supporters were already convinced that the election had been stolen. because that is what donald trump had been telling them, so, what donald trump was required to do in that moment, what would have been required of any american leader was to say, we did our best and we came up short. he went the opposite way, he seized on the anger he had already stoked along his most loyal supporters, and, as they approach the line he did not waive them off, he urged them on, today the committee will explain how, as a part of his last-ditch effort to overturn the election and block the transfer of power, donald trump summoned a mob to washington, d.c., and ultimately spurred that mob to wage a violent
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attack on our democracy. our colleagues, miss murphy from florida, and mr. raskin of maryland, will lay out this story, first i am pleased to recognize our distinguished missed vice chair, and any opening comments she would have cared to offer >> thank you very much, mister chairman, our committee did not conduct a hearing last week but we did conduct and on the record interview a president trump's former white house counsel, pat cipollone. if you have watched these hearings you have heard us call for mr. cipollone to come forward and testify, he did, mr. cipollone's testimony met our expectations, we will save, for our next hearing, president trump's behavior during the violence of january 6th, today's hearing will take us from december 14th, 2020, when the electoral college met and certified the results of the 2020 presidential election, up through the morning of january
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6th. you will see a certain segments of pat cipollone's testimony today, we will also see, today, how president trump summoned a mob to washington and how the president stolen election lies provoked that mob to attack the capital. and, we will hear of a man who was induced by president trump's lies to come to washington and join the mob, and how that decision has changed his life. today's hearing is our seventh we have covered significant ground over the past several weeks and we have also seen a change in how witnesses and lawyers in the trump orbit approach this committee. initially, their strategy in some cases appeared to be to deny and delay, today there appears to be a general recognition that the committee has established key facts, including that virtually everyone close to president trump, his justice department officials, his white house
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advisers, his white house counsel, his campaign, all told him the 2020 election was not stolen. this appears to have changed the strategy for defending donald trump, while the argument seems to be the president trump was manipulated by others outside the administration. that he was persuaded to ignore his closest advisers, and, that he was incapable of telling right from wrong, this new strategy is to try to blame only john eastman, or sydney powell, or congressman scott perry, or others, and not president trump. in this version the president was, quote, poorly served by this outside advisers, they strategy is to blame people his advisers called, quote, the crazies. for what donald trump did, this, of course, is nonsense. president trump is a 76 year old man, he is not an
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impressionable child. just like everyone else in our country, he is responsible for his own actions and his own choices. as our investigation has shown, donald trump had access to more detailed and specific information, showing that the election was not actually stolen, than almost any other american, and he was told this over and over again, no rational or sane man in his position could disregard that information and reach the opposite conclusion, and, donald trump cannot escape responsibility by being willfully blind. nor can any argument of any kind excuse president trump's behavior during the violet tack on january 6th. as you watch our hearing today i would urge you to keep your eye on to specific points. first, you will see evidence that trump's legal team, led by
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rudy giuliani, news that they lacked actual evidence of widespread fraud sufficient to prove that the election was actually stolen, they knew it, but, they went ahead with january 6th anyway, and, second, consider how millions of americans were persuaded to believe what donald trump's closest advisers and his administration did not, these americans did not have access to the truth like donald trump did, they put their faith and their trust in donald trump, they wanted to believe in him. they wanted to fight for their country. and, he to save them. for millions of americans that may be painful to accept but it is true. thank you mister chairman, i yield back. >> without objection the chair recognizes miss murphy and the gentleman from maryland, mr. raskin, for opening statements. >> thank you, mister chairman,
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we know beyond a shadow of a doubt that then president donald trump lost in a free and fair election, and, yet, president trump insisted that his loss was due to fraud in the election process, rather than to the democratic will of the voters. the president continued to make this claim, despite being told again and again by the courts, the justice department, by his campaign officials, and, by some of his closest advisers that the evidence did not support this assertion. this was the big lie and millions of americans were deceived by it, too many of our fellow citizens still believe it to this day, it is corrosive to our country and damaging to our democracy. as our committee as shown in prior hearings, following the election president trump relentlessly pursued multiple interlocking lines of effort, all with a single goal, to remain in power despite having lost, the lines of effort were
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aimed at his loyal vice president, mike pence, at state election and elected officials, and, at the u.s. department of justice. the president pressured the vice president to obstruct the process to certify the election result, he demanded that state officials find him enough votes to overturn the election outcome in those states, and, the press did apartment of justice to find widespread evidence of fraud. when justice officials told the president that such evidence did not exist, the president urged them to simply declare that the election was corrupt. on december 14th, the electoral college met to officially confirm that joe biden would be the next president, the evidence shows that once this occurred president trump, and those who are willing to aid and abet him, turned their attention to the joint session of congress scheduled for january 6th, at which the vice president would preside, in their warped view, this ceremonial event was the next
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and perhaps last inflection point that could be used to reverse the outcome of the election before mr. biden's inauguration. as president trump put it, the vice president, and enough members of congress, simply needed to summon the courage to act, to help them find that courage the president called for backup. early in the morning of december 19th, the president sent out a tweet urging his followers to travel to washington d.c. for january 6th, be there, it will be wild, the president wrote, as my colleague mr. raskin will described in detail, this tweet served as a call to action, and, in some cases, as a call to arms for many of president trump's most loyal supporters. it is clear the in president intended the assembled crowd on january 6th to serve his goal. and, as you have already seen and we'll see against day, some of those who are coming had specific plans. the presidents goal was to stay
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in power for a second term despite losing the election, the assembled crowd was one of the tools to achieve that goal. in today's hearing we will focus on events that took place in the final weeks leading up to january 6th, starting in mid december. we will add color and context to evidence you have already heard about and we will also provide additional new evidence, for example, you will hear about meetings in which the president entertained extreme measures designed to help him stay in power, like the seizure of voting machines, we will show some of the coordination that occur between the white house and members of congress as it relates to january 6th, and, some of these bumpers of congress would later seek pardons. we will also examine some of the planning for the january 6th protests, placing special emphasis on one rally planners concerns about the potential violence. and, we will describe some of the presidents k actions on the evening of january 5th, and the morning of january 6th, including how the president
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edited and ad libbed his speed that morning, directed the crowd to march to the capital, and, spoke off script in a way that further inflamed and already angry crowd, i yield to the gentleman from maryland, mr. raskin. >> thank you, miss murphy, mr. chairman, madam vice chair, four days after the electors met across the country and made joe biden the president elect, donald trump was still trying to find a way to hang on to the presidency, on friday december 18th his team of outside advisers paid him a surprise visit in the white house that would quickly become the stuff of legend, the meeting has been called unhinged, not normal, and the craziest meeting of the trump presidency. the outside lawyers who had been involved in dozens of failed lawsuits had lots of theories supporting the big lie, but, no evidence to support it, as we will see, however, they brought to the white house a drafted executive order that they had prepared for president trump to further his ends.
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specifically, they propose the immediate massacre of state election machines by the u.s. military, the meeting ended after midnight with the apparent rejection of that idea, in the wee hours of december 19th, dissatisfied with his options donald trump decided to call for a large and wild crowd on wednesday, january 6th, the day when congress would meet to certify the electoral votes. never before in american history had a president called for a crowd to come and contest the counting of electoral votes by congress. they would delay or obstruct the joint session of congress in doing its work required by the constitution in the electoral count act, as we will see, donald trump's 1:42 am tweet electrified and galvanized his supporters, especially the dangerous extremists in the oath keepers, the proud boys, another racist white nationalist groups
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spoiling for a fight against the government. three wings of interwoven attack when operating towards january 6th, on the inside rank trump continue to try and work to overturn the election by getting mike pence to abandon his oath of office as vice president and assert the unilateral power to reject votes, this would've been a fundamental and unprecedented breach of the constitution, that would promise trump multiple ways of staying in office. meanwhile, in the middle ring members of domestic violent extremist groups created an alliance both online and in-person to coordinate a massive effort to storm, invade, and occupy the capital. by placing a target on the joint session of congress, trump had mobilize these groups around a common goal, emboldening them, strengthening their working relationships, and, helping build their numbers. finally, in the outer rim, on january 6th there assembled a large and angry crowd, they
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political force that trump considered both the touchstone and the measure of his political power, here were thousands of extreme arranged trump followers, thoroughly convinced by the big lie who traveled from across the country to join trump's wild rally, to stop the steal. with the proper incitement by political leaders and the proper instigation from the extremists, many members of this crowd could be led to storm the capital, confront the vice president in congress, and, try to overturn the 2020 election results. all of these efforts would converge and explode on january 6th. mister chairman, as you know better than any other member of the committee from the russian struggle for voting rights and your beloved mississippi. the problem of politicians whipping up mob violence to destroy fair elections is the oldest domestic enemy of constitutional democracy in america, abraham lincoln knew
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it as well, in 1837 a racist mob in alton, illinois, broke into the offices of an abolitionist newspaper and killed its editor, lincoln wrote a speech in which he said that no transatlantic military trial it could ever crush us as a nation, even with all of the fortunes in the world, but, if downfall ever comes to america he said we, ourselves, would be its author. if racist mobs are encouraged by politicians to rampage and terrorize, lincoln said, they will violate the rights of other citizens and quickly destroy the bonds of social trust necessary for democracy to work, mobs and demagogues will put us on a path to political tyranny, lincoln said. as we will say today, this very old problem has returned with new ferocity today, as a president who lost an election deployed a mob, which included
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dangerous extremists to attack the constitutional system of election in the peaceful transfer of power. and, as we will say, the creation of the internet and social media has given today's tyrants, tools of propaganda and disinformation that yesterday's despots could only have dreamed of, i yield back to the gentlelady from florida, miss murphy >> article two of the united states constitution and let establishes the electoral college, each state laws provide that electors will be chosen by a popular vote, and on december 13th 2020 electors met in all 50 states in the district of columbia to cast their votes, joseph biden won by a margin of 306 to 232. the election was over, mr. biden was the president elect, before the electoral college met, donald trump and his allies filed dozens of legal
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challenges to the election but they lost over and over again. including in front of multiple judges president trump had nominated to the bench, in many of these cases the judges were highly critical of the arguments put forward, explaining that no genuine evidence of widespread fraud had been presented. for example, a federal judge in pennsylvania says this court has been presented with strange legal argument without merit and speculative accusations. unsupported by evidence. in the united states of america this cannot justify the disenfranchisement of a single voter. let alone all of the voters of the six most populated states. on december 15th, after electoral college certified the outcome, they republican later in the senate acknowledged mr. biden's victory. >> yes three electors met in all 50 state, so, as of this morning our country has officially a president elect
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and a vice president elect. many millions of us had hoped the presidential election would yield a different result. but, our system of government has processes to determine who will be sworn in on january the 20th. the electoral college has spoken. so, today i want to congratulate president-elect joe biden. >> even members of the staff understood the evidence of fraud lacking anti constitutional certification by the electoral college. many of them told president trump that it was time to concede the election to mr. biden. for example, then secretary of labor jean scalia the son of late justice scalia called president trump in mid december and advise him to concede and accept the rulings of the
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courts. >> i had put a call into the president, i might have called on the 14th and i conveyed to him that i thought that it was time for him to acknowledge that president biden had prevailed in the election. but, i communicated to the president that won that legal process is exhausted, and when the electors have floated that, that is a point in which it should be expected. i did believe that once the legal processes were brought a fraud had not been established, that had affected the outcome of the election than i believed what had to be done was to concede. >> as you have seen the prior hearings, president trump's justice department, white house staff, and campaign officials were repeatedly telling him
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that there was no evidence of fraud sufficient to change the outcome of the election. and, last week we conducted an eight hour interview with president trump's white house counsel, pat cipollone. you will see a number of excerpts of that interview today and even more in our next hearing. mr. cipollone told us that he agreed with the testimony that there was no evidence of fraud sufficient to overturn the election. >> i want to start by asking, about matt morgan, bill barr, and all of that. there is no evidence of election fraud issues. >> yes, i agree with that. >> mr. cipollone also specifically testify that he believed donald trump should have conceded the election. >> did you believe, mr. cipollone, that the president should concede once you office and the doj finisher
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investigations and found that the president should concede the election a loss at a certain point after the election? >> well, again, i was the white house counsel. some of those decisions are political. so, the extent that, but, if your question is did i believe that he should concede the election at a point in time? yes, i did. i believe later mcconnell said in late summer that the process is done and that would be in line with my thinking on these things. >> as attorney general bill barr testified, december 14th should have been the end of the matter. >> december 14th was the day that the stakes certified their votes and sent them to congress.
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and my opinion that was the end of the matter. i thought this would lead inexorably to a new administration. >> mr. cipollone also testified that the presidents chief of staff, mark meadows, said he shared this view. >> as early as that november 23rd meeting you understand this discussion about the president possibly conceding the election, and, specifically we understand that mark meadows assured both you and the attorney general barr that the president would eventually agree to a graceful exit. do you remember, mr. meadows, making such aspirations? >> are you saying is part of that meeting or several? in that meeting, i am not sure, but i would say that is a statement that i heard from mark meadows. >> and, again, do you know if it was on november 23rd at some point? >> again, i think it was probably, you know, around that
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time. it was probably subsequent to that time. it was not a onetime statement. >> mr. meadows has refused to testify and the committee is in litigation with him. many other white house officials share the view that once the litigation ended and the electoral college math, the election was over. here is president trump's former press secretary. >> i wanted to clarify, miss mcenany, back to my previous question, it was your view, or was it your view that the efforts to overturn the election should be stopped once the litigation was complete? >> in my view, upon the confusion of the litigation i was thinking about life after the administration. >> this is what ivanka trump told us. >> december 14th was a day in which the electoral college math, when these electors around the country met and cast
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the electoral vote consistent with the popular vote in each state, obviously, a public proceeding or a series of proceedings that president biden had obtained the requisite number of electors. was that an important day for you? did that affect your planning or your realization as to whether or not it was going to be an end of this administration? >> i think so, i think it was my sentiment, probably prior as well. >> judge deere was a white house deputy press secretary. this was his testimony about what he told president trump. >> i told him that my personal viewpoint was that the electoral college had met, which is the system that our country is set under to elect a president and vice president. and, i believed at that point
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that the means for him to pursue litigation was probably closed. >> and, do you recall what his response, if any, was? >> he disagreed. >> we have also seen this testimony from attorney general barr, reflecting a view of the white house staff in late november, 2020. >> and, at that point i left, and as i walked out of the oval office jarred was there with dana who ran the presidents social media. and, who i thought was a reasonable guy and believe is a reasonable guy. and i said, how long is he going to carry on with a stolen election stuff? where is this going to go? by that time meadows had caught up with me, and, leaving the office. caught up to me and said, they
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said look, i think he is becoming more realistic and knows that there is a limit to how far he can take this. and then, jared said, you know, we are working on this. we are working on it. >> likewise, in this testimony cassidy hutchinson, an aide to mark meadows, described her conversations with president trump's director of national intelligence, a former republican congressman. >> he had expressed to me that he was concerned it could spiral out of control. and, potentially, be dangerous, either for our democracy or the way that things were going for the sixth. >> of course, underlying all of this is the fundamental principle that the president of the united states cannot simply disregard the rulings of state
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and federal courts, which are empowered to address specific, election related claims. the president cannot simply pretend that the courts have not ruled. >> by that time, the president or his associates had lost 60 out of 61 cases that they had brought to challenge different aspects of the election, in a number of states. they lost 60 out of 61 of those cases. so, by the time we get to january 3rd, that's been clear. i assume, pat, that you would agree, the president is obligated to abide by the rulings of the court. >> of course. >> and i assume you also -- >> everybody, everybody is obligated to abide by rules of courts. >> i assume you also would
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agree that the president has a particular obligation to take care that the laws be faithfully executed. >> that is one of the presidents obligations, correct. >> yet, president trump disregarded these court rulings at the council from his closest advisers a continued his efforts to cling to power. in our prior, hearings you have heard considerable testimony about president trump's attempts to corruptly pressure vice president pence to refuse to count electoral votes. to corrupt the department of justice, to pressure state legislators and who create and submit a slate of faith electoral slates. now, we will show you what other actions president trump was taking between december 14th, 2020 and january 6th. i yield to the gentleman from maryland, mr. raskin. >> thank, you miss murphy. throughout our hearings, you've heard how president trump made baseless claims of voting machines were being manipulated by foreign powers in the 2020 election. you've also heard trump's
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attorney general, bill barr, described such claims as complete nonsense, which he told the president. let's review that testimony. >> i saw absolutely zero basis for the allegations, but they were made in such a sensational way that they obviously were influencing a lot of people, members of the public. that there was this systemic corruption in the system and that their vote didn't count in that these machines, controlled by somebody else, we're actually determining it. which was complete nonsense. and it was being laid out there. i told them that it was crazy stuff and they were wasting their time on that. and it was doing a great disservice to the country. >> we've learned that president trump's white house counsel agreed with the department of justice about this. >> attorney general barr made a public announcement on december 1st, less than a month after the election.
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that he had seen no fraud -- is a fair to say that by december 1st you'd reach the same? >> it is safe to say that i uttered agreed with attorney general barr's conclusion on december 1st. yes, i did, i supported that conclusion. >> however, the strong rejection of the attorney general and the white house counsel of these claims did not stop the president from trying to press them in public. but that's not all he did. indeed, as you'll see in this clip, the president asked attorney general bill barr to have the department of justice seize voting machines in the states. >> my recollection is the president said something like, well, some people say we could get to the bottom of this if the department sees the machines. it was a typical way of raising a point. i said absolutely not, there's no probable cause and i'm not going to seize any machines. and that was that.
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>> but this wasn't the end of the matter. on the evening of december 18th, 2020, sydney powell, general michael flynn and others entered the white house for an unplanned meeting with the president. the meeting, that would last multiple hours and become hot blooded and contentious. the executive order behind me, on the screen, was drafted on december the 16th, just two days after the electoral college vote, by several of the presidents outside advisers over a luncheon at the trump international hotel. as you can see here, this proposed order directs the secretary of defense to seize voting machines, quote, effective immediately. but it goes even further than that. under the order, president trump would appoint a special counsel with the power to seize machines and then charged people with crimes, with all resources necessary to carry
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out her duties. the specific plan was to named sydney powell as best counsel. the trump lawyer who had spent the postelection period making outlandish claims about venezuelan and chinese interference in the election, among others. here is what white house counsel, pat cipollone, had to say about sydney powell's qualifications to take on such expensive authority. >> i don't think sydney powell would say that i thought it was a good idea, with the special counsel. as vehemently opposed, i didn't think she should be appointed to anything. >> sydney powell told the president that these steps were justified because of her evidence of foreign interference in the 2020 election. however, as we've seen, trump allies had no such evidence. , and of course, no legal authority for the federal government to seize state voting machines. here is mr. cipollone, again, denouncing sydney powell's
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terrible idea. >> there is a real question in my mind, and a real concern, particularly after the attorney general had reached the conclusion that there wasn't sufficient election fraud to change the outcome of the election. when other people kept suggesting that there was, the answer is, what is it? at some point, you have to put up or shut up, that was my view. >> why was this on a broader scale a bad idea for the country? >> to have the federal government to seize voting machines? it's a terrible idea for the country. that is not how we do things in the united states. there is no legal authority to do that and there is a way to contest elections, you know, that happens all the time. but the idea that the federal government could come in and
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c's election machines, no, that is, i don't understand why i even have to tell you why that's a bad idea. it's a terrible idea. >> for all of its absurdity, the december 18th meeting was critically important. because president trump got to watch, up close, for several hours, as his white house counsel and other white house lawyers destroyed the baseless factual claims and ridiculous legal arguments being offered by sydney powell, mike flynn and others. president trump now knew all of these claims were nonsense. not just from his abel white house lawyers, but also from his own department of justice officials and, indeed, his own campaign officials. as white house counsel pat cipollone told us -- >> with respect to the whole election fraud issue, to me, making those claims. people were open to them early
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on because people were making all sorts of claims. the real question is, show the evidence, okay? >> it wasn't just the justice department, the trump campaign and the trump white house lawyers knew it. even rudy giuliani's own legal team admitted that they did not have any real evidence of fraud sufficient to change the election results. here is an email from rudy giuliani's lead investigator, bernie character on december 28th, 2020, to chief of staff mark meadows. mr. character did not mince any words. we can do all the investigations we want later, but if the president plans on winning it's a legislators and have to be moved. and this will do just that. mr. kerik one of the president win, but he didn't say in this email was what he would later tell the select many in a letter his lawyer wrote to us in november. the letter said, quote, it was impossible for mr. kerik and his team to determine
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conclusively whether there was widespread fraud or whether that widespread fraud would have alter the outcome of the election. in other words, even rudy giuliani's own legal team knew before january 6th that they hadn't collected enough actual evidence to support any of their stolen election claims. here's what trump campaign senior adviser jason miller told the committee about some of the so-called evidence of fraud that the campaign had seen from the giuliani team. >> do you know what the examples of fraud numbers, names and supporting evidence was? that you sent to know brooks's office? i say you, you are the campaign. >> there are some very, very general documents, as far as say, for example, here the handful of dead people in several different states.
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here are explanations on a couple of the legal challenges, as far as saying the rules were changed in an unconstitutional manner. but to say it was in was probably an understatement. >> here is how trump's deputy campaign manager described the evidence of fraud the campaign had seen. >> you never came to learn or understand that mayor giuliani had produced evidence of election fraud, is that fair? >> that's fair. >> and here is testimony that we received from the speaker of the arizona house of representatives, rusty bowers, about an exchange that he had with rudy giuliani after the election. >> at some point, did one of them make a comment that they didn't have evidence but they had a lot of theories? >> that was mr. giuliani.
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>> chief of staff mark meadows told people that he thought trump should concede, around the time the electoral college certified the result. but nonetheless, he later worked to try to facilitate president trump's wishes. here's what cassidy hutchinson told us. >> during this period, he -- i perceived his goal with all this to keep trump in office. he had very seriously and deeply considered the allegations of voter fraud. but when he began acknowledging that maybe there wasn't enough voter fraud to overturn the election, i witnessed him start to explore potential constitutional loopholes more
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extensively. which i then connected with john eastman's theories. >> the startling conclusion is this. even in agreed upon, complete lack of evidence could not stop president trump, mark meadows and their allies from trying to overturn the results of a free and fair election. so, let's return to that meeting at the white house on the evening of december 18th. that, night a group showed up at the white house, including sydney powell, retired general michael flynn and former ceo patrick burn. after gaining access to the building from a junior white house staffer, the group made their way to the oval office. they were able to speak with the president by himself for sometime, until white house officials learned of the meeting. what's ensued was a heated and profane clash between this group and president trump's white house advisers, who traded personal insults, accusations of disloyalty to the president and even
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challenges to physically fight. the meeting would last over six hours, beginning here in the oval office. moving around the west wing and, many hours later, and a up in the presidents private residence. the select committee has spoken with six of the participants, as well as staffers who could hear the screaming from outside the oval office. what took place next is best told in their own words, as you will see from this video. >> did you believe that is going to work? they are going to be able to see the president without an appointment? >> i had no idea. >> in fact, you don't get to see the president with an appointment? >> we did. >> how much time did you have with the president? i say alone, you had other people with you, but with his aides before the crowd came wanting? >> probably no more than ten or 15 minutes. i think any set a new land
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speed record. >> i got a call, either from mali, that i need to get to the oval office. >> it's the first point i had recognized, okay, there is nobody in there from the white house. mark is gone, what's going on right now? >> i opened the door and i walked in and i saw general flynn. i saw sydney powell sitting there. i was not happy to see the people who were in the oval office. >> explain why. >> again, i don't think they were providing -- first of all, the overstock person, i've never met, i never knew this guy was. actually, the first thing i, did i walked, and i looked at him and i said, who are you? and he told me. i don't think any of these people were providing the president with good advice. and, so, i don't understand how they had gotten in. >> in the short period of time
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you had with the president, did he seem receptive to the presentation you are making? >> he was very interested in hearing particularly about the founding of the terms of 1:13 for eight, that apparently nobody else had bother to inform him of. >> democrats are working with -- venezuelans, wherever else. that one point, general flynn took out a diagram that supposedly showed -- all over the world. who was communicating with whom, the machines, some comment about thermostats being hooked up to the internet. >> it's been reported that during this meeting, mr. paul talked about dominion voting machines and made various foreign fraud claims and
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mentioned country such as venezuela, iran, and china. is that accurate? >> the fifth. >> was the meeting tense? >> oh, yeah. it was not a casual meeting. >> explain. >> at times, there were people shouting at each other, hurling insults at each other. it wasn't just people sitting around on a couch chitchatting. >> do you recall -- miss powell the action the campaign had lost all of the 16 cases they had brought in litigation? >> yes, he raised that. >> what was the response? >> i don't remember what's she said. i don't think it was a good response. >> herschmann and whoever the other guy was said nothing but contempt for this thing of the president. >> three of them were really
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forcefully attacking me verbally. eric, derek, and we are pushing back and asking one simple question. as a general matter, where is the evidence? >> and there was discussion of, well, you don't have -- >> i mean, if it had been me sitting in his chair -- i would've fired all of them that night and have them escorted out the building.
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>> i challenged what she was saying and she says, well, the judges are corrupt. i'm like, everyone? every single case that you've done in the country that you guys lost? every one of them is corrupt? even once we appointed? i'm being nice, but i was much more hard to her. >> one of the other things reported said during this meeting was that president trump told white house lawyers, mr. herschmann, mr. cipollone, that they weren't offering him any solutions. miss powell and others were, so why not try what miss powell and others were proposing. do you remember anything along those lines being said about president trump? >> i do. that sounds right. >> i think it got to the point where the screaming was completely, completely out there. people walking in, late at night, they had a long day. what they were proposing i thought was nuts. >> i'm gonna categorically
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describe it as you guys are not tough enough. or maybe i'll put it another way, you're a bunch of policies, excuse the expression. i'm almost certain the word was used. >> kept on standing up and standing around screaming at me. as a certain point i had it with him. i yield back. either come over or sit your effing aspect down. >> the president and the white house team went upstairs to the residence, in the big parlor where you can have meetings in a conference room. >> they call it the yellow oval. >> yes, exactly. the yellow oval office. i always called it the upper. i'm not exactly sure where the
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group went. maybe the roosevelt room. i stayed in the cabinet room, which was kind of cool, i really liked that. >> at the end of the day, we landed where we started the meeting from a structural standpoint, which was sydney powell was fighting, mike flynn was fighting, they were looking for avenues that would enable -- that would result in president trump reigning, remaining president trump for a second term. >> the meeting finally ended after midnight. here are text messages sent by cassidy hutchinson during and after the meeting. as you can see, miss hutchinson reported about the meeting in the west wing was unhinged. the meeting finally broke up
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after midnight. during the early morning of december 19th, cassidy hutchinson captured the moment of mark meadows escorting rudy giuliani off the white house grounds to, quote, make sure he didn't wander back into the mansion. certain accounts of this meeting indicate that president trump actually granted ms. powell security clearance and appointed her to a somewhat ill defined position of special counsel. >> he as passable any if he had the authority to name any special counsel. i said, yes. then he asked him if he had the authority to give me whatever security clearance i needed. that cipollone said yes. and then the president said, okay. i'm naming her that, i'm giving her security clearance. shortly before we left, it totally blew up, when cipollone and or herschmann, whoever the other young man was, said you
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can name her whatever you want to name her. no one is paying attention to it. >> how did you respond? how did the president respond to that? >> something like, you see what i deal with, i deal with this all the time. >> over the ensuing days, no further steps were taken to a point sydney powell. but there is some ambiguity about what the president actually said and did during the meeting. here's how pat cipollone described it. >> i don't know what her understanding of whether she had been appointed.
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i think she was of the view that she had been appointed and was seeking to get that done.
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and that she should be appointed. >> as you listen to these clips, remember that pell -- make special counsel was ultimately sanctioned by a federal court and sued by dominion voting systems for defamation. in our own defense to that lawsuit, sydney powell argued that, quote, no reasonable person would conclude that the statements were truly statements of fact. not long after sydney powell, general flynn, and rudy giuliani left the white house in the early hours of the morning, president trump turned away from both his outside advisers most outlandish and workable schemes and his white house counsel's advice to swallow hard and accept the reality of his loss. instead, donald trump issued a tweet that would galvanize his followers and unleash a political firestorm and change the course of our history we,
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as a country. trump's purpose was to mobilize a crowd. how do you mobilize a crowd in 2020? with millions of followers on twitter, president trump knew exactly how to do it. at 1:42 am, on december 19, 2020, shortly after the last participants left the unhinged meeting, trump sent out the tweet with his explosive invitation. trump repeated his big lie and claimed it was, quote, statistically impossible to have lost the 2020 election. before calling for a big protest in d.c. on january 6th. be there, will be wild. donald trump supporters responded immediately. women for america first, a pro trump organizing group and previously applied for rallying permit for january 22nd, and 23rd in washington d.c.. several days after joe biden
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was to be inaugurated. in the hours after the tweet, they moved their permit to january 6th, two weeks before. this rescheduling created the rally where trump would eventually speak. the next day, ali alexander, leader of the stop the steal organization, and a chemo blazer of trump supporters, registered wild, named after trump's tweet. while provided comprehensive information about numerous annually organized protest events in washington, it included event times, places, speaker's, and details on transportation in washington d.c.. meanwhile, other key trump supporters, including far-right media personalities, began promoting the wild protest on january 6th. >> it's saturday, december 19th. the years 2020. one of the most historic events
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in american history has just taken place. president trump, in the early morning hours today, tweeted that he wants the american people to march on washington d.c., on january 6th, 2021. >> now, donald trump is calling on his supporters to descend on washington d.c., january 6th. >> he is now calling on we, the people, to take action and show our numbers. >> we are going to only be saved by millions of americans moving to washington, occupying the entire area. if necessary, storming right into the capital. we know the rules of engagement. if you have enough people, you can push down any kind of a fence or a wall. >> this could be trump's last stand. it's at a time when he has specifically called on his supporters to arrive in d.c..
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that is something that may actually be the big push trump supporters need to say, this is it. it's now or never. >> you better understand something sun, you better understand something sun -- red white -- there's gonna be a red wedding going down january 6th. >> on that day, trump says, show up for a protest. it's going to be wild. based on what we've already seen from the previous events, i think trump is absolutely correct. >> you better look outside. you better look outside. january 6th. kick that door open. look down the street. there's gonna be 1 million-plus and kicked up on america. >> the time for games is over, the time for action is now, where were you in history called? where were you when you and your children's destiny and future was on the line. and >> in that clip you heard one of the trump supporters predict a red wedding, which is a typical to reference to manslaughter --
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trump's call to washington reverberated powerfully in pervasively online. the committee has interviewed a former twitter employee who explained the effect that trump had on the twitter platform. this employee was on a team responsible for platform and content moderation, policies on twitter throughout 2020 and 2021. the employee testified that twitter considered adopting a stricter content moderation policy after president trump told the proud boys to stand back and stand by from the lectern at the september 29th presidential debate. twitter chose not to act. here is the former employee whose voice has been obscured to protect their identity, discussing trump's stand back and stand by comment and the effect it had. >> my concern was that the former president for, seemingly the first time, was speaking
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directly to extremist organizations. and giving them directives. we had not seen that sort of direct communication before. in that concern to me. >> so, just to clarify further. you were worried and others at twitter were worried that the president might use your platform to speak directly to folks who might be incited to violence? >> yes. i believed that twitter relished in the knowledge that they were also the favorite and most used service of the former president, and enjoyed having that sort of power within the social media ecosystem. >> if president trump or anyone
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else, would it have taken until january 8th, 2021 for him to be suspended? >> absolutely not. if donald, a former president donald trump or any other user on twitter, he would have been permanently suspended a very long time ago. >> despite these grave concerns, trump remained on the platform, completely unchecked. then came the december 19 tweet and everything it inspired. indeed, -- >> it felt as if a mob was being organized. and they were gathering together their weaponry and their logic and their reasoning behind why they were prepared to fight. prior to december 19th, again,
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it was vague. it was nonspecific but very clear that individuals we're ready, willing and able to take up arms. after this tweet on december 19th, again, it became clear. not only where these individuals ready and willing, but the leader of their cause was asking them to join him. in this cause, in fighting for this cause, in d.c., on january 6th as well. i will also say, which shocked me was the responses to these tweets, right? so, these were a lot of the locked and loaded stand back, stand by, those tweets were in response to donald trump saying things like this. right? so, there would be a response
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that said big protest in january six, be there, the wild. and someone would respond and say i'm locked and loaded and ready for civil war part two, right? i very much believe that donald trump posting his tweet on december 19th was, essentially, staging a flag in d.c. on january six for his supporters to come and rally. >> and you are concerned about the potential for this gathering becoming violent? >> absolutely. >> indeed, many of trump's followers took to social media to declare that they were ready to answer trump's call. one user asked, is the sixth d-day? is that why trump wants everyone there? another asserted, trump just told us all to come armed. getting a, this is happening. the third took even further.
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it will be wild means we need volunteers for the firing squad. jim watkins, the owner of 8kun, the fringe online forum that was the birthplace of the qanon extremist movement, confirmed the importance of trump's tweet. >> why did you first decide to go to d.c. for january 6th? >> when the president of the united states announced that he was going to have a rally, then i bought a ticket and went here. watkins was at the capitol on january 6th. some who have since been indicted for their involvement on the attack at the capitol also responded. one of them posted on the 19th, quote, calling all patriots, the in washington d.c., january the 6th. this wasn't organized by any group, dj t has invited us and it's going to be wild. some of the rhetoric turned
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openly homicidal and white nationalist. such as, why don't we just killed them? every last democrat, down to the last man, woman and child. and it's time for the day of the rope. white revolution is the only solution. others realize that police would be standing in the way of their effort to overturn the election. so, one wrote, i'm ready to die for my beliefs, are you ready to die, police? another wrote on the donald dot win, cops don't have standing if they are laying on the ground in a pool of their own blood. donald dot wind was an openly racist and antisemitic forum. the select committee deposed that cites founder, jody williams. he confirmed how the president's tweet created a laser-like focus on the date of january the 6th. >> people have been talking about going to d.c. since the
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election was over. >> do you recall whether or not the conversation around those dates centered on the sixth, after the president's tweet? >> oh, sure. after it was announced that he was going to be there on the six to talk then yes, anything else was shut out and it was just going to be on the sixth. >> okay. and that was pretty clearly reflected in the content on the site? >> yeah, sure. >> on that site, many shared plans and violent threats. bring in handcuffs and wait near the tunnels, wrote one user. a commenter replied, suggesting zip ties instead. one post encouraged others to come with body armor, knuckles, shields, bats, pepper spray, whatever it takes. all of those where used on the sixth. the post concluded, join your local proud boys chapter as well.
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the donald dot wind featured discussions of the tunnel beneath the capital complex, suggestions for targeting members of congress and encouragement to attend this once in a lifetime event. while trump supporters grew more aggressive online, he continued to rile up his base on twitter. he said there was overwhelming evidence that the election was the biggest scam in our nation's history, as you can see, the president did today to boost the event. tweeting about it more than a dozen times in the lead up to january the 6th. mister chairman, i reserve. >> the chair requests that those in a hearing room remain seated until the capitol police have escorted members from the room. pursuant to the order of the committee of today, the chair declares the committee in recess for a period of approximately ten minutes.
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>> the january six committee in a short break now. the sessions title after 1 pm eastern today, we expect it to resume in just under ten minutes. committee members today hearing about the actions of organizations like the oath keepers and the proud boys, and alleged connections between the extremist groups and donald trump's white house. questioning today is being led by committee members stephanie murphy from florida and maryland's jamie raskin, those democrats. congressman raskin also having taken part as a house judiciary committee impeachment manager for both proceedings against donald trump. and if you missed any of today's hearing, we will be showing it again in its entirety tonight, starting at nine eastern on c-span. committee members are expected back at about 2:20 eastern today to resume this hearing.
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you're watching live coverage of the seventh january 6th
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committee hearing, committee members in a short break. they will be back in five minutes or so. numbers focusing on the actions of organizations like the oath keepers and the proud boys, and alleged connections between the extremist groups and donald trump's white house. this currently is the only january 6th hearing scheduled for this week. the committee have announced another primetime hearing for thursday. but then they pulled back from those plants. we want to let you know that today's january 6th committee hearing and all c-span programming is brought to you as a public service by the cable industry and these television companies, including dish network, vibe, and wow. a reminder, if you're watching on tv but you have to step away, you can continue watching the hearing on the go with c-span now, our free mobile video app. congressional sessions and speeches, hearings and conferences, all on c-span now, available where you get your apps.
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we are moments away from resumption of the seventh january 6th committee hearing. we are seeing the next panel of witnesses arrive. in a couple minutes, the committee members will all walk in as a group to continue the second part of this hearing expected to start at 2:20 eastern. live coverage here on c-span three.
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live coverage of the january six committee hearing was expected to resume at 2:20 eastern. you will notice the witnesses
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are in the room. but the committee members have not yet returned, for what was expected to be a ten minute recess. we have learned that there are technical issues they are trying to iron out. we do expect them to be fixed pretty soon. and then this hearing will resume. live coverage, here on c-span 3.
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we are fortunate we were able to.
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>> committee will be in order. the chair recognizes the gentleman from maryland, mr. raskin. >> mister chairman, president trump's tweet true tens of thousands of americans to washington to form the angry crowd that would be transformed on january the 6th into a violent mob. dr. daniela harvey in, who is the chief of homeland security and intelligence for d.c., told the committee how his team saw trump's tweet unite violent groups across the spectrum on
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the far-right. >> we got derogatory information from ascent suggesting that violent individuals were organizing to come to home d.c.. not only where they organizing to come to d.c. but he's not aligned groups were aligning. and so, all the red flags went up at that point. when you have armed militia collaborating with white supremacy groups, collaborating with conspiracy theory groups online for a comical. you start seeing what we call in terrorism a blended ideology, and that's a very, very bad sign. then, when they were clearly across not just one platform but across multiple platforms of these groups. coordinating, not just chatting like hey, has it going, where's the weather like where you're at. what are you, bringing where are you wearing.
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where do we meet up? do your plans for the capital? that's operational, pre-operational intelligence, right? that is something that is clearly alarming. >> the proud boys and the oath keepers are two key groups that responded immediately to president trump's call. the proud boys are a far-right street fighting group that glorifies violence and white supremacy. the oath keepers are extremists to promote a wide range of conspiracy theories and sought to act as a private paramilitary force for donald trump. the department of justice has charged leaders of both groups with seditious conspiracy to overthrow the government of the united states on january the 6th. trump's december 19th tweet motivated these two extremist groups, which have historically not work together, to coordinate their activities. at december 19th, at 10:22 am,
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just hours after president trump's tweet, kelly meggs, the head of the florida oath keepers, declared an alliance among the oath, keepers the proud boys and the florida three percenters, another militia group. he wrote, we have decided to work together and shut this -- down. fold records collected by the flight committee showed that later that afternoon, mr. meggs called proud boys leader enrique tarrio and they spoke for several minutes. the very next, day the proud boys got to work. the proud boys lodged an encrypted chat called the ministry of self-defense. the committee brought hundreds of these messages which show strategic and tactical planning about january the 6th, including maps of washington d.c. that pinpoint the location of police. in the weeks leading up to the attacks, leaders and both the proud boys and the oath keepers worked with trump allies. one such ally was lieutenant general michael flynn, trump's
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former national security adviser and one of the participants in the unhinged meeting at the white house on december 18th. he also had connections to the oath keepers. this photo, from december 12th, shows flynn and patrick byrne, another trump ally who was president that december 18th meeting, guarded by indicted oath keeper roberto manu to. another review of the scene shows of keepers leader stewart rhodes in the picture as well. another central figure with ties to extremist groups with roger stone, a political consultant and longtime consultant of trump. he pardoned both flynn and stone in the weeks between the election on november 3rd and january 6th. in the same timeframe, stone communicated with both the proud boys and the oath keepers regularly. the committee obtained encrypted content from a group
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chat called friends of stone, f o s, which included stone, roads, tarrio and ali alexander. focused on several pro trump events in november in december of 2020, as well as january 6th. as you can see here, stewart rhodes himself urged the friends of stone to have people go to their state capitals if they cannot make it to washington, for the first million maga march on november 14th. these friends of roger stone had a significant presence that multiple pro trump events after the election, including in washington on december the 12th. on that day, stewart rhodes called for donald trump to invoke martial law, promising a bloodshed if he did not. >> he needs to know from you that you are with him, that he does not do it now while he is commander-in-chief, we are going to have to do it ourselves, later. in a much more desperate, much more bloody war.
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let's get it on now, oh he is still the commander-in-chief. >> that night, the proud boys engaged in violence on the streets of washington and hurled aggressive insults at the police. >> oath breakers, do your job. give us one hour, one hour. >> just the previous night, the co-host of infowars issued an ominous warning at a rally, alongside roger stone and proud boys later enrique tarrio. >> i don't give a bit. we will be back in january. >> encrypted chats obtained by the select committee show that
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kelly meggs, the indicted leader of the florida oath keepers, spoke directly with roger stone about security on january 5th and sixth. in fact, on january six, stone was guided by two oath keepers who have since been criminally indicted for seditious conspiracy. one of them later pleaded guilty and, according to the department of justice, admitted that the oath keepers were ready to use, quote, lethal force if necessary against anyone who tried to remove president trump from the white house. including the national guard. as we've, seen the proud boys were also part of the friends of stone network. stones tied to the proud boys go back many years, he's even taken their so-called fraternity creed, required for the first level of initiation to the group. >> hi, i'm roger stone. i midwestern chauvinist and i
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refused to apologize for creating the modern world. >> thank, you roger. >> kelly sorrow, a lawyer who assist the oath keepers and mueller for the trump campaign, explain to the committee have roger stone and other figures brought extremists of different stripes and views together. >> you mentioned that mr. stone wanted to start the stop the steal series of rallies. who did you consider the leader of these rallies? it sounded like, as you just said, it was mr. stone, mr. jones and mr. ali alexander. was that correct? >> those are the ones that became, like, the center point for everything. >> we'll learn more from this murphy about these individuals and their involvement in the days leading up to the violent attack on january 6th. we'll also hear how they were allowed to speak at a rally for
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president trump the night before january 6th, even though organizers had expressed serious concerns about their violent and extremist rhetoric, directly to mark meadows. and you'll hear testimony from white house aides who are with the president as he watched the crowd from the oval office, and will testify about how excited he was for the following day. let me note now that our investigation continues on these critical issues, we have only shown a small fraction of what we have found. i look forward to the public release of more of our findings later, mister chairman, and i now yield back. >> gentleman yields back. chair recognizes the gentlewoman from florida, miss murphy. >> during our most recent hearing, the committee shows some evidence of what president trump, chief of staff mark meadows and other white house officials knew about the potential for violence on january 6th. despite this information, they made no effort to cancel the rally, halt the march to the
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capital or even to lower the temperature among president trump's supporters. katrina pierson, one of the organizers of the january 6th rally and a former campaign spokes person for president trump, grew increasingly apprehensive after learning that multiple activists have been proposed that speakers for the january 6th rally. these included some of the people we discussed earlier in this hearing. roger stone, a longtime outside adviser to president trump. alex jones, the founder of the conspiracy theory website infowars. and ali alexander, an activist known for his violent political rhetoric. on december 30th, this pierson exchanged text messages with another key rally organizer about why people like mr. alexander and mr. johns were being suggested as speakers at the presidents rally at january 6th. this person's explanation was potus. she remarks that the president likes the crazies. the committee asked miss
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pierson about these messages, this is what she said. >> so, when you said he likes the crazies, were you talking about president trump? >> yes, i was talking about president trump. he loves people who viciously defended him in public. >> a consistent, in terms of the support for these people, at least with what the president likes, from what you can tell? >> yes, these are people that would be very, very vicious in publicly defending him. >> on january 2nd, miss pierson's concerns about the potential rallies because had grown serious enough that she reached out to mr. meadows directly. she wrote, good afternoon, would you mind giving me a call regarding this january 6th event? thanks of gotten crazy and i desperately need some direction, please. according to phone records obtained by the committee, miss pierson received a phone call from mr. meadows eight minutes later. here is what miss pierson said about that conversation. >> >> with did you tell him
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about other events? >> there were a bunch of people coming in, some were very suspect. they are going to be on other stages, someone other days. a very, very brief overview of what was actually happening and why i raise the red flag. >> when you told him that people were very suspect, did you tell him what you meant by that? would you convey to him about what the problems were with these folks? >> i think i even texted him some of my concerns. i briefly went over concerns i had raised to everybody with alex jones, or ali alexander, and some of the rhetoric they were doing. i probably mentioned to him that they already caused trouble at other capitals, at the previous event, the previous march they did for protesting. i just had a concern about it. >> miss pierson was especially
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concerned about ali alexander and alex jones because in november 2020, both men and some of their supporters had entered the georgia state capital to protest the results of the 2020 election. miss pierson believed that she mentioned this to mark meadows on january 2nd call. notably, january 2nd is the same day on which, according to cassidy hutchinson, mr. meadows warned her of -- that things might get real, real bad on january six. after her january 2nd call with mr. meadows, katrina pierson sent an email to fellow rally organizers. she wrote, potus expectations are to have something intimate at the ellipse, and call on everyone to -- march to the capital. the presidents own document suggest that the president had decided to call on his supporters to go to the capitol on january six, but that he chose not to widely announce it until his speech on the ellipse that morning. the committee has obtained this
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draft and inundated tweet from the national archives. it includes a stamp stating the president has seen. the draft tweet reads, i will be making a big speech at 10 am on january 6th, at the ellipse, south of the white house. please arrive early, massive crowds expected. march to the capitol after. stop the steal. although the street was never sent, rally organizers were discussing and preparing for the march to the capitol in the days leading up to january six. this is a january 4th text message from a rally organizer to mike vandal, the -- ceo. the organizer says, this stays between us, we are having a second stage at the supreme court again after the ellipse. potus is going to have us march there, slash the capital. it cannot get out about the second stage because people will try to set up another and sabotage it. it can also not get out about the march because i will be in
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trouble with the national park service and all the agencies. but potus is going to just call for it, quote, unexpectedly. the end of the message indicates the presidents plan to have his followers march to the capital was not being broadly discussed. and then on the morning of january 5th, ali alexander, whose firebrand style concerned katrina pierson, sent a similar text to a conservative journalist. mr. alexander said, tomorrow, ellipse, then u.s. capital. trump is supposed to order us to the capital at the end of his speech,, but we will see. president trump did follow through on his plan using his january 6th speech to tell the supporters to march to the capital on january six. the evidence confirms that this was not a spontaneous call to action, but rather was a deliberate strategy decided upon in advance by the president. another part of the presidents
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strategy involved certain members of congress who amplified his unsupported assertions that the election had been stolen. in the weeks after the election, the white house coordinated closely with president trump's allies in congress to disseminate his false claims and encourage members of the public to fight the outcome on january six. we know the president met with various members to discuss a january six well before the joint session. the president's private schedule for december 21st, 2020, shows a private meeting with republican members of congress. we know that vice president pence, chief of staff mark meadows, and rudy giuliani also attended that meeting. we obtained an email that was sent from congressman moe brooks of alabama to mark meadows, setting up that meeting. the subject line is, white house meeting december 21st regarding january six. in his email, congressman brooks explains that he had not asked anyone to join him in the,
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quote, january six effort. because in his view, quote, only citizens can exert the necessary influence on senators and congressman to join this fight against massive voter fraud and election theft. at this point, you may also recall testimony given in our earlier hearing by acting attorney general, richard donahue, who said the president asked the department of justice to, quote, just say that the election was corrupt and leave the rest to me and the republican congressman. according to white house visitor logs obtained by the committee, members of congress present at the white house on december 21st included congressman bryan babin, andy biggs, matt gates, louis gohmert, paul gosar, andy harris, jody hice, jim jordan, and scott perry. and then congresswoman elect marjorie taylor greene was also there. we heard testimony in an
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earlier hearing that a pardon was ultimately requested by congressman moe brooks and other members of congress who attended the meeting. we've asked witnesses what's happened during in the december 21st meeting. we've learned that part of the discussion centered on the role of the vice president during the counting of the electoral votes. these members of congress were discussing what would later be known as the eastman theory, which was being pushed by attorney john eastman. in one of our earlier hearing, you heard in great detail that president trump was trying to convince vice president pence to do something illegal. his white house counsel confirmed all that in testimony last week. >> in your view, mr. cipollone, upon that discussion -- what was your assessment as to what the vice president could or could not do? >> was mice estimate of what he could or couldn't do? >> yes, your view of the issue. >> my view was that the vice president didn't have the legal
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authority to do anything, simple as that. >> you told us, mr. philbin, that you look closely at the -- theory, you thought it had no basis, that it was not strategy -- that's what you understood. sounds like that's what is consistent with your impression. >> my impression was informed, certainly, by that. >> campaign senior adviser, jason miller, told us that mr. cipollone thought john eastman's theories were naughty. something mr. cipollone would not refute. >> we received testimony from various people about this. that one was jason miller, who was -- said that -- passable any thought the idea was 90. at one point, -- the same sentiment. >> i don't have any reason to contradict that. >> on january 4th, and john eastman went to the white house to meet with the president and vice president. mr. cipollone tried to
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participate in this meeting, but he was apparently turned away. >> you didn't go to the meeting in the oval office where easement went to meet with the president. do you remember why you didn't personally attend? >> i did walk to that meeting, i did go into the oval office with the idea of attending that meeting. ultimately, i did not attend that meeting. >> why? not >> the reasons for that -- >> were you asked not attend the meeting or did you make the personal decision not to? >> again, without getting into -- >> recall that greg jacob, the vice president's counsel stated that mr. eastman acknowledged he would lose 9 to 0 if his legal theory were challenged in the supreme court. mr. cipollone had reviewed mr. eastman's legal theory and expressed his view repeatedly that the vice president was right. he even offered to take the blame for the vice president's position. >> i thought the vice president
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did not have the authority to do what the meeting suggested under a proper reading at the law. i conveyed that, i think i actually -- in the vice -- just blame me. i'm not a politician. i just said, i'm a lawyer. this is my legal opinion. but, let me tell you this, can i say worried about the vice president? >> please. >> i think the vice president did the right thing. i think he did the courageous thing. i have a great deal of respect for vice president pence. i work with him very closely. i think he understood my opinion, i think he understood my opinion afterwards, as well. i think he did a great service to this country and i think i suggested to somebody that he should be given a presidential
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me medal of freedom for his actions. >> earlier this year, a federal district court judge concluded that president trump and mr. eastman, relying on mr. eastman's theory, more likely than not violate multiple federal criminal laws in their pressure campaign against the vice president. also recall earlier in this hearing, we saw that rudy giuliani's team did not have actual evidence of fraud sufficient to change the result of the election. that's important because, as january 6th approached, the republican members of the house and senate were looking for every reason to object to the electors. no evidence was given to them. we know that republican members of the house received a memorandum from the chairwoman of the house republican caucus in the days before january six, explaining in detail the many constitutional and legal problems with objections, and describing the principle of judicial rulings, dismissing the claims of widespread fraud. but their plan to object to the
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certification of the election on january six went forward anyway. the next day, on january 5th, the day before the attack on the capital, tens of thousands of people converged on washington. while certain close associates of president trump privately expressed concerns about what would occur on january six, other members of the presidents inner circle spoke with great anticipation about the events to come. the committee has learned from the white house phone logs that the president spoke to steve bannon, his close adviser, at least twice on january 5th. the first conversation they had lasted for 11 minutes. listen to what mr. bannon said that day after the first call he had with the president. >> all is going to break loose tomorrow. it's all converging. now we are on, as i say, the point of attack. the point of attack tomorrow. i will tell you this, it's not going to happen when you think it's going to happen. it's going to be quite
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extraordinarily different. all i can say is, strap in. >> from those same phone logs, we know that the president mr. bannon spoke again on the phone that evening, this time for six minutes. that's, nba on the eve of january six, supporters of president trump gathered in washington d.c. at another rally. this rally was held at freedom plaza, located in near the white house, and featured some of the speakers who katrina pierson and others deemed too extreme to share the stage with the president the next morning. as the rally was underway, the president asked members of his staff to come to the oval office. let's hear from the white house aides in the oval office that night. >> i was in the office, in the oval office. he had asked me to open the door so he could hear, i guess there was a concert, something going on -- >> did he say anything other than open the door?
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>> he made a comment, i don't remember specifically what he said, but there was a lot of energy. >> when we walked in, and the staff was kind of standing up and assembled along the wall. the president was at the desk. -- was on the couch. the president was dictating a tweet he wanted scavino to send out. then the president started talking about the rally the next day. he had the door of the oval opened to the rose garden, because you could hear the crowd already assembled outside on the ellipse. they were playing music. it was so loud that you could feel it shaking in the oval. he was in a very good mood. i say that because he had not been in a good mood for weeks leading up to that. then it seemed like he was in a
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fantastic mood that evening. >> being asked if members of congress would be with him tomorrow. >> what did you understand by being -- voting in his favor as opposed to -- >> i took that to mean, not voting to certify the election. >> then he did look to the staff and ask for ideas of how, if i recall, he said that we could make the rhinos do the right thing, is the way he phrased it. no one spoke up, initially. and think everyone was trying to process what he meant by that. >> the president was making notes that top man about -- we should go to the capitol, what's the best route to go to the capital. >> i said, he should focus on policy accomplishments. i didn't mention anything. >> what was his response? >> he acknowledged that and
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said, we've had a lot. something along those lines. and then he, fairly quickly, moved to how fired up the crowd is, was going to be. >> what did he say about it? >> just that they were fired up, they were angry, they felt like the elections been stolen, that the election was rigged. >> did he give you any indication of how he knew that the crowd was fired up or angry? >> he continued to reference be able to hear them outside. >> through the open door of the oval office, the president could hear the sound of the crowd in the music at the rally, at the freedom plaza. these are some of the things that they were saying there at the plaza, just blocks from
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where the president sat that evening, excited for the next day. >> this is nothing less than an epic struggle for the future of this country, between dark and light. between the gaudily and the godless. between good and evil. and we will win this fight or america will step off into 1000 years of darkness. >> tomorrow, tomorrow, trust me. the american people that are standing on the soil that we are standing on tonight, they're going to be standing on the soil tomorrow, this is soil that we have fought over, fought for and we will fight for in the future. the members of congress, the members of the house of representatives, that members of the united states senate. those of you are feeling weak tonight, those of you who don't have the moral fiber in your
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body. get some tonight because tomorrow, we the people are going to be here. and we want you to know that we will not stand for a lie. we will not stand for a lie. >> i want them to know that 1776 is always an option! [applause] these degenerates in the deep state are going to give us what we want, where we are going to shut this country down. >> it's 1776! 1776! 1776! 1776! >> 1776! >> at 5:05 pm, as the freedom plaza rally was underway, just blocks away, president trump tweeted, washington is being
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inundated by people who don't want to see an election victory stolen from emboldened radical left democrats. a country has had enough, they won't take it anymore. to the crowds gathering in d.c., he added, we hear you and love you from the oval office. the committee has learned that, on january 5th, there were serious concerns that twitter about the anticipated buying was the next day. listen to what the twitter witness told us about their desperate efforts to get twitter to do something. >> what was your gut feeling, the night of january 5th? >> i believe i sent a slack message to someone that said something along the lines of, when people are shooting each other tomorrow, i will try and rest in the knowledge that we tried. so, i went to, i don't know if i slept that night, to be honest with you. i was on pins and needles. because, again, for months, i
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had been begging and anticipating and attempting to raise the reality that, if nothing, if we made no intervention into what i saw occurring, people were going to die. and on january 5th, i realized no intervention was coming. even as hard as i had tried to create one or implement one, there was nothing. and we were at the whims and the mercy of a violent crowd that was locked and loaded. >> just, for the record, this was content that was echoing statements by the former president but also proud and other no violent extremist
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groups? >> yes. >> there were also concerns among members of congress. we have a recently released a recording of a conversation that took place among republican members in the u.s. capital, on the eve of january 6th. this is republican congresswoman, debbie lesko from arizona. who led to some of the unfunded objections to the election results. >> i also asked leadership to come up with a safety plan for members. i'm actually very concerned about this, because we have who knows how many hundreds of thousands of people coming here, we have antifa. we also have, quite honestly, trump supporters who actually believe that we are going to overturn the election. and when that doesn't happen, most likely will not happen, they are going to go nuts. >> that same evening, as
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president trump listened to the rally from the oval office, he was also working on his speech to be delivered the next day. based on documents we received from the national archives, including multiple drafts of the presidents speech as well as from witness testimony, we understand how that speech devolved into a call to action and a call to fight. one of the first that is president trump made to his speech was to incorporate his 5:05 pm tweet, revising his speech to say all of us are here today, we do not want to see our election victory stolen by emboldened radical left democrats. our country has had enough, we will not take it anymore. he also added, together, we will stop the steal. president trump said it's continued into the morning of january 6th. as you can see from the presidents daily diary here, the president spoke to his chief speech writer stephen miller for over 25 minutes that morning. following his call with mr. miller, president trump inserted, for the first time, a
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line in his speech that said, quote, and we will see whether mike pence enters history as a truly great encourages slater. all he has to do is refer the illegally submitted electoral votes back to the states where they're even false and fraudulent information where they want to recertify. no prior version of the speech had referenced vice president pence or his role during the joint session on january 6th. these last-minute edits by president trump to his feet were part of the presidents pressure campaign against his own vice president. but not everyone wanted these lines regarding the vice president included in the presidents speech, including the white house lawyer, eric herschmann. >> did you ever speak to anybody in the white house at the time about this disagreement between the president and the vice president? other than the president, based on the objection from council. >> maybe had a brief conversation about it with eric
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herschmann. >> tell me about that. but do you remember him saying to you about this disagreement? >> i just remember him saying that he had -- i'm trying, i don't want to get this wrong. something to the effect of thinking that it would be counterproductive. i think, he thought to discuss the matter publicly. >> so, it came up in the context of editing the presidents speech on january the 6th? >> came up in the conversation where eric knew it was in the speech. and so, he had a sidebar with me about it. >> so, the speech writers took that advice and removed the lines about vice president pence. later that morning, at 11:20 am, president trump had a phone call with the vice president. as the committee detailed in an earlier hearing, that phone call was, by all accounts,
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tense and he did. during this call, the vice president told the president that he would not attempt to change the outcome of the election. in response, the president called the vice president of the united states a win and other derogatory words. as you can see in this email, after vice president pence told president trump that he would not unilaterally deliver him a second term in office, the speech writers were directed to re-insert the mike pence lines. here is how one of the speech writers described president trump's last-minute changes to the speech. >> and, as i recall, there is a very tough sentence about the vice president that was added. >> president trump wanted to use his speech to attack vice president pence in front of a crowd of thousands of angry supporters who had been led to believe the election was stolen. when president trump arrived at
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the ellipse to deliver his speech, he was so worked up from his call with vice president pence. although ivanka trump would not say so, her chief of staff gave the committee some insight into the president's frustration. >> it's been reported that you ultimately decided to attend the rally because you hoped that you would calm the president and keep the event on an even keel. is that accurate? >> no, i don't know who said that or where that came from. >> what did she share with you about why it was concerning that her father was upset or agitated after that call with the vice president pence? in relation to the ellipse rally. why did that matter? why did he have to be calmed down? i should say. >> why, she chaired that he had called the vice president may not -- an expletive word, i think that bothered her.
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i think she could tell, based on the conversations that what was going on in the office, that he was angry and upset and people were providing misinformation. and she felt like she might be able to help calm the situation down. at least before he went on to the stage. >> the president did go on stage, and then he gave the speech that he wanted to give. it included the formal changes he had requested the night before and, in that morning. but also many last-minute ad lib changes. it's a ghost cryptographers in the speech to mike pence became eight. a single script raffensperger's march into the capitol became for. with president trump ad libbing that he would be joining the protesters at the capitol. added throughout his speech or references to fighting and do
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the need for people to have courage and be strong. the word peacefully was in the staff written script and used only once. here are some of these ad libbed changes that the president made to his speech. >> because he'll never take back our country with weakness, you have to show strength and you have to be strong. so, i hope mike has the courage to do it he has to do. and i hope he does not listen to the rhinos and the stupid people that he's listening to. we fight like how and, if you don't fight like, you're not going to have a country anymore. we're going to try to give all republicans, the weak ones, because the strong ones don't need any of our help, we're going to try to give them the kind of pride and boldness that they need to take back our country. so, let's walk down pennsylvania avenue -- >> white house counsel pat
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cipollone and his deputy did not attend the speech. and they were concerned that the statements in the speech that the election were false. in fact, the message that president trump delivered that day was built on a foundation of lies. he lied to his supporters that the election was stolen. he stopped their anger. he called for them to fight for him. he directed them to the u.s. capital. he told them he would join them. and his supporters believed him, and then he headed towards the capital. as a result, people died. people were injured, many of his supporters lives will never be the same. president trump's former campaign manager, brad personnel, recognize the impact of the speech immediately. this is what he said on january 6th, in excerpts from text messages to katrina pierson. mr. parscale said, quote, this is about trump pushing for uncertainty in our country. a sitting president asking for civil war. then, when he said, this week i
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feel guilty for helping him win, katrina pierson responded, you did what you felt right at the time. therefore, it was right. mr. parscale added, yeah, but a woman is dead. and yeah, if i was trump and i do my rhetoric killed someone -- when mr. pierson replied, it wasn't the rhetoric, mr. paschal said, katrina, yes it was. thank, you mister chairman, i yield back. >> gentlelady yields back. we are joined today by mr. jason van tatenhove and mr. stephen errors. mr. van tatenhove is an artist in journalist, he's a former spokesman of the oath keepers and a former close associate of stewart rhodes, the founder and president of the oath keepers, who has been charged with seditious conspiracy in
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relation to the capitol attack. mr. van tatenhove broke with the oath keepers and has since spoken out forcefully about the violent group. mr. errors is a former supporter of president trump, he answered the president called to go to washington d.c. on january 6th. we march to the capital on the presidents orders, he pleaded guilty last month to disorderly and disruptive conduct at the capitol. mr. ayres, who no longer supports president trump, came forward voluntarily to share his story as a warning. i will now swear in our witnesses. the witnesses will please stand and raise the right hand. do you swear or affirm -- under penalty of perjury, that the testimony you're about to give is the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth, so help you god? thank you, you may be seated.
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let the record reflect that the witnesses answered in the affirmative. i recognize myself for questions. today, we discussed how president trump summoned an angry mob of supporters to washington, d.c.. men who came prepared to battle against police and politicians alike. we are fortunate enough to be joined by two witnesses who can help us understand who was in the mob that day. both hard-core extremist like the oath keepers and proud boys, and average trump supporters swept up in the fervor of the day. mr. van tatenhove, can you help us understand who the oath keepers are? >> i can, thank. you my time would be of keepers began back at -- ranch, with that first standoff
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when i covered them as an independent journalist. and then subsequently covered to more than standoffs, the sugar pine mind standoff and the white hope mine standoff. it was at that time that it was offered a job as national media director and associate editor for the web page. i spent a few years with the oath keepers. i can tell you that they may not like the -- to call themselves a militia, but they are. they are a violent militia. they are largely -- i think, rather than try to use words, i think the best illustration for wet the oath keepers are happened on january 6th. we saw that stack of military going up the stairs of our
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capitol. i saw radicalization that started with my beginning of my time with them and continued over a period of time, as the member base and who was that stewart rhodes was courting drifted further and further right, into the assault right world, into white nationalism, even straight-up racists. it came to a point where i could not longer continue to work for them. but the oath keepers are a dangerous militia that has in large part fed by the ego and drive of stewart rhodes who, at times, seems to see himself as this paramilitary leader. i think that drove a lot of it.
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in my opinion, the oath keepers are very dangerous organization. >> thank you very much. you talked a little bit about that danger. so, what is the oath keepers vision for america? why should americans be concerned about it? >> i think we saw a glimpse of what's the vision of the oath keepers is on january 6th. it doesn't necessarily include the rule of law. it doesn't necessarily include -- it includes violence. it includes trying to get their way through lies, deceit, intimidation, and through the perpetration of violence. the swing of people who may not know better through lies, and rhetoric, and propaganda, that can get swept up in these moments. i will admit, i was swept up at
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one point as well. i don't know if that answers the question. >> it. does you talk about being swept up. at what point did you break with the oath keepers? >> there came a point -- there were many red flags. i probably should have broke with them much earlier than i did. but the straw that broke the camel's back came when i walked into a grocery store, we were living up in the very remote town of eureka, montana. there was a group of core members of the oath keepers and some associates. they were having a conversation at that public area where they were talking about how the holocaust was not real. that was, for me, something i could not abide. we were not wealthy people at
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all. we were barely surviving. it didn't matter. i went home to my wife, my kids, i told them that i have got to walk away at this point. i don't know how we are going to survive, where we are going to go, what we are going to do, but i can no longer continue and put in my resignation. >> thank you very much. mr. ayres, there were many people in the crowd that day, january 6th, including you, who are not part of an extremist group. i would like to start by having you tell the american people a little bit about yourself. can you tell us about your life before january 6th? >> yeah. basically, nothing but a family man and a working man. i worked at the company, a cabinet company in northeastern ohio for going on 20 years.
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you know, family is my life. i was a supervisor there. that took up a lot of my free time. other than that, my family, camping, playing basketball, playing games with my son. >> just what's any ordinary american citizen, family man would do. >> exactly. >> this committee has reviewed thousands of hours of surveillance footage from january 6th. during this review, we identified you entering the capital, as we see in this video. mr. ayres, why did you decide to come to washington on january 6th? >> for me, personally, you know, i was pretty hard-core into the social media, facebook, twitter,
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instagram. i followed president trump. on all the websites, you know. he basically put out come to stop the steal rally. i felt like i needed to be down here. >> you basically learned about the rally on social media. at some point, you made a decision to come to washington. >> yeah, yeah. i had friends i found out were coming down. i just popped on with them at the tail end when i found out. i came down here with them. >> thank you very much. the chair recognizes the vice chair, miss cheney, of wyoming, for any question she may have. >> thank you very much, mister chairman. mr. ayres, when you entered the capitol last year, did you believe that the election had been stolen? >> at that time, yeah. you know, everything i was seeing online, i definitely
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believed that that's exactly -- that was the case. >> when you heard from president trump that the election was stolen, how did that make you feel? >> i was very upset. as where most of his supporters. you know, that's basically what got me to come down here. >> do you still believe the election was stolen? >> not so much now. i got away from all the social media when january six happened. i basically deleted it all. i started to do my own research and everything. for me, for something like that to be that -- for that to actually take place, it's too big. there is no way you can keep something like that quiet, as big as something like that, you know. with all the lawsuits being shot down one after another, that was mainly wet convinced me.
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>> i think that's very important. we've also talked about today, and in previous hearings, the extent to which president himself was told the election had not been stolen. by his justice department, by his white house counsel, by his campaign. would it have made a difference to you to know that president trump himself had no evidence of widespread fraud? >> definitely. who knows? i may not have come down here. then, you know. >> thank you very much. mister chairman, i yield back. >> the gentlelady yields back. chair recognize the gentlewoman from florida, miss murphy. >> thank you, mister chairman. earlier today, we showed how donald trump's december 19th tweet cement both extremist groups as well as rank and file supporters of president trump to come to washington, d.c.. average americans.
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he told them to, quote, be there, it will be wild. and they came. we showed how mister president -- how president trump repeatedly told them, fight, fight, fight. and they marched to the capitol. mr. ayres, you were in that crowd at the rally, then the crowd that marched at the capitol. when you arrived to the ellipse that morning, did you plan on going to the capitol. ? ? >> no, we didn't plan to go down there. we went to see the stop the steal rally. that was it. >> why did you decide to march to the capitol? >> basically, the president got everybody riled up. told everybody to head on down. basically, we were just following what he said. >> after the presidents speech, as you were marching down to the capitol, how did you feel? >> i'm angry after everything that was basically said in the
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speech. a lot of the stuff he said, he already put out in tweets. i had seen it and heard it before. i was already worked up, so where most of the people there. >> as you started marching, did you think there was still a chance the election would be overturned? >> yeah, at that time i did. you know, everybody was kind of like in the hope that, you know, vice president pence was not going to certify the election. also, the whole time, on our way down, we kept hearing about this big reveal. i remember i was talking, about we maybe thought that was it. that hope was there. >> did you think that the president would be marching with you? >> yeah. i think everybody thought he was gonna be coming down. he said it in his speech. kind of like he was going to be there with us. i believed it. >> i understand.
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we know that you illegally entered the capitol that afternoon, and that left the capitol area later on. what made you decide to leave? >> basically when president trump put his tweet out. we literally left right after that came out. you know, to me, if he had done that earlier in the day, at 1:30, we wouldn't be -- maybe we wouldn't be in this bad a situation, or something. >> thank you. mister chairman, i yield back. >> the chair recognizes the gentleman from maryland, mr. raskin. >> thank you, mister chairman. mr. van tatenhove, in the run of the january 6th van tatenhove -- stewart rhodes publicly implored president trump to invoke the insurrection act, the 1807 law that allows the president to call up militias to put down a rebellion against the united states. i want to get your thoughts about this in the context of
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your prior relationship with stewart rhodes. i understand that you had conversations with rhodes about the insurrection act. why was he so fixated on that? what did he think it would enable the oath keepers to do? >> well, i think it gave him a sense of legitimacy, that it was a path forward to move forward with his goals and agenda. i think we need to quit mincing words and just talk about truths and what is going to be was an armed revolution. people died that day. law enforcement officers died on that day. there was a gallo set up at the front of the capitol, this could've been the spark that started a civil war. no one would have won that. that wouldn't have been good for no one. he was always looking for ways to legitimize what he was doing,
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whether by wrapping it in the trappings of it's not a militia, it's a community preparedness team. we are not a militia, we are an educational outreach group. it's a veteran support group. but, again, we've got to stop with this dishonesty and the mincing of words, and just call things for what they are. you know, he is a militia leader. he had these grand visions of being a paramilitary leader. and the insurrection act would have given him a path forward with that. you know, the fact that the president was communicating whether directly or indirectly messaging, you know, that kind of gave him the nod. all i can do is thank the gods that things did not go any worse that day. >> what did the oath keepers see in president trump? >> they saw a path forward that
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would have legitimacy. they thought opportunity, in my opinion, to become a paramilitary force. you know? >> last, week the department of justice indicated that it has evidence of the oath keepers bringing not just firearms but explosives to washington ahead of january 6th. the committees also learned that stewart rhodes stopped to buy weapons on his way to washington and shipped roughly $7,000 worth of tactical gear to a january 6th rally planner in virginia, before the attack. did you ever hear roads discuss committing violence against elected political leaders? >> yeah, that went back from the very beginning of my tenure. one of the first assignments that he brought to me, wanted me to do as more of a graphic artist function, was to create a deck of cards. you may remember back to the
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conflict in the middle east where our own military created a deck of cards which was a who's who of the key players on the other side that they wanted to take out. stewart was very intrigued by that notion and influenced by it, i think. he wanted me to create a deck of cards out included from politicians, judges, including up to hillary clinton as the queen of hearts. this was a project that i refused to do. but from the very start we saw that. there is a push for military training, including, there were courses in that community that went over explosives training. so, yeah, this all falls in line. >> mr. van tatenhove, you say new very thoughtful written testimony that we received today that you fear with the
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next election cycle will bring. you also say that we have been exceedingly lucky in that we have not seen more bloodshed so far. i wonder if you would elaborate on those two statements. >> i think, as far as luck goes, we've had the potential from bundy ranch on. being boots on the ground at these standoffs, and they were standoffs, where there were firearms pointed across lines at federal law enforcement agents. whatever it may be with that particular standoff. but i think that we've gotten exceedingly lucky that more bloodshed did not happen, because the potential has been there from the start. we got very lucky that the loss of life was, as tragic as it is that we saw on january six, the
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potential was so much more. again, all we have to look at is the iconic images of that day. with the gallows set up for mike pence, the vice president of the united states. i do fear for this next election cycle, because who knows what that might bring if a president that's willing to try to instill and encourage, to whip up, a civil war amongst his followers, using lies and deceit and snake oil. regardless of the human impact, what else is he going to do if he gets elected again? all bets are off at that point. that's a scary notion. i have three daughters, i have a granddaughter. and i fear for the world that they will inherit if we do not start holding these people to account.
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>> thank you for your testimony, mr. van tatenhove. mr. ayres, i first want to ask you about what finally caused you to leave on january the 6th. we know that the medieval style combat with our police, the occupation of the building, this was going on for several hours until the president issued, at 4:17, a tweet, i believe, that included a video telling people to go home. did you see that and did that have an effect on what you are doing? >> well, we were there. as soon as that come, out everybody started talking about it. it seems like it started to disperse some of the crowd, obviously, once he got back to the hotel room we'd seen that it was still going on. but it definitely dispersed a lot of the crowd. >> did you leave at that point? >> yeah, we did. we left. >> so, in other words, that was
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the key moment when you decided to leave. when president trump told people to go home? >> yeah, we laugh right when that come out. >> you are not a member of an organized group play towards keepers or the proud boys, as most of the crowd wasn't. i wonder, on january 6th, was it your view that these far-right groups like the oath keepers and proud boys and three percenters and others were on your side? did you have any reservations about marching with them and rallying with them? >> well, i definitely didn't have a problem. i was probably following them online myself. i thought they were on my team, good, that's how i looked at it at the time. i didn't have a problem with, it i thought it was a good thing. >> i'm interested in hearing that what's happened to you since the events of january 6th.
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you told the vice chair that you no longer believe trump's big lie about the election, but that's what brought you originally to washington. looking back on it now, how do you reflect on the role that you played in the crowd that they? and what is going on in your life? >> basically, i lost my job. some football happened, pretty much sold my halves. so, everything that happened with the charges, thank god a lot of them did get dismissed. because i was just holding my phone but, at the same time, i was there. i mean, it definitely changed my life. not for the good, definitely not for the better. yeah, i mean, that's all i can say. >> president trump is still promoting the big lie about the
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election. how does that make you feel? >> it makes me mad. because i was hanging on everywhere he was saying, everywhere he was putting out i was following. if i was doing it, hundreds of thousands or millions of other people are doing it. maybe are still doing it. like he just said about that, you've got people still following and doing that. who knows what the next election could come out, could end up being on the same path we are right now. you just don't know. >> mr. ayres, i see that your wife has joined you today, welcome to washington. we know that this is been very difficult on you both. and your family. what lessons, finally, do you want the american people to learn from the way you and your family have suffered as a result of these events? >> biggest thing is i consider
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myself a family man and i love my country. i don't think anyone man is bigger than either one of those. i think that's what's needs to be taken, people dive into the politics and, for me, i felt like i had horse blinders on. i was locked in the whole time. biggest thing, for me, is take the blinders off, make sure you step back and see what's going on before it's too late. >> well, i want to thank you for your testimony and for appearing, both of you, today. mister chairman, i yield back to you. >> gentleman yields back. i want to thank our witnesses for joining us today. the members of the select committee may have additional questions for today's witnesses and we ask that you respond expeditiously in writing to those questions. without objections, members
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will be permitted ten business days to submit statements for the record, including opening remarks and additional questions for the witnesses. without objection, the chair recognizes the gentleman from maryland, mr. raskin, for a closing statement. >> thank you, mister chairman. when donald trump sent out his tweet, he became the first president ever to call for a crowd to descend on the capital city, to block the constitutional transfer of power. he set off an explosive chain reaction among his followers, but no one mobilized more quicker than the dangerous extremist we've looked at today. seizing planted invitation to fight, they assemble their followers for an insurrectionary showdown against congress and the vice president. on january 6th, trump knew the crowd was angry, he knew the crowd was armed, he sent them to the capitol anyway. you might imagine that our founders would be shocked to learn that an american president would one day come to embrace and excuse political
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violence against our own institutions or knowingly send an armed mob to attack the capital, to usurp the will of the people. but you know, mr. chairman, the founders were pretty wise about certain things. at the start of the republic, they actually warned everybody about donald trump. not by name, of course, but in the course of advising about the certain prospect that ambitious politicians would try to mobilize violent mobs to tear down our own institutions, in service of their insatiable ambitions. and the very first federalist paper, alexander hamilton observed that history teaches that opportunistic politicians who desire to rule at all costs will begin, first, as demagogues. pandering to the angry and malignant passions of the crowd but then end up as tyrants. trampling the freedoms and the rights of the people. a violent insurrection to overturn the election is not an abstract thing, as we've heard. hundreds were people were
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bloodied, injured and wounded in the process, including more than 150 police officers. some of them, sitting in this room today. i want to give you an update on one officer who is badly wounded in the attack and is well known to the members of this committee, because he testified before us last year. sergeant aqua lena gwen l is an army veteran who sent a year on active duty in the iraq war and six years on the capital force. nothing he ever saw in iraq, he said, prepared him for the insurrection where he was savagely beaten, punched, pushed, kick, shoved and sprayed with chemical irritants along with other officers. by members of a mob carrying knives, of the times, police shields taken by force and wielding the american flag against police officers as a dangerous weapon. last month, on june 28th,
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sergeant aquilino gonell team of doctors told him that permanent injuries he has suffered to his left shoulder and right foot now make it impossible for him to continue as a police officer. he must leave policing for good and figure out the rest of his life. sergeant aquilino gonell, we wish you and your family all the best, we are here for you. we salute your for your valor, your eloquence and your beautiful commitment to america. i wonder what former president trump would say to someone like sergeant gonell, who must now go about remaking his life. i wonder if he could even understand what motivates a patriot like sergeant gonell. in his inaugural address, trump introduced one commanding image, american carnage. although that turn a phrase explains little about our country before he took office, it turned out to be an excellent prophesy of what his
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rage would come to visit on our people. mr. ayres just described how the trust he placed in president trump as a camp follower derailed his life and nearly wrecked his reputation and his family. a few weeks ago, we heard seamus and her mother, ruby friedman, speaker rusty powers from arizona and georgia secretary of state brad raffensperger described how hate filled intimidation campaigns by trump and his followers made them prisoners in their homes and drove their stress and anxiety to scoring new heights when they refused to do trump's bidding. american carnage, that's donald trump's true legacy. his desire to overthrow the peoples election and sees the presidency interrupted the counting of presidential electoral votes for the first time in american history. nearly toppled the constitutional order and brutalized hundreds and hundreds of people. the watergate break-in was like
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a cub scout meeting compared to this assault on our people and our institutions. mister chairman, these hearings have been significant for us and for millions of americans. and our hearing next week will be a profound moment of reckoning for america. but the crucial thing is the next step. with this committee, would all of us, will do to fortify our democracy against quds, political violence and campaigns to steal elections away from people. unlike mr. ayres and mr. van tatenhove, people who have recovered and evolved from their descent into the of fanaticism, donald trump has only expanded his big lie. to cover january six itself, he asserts that insurrection was a real election. and the election was the real insurrection. he says his mob greeted our police officers on january six with hugs and kisses.
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he threatened to take one of america's two major political parties with him, down the road to authoritarianism. and it is abraham lincoln's party, no less. political scientists tell us that authoritarian parties have two essential features in common, in history and around the world. they do not accept the results of democratic elections when they lose, and they embrace political violence as legitimate. the problem of incitement to political violence has only grown more serious in the internet age, as we have just heard. but this is not the problem of one party, it is the problem of the whole country now. american democracy, mister chairman, is a precious inheritance. something rare in the history of the world and even on earth today. constitutional democracy is the silver frame, as lincoln put it, upon which the golden apple of freedom rests. we need to defend both our
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democracy and our freedom, with everything we have. and declare that this american carnage ends here and now, in a world of research authoritarianism and racism and antisemitism, let's all hang tough for american democracy. thank you, mister chairman. i yield back. >> gentleman yields back. without objection, the chair recognizes the gentlewoman from florida, miss murphy, for a closing statement. >> thank, you mister chairman. at one of our first hearing, chairman thompson explain that the members of this committee would not spend much time talking about ourselves. rather, we would let the evidence play the leading role. and the chairman was right. because this isn't about promoting ourselves as individuals, it's about protecting the country we love. and it's about preserving what's actually makes america great. the rule of law, free and fair elections and a peaceful transfer of power from one elected leader to the next. but if i may say a word about
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myself and why i am proud to serve on this committee, i'm the only member of this committee who is not blessed to be born and american. i was born in vietnam after the vietnam war and my family and i fled a communist government and were rescued by the u.s. navy and were given sanctuary in america. my patriotism is rooted in my gratitude for america's grace and generosity. i love this country. on january six, four decades after my family fled a place where political power was seized through violence, i was in the united states capitol, fleeing my fellow americans. members of the angry mob had been lied to by a president and the other powerful people who tried to convince them, without evidence, that the election had been stolen from them. some of them then tried to use physical violence to overturn the outcome of a free and fair election. our committees overriding objective is to fight fiction with facts, to create a full account for the american people and for the historical record.
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to tell the truth of what happened and why it happened. to make recommendations, so it never happens again. to defend our democracy. to me, there is nothing more patriotic than that. thank you, mister chairman, i yield back. >> gentlelady is back. without objection, the chair recognizes the gentlewoman from wyoming, miss cheney, for a closing statement. >> thank you very much, mister chairman. mister chairman, let me put a you have seen today in a broader context. at the very outset of our hearings, we describe several elements of president trump's multi part plan to overturn the 2020 election. our hearings have now covered all but one of those elements. an organized campaign to persuade millions of americans of a falsehood, that the 2020 election was stolen by widespread fraud. a corrupt effort to pressure vice president pence to refuse to count electoral votes. and efforts to corrupt the u.s.
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department of justice. efforts to pressure state election officials and legislators to change state election results. a scheme to create and submit fake electoral states from multiple states. and today, you saw how president trump summoned a mob to washington for january 6th and then, knowing that mob was armed, directed that mob to the united states capitol. every one of these elements of the planning for january six isn't independently serious matter. they were all ultimately focused on overturning the election and they all have one other thing in common. donald trump participated in each, substantially and personally. he oversaw or direct the activity of those involved. next week, we will return to january six itself. as we have shown in prior hearings, donald trump and his
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legal team, led by rudy giuliani, were working on january 6th to delay or halt congresses counting of electoral votes. the mob, attacking and invading the capital on that afternoon of january six, was achieving that result. for multiple hours, donald trump refused to intervene to stop it. he would not instruct the mob to leave or condemn the violence. he would not order them to evacuate the capital and disperse. the many pleas for help from congress did no good. his staff insisted that president trump call off the attack. he would not. here are a few of the many things you will hear next week, from mr. cipollone. >> --
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is that right? >> i was and others were as well. >> it's a necessary for you to continue to push for a statement directing people to leave, all the way through that period of time, until it was ultimately issued after four? >> i felt it was my obligation to continue to push for that. others felt it was our obligation as well. >> would it have been possible, at any moment, for the president to walk down to the podium and the briefing room and talk to the nation, and anytime between when you first gave the address at 2:00 and 4:17 when the video statement was released? with that have been possible? >> would've been possible? yes, it would've been possible. >> you will hear that donald trump that never picked up the phone that data order is administration to help. this is not ambiguous. he did not call the military, his secretary of defense received no order, he did not call it his attorney general, he did not talk to the department of homeland security. mike pence did all of those things. donald trump did not.
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we'll walk to the events of january six next week, minute by minute. one more item. after our last hearing, president trump tried to call a witness in our investigation. a witness you have not yet seen in these hearings. that person declined to answer or respond to president trump's call and, instead, alerted their lawyer to the call. their lawyer alerted us and this committee has supplied that information to the department of justice. let me say one more time, we will take any effort to influence witness testimony very seriously. thank you mister chairman, i yield back. >> thank you, gentlelady yields back. in my opening, i mentioned how we look to our leaders to serve as a fail safe if people in
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this country refuse to accept the results of an election. that is part of the way those in positions of public trust uphold their oath. how they show fidelity to the constitution. in the run up to january 6th, donald trump had an obligation to tell his supporters to accept the results of the election. instead, he urged them to go further along the path to mob violence. the idea of mob violence it me think of a another sort of fail safe. all across this country, there are different ideas about what role the federal government should play in our lives. in fact, up here on this there are plenty of different ideas. there are moments when the ideas of our institution are the fail-safe. i am from a part of the country
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where, had it not been for the federal government in the constitution, my parents and many more americans like them would have continued to be treated as second class citizens. the freedom to be able to vote without harassment, travel in relative safety and dine and sleep where you choose it's because we have a government that looks over the well-being of its citizens. this is especially important in moments of crisis. when we have a natural disaster that state departments can handle on their own, when there is an emergency that cries for action by our public health services or our military, we have a federal government. what happened on january 6th, 2020 was another one of those moments in history that tests the strength of our federal government. january six was an attack on our country.
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it was an attack on our democracy, on our constitution. a sitting president with a violent mob trying to stop the peaceful transfer of power from one president to another. it still makes my blood boil to think of it. in a moment like that, what would you expect to see? you expect to see the president of the united states sitting behind a resolute desk in the oval office, assuring the american people that the attack would be repelled and the threat would be dealt with. you'd expect to be reassured that there was a fail safe. instead, the president of the united states sent a mob. he disregarded the advice of the people who had taken an oath to the constitution. he oversaw scheme, aided by people whose loyalty was only to donald trump.
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there is nothing we can compare that to. there's nothing that our great nation's history that has ever come close to that sort of betrayal and dereliction. thank goodness our system of government held, in spite of a commander-in-chief who worked in opposition to what the constitution designed. when this committee reconvenes, we will tell the story of that supreme dereliction by the commander-in-chief. how close we came to catastrophe for our democracy, and how we remain in serious danger. the chair requests those in the hearing room remain seated until the capitol police have escorted witnesses and members from the room. without objection, committee stands adjourned.
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wrapping up c-span coverage of this section of the january 6th committee hearing. today was the seventh in the series. you can watch the previous six anytime online, and slash january 6th. we could see another session of the january 6th committee next week. by the, way if you missed any of the hearing today, we will be showing it again in its entirety tonight, starting at nine eastern, on c-span. today's january six committee hearing and all c-span programming brought to you as a public service by the cable industry and these television
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companies, including comcast, charter communications, and mediacom.
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about their experience during the pandemic, and what type of policies would help them succeed in today's economy. this hearing comes from -- the committee. it's just under four hours.