tv Attack on the Capitol The Investigation -- An ABC News Special ABC July 21, 2022 5:00pm-7:00pm PDT
tonight, inside the white house, the 187 minutes on january 6th. what did the former president do, what did he not do? our coverage of the prime time hearing starts right now. this is an abc news special. from 1:10 p.m. -- >> we're going to walk down, and i'll be there with you, we're going to walk down to the capitol -- >> until 4:17 p.m. >> so go home. we love you. you're very special. >> 187 minutes. what was happening inside the white house while the u.s. capitol was under siege? "attack on the capitol: investigation." now reporting, david muir.
>> good evening and thank you for joining us. our live coverage of tonight's prime time hearing from the january 6th committee, nearly a year long investigation. but tonight's hearing will focus on something very specific. we're told the committee will laser in on what former president trump did not do as rioters were attacking the capitol. those inside the white house describing the former white house watching it all on tv and, they say, failing to act. members of the committee calling it a dereliction of duty. they'll focus on the 187 minutes from the time the president finished speaking on the ellipse about 1:10 p.m. eastern, where he urged supporters to go to the capitol. of course testimony already the president knew some of those supporters were armed. and then the hours that went by until the former president posted that video at about 4:17 p.m. telling those at the capitol to go home. we love you. you're very special. tonight we will hear in-depth where the president was at the white house for more than three hours. much of it spent watching tv in his room right off the oval office. looking live at the hearing room. members of the committee about
to enter. >> the committee will come to order. >> the vice chair, liz cheney. good evening. earlier this week i received a positive covid diagnosis. per cdc guidelines i received the initial two shots and all of the boosters. thus far, i have been blessed to experience very minimal symptoms. because i'm still quarantined, i cannot participate in person with my colleagues. i've asked our vice chair, ms. cheney, to preside over this evening's hearing including maintaining order in the room and swearing in our witnesses. over the last month and a half the select committee has told a story of a president who did everything in his power to overturn an election. he lied, he bullied, he betrayed
his oath. he tried to destroy our democratic institutions. he summoned a mob to washington. afterward on january 6, when he knew the simple mob was heavily armed and angry, he commanded the mob to go to the capitol, and he emphatically commanded the heavily armed mob to fight like hell. for the weeks between november election and january 6th, donald trump was a force to be reckoned with. he shrugged off the factuality and advice of his knowledgeable and sensible advisers. instead, he recklessly blazed a path of lawlessness and corruption, the cost of which democracy be damned. and then he stopped. for 187 minutes on january 6, this man of unbridled
destructive energy could not be moved, not by his aides, not by his allies, not by the violent chants of rioters or the d desperate pleas. donald trump ignored and disregarded the desperate pleas of his own family including ivanka and don jr., even though he was the only person in the world who could call off the mob he sent to the capitol. he could not be moved to rise from his dining room table and walk the few steps down the white house hallway into the press briefing room where cameras were anxiously and desperately waiting to carry his message to the armed and violent mob savagely beating and killing law enforcement officers, revenging the capitol and
hunting down the vice president and various members of congress. he could not be moved. this evening, my colleague, mr. kinzinger of illinois will take you inside the white house during those 187 minutes. we also remind you of what was happening at the capitol minute by minute as the final violent, tragic part of donald trump's scheme to cling to power unraveled while he ignored his advisers, stood by and watched it unfold on television. let me offer a final thought about the select committee's work so far. as we made clear throughout these hearings, our investigation goes forward. we continue to receive new information every day. we continue to hear from witnesses. we will reconvene in september to continue laying out our findings to the american people.
but as that work goes forward, a number of facts are clear. there can be no doubt that there was a coordinated effort to overturn an election overseen and directed by donald trump. there can be no doubt that he commanded a mob, a mob he knew was heavily armed, violent, and angry, to march on the capitol to try to stop the peaceful transfer of power. and he made targets out of his own vice president and the lawmakers gathered to do the people's work. these facts have gone undisputed. and so there needs to be accountability, accountability under the law, accountability to the american people, accountability at every level from the local precincts in many states where donald trump and his allies attacked election
workers for just doing their jobs all the way up to the oval office where donald trump embraced the legal advice of insurrectionists that a federal judge has already said was a coup in search of a legal theory. our democracy withstood the attack on january 6. if there's no accountability for january 6th for every part of this scheme, i feel that we will not overcome the ongoing threat to our democracy. there must be stiff consequences for those responsible. now i will turn things over to our vice chair to start telling this story. >> the chairman, bennie thompson, remote tonight because of a positive test from covid. now let's listen to the vice chair, liz cheney. >> pursuant to house deposition
authority regulation 10, i announce that the committee has approved the release of the deposition material presented during today's hearing. and let me begin tonight by wishing chairman thompson a rapid re ccovery from covid. he has led us through eight hearings so far, and he has brought us to the point we are today. in our initial hearing the chairman and i described what ultimately became donald trump's seven-part plan to overturn the 2020 presidential election. a plan stretching from before election day through january 6th. at the close of today's hearing, our ninth, we will have addressed each element of that plan. but in the course of these hearings we have received new evidence and new witnesses have bravely stepped forward. efforts to litigate and overcome immunity and executive privilege claims have been successful and those continue.
doors have opened, new subpoenas have been issued, and the dam has begun to break. and now, even as we conduct our ninth hearing, we have considerably more to do. we have far more evidence to share with the american people and more to gather. so our committee will spend august pursuing emerging information on multiple fronts before convening further hearings in september. today we know far more about the president's plans and actions to overturn the election than almost all members of congress did when president trump was impeached on january 13, 2021, or when he was tried by the senate in february of that year. 57 of 100 senators voted to convict president trump at that time. and more than 20 others said they were voting against conviction because the president's term had already expired. at the time the republican
leader of the united states senate said this about donald trump. >> a mob was assaulting the capitol in his name. these criminals carried his banners. hanging his flags and screaming their loyalty to him. it was obvious that only president trump could end this. he was the only one. >> leader mcconnell reached those conclusions based on what he knew then, without any of the much more detailed evidence you will see today. lawlessness and violence began at the capitol on january 6, 2021, before 1:00 p.m. and continued until well after darkness fell.
what exactly was our commander in chief doing during the hours of violence? today we address precisely that issue. everything you've heard in these hearings thus far will help you understand president trump's motives during the violence. you already know donald trump's goal, to halt or delay congress' official proceedings to count certified electoral votes. you know that donald trump tried to pressure his vice president to illegally reject votes and delay the proceedings. you know he tried to convince state officials and state legislators to flip their electoral votes from biden to trump. and you know donald trump tried to corrupt our department of justice to aid his scheme. but by january 6 none of that had worked. only one thing was succeeding on the afternoon of january 6th. only one thing was achieving president trump's goal -- the angry, armed mob president trump
sent to the capitol, broke through security, invaded the capitol and forced the vote counting to stop. that mob was violent and destructive and many came armed. as you will hear secret service agents protecting the vice president were exceptionally concerned about his safety and their own. republican leader kevin mccarthy was scared, as were others in congress, even those who themselves helped to provoke the violence. and as you will see today, donald trump's own white house counsel, his own white house staff, members of his own family, all implored him to immediately intervene to condemn the violence and instruct his supporters to stand down, leave the capitol, and disperse. for multiple hours he would not. donald trump would not get on the phone and order the military or law enforcement agencies to
help. and for hours donald trump chose not to answer the pleas from congress, from his own party, and from all across our nation to do what his oath required. he refused to defend our nation and our constitution. he refused to do what every american president must. in the days after january 6th almost no one of any political party would defend president trump's conduct, and no one should do so today. thank you. and i now recognize the gentlewoman from virginia. >> thank you, madam vice chair. article two of our constitution requires that the president swear a very specific oath every four years. every president swears or affirms to faithfully execute the office of president of the united states and to the best of their ability preserve, protect, and defend the constitution of
the united states. the president also assumes thet care, that our nation's laws be faithfully executed. and as the commander in chief of our military. our hearings have shown the many ways in which president trump tried to stop the peaceful transfer of power in the days leading up to january 6. with each step of his plan he betrayed his oath of office and was derelict in his duty. tonight we will further examine president trump's actions on the day of the attack on the capitol. early that afternoon president trump instructed tens of thousands of supporters at and near the ellipse rally, a number of whom he knew were armed with various types of weapons, to march to the capitol. after telling the crowd to march multiple times, he promised he would be with them and finished
his remarks at 1:10 p.m. like this. >> we're going to walk down, and i'll be there with you, we're going to walk down -- we're going to walk down, we're going to walk down to the capitol . so let's walk down pennsylvania avenue. >> by this time the vice president was in the capitol. the joint session of congress to certify joe biden's victory was under way, and the proud boys and other rioters had stormed through the first barriers and begun the attack. radio communications from law enforcement informed secret service and those in the white house situation room of these developments in real time. at the direction of president trump thousands more rioters marched from the ellipse to the capitol, and they joined the attack. as you will see in great detail tonight, president trump was
being advised by nearly everyone to immediately instruct his supporters to leave the capitol, disperse and halt the violence. virtually everyone told president trump to condemn the violence in clear and unmistakable terms. and those on capitol hill and across the nation begged president trump to help. but the former president chose not to do what all of those people begged. he refused to tell the mob to leave until 4:17 when he tweeted out a video statement filmed in the rose garden ending with this. >> so go home. we love you. you're very special. you've seen what happens. you see the way others are treated that are so bad and so evil. i know how you feel. but go home and go home in peace. >> by that time two pipe bombs had been found at locations near
pthe capitol. including where the vice president elect was conducting a meeting. hours of hand-to-hand combat had seriously entered scores of law enforcement officers. the capitol had been invaded, the electoral count halted as members were evacuated, rioters took the floor of the senate. they riffled through desks and broke into offices and nearly caught up to vice president pence. guns were drawn on the house floor and a rioters was shot attempting to infiltrate the chamber. we know that a number of rioters intended acts of physical violence against specific elected officials. we know virtually all the rioters were motivated by president trump's rhetoric, that the election had been stolen, and they felt they needed to take their country back. this hearing is principally about what happened inside of the white house that afternoon. from the time when president trump ended his speech until the moment when he finally told the
mob to go home, a span of 187 minutes, more than three hours. what you will learn is that president trump sat in his dining room and watched the attack on television while his senior most staff, closest advisers, and family members begged him to do what is expected of any american president. i served proudly for 20 years as an officer in the united states navy. veterans of our armed forces know firsthand the leadership that's required in a time of crisis. your general and decisive action that puts duty and country first. but on january 6th, when lives and our democracy hung in the balance, president trump refused to act because of his selfish desire to stay in power. and i yield to the gentleman from illinois, mr. kinzinger. >> thank you. thank you, ms. luria. one week after the attack, republican leader kevin mccarthy
acknowledged the simple truth. president trump should have acted immediately to stop the violence. during our investigation general mark millie, the chairman of the joint chiefs of staff, also remarked on the president's failure to act. let's hear what they had to say. >> the president bears responsibility for wednesday's attack on congress by mob rioters. he should have immediately denounced the mob when he saw what was unfolding. these facts require immediate action by president trump. >> you're the commander in chief, you have an assault going on of the capitol of the united states of america. and there's nothing? no call? nothing? zero? >> like my colleague from virginia, i'm a veteran. i served in the air force and i serve currently in the air national guard. i can tell you that general milley's reaction is 100%
correct. and so was leader mccarthy's. what explains president trump's behavior? why did he not take immediate action in a time of crisis? because president trump's plan for january 6th was to halt or delay congress' official proceeding to count the votes. the mob attacked the capitol quick -- the mob attacking the capitol quickly caused the evacuation of both the house and the senate. the count ground to an absolute halt and was ultimately delayed for hours. the mob was accomplish president trump's purpose so, of course, he didn't intervene. here is what will be clear by the end of this hearing. president trump did not fail to act during the 187 minutes between leaving the ellipse and telling the mob to go home, he chose not to act. but there were hundreds that day who honored their oaths and put their lives on the line to
protect the people inside the capitol and to safeguard our democracy. many of them are here tonight with us and many more are watching from home. as you already know and we'll see again tonight their service and sacrifice shines a bright light on president trump's dishonor and dereliction of duty. i yield to the vice chair. >> thank you very much, mr. kinzinger. i'd like to begin by welcoming our witnesses this evening. tonight we're joined by mr. matthew pottinger. mr. pottinger is a decorated former marine, intelligence officer who served this nation on tours of duty in afghanistan and iraq. he served in the trump white house from the first day of the administration through the early morning hours of january 7th, 2021. the last role in which he served in the white house was as deputy national security adviser to the president of the united states. we are also joined by sarah
matthews. ms. matthews started her career in communications working on capitol hill, serving on the republican staffs of several house committees. she then work as deputy press secretary for president trump's re-election campaign before joining the trump white house in june of 2020. she served there as deputy press secretary and special assistant to the president until the evening of january 6th, 2021. i will now swear in our witnesses. the witnesses will please stand and raise their right hands. do you swear or affirm under penalty of perjury that the testimony you are about to give is the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth so help you god? thank you, you may be seated. let the record reflect the witnesses answered in the affirmative. thank you both again for being here tonight. mr. pottinger, thank you for your service to the nation as
well as for joining us this evening. can you please briefly explain what your responsibilities were as deputy national security adviser to the president? >> thank you, madam vice chair. when i started at the white house, i was a senior director for asia on the national security council staff, so that was a job that involved helping coordinate the president's asia policy. i supported the president when he met or interacted with asian leaders. later, 2019, i was promoted to the job of deputy national security adviser. in that role itches the chairman of the deputies committee, an nsc meeting of all the deputy cabinet secretaries. we would settle important matters of national policy related to our national security. and we would also tee up options for the president and for his
cabinet members. i felt then, as i do now, it was a privilege to serve in the white house. i'm also very proud of president trump's foreign policy accomplishments. we were able to finally compete with china. we were also able to broker peace agreements between israel and three arab states. those are some examples of the types of policies i think made our country safer. >> thank you, mr. pottinger. were you in the white house during the attack on the capitol on january 6th? >> for most of the day i was in the white house, although when the president was speaking at the rally, i was actually off site at a scheduled meeting with india's ambassador to the united states. the national security council staff was not involved in organizing the security for what was a domestic event, the rally. but i did return to the white house at roughly 2:30 p.m.
>> thank you. and i know my colleagues will have additional questions for you about that afternoon. let me turn now to you, ms. matthews. how did you come to join president trump's white house staff? >> thank you, madam vice chair. as you outlined, i am a lifelong republican, and i joined the trump re-election campaign in june of 2019. i was one of the first communications staffers actually onboard for his re-election campaign. and during that time i traveled all around the country and met kayleigh mcenany who was also working on his re-election campaign. i worked there for a year, and i formed a close relationship with ms. mcenany. and she moved over to the white house in april of 2020 to start as white house press secretary, and she brought over a group of campaign staff with her. and so i joined her over at the white house in june of 2020 to start as her deputy. >> and were you, ms. matthews,
at work in the white house on january 6th? >> yes, i was working out of the west wing that day. >> thank you. and now i'd like to recognize the gentlewoman from virginia and the gentleman from illinois. >> thank you, madam vice chair. as you've seen in our prior hearings, president trump summoned the mob to d.c. on january 6th. before he went on stage, he knew some of them were armed and prepared for combat. during his speech he implored them to march to the capitol as he always planned to do. by the time he walked off the stage, his supporters had already breached the outer perimeter of the capitol at the foot of capitol hill. since our last hearings we've received new testimony from a security professional working in the white house complex on january 6th with access to relevant information and responsibility to report to national security officials. this security official told us
that the white house was aware of multiple reports of weapons in the crowd that morning. we as a committee are cognizant of the fear of retribution expressed by certain national security witnesses who have come forward to tell the truth. we, therefore, have taken steps to protect this national security individual's identity. listen to this clip from their testimony. >> the message from the people about this idea of the president walking to the capitol? >> to be completely honest we were all in a state of shock. >> because why? >> because, one, i think the actual feasibility of doing it and then also we all knew what that indicated and what that meant, this was no longer a rally, this was going to move to something else if he physically walked to the capitol. i don't know if you want to use the word insurrection, coup, whatever. we knew this would move from a
normal democratic, you know, public event into something else. >> what was driving that sentiment considering this part of it, the actual breach of the capitol hadn't happened yet? >> why were we alarmed? >> right. >> we didn't want to lead 10,000 people to the capitol. this was enough grounds for us to be alarmed. >> even though he understood many of his supporters were armed, the president was still adamant to go to the capitol when he got off the stage at the ellipse. but his secret service detail was equally determined to not let him go. that led to a heated argument with the detail that delayed the departure of the motorcade to the white house. we have evidence from multiple sources regarding an angry exchange in the presidential suv including testimony we will disclose today from two witnesses who confirmed that a confrontation occurred. the first witness is a former
white house employee with national security responsibilities. after seeing the initial violence at the capitol on tv, the individual went to see tony ornato, the deputy chief of staff, in his office. mr. ornato was there with bobby engel, the president's lead secret service agent. this employee told us that mr. ornato said that the president was, quote, irate when mr. engel refused to drive him to the capitol. mr. engel did not refute what mr. ornato said. the second witness is retired sergeant mark robinson of the d.c. police department who was assigned to the president's motorcade that day. he sat in the lead vehicle with the secret service agent responsible for the motorcade, also called the ts agent. here is how sergeant robinson remembered the exchange. >> was there any description of what was occurring in the car? no, only that -- the only
description i received was that the president was upset, and was adamant about going to the capitol. there was a heated discussion about that. >> and when you say heated, is that your word or the word described by the ts agent? >> the word described by the ts agent, meaning that the president was upset and he was saying there was a heated argument or discussion about going to the capitol. >> about how many times would you say you've been part of that motorcade with the president? >> probably over 100 times. >> and in that 100 times have you ever witnessed another discussion of argument or heated discussion with the president where the president was contradicting where he was supposed to go or what the secret service believed was safe? >> no. >> like other witnesses,
sergeant robinson also testified that he was aware that individuals in the crowd were armed. >> yes, i believe he was on special events channel, and i was monitoring the traffic so i could hear some of the units pointing out to individuals that there were individuals along constitution avenue that were armed, that were up in trees and i could hear the units responding to those individuals. there's always a concern when there's a potus in the area. >> and like other witnesses sergeant robinson told us that the president still wanted to travel to the capitol, even after returning to the white house. >> so at the end of the speech, what was the plan supposed to be? >> so at the end of the speech, we do know that while inside the limo the president was still adamant about going to the
capitol. that's being relayed to me by the ts agent. and so we did park at the ellipse and responded back to the white house. however the potus motorcade was placed on standby. we were told to stand by until they confirmed whether or not the president was going to go to the capitol. and so i may have waited, i would estimate, 45 minutes to an hour, waiting for secret service to make that decision. >> the waited at the white house for more than 45 minutes before being released. the committee is also aware that accounts of the angry confrontation in the presidential suv have circled widely since january 6. recent disclosures have also caused the committee to subpoena yet further information from the
secret service, which we've begun to receive and will continue to assess. the committee is also aware that certain secret service witnesses have now retained new private counsel. we anticipate further testimony under oath and other new information in the coming weeks. after the secret service refused to take president trump to the capitol, he returned to the white house. what you see on the screen is a photo of him inside the oval office immediately after he returned from the rally, still wearing his overcoat. a white house employee informed the president as soon as he returned to the oval about the riot at the capitol. let me repeat that. within 15 minutes of leaving the stage, president trump knew that the capitol was besieged and under attack. at 1:25, president trump went to the private dining room off the oval office. from 1:25 until 4:00, the
president stayed in his dining room, just to give you a sense of where the dining room is situated in the west wing, let's take a look at this floor plan. the dining room is connected to the oval office by a short hallway. witnesses told us that on january 6th president trump sat in his usual spot at the head of the table facing a television hanging on the wall. we know from the employee that the tv was tuned to fox news all afternoon. here you can see fox news on the tv showing coverage of the joint session that was airing that day at 1:25. other witnesses confirmed that president trump was in the dining room with the tv on for more than two and a half hours. there was no official record of what president trump did while in the dining room. on the screen is the presidential call log from january 6th. as you can see there's no official record of president trump receiving or placing a call between 11:06 and 6:54 p.m.
as to what the president was doing that afternoon, the presidential daily diary is also silent. it contains no information from the period between 1:21 p.m. and 4:03 p.m. there are also no photos of president trump during this critical period between 1:21 in the oval office and when he went outside to the rose garden after 4:00. the chief white house photographer wanted to take pictures because it was, in her words, very important for his archives and for history, but she was told, quote, no photographs. despite the lack of photos or an official record, we've learned what president trump was doing while he was watching tv in the dining room. but before we get into that, it's important to understand what he never did that day. let's watch. >> so are you aware of any phone call by the president of the united states to the secretary of defense that day? >> not that i'm aware of, no.
>> are you aware of any phone call by the president of the united states to the attorney general of the united states that day? >> no. >> are you aware of any phone call by the president of the united states to the secretary of homeland security that day? >> i'm not aware of that, no. >> did you ever hear the president -- >> no. >> -- ask for the national guard? >> no. >> did you hear the president ask for law enforcement response? >> no. >> so as somebody who works in the national security space and with the national security council, if there were going to be troops present or called up for a rally in washington, d.c., for example, is that something you would have been aware of? >> yeah, i would have. >> do you know if he asked anybody to reach out to any of those that we just listed off, national guard, dod, fbi homeland security, secret service, capitol police about the situation? >> i'm not aware of any of those
requests, no, sir. >> we have confirmed in numerous interviews with senior law enforcement and military leaders vice president pence's staff and government officials, none of them, not one, heard from president trump that day. he did not call to issue orders. he did not call to offer assistance. this week we received additional testimony from yet another witness about why the president didn't make any efforts to quell the attack. the former white house employee with national security responsibilities told us about a conversation with senior adviser eric herschmann and pat cipollone, the top white house lawyer. this conversation was about a pending call from the pentagon seeking to coordinate on the response to the attack. mr. herschmann turned to mr. cipollone and said, the president didn't want to do
anything. and so mr. cipollone had to take the call himself. so if president trump wasn't calling law enforcement or military leaders, what did president trump spend his time doing that afternoon while he first settled into the dining room? he was calling senators to encourage them to delay or object to the certification. here is kayleigh mcenany, his press secretary, to explain. >> all right, he wants a list of snators. and then he's calling them one by one. do you know which ones he called? >> to the best of my recollection, no. as i say in my notes he wanted a list of the senators, and i left them at that point. >> because the presidential call log is empty, we do not yet know precisely which senators president trump was calling. but we do know from rudy giuliani's phone records that president trump also called him at 1:39 after he had been told that the riot was under way at
the capitol. mr. giuliani was president trump's lead election attorney. according to the phone records, the president's call with him lasted approximately four minutes. recall that fox news was on in the dining room. let's take a look at what was airing as this call was ending. >> the president, as we all saw, fired this crowd up. they've all, tens of thousands, maybe 100,000 or more, have gone down to the capitol or elsewhere in the city, and they're very upset. now i jumped down as soon as we heard the news that brett gave you talking to these people, what do you think? one woman, an air force veteran from missouri, said she was, quote, disgusted to hear that news and that it was his duty to do something. and i told her there's nothing in the constitution unilaterally that vice president pence could do. she said, that doesn't matter. he should have fought for trump.
>> at 1:49 here is what was happening at the capitol with president trump's fired-up supporters. >> we're going to give a warning, going to try to get compliance. this is officially a riot. >> declaring it a riot. >> hold the line! hold the line! >> what did president trump do at 1:49 as the d.c. police at the same time were declaring a riot at the capitol? as you can see on the screen he tweeted out a link to the recording of his ellipse speech. this was the same speech in which he knowingly sent an armed mob to the capitol. but president trump made no comment about the lawlessness and the violence. i yield to the gentleman from illinois. >> the next action president
trump took was to tweet at 2:24 p.m. what happened during the 35 minutes between his last tweet at 1:49 and 2:24? his staff repeatedly came into the room to see him and plead that he make a strong public statement condemning the violence and instructing the mob to leave the capitol. he did not relent until after 4:00 when he went out to go to the rose garden to film his now infamous go home message. pat cipollone was a top white house lawyer. here is what he told us about his reaction to seeing the violence and his advice throughout the afternoon. >> when did you first realize there was actual violence? >> i first realized that it may have been on television or it may have been tony or it may have been philbin.
i found out that people were -- they weren't in the capitol yet, but they were -- you know, i started watching it and then i was aware. >> what did you think he needed to do? >> an immediate and forceful response, statement, public statement, that people need to leave the capitol now. >> my question is exactly that. it sounds like you from the very onset of the violence at the capitol right around 2:00 were pushing for a strong statement that people should leave the capitol. is that right? >> i was and others were as well. >> pat, you said you expressed your opinion forcefully. could you tell us exactly how you did that? >> yeah, i can't -- i'm going to have -- on the privilege issue i can't talk about conversations with the president but i can generically say that i said
people need to be told, there needs to be a public announcement, fast, that they need to leave the capitol. >> and, pat, could you let us know approximately when you said that? >> approximately when? almost immediately after i found out people were getting into the capitol or approaching the capitol in a way that was violent. >> do you remember any discussions with mark meadows with respect to his view that the president didn't want to do anything, or was somehow resistant to wanting to say something along the lines that you suggested? >> just to be clear, many people suggested it, not just me. many people felt the same way. i'm sure i had conversations with mark about this during the course of the day and expressed my opinion very forcefully that
this needs to be done. >> so your advice was tell people to leave the capitol, and that took over two hours when there were subsequent statements made, tweets put forth, that in your view were insufficient. did you continue, mr. cipollone, throughout the period of time up until 4:17, you and others, continue to push for a stronger statement? >> yes. >> were you joined in that effort by ivanka trump? >> yes. >> mark meadows? >> yes. >> the counsel wanted a strong statement. i'm confident ivanka trump wanted there to be a strong statement to condemn the rioters. i don't nknow the private conversation but when she came with the white house counsel's office -- when she came to the chief of staff's office with white house counsel's office she was talking about the speech later that day and trying to get
her dad onboard with saying something that was more direct than he had wanted to at the time and throughout the afternoon. >> i think mark also wanted -- i remember him getting ivanka involved. get ivanka down here, because he felt that would be important. i don't think jared was there in the morning but i think he came later. i remember thinking it was important to get him in there, too. and, of course, pat philbin was expressing the same things. pat philbin was very, as i said, i don't think there was one of these meetings, there might have been, but i remember both of us going down together, going back, getting on phone calls. he was also very clearly expressing this view. >> pat cipollone and cassidy hutchinson, an aide to chief of staff mark meadows, also told us about the hang mike pence
chants. as you will see, mr. cipollone recalled conversations about those chants in the west wing. but he relied on executive privilege to maintain confidentiality over his and others direct communication with the president. although mr. cipollone was unwilling to provide more detail, ms. hutchinson provided more explicit information filling in those blanks. see that for yourself. >> it wasn't until mark hung up the phone, handed it back to me. i went back to my desk. a couple minutes later him and pat came back, possibly eric herschmann, too. i'm pretty sure eric herschmann was there, but i'm confident it was pat that was there. i remember pat saying something to the effect of, mark, we need to do something more. they're literally calling for the vice president to be effing
hung. and mark had responded something to the effect of you heard it, pat. he thinks mike deserves it. he doesn't think they're doing anything wrong. to which pat said something, this is effing crazy. we need to be doing something more, briefly stepped into mark's office. >> do you remember any discussion at any point during the day about rioters at the capitol chanting hang mike pence? >> yes, i remember hearing that about that. i don't know if i observed that myself on tv. >> i'm just curious, i understand the prif len lij you've drawn but do you remember what you can share with us about the discussion about those chants to hang mike pence chants? >> i can tell you my view of that. >> yes, please. >> my view that have is outrageous, and for anyone to
suggest such a thing as the vice president of the united states, for people in the crowd to be chanting that, i thought was terrible. i thought it was outrageous and wrong. and i expressed that very clearly. >> with respect to your conversations with mr. meadows, though, did you specifically raise a concern over the vice president with him and how did he respond? >> i believe i raised the concern about the vice president and, again, the nature of his response without recalling it exactly was people were doing all that they could. >> and what about the president? did he indicate what the president was doing what needed to be done to protect the vice president? >> that question -- >> i'm being instructed on
privilege. >> i see. >> mr. cipollone testified that it would have been feasible as commentators on television were suggesting for president trump to immediately appear at the podium in the press room to address the nation. >> would it be possibly at any moment for the president to walk down to the podium and talk to the nation at any time between when you first gave him that advice at 2:00 and 4:17 when the video statement came out? would that have been possible? >> would it have been possible? >> yes. >> yes, it would have been possible. >> we heard mr. cipollone say president trump could have gone to the press briefing room to issue a statement at any moment. to give you a sense of just how easy that would have been, let's take ak at a map of the west wing. as we saw earlier, the president's private dining room is at the bottom of the map. the president briefing room is at the top highlighted in blue
and the rose garden where the president ultimately filmed his go home video is on the right highlighted in green. ms. matthews, how quickly could the president have gotten on camera in the press briefing room to deliver a statement to the nation? >> so as you outlined it would take probably less than 60 seconds from the oval office dining room over to the press briefing room, and for folks that might not know the briefing room is the room that up see the white house press secretary do briefings from with the podium and the blue backdrop. there's a camera that is on in there at all times. and so if the president had wanted to make a statement and address the american people, he could have been on camera almost instantly. and conversely, the white house press corps has offices that are located directly behind the briefing room. and so if he had wanted to make an address from the oval office, we could have assembled the
white house press corps probably in a matter of minutes to get them into the oval for him to do an on-camera address. >> thank you. other witnesses have given us their views on that question. for example, general keith kellogg told us that some staff were concerned that a live appearance by the president at the microphones at that moment could actually make matters worse. he told us he recommended against doing a press conference because during his four years in the trump administration, quote, there wasn't a single clean press conference we had had. president trump's advisers knew his state of mind at that moment, and they were worried about what he would say in unscripted comments. i yield to the gentlewoman from virginia. >> thank you. as you've heard by 2:00 multiple staff members in the white house recognize that a serious situation was under way at the capitol. personally i recall being evacuated from the house office building where we're sitting.
before this time. it was due to the discovery of two pipe bombs in nearby buildings. ms. matthews, around the same time you were watching the violence unfold on television and social media with colleagues including ben williams, a senior aide to mark meadows and acting director of communications. you tolld us before president trump in his next tweet mr. williams got up to see mr. meadows and you got up to see kayleigh mcenany. why did you both do that? >> so ben and i were watching the coverage unfold from one of the offices in the west wing, and we both recognized that the situation was escalating and it was escalating quickly and that the president needed to be out there immediately to tell these people to go home and condemn the violence that we were seeing. so i told him that i was going to make that recommendation to kayleigh and he said he would
make the same recommendation to the chief of staff, mark meadows. >> thank you. and one of your colleagues jadir told us he also want to see ms. mcenany at the time. let's hear what he said about this critical period of time right as the rioters were getting into the capitol. >> and why did you think it was necessary to say something? >> well, i mean, it appears that individuals are storming the u.s. capitol building. they also appear to be supporters of donald trump who may have been in attendance at the rally were going to need to say something. >> and did you have a view as to what should be said by the white house? >> if i recall, i told kayleigh that i thought we needed to
enk encourage individuals to stop, to respect law enforcement and to go home. >> although president trump was aware of the ongoing riot, he did not take any immediate action to address the lawlessness. instead at 2:03 he called rudy giuliani again, and that call lasted for over eight minutes. moments later at 2:13 rioters broke into the capitol itself. one of the proud boys charged with seditious conspiracy used an officer's shield to smash a window and rioters flooded into the building.
>> as rioters were entering the building, the secret service held vice president pence in his office right off the senate chamber for 13 minutes as they worked to clear a safe path to a secure location. now listen to some of that radio traffic and see what they were seeing as the protesters got just feet away from where the vice president was holding.
>> the president's national security council staff was listening to these developments and tracking them in real time. on the screen you can see excerpts from the chat logs among the president's national security council staff. at 2:13 the staff learned that the rioters were kicking in t t windows at the capitol. three minutes later the staff said the vice president was being pulled, which meant agents evacuated him from the senate floor. at 2:24 the staff noted that the secret service agents at the capitol did not, quote, sound good right now. earlier you heard from a security professional who had been working in the white house complex on january 6 with access to relevant information and a responsibility to report to national security officials. we asked this person what was meant by the comment that the secret service agents did not,
rioters' anger was focused primarily on vice president mike pence. >> this woman comes up to the side of us, and she says, pence folded. so it was kind of like, okay, well, in my mind i was thinking, well, that's it. my son-in-law looks at me and he says, i want to go in. >> what percentage of the crowd is going to the capitol? >> 100%. it has spread like wildfire that pence has betrayed us and everybody is marching on the capitol, all million of us. it's insane.
>> did people appear angry as you were walking to the capitol? >> yeah, a lot of people seemed like they were very upset. >> tell us one of the things they were saying, if you recall. >> oh, they were saying -- people were screaming all types of stuff. they were mad that vice president pence was going to accept the electorals. i mean, if you could think it up, you were hearing it. >> i believed mike pence was going to certify the electoral votes, or not certify them, but i guess that's just changed. correct? it's a very big disappointment. i think there are several hundred thousand people here very disappointed. >> president trump did not try
to calm his thousands of disappointed supporters. instead almost the same moment violence was getting completely out of hand, donald trump sent his 2:24 tweet. the president said, mike pence didn't have the courage to do what should have been done to protect our country and our constitution. despite knowing the capitol had been breached and the mob was in the building, president trump called mike pence a coward and placed all the blame on him for not stopping the certification. he put a target on his own vice president's back. when we ask you about your reaction to seeing the 2:24 tweet in real time, you both used the same imagery to describe it. president trump was adding fuel to the fire. mr. pottinger, you made the decision to resign after seeing this tweet. can you please tell us why? >> yes.
so that was pretty soon after -- or shortly before i had gotten back to the white house. i had come from off site. i began to see for the first time those images on tv of the chaos that was unfolding at the capitol. one of my aides handed me a sheet of paper that contained the tweet that you just read. i read it and was quite disturbed by it. i was disturbed and worried to see that the president was attacking vice president pence for doing his constitutional duty. so the tweet looked to me like the opposite of what we really needed at that moment which was a de-escalation, and that's why i had said earlier that it looked like fuel being poured on the fire. so that was the moment i decided that i was going to resign. that would be my last day at the white house. i simply didn't want to be associated with the events that
were unfolded on the capitol. >> thank you. and ms. matthews, what was your reaction to the president's tweet about vice president pence? >> so it was obvious that the situation at the capitol was violent and escalating quickly, and so i thought that the tweet about the vice president was the last thing that was needed in that moment. and i remember thinking that this was going to be bad for him to tweet this because it was essentially him giving the green light to these people, telling them that what they were doing at the steps of the capitol and entering the capitol was okay, that they were justified in their anger, and he shouldn't have been doing that. he should have been telling these people to go home and to leave and to condemn the violence that we were seeing. and i'm someone who has worked with him. i worked on the campaign, traveled all around the country going to countless rallies with him. and i've seen the impact his
words have on his supporters. they truly latch on to every word and every tweet that he says. and so i think that in that moment for him to tweet out the message about mike pence, it was him pouring gasoline on the fire and making it much worse. >> thank you both. and let's watch what others also told us about their reactions to this tweet. >> i don't remember when exactly i heard about that tweet, but my reaction to it that's a terrible tweet and i disagreed with the sentiment and i thought it was wrong. >> what was your reaction when you saw that tweet? >> extremely unhelpful. >> why? >> it wasn't the message that we needed at that time. it wasn't going to -- the scenes
at the u.s. capitol were only getting worse at that point. this was not going to help that. >> were you concerned it would make it worse? >> certainly. >> ms. hutchinson, what was your reaction when you saw this tweet? >> as a staffer that works to always represent the administration to the best of my ability and to showcase the good things that he has done for the country, i remember feeling frustrated, disappointed, and really it felt personal. it was really sad. as an american i was disgusted. it was unpatriotic. it was un-american. we were watching the capitol building get defaced over a lie.
>> as you will see at 2:26 the vice president had to be evacuated to safety a second time and came within 40 feet of the rioters. the attack escalated quickly right after the tweet. >> during this chaos what did president trump do at that point? he went back to calling senators to try to further delay the electoral count. while the vice president was being evacuated from the senate,
president trump called senator tuberville, one of his strongest supporters in the senate. as senator tuberville later recalled he had to end the call so that he could evacuate the senate chamber himself. let's listen. >> he didn't call my phone. called somebody else. they handed it to me and i told him, mr. president, we're not doing much work here right now because they just took our vice president out and, as a matter of fact i'm going to have to hang up on you. i have to leave. >> senator josh holley also had to flee. earlier that afternoon before the joint session started he walked across the east front of the capitol. as you can see in this photo he raised his fist in solidarity with the protesters already amassing at the security gates. we spoke with the capitol police officer who was out there at the time. she told us that senator holley's gesture riled up the
crowd and it bothered her greatly because he was doing it in a safe space, protected by the officers and the barriers. later that day senator holley fled after the protesters he helped to rile up stormed the capitol. see for yourself. think about what we've seen. undeniable violence at the capitol. the vice president being evacuated to safety by the secret service, senators running senate to get away from the mob. as the commander in chief president trump was oath and duty bound to protect the capitol, his senior staff understood that.
>> do you believe, jared, that the president has an obligation to ensure a peaceful transfer of power? >> yes. >> and do you think the president has an obligation to defend all three branches of our government? >> i believe so. >> and i assume you also would agree the president has a particular obligation to take care that the laws be faithfully executed? >> that is one of the president's obligations, correct. >> i asked what his duty is. >> there's a constitutional duty. he's the commander in chief. that was my biggest issue with him as national security adviser. >> rather than uphole his duty to the constitution president trump allowed the mob to achieve the delay that he hoped would keep him in power.
i reserve. >> the gentlewoman reserves. i request those in the hearing room remain seated until the capitol police have escorted members and witnesses from the room. i now declare the committee in recess for a period of approximately ten minutes. >> the american people bearing witness tonight to a striking and unsettling portrait of what was playing out inside the west wing on january 6. we heard today from this committee, audio we had not heard before from the secret service, the radio traffic of that day as it was playing out. that was certainly a key moment here and we also know that radio traffic is heard by the president's national security council back at the white house. they were very aware as this was unfolding, and when it got particularly dangerous at the capitol after the capitol had been breached, you could hear on secret service radio agents talking about calling their
loved ones to say good-bye that they were fearful this was turning ugly and could not predict where it was happening next. they described the multiple logs in the white house that were simply blank. the call records blank. the presidential diary, no entries for several hours, the presidential photographer was told she was not to take photog photographs during that time. they showed on the schematic the president's personal dining room, showed where the flat screen tv is at the other end of the table. they even played fox news in the precise moments when it's believed the former president was watching as these events were unfolding. they made the point within 15 minutes of getting back that he was briefed fully on what was transpiring already at the capitol. they said instead of making any calls to secure the capitol,
secure parts of washington, d.c., that he instead made calls to rudy giuliani and the reason they know that is from giuliani's records not the presidential records that are normally kept. they went on to describe multiple white house staffers from the communications office to the white house counsel, pat cipollone, we have heard from before but who played a pivotal role in describing his own efforts. he would not describe actual conversations but characterized some of the conversations within the west wing saying this must stop, the president must do something and do something quickly. it must be forceful, a message to the people breaching the capitol that this must end. one testifying there today, sarah matthews, that they went on told higher-ups something must be done given what they were watching unfold on cable television and we also are aware the president during that time was watching it unfold on cable tv as well. matthew pottinger, the former
marine intelligence officer who was deputy national security adviser to the president, also saying that he was stunned by what was unfolding, that he, too, was one of several people who believed that the president should act but did not act. all of them describing what was playing out and the committee time stamping this along the way showing multiple points the president could have addressed not only the american people about what they were witnessing and what the world was witnessing but most importantly directly appealing to the people who were rioting at the capitol that he could have, according to testimony in front of the american people tonight, he could have made it to that briefing room within 60 seconds and that key detail we know in covering many administrations that there is a camera in the briefing room that is always on, that a president can walk straight from the oval or straight from that personal dining room straight to the briefing room and address the american people immediately. that was not done. she also testified, ms. matthews testified, that the president
also could have assembled members of the media to come to the oval office, that he could have addressed the american people and the rioters directly from the oval. there was also testimony today there were some concerns that the president was put before the camera, that it could actually make matters worse. they went into great detail once again how the former vice president, mike pence, was evacuated not once but twice from that chamber. and that the second time that he was evacuated, that radio traffic with the alarm security detail at the white house could hear that they had been calling family members to potentially say good-bye not knowing what could come next. instead of the president acting on that information, instead there was the tweet. essentially saying that mike pence did not do what the president wanted him to do. that key tweet, the committee then showing things only got worse. and very quickly and that mike pence had to be evacuated a second time because of the
situation, the temperature of what was playing out of the capitol only getting worse. a lot to digest. certainly troubling and alarming to hear from people inside the west wing. essentially filling out those logs that have been blank for so long and giving us a clear portrait of what was playing out in the west wing and what the former president was not doing on that day. i want to bring in our chief washington correspondent jonathan karl who has reported extensively on january 6th. jon, a lot of the details we expected to hear tonight. but to hear it as something different and to hear that audio of the secret service detail trying to protect the former vice president saying that they were beginning to call loved ones, that they could hear that over the radio, how alarming that must have been for people back at the white house whose job it was to advise the president on national security issues to hear that these agents were preparing to say good-bye to loved ones. >> reporter: and you can see
why. we have learned that the mob was a mere 40 feet away from the vice president. we know how dangerous this was, how close to becoming much worse. i think the key thing here we have learned tonight it wasn't simply a matter of donald trump not doing anything to stop the mob or get them to go home. we've known about his inaction on january 6. what they have done is established in adam kinzinger's words that the president didn't fail to act, he chose not to act. so while we see it established that he did not call the pentagon to try to activate the national guard he did not call the department of is it is to activate the fbi and other law enforcement agencies, it was none of that. it wasn't simply he was somewhere doing nothing, no.
he was asking for call lists of senators, republican senators, to call republican senators to get them to continue this effort to overturn the election results. that's what we hear he was doing and two phone calls, not one, two phone calls while the mob was attacking the capitol, two phone calls not to law enforcement but to rudy giuliani, his lead outside attorney trying to overturn the presidential election results. this is a portrait not simply of a president who is der lelict i his duty to stop something, an attack on the capitol building on this complex. it is the portrait of a president that was not doing that because the implication here is he was fully in favor of what was happening because it was stopping the process that was leading to the certification of an election in which he had
lost and joe biden had won. >> and, in fact, representative kinzinger saying at the beginning of this hearing tonight that's what they would set out to do this evening is to tell the american people, to provide them with a portrait of what was truly playing out in the west wing. as jon underscoring what congressman kinzinger said was tonight's evidence before the american people will prove that he didn't just fail to act, that he chose not to act. jon, a quick follow to you. after that tweet, even though the president was watching all of this unfold, he tweeted mike pence didn't have the courage to do what should have been done to protect our country and our constitution. we saw in real time the president -- the former vice president having to be evacuated again and given that radio traffic, it wasn't law enforcement, it wasn't national security, it wasn't the pentagon that the president called, as you pointed out. he once again asked for phone numbers of senators. >> reporter: he asked for phone numbers of senators because the thing he was focused on was not
the safety of his vice president, telephones not the security of this complex, of the capitol complex. it was not law and order. it was trying to overturn a presidential election. that was his focus. it wasn't carrying out his responsibility as commander in chief, as the leader of the country, to protect the centerpiece of american democracy, the american capitol, the u.s. capitol. he was focused on trying to stop the certification of joe biden's victory, which is why the congress gathered here on january 6th. that's what was going on and, david, the point of that tweet, that pence tweet there at 2:21 p.m., that tweet we see the way it i go gnited the fuse.
those chants didn't happen out of nothing. they came -- where did they come from? what motivated that blood lust for the vice president? it was what donald trump, the president of the united states, was saying. >> jon karl watching this hearing along with us just as he has from the very beginning here. jon, thanks. and stand by. i want to bring in rachel scott who covers congress because, rachel, as we've seen in each one of these hearings, members of congress get pulled in some way or another that is somewhat unexpected for the american people watching at home. senator tommy tuberville, one of the biggest supporters of the president, the former president, he was actually one of the senators who received a call, the former president reaching out to him and actually spoke about how he had to tell the president, sir, i'm evacuating the senate chamber here. this was after the former vice president had been evacuated twice and after all this was playing out live on cable news, and then josh hawley of missouri and that image you reported on many times, rachel, with his fist up to the crowd and the committee essentially showing
the temperature of that moment and, as jon points out, the tweet from the former president, a fist pump in front of the crowd, how those moments, those images can be directly tied to the escalation there at the capitol. >> reporter: and senator josh hawley has been under fire for that image showing him walking past that crowd with his fists up. we've reached out to his team tonight for comment, but he has made on the record statements about this saying that he was raising his fist in support of those who were gathering peaceful there, but you also heard from the committee lawmakers saying that they were told by a capitol police officer who was there, who felt like they were bothered by what they saw from senator josh hawley that day. they felt like he was in the line of protection essentially as he was walking into the capitol, protection obviously that they had to come very close and face off with the rioters who ended up storming the capitol that day. senator josh hawley also says he believes those who entered the
capitol, those who were rioting, were wrong in their actions. but we'd had an opportunity in the past few days, david, press senator josh hawley on these hearings. he hasn't matched much of it at all. he said he would still support former president donald trump if he is the nominee in 2024, david. >> rachel scott watching this with us. thank you. i want to bring in our chief justice correspondent pierre thomas. we heard from merrick garland who was emphatic that we are watching and when pressed could there be charges potentially for all the way up to the top, he emphatically said we are watching all of this. no one is boabove the law. he looked frustrated he was having to answer the question again. >> he was frustrated, david. the bottom line here is the committee is putting forth a very compelling narrative here. and the attorney general knows it. but he also knows that the justice department has to first determine if crimes were committed and who committed
those crimes, david. i can tell you right now, law enforcement community, hearing that secret service testimony, those tapes tonight, stunning. the fact that they were rushing people to get them out of harm's way, the fact they could talk about the smoke that they were seeing, and right now, david, law enforcement officials, i'm sure, stunned at the notion vice president pence was in that much jeopardy. >> and it drives home the point why this committee would want to see those text messages from the secret service and learn even more about those awful hours as they were unfolding on the capitol. the vice chair liz cheney and members of the committee back at their seats. we know that the chairman, bennie thompson, again, from home tonight. that taped message at the beginning because of his positive covid test. all of this about an oath every president takes on the back side of the second hatch of the hearing, professor of constitutional law and our analyst we'll ask if they've made the case tonight. the committee will be in
order. i recognize the gentleman from illinois. >> we left at the recess just after president trump's 2:24 tweet attacking the vice president. by this time the president had been in his dining room for an hour. i want you to just think of what you would have done if you were in his shoes and had the power to end the violence. you would have immediately and forcefully told the rioters to stop and leave. like stomp and leave. done. as you heard that is what his senior staff had been urging him to do. but he resisted and he kept resisting for another almost two hours. in the meantime all the president did was post two tweets. one at 2:38 and the other at 3:13. one said, quote, stay peaceful. the other said, quote, remain peaceful. but the president already knew
the mob was attacking the police and had invaded the capitol. neither tweet condemned the violence or told the mob to leave the capitol and disperse. appreciate how obvious it was that president trump was not meeting this moment. it's helpful to look at the real-time reactions of his own son, don jr., to the first tweet captured in a series of text messages with mark meadows. i'll warn the audience these messages contain some strong language. as you can see don jr. first texted mr. meadows at 2:53. he wrote he's got to condemn this shit, asap. the capitol police tweet is not enough. mr. meadows replied, i am pushing it hard. i agree. don jr. responded. this is one you go to the mattresses on. they will try to fuck his entire legacy on this if it gets worse.
here is what don jr. toll us he meant by go to the mattresses. >> it's when you say mr. meadows needs to go to the mattresses on this issue. when you say go to the mattresses, what does that mean? >> just a reference for going all in. i think it's a "godfather" reference. >> sean hannity agreed and he also turned to mark meadows for help after the president's second tweet. as you can see mr. hannity texted at 3:31 to say trump needed to deliver a statement to the nation telling the rioters to leave the capitol. mr. meadows responded that he was, quote, on it. don jr. and sean hannity were not the only ones who implored mr. meadows to get the president to speak to the nation and tell the mob to leave, to go home. go home. throughout the attack mr. meadows received texts from republican members of congress, from current and former trump administration officials, from
media personalities, and from friends. like president trump's staff, they knew president trump had to speak publicly to get the mob to stop. let's look at just a few of these text messages. fox news personality laura ingram said the president needs to tell the people in the capitol to go home. former chief of staff mick mulvaney urged, mark, he needs to stop this now. fox news personality brian killmeade said please get him on tv. destroying everything you guys have accomplished. when we interviewed counsel pat cipollone he told us he knew the president's two tweets were not enough. let's listen to what he said. >> did you believe the tweets were about your advice to the president?
>> i believed more needed to be done. i believed that a public statement needed to be made. >> when you talk about others on the staff thinking more should be done or thinking that the president needed to tell people to go home, who would you put in that category? >> well, i would put pat ph philbin, eric herschmann, overall mark meadows, ivanka, once jared got there, jared, general kellogg. i'm probably missing some but those are -- kayleigh i think was there. dan scavino.
>> and who on the staff did not want people to leave the capitol? >> on the staff? >> in the white house, how about. >> i don't -- i can't think of anybody, you know, on that day who didn't want people to get out of the capitol particularly once the violence started. no. i mean -- >> what about the president? >> yeah. >> she said the staff. so i answered. >> no, i said in the white house. >> oh, i'm sorry. i apologize. i thought you said who else on the staff. i don't -- i can't reveal communications.
but obviously i think, you know -- yeah. >> let's pause on that last statement. although pat cipollone is being careful about executive privilege, there really is no ambiguity about what he said. almost everybody wanted president trump to instruct the mob to disperse. president trump refused. to understand how inadequate the president's tweets were let's examine his 2:38 tweet in more detail. for context here is what was happening at that time. >> they broke the glass? >> everybody stay down! get down!
>> there's people flooding the hallways outside. we have no way out. >> we were just told there has been tear gas in the rotunda and we're being instructed to each of us get a gas mask. >> we went from a peaceful protest, and this is a very dangerous situation right now, that there are -- i'm being told these protesters on the inside are around both chambers and there is now tear gas inside the capitol rotunda. in fact, members locked in the house are being instructed to put on masks. >> ms. matthews, after president trump's tweet about vice president pence, you told us you spoke to -- immediately spoke to kayleigh mcenany. what did you tell her, and where did she go afterwards? >> after the tweet about the vice president, i found kayleigh and told her that i thought the
president needed to immediately send out a tweet that condemned the violence that we were seeing and that there needed to be a call to action to tell these people to leave the capitol. and she agreed and walked over to the oval dining room to find the president. >> we interviewed ms. mcenany and others who were in the dining room with the president urging him to put out a statement. ms. matthews, ms. mcenany told press office after meeting with the president about this particular tweet. what did she tell you about what happened in that dining room? >> when she got back, she told me that a tweet had been sent out, and i told her that i thought the tweet did not go far enough. i thought there needed to be a call to action and he needed to condemn the violence. and we were in a room full of people, but people weren't paying attention, and so she looked directly at me and in a hushed tone shared with me that the president did not want to include any sort of mention of peace in that tweet, and that it
took some convincing on their part, those who were in the room, and she said there was a back and forth going over different phrases to find something that he was comfortable with. and it wasn't until ivanka trump suggested the phrase stay peaceful that he finally agreed to include it. >> the president resisted writing stay peaceful in a tweet. he told mark meadows that the rioters were doing what they should be doing and the rioters understood they were doing what president trump wanted them to do. president trump's message chls heard clearly by stop the steal organizer alexander. at 2:38 he told another organizer, quote, potus is not ignorant of what his words would do. rioters storming the capitol heard president trump's message. in this video you'll see surveillance footage from the rotunda that shows a group of oath keepers including jessica
watkins who has been charged with is a seditious conspiracy. you'll hear as they share intelligence and communicate about president trump's 2:38 tweet in real time. again, we warn the audience this clip also contains strong language. >> cnn just said that they evacuated all members of congress into a safety room. >> there's no safe place in the united states for any of these motherfuckers right now, i'll tell you. >> i hope they understand that we are not joking around.
>> we've now seen how president trump's supporters reacted to his tweets. mr. pottinger, you told us that you consider the tweets sent to this point to be, quote, wholly inadequate given the urgency of the crisis. what, in your view, would have been needed? >> yeah, it was insufficient. i think you could count me among those who was hoping to see an unequivocal strong statement clearing out the capitol, telling people to stand down, leave, go home. i think that's what we were hoping for. >> something a lot more kind of definitive and not ambiguous? >> yes. >> because he has that power over his folks. ms. matthews, you told us about a colleague who said during the attack the president should not condemn the violence. can you tell us about that moment and your reaction?
>> yes. a conversation started in the press office after the president sent out those two tweets that i deemed were insufficient, and a colleague suggested that the president shouldn't condemn the violence because they thought it would be, quote, handing a win to the media if he were to condemn his supporters. and i disagreed. i thought that we should condemn the violence and condemn it unequivocally, and i thought he needed to include a call to action and to tell these people to go home. a debate ensued over it. i became visibly frustrated, and my colleagues were well aware of that. i couldn't believe that we were arguing over this in the middle of the west wing talking about the politics of a tweet, being concerned with handing the media a win when we had just watched all of that violence unfold at the capitol. and so i motioned up at the tv and i said do you think it looks like we're effing winning? because i don't think it does. i again reiterated i thought the
president needed to condemn the violence, it didn't matter if it was coming from the left or right, you should condemn violence 100% of the time. >> we've heard this evening how everyone in the president's orbit was pushing him to do more, to tell the mob to leave the capitol. one of these people, one of those people was republican leader kevin mccarthy. he managed to get the president on the phone and told him to call off his supporters. as you will hear the president refused, and so leader mccarthy reached out for help to ivanka trump who was at the white house and jared kushner who that afternoon had arrived back on a flight from the middle east. >> so at some point in the afternoon mr. mccarthy placed a phone call to mr. scavino's desk line, and it was transferred to the president, is that correct? >> that's generally what i recall. >> okay. were you involved in making
that -- transferring that call? >> yes. >> okay. where was the president at the time that he took that call? >> he was in the dining room. >> would you personally reach out to the president for more support? >> i've already talked to the president. i called him. i think we need to make a statement, make sure that we can calm individuals down. >> did mr. mccarthy indicate he had been in touch with president trump? >> he indicated he had had some conversation, i don't remember if it was the president or somebody at the white house. he had expressed frustration that not taking the circumstances as seriously as they should at the moment. >> i asked kevin mccarthy, the republican leader about this, and he said he called -- he final lip got through to donald tr trump. he said you have got to get on
tv, get on twitter and call the people off. you nope what the president said to him? kevin, these are my people, these are antifa. they are your people. they came through my office windows and my staff are running for cover. they're running for their lives. you need to call them off. and the president's response to kevin was chilling. he said, well, kevin, i guess they're just more upset about the election theft than you are. you've seen widespread reports of kevin mccarthy and the president having basically a swearing conversation, that's when the swearing commenced because the president was saying, no, i'm okay with this. >> leader mccarthy, the president of the united states has a briefing room steps from the oval office. the cameras are hot 24/7 as you know. why hasn't he walked down and said that now? >> i conveyed to the president what i think is best to do and i'm hopeful the president will do it. >> and have you spoken with his chief of staff?
>> i've spoken to the president. i've spoken to other people in there and to the white house as well. >> who else reached out to ms. trump that you know of that afternoon about the attack on the capitol? >> i believe at one point mccarthy did. >> i heard my phone ringing, turned the shouwer off, mccarth said it was getting ugly. please, anything could you do to help i would appreciate it. i don't recall specific ask, just anything you could do. again, i got the sense they were scared. >> they meaning leader mccarthy and people on the hill because of the violence? >> he was scared, yes. >> think about that, leader mccarthy, one of the president's strongest supporters, was scared and begging for help. president trump turned him down. so he tried to call the
president's children. republican house member mike gallagher also implored the president to call off the attack. >> mr. president, you have got to stop this. you are the only person who can call this off. call it off. the election is over. call it off. >> president elected joe biden also went live on tv to demand that president trump temo tell e mob to leave. >> i call on president trump to go on national television now to fulfill his oath and defend the constitution and demand an end to this siege. >> there was a desperate scramble for everyone to get president trump to do anything. all this occurred and the
president still did not act. i yield to my friend from virginia. >> thank you, mr. kinzinger. president trump finally relented to the pleas from his staff, his family and from capitol hill for him to do something more at 4:17. 187 minutes, more than three hours after he stopped speaking at the ellipse. after he stopped speaking to a mob that he had sent armed to the capitol. that's when he tweeted a video telling the rioters to go home while also telling them that they were special and that he loved them. by that time, although the violence was far from over, law enforcement had started to turn the tide, reinforcements were on the way, and elected officials were in secure locations. the writing was already on the wall. the rioters would not succeed.
here is what was showing on fox news, the channel the president was watching all afternoon. >> what do you have? >> our pentagon team confirming the defense department has now mobilized the entire d.c. national guard. it takes several hours, as i was mentioning before, to get them up and running. the army secretary mccarthy setting up headquarters at the fbi. you heard that the fbi is also sending troops to the capitol. >> it's no coincidence then president trump finally gave in and went out to the rose garden at 4:03. his staff prepared a script for him to read, but he refused to use it. as you can see on the screen you can see the script is stamped president has seen. the script said, quote, i'm asking you to leave the capitol region now and go home in a peaceful way. the president was urged to stick
to this script, but he spoke off the cuff. eric herschmann and nick luna went with the president to film the message in the rose garden. let's hear what they had to say and see the never-before-seen raw footage of the president recording this video message. >> ultimately these remarks that we're looking at here in exhibit 25 were not the remarks that the president delivered in the rose garden. do you know why the president decided not to use these? >> i don't know, sir. i do not know why. >> did the president use any written remarks, to your knowledge, or did he just go off the cuff? >> to my knowledge it was off the cuff, sir. >> when you're ready, sir. >> you tell me when. >> when you're ready, sir.
>> who is behind me? >> he's gone. he's gone around. we're all clear now. >> i know your pain. i know your hurt. we had an election -- let me see. i know your pain. i know your hurt. we had an election that was stolen from us. it was a landslide election, and everyone knows it, especially the other side. but you have to go home now. we have to have peace. we have to have law and order. we have to respect our great people in law and order. we don't want anybody hurt. it's a very tough period of time. there's never been a time like this where such a thing happened where they could take it away from all of us, from me, from you, from our country. this was a fraudulent election.
but we can't play into the hands of these people. we have to have peace. so go home. we love you. you're very special. you've seen what happens. you've seen the way others are treated that are so bad and so evil. i know how you feel. but go home and go home in peace. >> when i got there, basically the president just had finished filming the video. i think he was basically retiring for the >> was there any discussion about the president releasing a second video that day? >> not that i recall. >> when he finished his video, i think everyone was like, day is over. people were pretty drained. >> pretty what? >> drained. >> when you say day over, there were still people in the capitol at that point, weren't there? >> there were people in the
capitol, but i believe by this stage law enforcement -- i would have to go back and look, but i believe law enforcement was either there or moving in or going to take charge. people were emotionally drained by time that videotape was done. >> emotionally drained? at the white house? here is what was happening at the same time at the capitol. we warn the audience this clip also contains strong language and violence. >> everybody, we need gas masks.
they don't want to leave. >> while president trump refused to even lift another finger to help, other leaders honored their oaths and acted to clear the capitol and resume the joint session. for instance here are never-before-seen photos and video of congressional leaders in action during the attack. the video is a portion of a call they had at approximately 4:45 with acting secretary of defense chris miller. >> we're not going to let these people keep us from finishing our business. so we need you to get the building cleared, given us the okay so we can go back in session and finish up the people's business as soon as possible.
the vice president during this critical time and hear about the vice president's conversation with military leaders to secure the capitol and ensure everyone was safe. >> as you heard earlier in the hearing, the president did not call the vice president or anyone in the military, federal law enforcement or d.c. government, not a single person. but general milley did hear from mark meadows.
the right thing. maybe it was exhausting to get the president to put out that video, but think about the law enforcement officers who were attacked by the mob that day and president trump had summoned them himself to washington. and what about president trump? he watched tv, tweeted, called senators to try to delay the count of electoral votes, called rudy giuliani, and argued with his staff who were insinuating -- who were insisting he should call off the attack. ms. matthews, what was your reaction to president trump's message to the mob at 4:17? >> i was struck by the fact that he chose to begin the video by pushing the lie that there was a stolen election, and as the video went on i felt a small sense of relief because he finally told these people to go home. but that was immediately followed up by him saying, we love you, you're very special. and that was disturbing to me
because he didn't distinguish between those that peacefully attended his speech earlier that day and those that we watched cause violence at the capitol. instead, he told the people who we had just watched storm our nation's capitol with the intent on overthrowing our democracy violently attack police officers and chant heinous things like hang mike pence, we love you, you're very special. and as a spokesperson for him, i knew that i would be asked to defend that. and, to me, his refusal to act and call off the mob that day and his refusal to condemn the violence was indefensible. and so i knew that i would it be resigning that evening, and so i finished out the work day, went home and called my loved ones to tell them of my decision and resigned that evening. >> thank you. indefensible. let's hear what some of your
colleagues in the press office told us about their reaction to the same 4:17 message. >> i felt like it was the absolute bare minimum of what could have been said at that point for something on camera. >> what else do you think should have been said? >> a more forceful dismissal of the violence, a more forceful command to go home. a more forceful respect for law enforcement. even a comparison to the respect that we have given law enforcement as it relates to what was done to them in the prior summer. and i thought it was important that an acknowledgement be given
to the u.s. capitol building itself, what it's a symbol of, what it means not only to the people that work there but to the american people generally and the work of congress that by law needed to be conducteded that day. >> do you wish in hindsight that the president had asked the protesters to leave the capitol earlier than he ended up asking them to do that? >> of course. i would have loved if the go home message would have happened earlier in the day. >> the president's words matter. we know that many of the rioters were listening to president trump. we heard from one last week, stephen ayres. let's listen to what he had to say about the 4:17 message from the president and see how rioters reacted to the president's message in real time. >> when we were there, as soon as that come out, everybody
started talking about it and it seemed like it started to disperse some of the crowd. >> i'm here delivering the president's message. donald trump has asked everybody to go home. >> that's our order. >> he says go home. >> yeah he said to go home. >> but just as mr. ayres said, police were still fending off the last throes of the brutal assault. i yield to the gentleman from illinois. >> while everyone else was working to get congress back in session, fwhat did president trump do? at 6:01 after the citywide curfew went into effect, he posted his last tweet of the day. after officers engaged in multiple hours of hand-to-hand combat with over 100 of them
sustaining injuries, president trump tweeted at 6:01 and justified the violence as a natural response to the election. he said, quote, these are the things and events that happen when a sacred landslide victory is so unceremoniously viciously stripped away from great patriots who have been badly unfairly treated for so long. go home with love and peace. remember this day forever. he called the mob great patriots. he told people to remember the day forever. he showed absolutely no remorse. a few minutes later at 6:27 the president left the dining room, and he went up to the white house residence for the night. on the is the last photograph of the president that night as he went into the residence. as he was gathering his things in the dining room to leave,
president trump reflected on the day's events with the white house employee. this was the same employee who had met president trump in the oval office after he returned from the ellipse. president trump said nothing to the employee about the attack. he said only, quote, mike pence let me down. ms. matthews, what was your reaction to mr. trump's 6:01 tweet? >> at that point i had already made the decision to resign, and this tweet just further cemented my decision. i thought that january 6, 2021, was one of the darkest days in our nation's history and president trump was treating it as a celebratory occasion with that tweet. and so it just further cemented my decision to resign. >> others agreed with your assessment of that tweet. let's look a the wat what they had to
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