Committee Investigating Jan. 6 Attack Presents Evidence Against Former President Trump

Friday, July 22nd 2022, 6:19 pm


The bipartisan committee investigating the January 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol presented evidence Thursday night that committee members feel bolsters the case for criminal charges against former president Donald Trump.

The hearing focused on the 187 minutes— more than three hours — between the time when the former president told his supporters to march to the Capitol at 1:10 p.m. and when he told them they needed to leave at 4:17 p.m.

"So go home, I love you. You're very special," the former president said in that taped message.

In the hours prior, as rioters assaulted police officers and smashed their way into the Capitol, hoping to stop the certification of the election, witnesses said Trump made no phone calls to the Pentagon, Homeland Security, police, or anyone who could help protect the seat of American democracy. Mostly, they said, he just watched the chaos play out on TV, resisting repeated and urgent pleas from advisers and even family members to tell his supporters to stop.

"If the president had wanted to make a statement and address the American people," said former Deputy White House Press Secretary Sarah Mathews, "he could have been on camera almost instantly."

Matthews and former Deputy National Security Advisor Matthew Pottinger, both of whom resigned immediately after the insurrection, testified Thursday about one of the things the president did do -- tweet his disappointment in his Vice President, even as angry supporters were walking through the Capitol halls chanting, "Hang Mike Pence!"

"It looked like fuel being poured on the fire," Pottinger said of the tweet.

"It was essentially him giving the green light to these people," added Matthews.

On his social media platform, Truth Social, following the hearing, former President Trump called the hearing a ‘Kangaroo Court.’

The committee also played a recently obtained audio recording of Trump advisor Steve Bannon from just a few days before the election in which Bannon talks about Trump's plan, in the event the election returns showed him losing to Joe Biden: "And what Trump's going to do is declare victory, right. He's, like, going to declare victory. But that doesn't mean he's a winner."

The committee also played a revealing outtake from a speech Trump was recording the day after the violence.

"Congress has certified the results," said the president before stopping and reconsidering. "I don't want to say  'the election's over', I just want to say, 'Congress has certified the results' without saying the election's over, okay?"

Republican committee co-chair Rep. Liz Cheney (R-WY) said the evidence is unambiguous in showing a clear dereliction of duty.

"Donald Trump made a purposeful choice to violate his oath of office, to ignore the ongoing violence against law enforcement, to threaten our constitutional order. There is no way to excuse that behavior. It is indefensible," said Cheney.

Following the hearing, the committee’s other Republican member was asked if they will recommend criminal charges to the attorney general.

"I think the president certainly has criminal exposure," said Rep. Adam Kinzinger (R-IL). "I'm not a prosecutor...but I certainly think if you look at what we presented tonight and in all these hearings, that cannot be acceptable from a president United States."

This was going to be the last hearing, but Congresswoman Cheney said they’re getting new information, more witnesses are coming forward, and thus there will be more hearings in September.