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Jan. 6 hearings highlights: Committee focuses on extremist groups on Day 7

The House committee focused on what it says are ties between Trump allies and the extremist groups that led the attack on the U.S. Capitol.

The House Jan. 6 committee focused Tuesday on what it says are clear ties between allies of former President Donald Trump and the extremist groups that led the riot at the U.S. Capitol.

The panel played video and showed texts and online messages to illustrate how far-right individuals were emboldened by Trump's election lies. The committee also provided more detail about how outside advisers like Rudy Giuliani and Sidney Powell, rather than White House officials, influenced Trump's thinking in the days before the attack. The committee also heard testimony from a participant in the riot, as well as a former top member of the violent Oath Keepers group.

Tuesday's hearing was also the first time the public has heard testimony from former White House counsel Pat Cipollone, who testified behind closed doors for hours Friday.

Highlights include:

Catch up on Day 1Day 2Day 3Day 4, Day 5 and Day 6 of the hearings.

445d ago / 8:36 PM UTC

Ayres apologizes to Capitol Police officers after testifying at hearing


Stephen Ayres, the Ohio man who testified Tuesday about storming the Capitol on Jan. 6, apologized to Capitol Police officers in the committee room after the hearing ended.

"I'm really sorry," Ayres was heard telling Capitol Police Officer Harry Dunn. The two then embraced. Ayres also apologized to and shook hands with Sgt. Aquilino Gonell, who Rep. Jamie Raskin, D-Md., revealed in his closing remarks was recently told he had to leave his job because of the injuries he suffered in the riot. Gonell was emotional as Raskin spoke about his injuries.

Ayres pleaded guilty last month to a misdemeanor charge of disorderly conduct for entering the Capitol. He is awaiting sentencing.

445d ago / 8:19 PM UTC

Stone says he had no advance knowledge of Jan. 6 attack and wasn't involved


Stone, in a text message to NBC News, denied any advance knowledge or involvement in the Jan. 6 insurrection. He texted moments after the committee investigating the attack on the Capitol concluded its seventh hearing, in which it revealed the existence of a "Friends of Stone" group chat that included the longtime Trump confidant and leaders of extremist groups.

“Any claim assertion or implication that I knew in advance about, was involved in or condoned any illegal act at the Capitol on January 6 is categorically false,” Stone wrote in the text. “Nor was I involved in the effort to delay the certification of the Electoral College.” Stone said he gave a speech a day before the riot that was “consistent with my constitutional free-speech rights to skepticism about the anomalies and irregularities in the 2020 election,” adding that he was “entitled to my apocalyptic view of America’s future as expressed in my speech.”

Earlier Tuesday, a lawyer for Stone told NBC News that Stone “did not participate” in the “Friends of Stone” group chat. “Mr. Stone was included in the group chat by whoever established it at the time. Mr. Stone did not participate in any discussions in the chat and has no recollection of ever posting anything in the chat,” attorney Grant Smith said.

During the hearing, the Jan. 6 committee showed images of encrypted chats between Stone and leaders of the Proud Boys and the Oath Keepers, like Enrique Tarrio and Stewart Rhodes, that indicated that they were intent on promoting pro-Trump events in November and December 2020, as well as the Jan. 6 riot.

445d ago / 8:00 PM UTC

Hearing concludes

After nearly three hours, the hearing concluded.

445d ago / 7:56 PM UTC

Cheney says Trump tried to call a witness after the last hearing

Ranking member Liz Cheney, R-Wyo., said at the end of her closing statement that former President Donald Trump "tried to call a witness in our investigation" following the committee's last hearing, which was on June 28.

Cheney said it was "a witness you have not yet seen in these hearings."

"That person declined to answer or respond to President Trump’s call, and instead alerted their lawyer to the call. Their lawyer alerted us, and this committee has supplied that information to the Department of Justice," Cheney said.

"Let me say one more time. We will take any efforts to influence witnesses' testimony very seriously," Cheney said.

445d ago / 7:56 PM UTC

Murphy says she was in the Capitol on Jan. 6 'fleeing my fellow Americans'

In closing remarks, Rep. Stephanie Murphy, D-Fla., described how her family fled Vietnam decades ago over fears of political violence, only to find herself "fleeing my fellow Americans" on Jan. 6.

“On January 6th, four decades after my family fled a place where political power was seized through violence, I was in the United States Capitol — fleeing my fellow Americans,” she said after she noted that she is the only committee member who was not born in the U.S.

Murphy was born in Vietnam after the Vietnam War ended, and her family was later granted sanctuary in the U.S.

445d ago / 7:52 PM UTC

Raskin: 'American carnage is Donald Trump’s true legacy'

In his closing statement, Raskin zeroed in on how Trump’s own inaugural address — in which he referred to “American carnage” — forecast the violence of the Jan. 6 insurrection.

“In his inaugural address, Trump introduced one commanding image: American carnage. Although that turn of phrase explained little about America before he took office, it turned out to be an excellent prophecy of what his rage would come to visit on our people,” Raskin said. 

“American carnage is Donald Trump’s true legacy. His desire to overthrow the people’s election and seize the presidency interrupted the counting of Electoral College votes for the first time in American history, nearly toppled the constitutional order and brutalized hundreds of people,” he continued.

“The Watergate break-in was like a Cub Scout meeting compared to this assault on our people and institutions,” Raskin said.

445d ago / 7:47 PM UTC

Van Tatenhove says public is lucky Jan. 6 violence wasn't even worse

Van Tatenhove said the public was extremely lucky that the violence that unfolded on Jan. 6 wasn't even worse.

"I think we've gotten exceedingly lucky that more bloodshed did not happen, because the potential's been there from the start. And we got very lucky that the loss of life was, and as tragic as it is, that we saw on Jan. 6, the potential was so much more," he said, noting "the iconic images of that day with the gallows setup for Mike Pence."

He added, “I do fear for this next election cycle, because who knows what that might bring?”

445d ago / 7:45 PM UTC

Capitol Police officer injured on Jan. 6 forced to leave the department

Capitol Police Sgt. Aquilino Gonell, who delivered emotional testimony last year about confronting the pro-Trump mob on Jan. 6, suffered permanent injuries during the riot and has to leave his job, Raskin said in his closing remarks Tuesday.

"On June 28, his team of doctors told him that permanent injuries he suffered to his left shoulder and right foot made it impossible for him to continue as a police officer. He must now leave policing for good and figure out the rest of his life," Raskin said.

Gonell, an Army veteran who spent a year on active combat duty in the Iraq War, has said he was "'savagely beaten,' 'punched, pushed, kicked, shoved, stomped and sprayed with chemical irritants' by members of a mob carrying 'hammers, knives, batons and police shields taken by force' and wielding the American flag against police officers as a dangerous weapon," Raskin said.

Raskin told Gonell, a 16-year veteran of the Capitol Police, that "we wish you and your family all the best, we are here for you, and we salute you for your valor, your eloquence and your beautiful commitment to America."

Raskin, D-Md., also wondered aloud what former President Donald Trump "would say to someone like Sergeant Gonell, who must now remake his life. I wonder if he could even understand what motivates a patriot like Sergeant Gonell." 

445d ago / 7:43 PM UTC

Tatenhove says Oath Keepers leader asked him to create 'deck of cards' identifying people to take out, including Hillary Clinton

Jason Van Tatenhove, former spokesman for the Oath Keepers, said the president of the group, Stewart Rhodes, had asked him to create a "deck of cards" identifying people the group should target and take out.

"You may remember back to the, the conflict in the Middle East where our own military created a deck of cards, which was a who’s who — have kind of the key players on the other side that they wanted to take out," Van Tatenhove said in live testimony. "And Stewart was very intrigued by that notion and influenced by it, I think, and he wanted me to create a deck of cards."

Van Tatenhove said the deck of cards Rhodes wanted would include "different politicians, judges, including up to Hillary Clinton as the Queen of Hearts. This is a project that I refused to do."

He added that from the start, there was always a push for military training, including courses on explosives.

445d ago / 7:38 PM UTC

Ayres: I would have left Capitol riot earlier if Trump had asked us to

Ayres said he left the Capitol as soon as Trump tweeted — several hours after rioters had entered the Capitol — for them to go home.

“We literally left right after that came out,” he said.

Ayres, who earlier testified that he had only come to the Capitol because Trump asked his supporters to, added that he would have gone home earlier in the day had Trump said to — noting that doing so could have perhaps limited the damage and destruction.

“You know, if he would have done that earlier in the day, 1:30 p.m., we wouldn’t be in this, maybe we wouldn’t be in this bad of a situation,” Ayres said.

Ayres told Raskin later that once Trump's tweet went out, he saw that the crowd had noticeably dissipated.

445d ago / 7:34 PM UTC

Ayres says he might not have attended rally if he knew Trump had no evidence of election lies

Stephen Ayres said in live testimony at the hearing that he came down to Washington, D.C., on Jan. 6 and participated in the insurrection because he believed the 2020 election was stolen.

Ayres said that he "definitely" believed that the election was stolen because he was following what was being said on social media sites like Facebook, Twitter and Instagram at the time.

"You know, that's basically what got me to come down here," he said. Asked if he now believes the election was stolen, Ayres said, "Not so much now."

"I got away from all the social media when Jan. 6 happened, basically deleted it all. You know, I started doing my own research," he said.

Ayres said he may not have come down to Washington that day if he had known that Trump had seen no evidence of widespread fraud in the election.

445d ago / 7:20 PM UTC

Former Oath Keeper outlines group's goals, offers stark warning

Jason Van Tatenhove, the former national media director for the Oath Keepers, said during his testimony Tuesday that the “true motivation” of the extremist group he used to work for — which he called an “ever-radicalizing organization” — was really fundraising and recruitment.

“While this may come as a surprise to some, many of the true motivations of this group revolve around raising funds, and not the propaganda they push. Stewart Rhodes and the Oath Keepers insert themselves into crises, situations that they would not usually have any part of, and seek to make themselves relevant and fundraise on the back of these conflicts to increase the membership rolls,” said Van Tatenhove, who worked for the group for several years starting in 2014. 

“Recruitment is a crucial focus for the Oath Keepers, and a target demographic is people that feel marginalized. I have seen these individuals whipped up into dangerous action by the group’s leadership, just as we saw on Jan. 6,” added Van Tatenhove, who had left the group years before 2021 and was not involved in its planning for the storming of the Capitol. “Combined with catering to the conspiracy theories of the day and an attempt to connect with ever-radicalizing communities within the alt-right, white nationalists, and even outright racists to gain more influence and money, is a dangerous proposition for our country,” he continued.

He offered a stark warning about the group, saying, “All Americans need to pay attention to the genuine danger that extremist groups like the Oath Keepers pose to us and our society.”

“Because of the actions taken on January 6th and the increased political and ideological polarization in our society, I fear what the next election cycle will bring,” he said.

445d ago / 7:16 PM UTC

Here are the witnesses testifying before the Jan. 6 committee

The committee is hearing testimony from Stephen Ayres and Jason Van Tatenhove. Van Tatenhove is a former member of the Oath Keepers who will testify about the right-wing extremist group. Ayres is a Jan. 6 defendant who entered the Capitol and pleaded guilty last month. He'll be sentenced in September.

445d ago / 7:15 PM UTC

Committee: Trump had Jan. 6 speech revised, repeatedly, to include Pence

The committee explained Tuesday that Trump, during his speech writing process for the remarks he would ultimately deliver on Jan. 6, repeatedly revised them to include lines that referred to Pence, and to what Trump falsely claimed was Pence’s ability as vice president to change the outcome of the 2020 election.

One last-minute addition to the speech included such lines. No prior version of this speech had referenced Pence or his role during the joint session of Congress on Jan. 6, Murphy said. 

After White House lawyer Eric Herschmann objected to those lines being included, the writers removed them. 

But later on the morning of Jan. 6, Trump spoke by phone with Pence — a call during which, as the committee has outlined previously, was tense and heated. Pence said on that call he would not attempt to change the results of the election. 

Following the call, speechwriters were directed to “reinsert the Mike Pence lines,” according to a White House email displayed by the committee.

“President Trump wanted to use his speech to attack Vice President Pence in front of a crowd of thousands of angry supporters who had been led to believe the election was stolen,” Murphy explained.

445d ago / 7:14 PM UTC

Parscale texted that Trump was asking for ‘civil war’ on Jan. 6, expressed guilt for helping him win

Brad Parscale, a top campaign aide for both of Trump’s presidential runs who served for a time as campaign manager for his re-election campaign, texted another aide that Trump's actions on Jan. 6 amounted to asking for “civil war,” the committee revealed Tuesday.

The committee showed texts Parscale sent to Katrina Pierson, another former Trump campaign aide, on Jan. 6. Parscale wrote that the then-president's speech that day was “about Trump pushing for uncertainty in our country” and represented “a sitting president asking for civil war.”

He texted Pierson that he had “lost faith” in Trump and wrote, “I feel guilty for helping him win.”

When Pierson responded, “you did what you felt right at the time and therefore it was right,” Parscale replied, “yeah. But a woman is dead.”

445d ago / 7:11 PM UTC

Ivanka Trump's ex-chief of staff said she was trying to calm her dad down on Jan. 6

Ivanka Trump went to try to calm down her father before he delivered his combative speech on Jan. 6, her former chief of staff Julie Radford testified. Ivanka Trump has denied this happened.

Radford told the committee the then-first daughter knew her father was upset with Pence for not trying to stop the electoral count.

"Well, she shared that he (Trump) had called the vice president an expletive word. I think that bothered her. And I think she could tell based on the conversations and what was going on in the office that he was angry and upset and people were providing misinformation. And she felt like she might be able to help calm the situation down, at least before he went onto stage," Radford said.

Ivanka Trump was asked during her deposition if she'd gone to the rally in hopes she would calm her father and "keep the event on an even keel. Is that accurate?"

"No," Ivanka Trump answered. "I don’t know who said that or where that came from."  

445d ago / 7:06 PM UTC

GOP Rep. Debbie Lesko asked leadership for Jan. 6 security plan for lawmakers

Rep. Debbie Lesko, R-Ariz., asked GOP leaders to come up with a security plan for lawmakers for Jan. 6 against both "antifa" and angry Trump supporters.

"I also ask leadership to come up with a safety plan for members. I’m actually very concerned about this, because we have who knows how many hundreds of thousands of people coming here," Lesko said in newly released audio played during the hearing. "We have antifa. We also have, quite honestly Trump supporters, who actually believe that we are going to overturn the election. And when that doesn’t happen — most likely, will not happen — they are going to go nuts."

Investigators have repeatedly said there’s no evidence antifa participated in the insurrection.

445d ago / 7:04 PM UTC

There were 'serious concerns' of violence at Twitter on the day before the Jan. 6 riot

There were "serious concerns" at Twitter about the potential for violence stemming from President Donald Trump's rally on Jan. 6, Rep. Stephanie Murphy, D-Fla., said at Tuesday's hearing.

"The Committee has learned that, on Jan. 5th, there were serious concerns at Twitter about the anticipated violence the next day," Murphy said, before playing a snippet of testimony from an unnamed former Twitter employee describing frustration with the social media giant.

The former employee worked on Twitter’s platform and content moderation policies in 2020 and 2021, Rep. Jamie Raskin, D-Md., said earlier in the hearing. The person’s “voice has been obscured to protect their identity,” he said.

"I believe I sent a Slack message to someone that said something along the lines of, 'When people are shooting each other tomorrow, I will try and rest in the knowledge that we tried,'" the employee testified. The person said they were "on pins and needles."

"Because, again, for months, I had been begging and anticipating and attempting to raise the reality that, if we made no intervention into what I saw occurring, people were going to die. And on Jan. 5th, I realized no intervention was coming, and even as hard as I had tried to create one or implement one, there was nothing, and we were at the whims and the mercy of a violent crowd that was locked and loaded," the employee said.

445d ago / 7:01 PM UTC

White House aides say Trump was in a 'good mood' and 'excited' the night before riot

White House aides who were with Trump on Jan. 5, the night before the insurrection, said that the president was in a "good mood."

"He was in a very good mood, and I say that because he had not been in a good mood for weeks leading up to that. And then it seemed like he was in a fantastic mood that evening. And he was so excited. He was, you know, talking about the crowd that was assembled and how, you know, excited he was for the following day," former deputy press secretary Sarah Matthews told the committee, according to a clip from her taped deposition.

Shealah Craighead, a former White House photographer, told the committee that upon opening the Oval Office door, "You could hear the sounds on Freedom Plaza, they were that loud, and the president was making notes — talking then about: 'We should go up to the Capitol. What’s the best route to go to the Capitol?'"

"He was animated," Judd Deere, former White House deputy press secretary, told the committee about Trump's mood that night. "He was excited about the next day. He was excited to do a rally with his supporters."

445d ago / 7:01 PM UTC

Bannon and Trump spoke twice the day before rally

Raskin said the committee learned from White House phone logs about two phone calls between Bannon and Trump on Jan. 5. That same day, Bannon said on his “War Room” podcast that “all hell is going to break loose tomorrow,” the committee showed.

During a second episode of Bannon's podcast on Jan. 5, Bannon told his audience that “it’s all converging, and now, we’re on, as they say, the point of attack.”

“The point of attack tomorrow,” he added.

“I'll tell you this, it’s not going to happen like you think it’s going to happen,” Bannon said on his podcast, adding, “It’s going to be quite extraordinarily different. And all I can say is, strap in. ... You have made this happen and tomorrow it’s game day. So strap in. Let’s get ready.”

445d ago / 6:51 PM UTC

Rally organizers, Trump allies knew he would 'order' them to Capitol after speech

Jan. 6 rally organizers, as well as Trump allies Mike Lindell and Ali Alexander, indicated in texts that Trump would “order” them to the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6 after his speech, according to texts obtained by the committee.

In one Jan. 5 text from Alexander to conservative journalist Liz Willis, Alexander wrote, “Tomorrow: Ellipse then US capitol. Trump is supposed to order us to capitol at the end of his speech but we will see.”

In a Jan. 5 text from an unnamed rally organizer to Lindell, the organizer wrote, “POTUS is going to have us march there/the Capitol.”

“President Trump did follow through on his plan, using his Jan. 6 speech to tell his supporters to march to the Capitol,” Murphy said, summing up the texts. “The evidence confirms that this was not a spontaneous call to action, but rather was a deliberate strategy decided upon in advance by the President.”

445d ago / 6:48 PM UTC

Trump plotted to send supporters to Capitol, evidence shows

Former President Donald Trump planned days before Jan. 6 to send his supporters to the U.S. Capitol but decided not to announce that until his speech, according to evidence presented by the Jan. 6 committee.

In one draft tweet that was shown by the committee, but never sent, Trump wrote: “I will be making a Big Speech at 10AM on January 6th at the Ellipse (South of the White House). Please arrive early, massive crowds expected. March to the Capitol after. Stop the Steal!!” 

Rally organizers, texts show, did not want to publicly announce the march, because one wrote they would "be in trouble with the national park service and all the agencies."

Ali Alexander, a "Stop the Steal" organizer, wrote in one message that Trump was "supposed to order us to capitol at the end of his speech but we will see."

445d ago / 6:47 PM UTC

Katrina Pierson texted, spoke with Meadows about how planning for Jan. 6 had 'gotten crazy'

Katrina Pierson, a former Trump campaign spokeswoman and one of the organizers of the Jan. 6 Trump rally, reached out to White House chief of staff Mark Meadows on Jan. 2, 2021.

"Good afternoon, would you mind giving me a call re: this Jan 6th event. Things have gotten crazy and I desperately need some direction. Please," Pierson said in a text to Meadows, shown at the hearing.

Murphy said that, according to phone records obtained by the panel, Pierson received a phone call from Meadows eight minutes later.

According to an audio clip from Pierson's deposition with the committee, she told investigators what she told Meadows.

"Just that there were a bunch of entities coming in. Some were very suspect, but they’re going to be on other — on other stages, some on other days. A very, very brief overview of what was actually happening and why I raised red flags."

Asked what she conveyed to Meadows about the problems she had, Pierson told investigators: "I think I even texted him some of my concerns. But I did briefly go over some of the concerns that I had raised to everybody with Alex Jones or Ali Alexander and some of the rhetoric that they were doing. I probably mentioned to him that they had already caused trouble at the other capitols or at the previous event — the previous march that they did for protesting. And I just had a concern about it."

445d ago / 6:43 PM UTC

Raskin says committee will present testimony from White House aides who were with Trump on Jan. 6

Raskin said that the committee will present testimony from White House aides who were with Trump on Jan. 6.

He said they were "with the president as he watched the crowd from the Oval Office and will testify about how, 'excited he was for the following day,'" Raskin said.

"Let me note now that our investigation continues on these issues," he said. "We have only shown a fraction of what we have found. I look forward to the public release of more of our findings."

445d ago / 6:39 PM UTC

Committee obtained encrypted chats from 'Friends of Stone,' which included Rhodes, Tarrio

Encrypted chats between longtime Trump confidant Roger Stone and leaders of the Proud Boys and the Oath Keepers like Tarrio and Rhodes that were obtained by the committee revealed that those individuals were intent on hyping up pro-Trump events in November and December 2020, as well as the Jan. 6 riot.

The group chat was labeled “F.O.S.” — Friends of Stone.

“These friends of Roger Stone had a significant presence at multiple pro-Trump events after the election — including in Washington on December the 12th. On that day, Stewart Rhodes called for Donald Trump to invoke martial law, promising bloodshed if he did not,” Raskin explained as images of the texts were displayed.

445d ago / 6:35 PM UTC

D.C. Homeland Security saw violent groups coalescing around Jan. 6, 2021, date

Raskin said that Donell Harvin, who was the chief of homeland security and intelligence for the District of Columbia government, told the committee how his division considered Trump's tweet urging the Jan. 6 protest as one that united violent far-right groups.

Harvin said to committee investigators, in a clip played during the hearing, that his division received information "suggesting that some very, very violent individuals were organizing to come to D.C. And not only were they organizing to come to D.C., but these groups, these nonaligned groups were aligning. All the red flags went up at that point."

"When you have armed militia collaborating with white supremacy groups collaborating with conspiracy theory groups online all towards a common goal, you start seeing what we call in terrorism 'a blended ideology,' and that’s a very, very bad sign," Harvin said.

Harvin said that the groups weren't just casually talking, but coordinating specifics. They were "not just chatting like, ‘Hey, how’s it going, what’s the weather like where you’re at,’ but ‘What are you bringing, what are you wearing, where do we meet up, do you have plans for the Capitol?’ — that’s operational, that’s like pre-operational intelligence, right? And that is something that is clearly alarming."

445d ago / 6:33 PM UTC

Committee returns

The hearing resumed at 2:32 p.m. ET.

445d ago / 6:31 PM UTC

Hearing temporarily delayed due to tech issues

The committee was delayed returning from its 10-minute break due to some technical issues.

445d ago / 6:10 PM UTC

Committee takes a break

The committee took a brief break shortly after 2 p.m. ET.

445d ago / 6:09 PM UTC

Trump's call for 'wild' protest led to plotting against Congress on pro-Trump website

Trump's call for a "wild" protest on Jan. 6 led to elaborate planning on a pro-Trump website.

Raskin said the conversations centered around Trump's tweet on the "featured discussions of the tunnels beneath the Capitol complex; suggestions for targeting Members of Congress; and encouragement to attend a, quote, 'Once in a lifetime event.'"

One poster wrote, “Bring handcuffs and wait near the tunnels.” Another urged demonstrators to come with “body armor, knuckles, shields, bats, pepper spray, whatever it takes.” All were used during the riot on Jan. 6, Raskin noted. 

445d ago / 6:07 PM UTC

Raskin reads tweets from Trump's followers responding to his call to go to D.C. on Jan. 6

After outlining how Twitter considered removing Trump in September 2020 but didn't, Raskin then jumped ahead to Trump's Dec. 19 tweet, which said, "Big protest in D.C. on January 6th. Be there, will be wild." Raskin read aloud tweets from Trump's followers who responded to the president's call to come to Washington on Jan. 6, 2021.

"One user asked, 'Is the 6th D-Day? Is that why Trump wants everyone there?'" Raskin said. "Another asserted, 'Trump just told us all to come armed. F****** A, this is happening.' A third took it even further, quote, 'It ‘will be wild’ means we need volunteers for the firing squad.'" Numerous other commentators celebrated ideas of violence, including against police officers and Democratic lawmakers.

Raskin said Jim Watkins, owner of a fringe online forum called 8kun that was the birthplace of the QAnon movement, "confirmed the importance of Trump's tweet."

445d ago / 6:02 PM UTC

Ex-Twitter employee says Twitter considered cracking down on Trump before Jan. 6 — but didn’t

Twitter considered “adopting a stricter” moderation policy on Trump after his Sept. 29, 2020, comment during a presidential debate telling the Proud Boys to “stand back and stand by,” Raskin said.

But the platform did not, Raskin added.

Raskin explained that the committee had interviewed a former Twitter employee — a member of the team responsible for moderation policies in 2020 and 2021 — who’d explained during recorded testimony that Twitter considered making that move but “chose not to act.”

“My concern was that the former president, for seemingly the first time, was speaking directly to extremist organizations and giving them directives. We had not seen that sort of direct communication before, and that concerned me,” the employee said during recorded testimony played Tuesday.

445d ago / 6:01 PM UTC
445d ago / 6:00 PM UTC

Committee plays montage of clips of MAGA influencers promoting Jan. 6 gathering

The committee played a montage of clips from prominent Trump supporters, including far-right media personalities, who promoted a gathering in Washington on Jan. 6, 2021.

"It’s Saturday, Dec. 19th. The year is 2020. And one of the most historic events in American history has just taken place. President Trump, in the early morning hours today, tweeted that he wants the American people to march on Washington, D.C., on Jan. 6th, 2021," said Alex Jones in one clip. "This is the most important call to action on domestic soil since Paul Revere and his ride in 1776," Jones said in another one.

Another clip showed Matt Bracken said that they would "only be saved" by millions of Americans moving to Washington and "occupying the entire area" and "if necessary, storming right into the Capitol."

"We know the rules of engagement. If you have enough people, you can push down any kind of fence or a wall," Bracken said.

Another clip from a streamer identified as Salty Cracker said: "You better understand something, son. You better understand something. Red wave, bitch. There’s gonna be a red wedding going down Jan. 6th."

445d ago / 5:57 PM UTC

Rally organizers switched permit to Jan. 6 after Trump's call for 'big protest'

Trump's tweet calling for a "big protest in D.C." on Jan. 6 that will "be wild" led a pro-Trump organizing group to leap into action just hours later, Raskin said at Tuesday's hearing.

Women for America First had originally applied for a rally permit in Washington for the days after Joe Biden's inauguration.

Shortly after Trump's tweet on Dec. 19, the group emailed the National Park Service to switch the date of the event to Jan. 6, Raskin said, displaying the email.

"This rescheduling created the rally where Trump would eventually speak," Raskin said.  

445d ago / 5:57 PM UTC

Photo shows Giuliani being escorted away from WH to prevent him from 'wandering' back

The committee showed a photo taken by then-White House staffer Cassidy Hutchinson of Trump chief of staff Mark Meadows walking down the White House colonnade in the early morning hours of Dec. 19, 2020.

"I take one photo for Mark of each of his days. Tonight, it was him escorting Rudy off-campus to make sure he didn't wander back to the mansion," Hutchinson said in a text exchange accompanying the photo.

Hutchinson had described the West Wing on the night outside advisers and Trump met on Dec. 18 as being "unhinged."

445d ago / 5:55 PM UTC

Conflicting testimony over whether Trump actually appointed Sidney Powell as special counsel

Rep. Jamie Raskin, D-Md., said that "certain accounts" of the infamous White House meeting with Trump and outside advisers indicate that the president had at one point "actually granted Ms. Powell security clearance and appointed her to a somewhat ill-defined position of special counsel."

"First, he asked Pat Cipollone if he had the authority to name me special counsel, and he said yes. And then he asked him if he had the authority to give me whatever security clearance I needed, and Pat Cipollone said yes," Powell said to the committee, according to a clip played during the hearing.

"And then the president said: 'OK, you know, I’m naming her that, and I’m giving her security clearance.' And then shortly before we left and it totally blew up was when Cipollone and/or Herschmann and whoever the other young man was, said: 'You can name her whatever you want to name her, and no one’s going to pay any attention to it,'" Powell said in her testimony.

Raskin said there were "no further steps" taken to appoint Powell, but said "there is some ambiguity about what President Trump actually said and did during the meeting."

Cipollone told the committee in a clip played during the hearing that in his view, Powell wasn't appointed to anything. But even after that, he said that Powell was either still seeking an appointment or was already claiming that she had secured the position.

"I think she may have been of the view that she had been appointed and was seeking to, you know, get that done, and that she should be appointed," Cipollone said.

445d ago / 5:51 PM UTC

Giuliani says he called W.H. lawyers 'p-----s' during heated White House meeting

Committee members pieced together the details of a six-hour “heated and profane” late-night White House meeting on Dec. 18, 2020, during which Powell, Flynn, former Overstock CEO Patrick Byrne and others “traded personal insults, accusation of disloyalty to the president and even challenges to physically fight” with Trump’s White House advisers.

“I am going to categorically describe it as, ‘you guys are not tough enough,’” Giuliani said during his taped deposition, played Tuesday, describing the altercation between him and White House lawyers. “Or maybe I put it another way — you’re a bunch of p-----s, excuse the expression, I’m almost certain the word was used,” he said. 

Herschmann, per his taped testimony, said: “I think that it got to the point where the screaming was completely — completely out there. I mean, it was, you know, them telling us, you know, stuff that we’re telling — or I’m telling them to shut the F up. I mean, it really was unprecedented. I mean, I don’t know how else to describe it.”

“Flynn screamed at me that I was a quitter, and everything. He kept on standing up and turning around and screaming at me,” Herschmann added. “And at a certain point, I had it with him. So I yelled back, 'Either come over or sit your F-ing ass back down.'”

445d ago / 5:49 PM UTC

White House lawyers recall Sidney Powell and Michael Flynn pushing conspiracy theories in heated meeting

White House lawyers said Sidney Powell and Michael Flynn were pushing conspiracy theories to Trump during the heated Dec. 18 Oval Office meeting.

Eric Herschmann, then Trump's senior adviser, said he confronted the pair. "I was asking, like, are you claiming the Democrats were working with Hugo Chavez, Venezuelans, and whomever else? And at one point, General Flynn took out a diagram that supposedly showed IP addresses all over the world, and who was communicating with whom via the machines. And some comment about, like, Nest thermostats being hooked up to the internet," Herschmann testified. 

Cipollone testified that "we were pushing back and we were asking one simple question as a general matter, where is the evidence?" Staff secretary Derek Lyons said they responded that "we don’t have it now but we will have it or whatever."

Herschmann also pressed them on the 60 unsuccessful lawsuits challenging the election results. He said Powell responded, "Well, the judges are corrupt."

"And I was like, 'Every one? Every single case that you’ve done in the country you guys lost, every one of them is corrupt, even the ones we appointed?'" Herschmann said.

445d ago / 5:48 PM UTC

Raskin describes 'heated' Dec. 18 meeting in the White House

A Dec. 18 White House meeting that included Trump, lawyer Sidney Powell, Michael Flynn and numerous White House officials was so heated that staffers "could hear the screaming from outside the Oval Office," Rep. Jamie Raskin, D-Md., said at the hearing.

He said the committee had spoken with six of the meeting's participants, as well as staffers who could hear the screaming.

The meeting began when a junior staffer brought in election conspiracists Powell, Flynn and Patrick Byrne to meet with Trump, and it became contentious when White House officials found out about the meeting and joined in, Raskin said.

"What ensued was a heated and profane clash between this group and President Trump’s White House advisers who traded personal insults, accusations of disloyalty to the president, and even challenges to physically fight," Raskin said.

445d ago / 5:43 PM UTC

Cipollone: Meadows said Trump would ultimately concede

In testimony provided to the committee last Friday, Cipollone said that a few weeks after the 2020 election, White House chief of staff Mark Meadows told him that Trump would eventually exit gracefully.

"Without getting into that meeting, I would say that that is a statement and a sentiment that I heard from Mark Meadows," Cipollone told investigators in a video clip played during the hearing.

Cipollone said that he heard this from Meadows sometime around Nov. 23, 2020.

445d ago / 5:41 PM UTC

Raskin: Kerik emails show Giuliani had no evidence of fraud prior to Jan. 6

Raskin said that a December 2020 email from Bernie Kerik, the former New York City police commissioner and close ally of Rudy Giuliani, shows that they had no evidence of fraud in the lead-up to Jan. 6. In the email, Kerik wrote that their only hope was to "apply pressure" and urge constituents to not certify the vote count.

“We can do all the investigations we want later, but if the president plans on winning, it’s the legislators that have to be moved, and this will do just that,” Kerik's email to chief of staff Mark Meadows reads.

A letter from Kerik's lawyer states it more clearly: "It was impossible for Mr. Kerik and his team to determine conclusively whether there was widespread fraud or whether that widespread fraud would have altered the outcome of the elections," the letter reads.

Kerik's lawyer also wrote that many of the claims Trump's legal team investigated were "clearly baseless and needed little follow up."

445d ago / 5:41 PM UTC
445d ago / 5:35 PM UTC

Cipollone: Seizing voting machines 'terrible idea for the country,' opposed Powell as special counsel

In video played Tuesday, Cipollone testified to investigators Friday that he didn't think Sidney Powell should serve as a special counsel and rejected a proposal to seize voting machines.

Regarding the idea of Powell becoming a special counsel, Cipollone said, "I was vehemently opposed — I didn’t think she should be appointed to anything." That's according to a video clip of his taped deposition played during the hearing.

In another clip, he denounced the idea of seizing voting machines, especially after Attorney General William Barr concluded there wasn't sufficient election fraud.

"To have the federal government seize voting machines, that’s a terrible idea for the country, you know? That’s not how we do things in the United States. There’s no legal authority to do that," Cipollone told the committee. "And there is a way to contest elections. You know, that happens all the time. But the idea that the federal government could come in and seize election machines, not. That’s — I don’t understand why I would even have to tell you why that’s a bad idea for the country. That’s a terrible idea."

445d ago / 5:33 PM UTC
445d ago / 5:32 PM UTC

Committee rounds up cadre of W.H. advisers who admitted by December that Trump had lost

Murphy, playing several bits of taped testimony, explained how multiple advisers to and allies of Trump — including press secretary Kayleigh McEnany, deputy press secretary Judd Deere, Director of National Intelligence John Ratcliffe, Attorney General Bill Barr, aide Dan Scavino, and even his daughter and his son-in-law Ivanka Trump and Jared Kushner — explained to him by mid-December 2020 that he had lost the election, but that Trump disregarded their input.

“Many other White House officials shared the view that, once the litigation ended and the Electoral College met, the election was over,” said Murphy, who then played several video clips.

“In my view, upon the conclusion of litigation was when I began to plan for life after the administration,” McEnany said in one clip.

“I told him that my personal viewpoint was that the Electoral College had met, which is the system that our country is set under to elect a president and vice president, and I believed at that point that the means for him to pursue litigation was probably closed,” Deere said.

“He disagreed,” Deere said of Trump.

During another clip, another aide, Hutchinson, was seen describing Ratcliffe’s assessment of the situation, saying that Ratcliffe felt that "it wasn’t something that the White House should be pursing, he felt that it was dangerous for the president’s legacy” and “had expressed to me that he was concerned that it could spiral out of control and potentially be dangerous, either for our democracy or the way that things were going for the 6th.”

“Yet,” Murphy said, Trump disregarded “counsel from his closest advisers, and continued his efforts to cling to power.”

445d ago / 5:25 PM UTC

Cipollone's 8-hour testimony will be centerpiece in upcoming hearings

Murphy said Tuesday's hearing will feature extensive testimony from Cipollone. Cipollone testified for eight hours with the Jan. 6 committee on Friday, she said.

In video testimony played during the hearing, Cipollone agreed that there was no evidence of election fraud sufficient to alter the outcome of the election in any state. He also said he believed Trump should have conceded the election once it became clear there was no possibility of victory.

Murphy said the committee will show numerous clips from Cipollone's testimony in Tuesday's hearing and the next one yet to be announced.

445d ago / 5:24 PM UTC

Labor Secretary Gene Scalia urged Trump to concede

In video testimony played at Tuesday's hearing, Trump Cabinet member Eugene Scalia told the Jan. 6 committee that he called then-President Donald Trump in mid-December to urge him to concede.

Scalia, Trump's labor secretary at the time and the son of the late Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia, said he had spoken to Trump on the phone at around the time the presidential electors officially cast their votes on Dec. 14, 2020. "I conveyed to him that I thought that it was time for him to acknowledge that President Biden had prevailed in the election," Scalia testified during the previously unseen interview.

"I communicated to the president that when that legal process is exhausted and when the electors have voted, that that’s the point at which that outcome needs to be accepted," Scalia said. 

He did not say how Trump reacted in the snippet of testimony played at the hearing.

445d ago / 5:18 PM UTC

Raskin: Trump’s 'will be wild' tweet ginned up supporters like Oath Keepers and Proud Boys

Making the case that Trump himself was directly to blame for inciting the organization and anger among the groups of supporters that would storm the Capitol on Jan. 6, Raskin pointed to a late-night tweet from mid-December by the former president.

“In the wee hours of Dec. 19, dissatisfied with his options, Donald Trump decided to call for a large and ‘wild’ crowd on Wednesday, Jan. 6, the day when Congress would meet to certify the electoral votes,” Raskin said. “Never before in American history had a president called for a crowd to come contest the counting of electoral votes by Congress, or engaged in any effort designed to influence, delay or obstruct the joint session of Congress in doing its work required by our Constitution and the Electoral Count Act.”

“Trump’s 1:42 a.m. tweet electrified and galvanized his supporters, especially the dangerous extremists in the Oath Keepers, the Proud Boys, and other racist and white nationalist groups spoiling for a fight against the government,” Raskin explained.

445d ago / 5:18 PM UTC

Cheney: Cipollone’s testimony 'met our expectations'

Rep. Liz Cheney, the committee's vice chair, referred in her opening statement to last week’s closed-door testimony from former White House counsel Pat Cipollone (long viewed by the committee as a key witness) and said Cipollone’s testimony “met our expectations.”

As NBC News previously reported, Cipollone confirmed much of former White House aide Cassidy Hutchinson’s explosive public testimony.

Cheney then laid out how Tuesday’s hearing would “take us from Dec. 14, 2020, when the Electoral College met and certified the results … up through the morning of Jan. 6” — a crucial period she said during which Trump “summoned a mob to Washington” and spread “election lies” that “provoked that mob.”

445d ago / 5:17 PM UTC

Raskin describes 'unhinged' Dec. 18 White House meeting

Rep. Jamie Raskin, D-Md., said that four days after the Electoral College met to confirm Biden's victory, an outside team of Trump advisers "paid him a surprise visit" at the White House on Dec. 18, 2020.

The meeting, Raskin said, "would quickly become the stuff of legend."

"The meeting has been called 'unhinged,' 'not normal' and the 'craziest meeting of the Trump presidency,'" Raskin said.

The advisers were outside lawyers who had been involved in dozens of failed lawsuits and had "lots of theories supporting the Big Lie, but no evidence to support it," Raskin said.

"As we will see, however, they brought to the White House a draft executive order that they had prepared for President Trump to further his ends," Raskin continued. "Specifically, they proposed the immediate mass seizure of state election machines by the U.S. military. The meeting ended after midnight with apparent rejection of that idea."

In the early morning hours of Dec. 19, following the meeting, Trump urged his followers to come to Washington, D.C., on Jan. 6.

445d ago / 5:15 PM UTC

Murphy: Trump went off-script on Jan. 6 and 'inflamed' crowd

Rep. Stephanie Murphy, in her opening statement, outlined Tuesday’s hearing, explaining that the committee would focus on illustrating “the coordination that occurred between the White House and members of Congress as it relates to Jan. 6.”

She highlighted that they’d focus on Trump’s “key actions” on Jan. 5 and Jan. 6, 2021, “including how the president edited and ad-libbed his speech that morning at the Ellipse.”

Murphy explained that Trump “spoke off-script” in such a way that he explicitly “directed the crowd to march to the Capitol” and “further inflamed an already angry crowd.”

445d ago / 5:15 PM UTC

After Electoral College met Dec. 14, 2020, Trump eyed Jan. 6

Rep. Stephanie Murphy, D-Fla., said that after the Electoral College met on Dec. 14, 2020, to confirm that Biden would be the next president, Trump and his allies turned their attention to Jan. 6 in their effort to remain in power.

"In their warped view, this ceremonial event was the next, and perhaps the last, inflection point that could be used to reverse the outcome of the election before Mr. Biden’s inauguration," she said, referring to the joint session of Congress in which the vice president counts and certifies the electoral votes. "As President Trump put it, the vice president and enough members of Congress simply needed to summon the 'courage' to act. To help them find that courage, the president called for backup," she said.

On the morning of Dec. 19, 2020, Trump posted a tweet urging his followers to travel to Washington, D.C., for Jan. 6, Murphy said.

"'Be there, will be wild!' the president wrote," Murphy said. "As my colleague Mr. Raskin will describe in detail, this tweet served as a call to action, and in some cases as a call to arms, for many of President Trump’s most loyal supporters."

445d ago / 5:11 PM UTC

Thompson opens hearing, says Trump 'summoned a mob' to the Capitol on Jan. 6

Rep. Bennie Thompson, D-Miss., said in his opening statement that Americans settle their differences at the ballot box, and if you're on the losing side, you can protest, organize and get ready for the next election.

"But you can’t turn violent. You can’t try to achieve your desired outcome through force or harassment or intimidation," Thompson said. "Any real leader who sees their supporters going down that path approaching that line has a responsibility to say, 'Stop. We gave it our best. We came up short. We'll try again next time because we settle our differences at the ballot box.'"

Instead, Thompson said Trump "seized on the anger he had already stoked among his most loyal supporters" and "summoned a mob to Washington, D.C.," to try to stop the certification of the election on Jan. 6, 2021.

445d ago / 4:49 PM UTC

Lots of international interest in Jan. 6 hearing

There are a number of reporters from foreign news outlets here inside the hearing room, including from Germany, Japan and Brazil.

Among the outlets represented are Tages-Anzeiger, a Swiss German-language national daily newspaper, and German newspapers Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung and Die Zeit.

The newspaper Asahi Shimbun and broadcaster NHK, both of Japan, also have reporters in the room, as does TV Globo of Brazil.

445d ago / 4:17 PM UTC

Jan. 6 committee expected to focus on Trump's 'siren call' to extremists

445d ago / 3:48 PM UTC

Former Overstock CEO who spread election conspiracy theories will meet with committee


Former Overstock CEO Patrick Byrne will meet with the Jan. 6 select committee Friday in person, two sources familiar with the matter told NBC News.

Byrne, a supporter of former President Donald Trump, has spread conspiracy theories about the 2020 election and runs a political group that helped fund the partisan post-election review in Arizona. He was among several Trump allies sued last year by Dominion Voting Systems, which alleged defamation.

CNN was the first to report that Byrne would meet with the committee.

Byrne was present at a Dec. 18, 2020, meeting at the White House to discuss Trump's strategies for countering the election results, CNN reported. That meeting will be a focus of Tuesday's hearing, Rep. Jamie Raskin, D-Md., told NBC News.

"Basically they had some last-minute Hail Mary desperation ploys that they wanted to advance including having the United States military seize the state’s election machinery, and appointing Sidney Powell as a roving special counsel with the power to prosecute people for imagined or real election offenses," Raskin said. "This was opposed strongly by the White House counsel and by others on the White House staff."

After the "deranged" five-hour meeting, Raskin said, Trump tweeted his 1 a.m. invitation to supporters to come to Washington on Jan. 6, saying, "Be there, will be wild!"

445d ago / 3:15 PM UTC

Judge won’t delay Steve Bannon’s trial after his last-minute offer to cooperate with Jan. 6 panel

A judge said Monday that he would not delay Steve Bannon’s contempt of Congress trial, just one week before it is set to begin.

Bannon was indicted last year for refusing to answer questions from the congressional committee investigating the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol. Bannon, who had stonewalled the committee since October, had a last-minute change of heart over the weekend, a decision his lawyer attributed to a letter from former President Donald Trump that waived a purported claim of executive privilege. The Justice Department maintains that Bannon’s offer to testify was nothing more than a “last-ditch attempt to avoid accountability.”

According to the Justice Department, Trump’s own lawyer, Justin Clark, told the FBI that Trump “never invoked executive privilege over any particular information or materials” and offered no basis for Bannon’s “total noncompliance” with his subpoena.

U.S. District Judge Carl Nichols issued a series of rulings on motions preparing for the trial that largely did not go Bannon’s way.

Read the full story here.

445d ago / 2:48 PM UTC

Oath Keepers lawyer says Stewart Rhodes wanted her Trump contacts before Jan. 6

In the weeks leading up to the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol, Oath Keepers founder Stewart Rhodes tried to get the organization’s general counsel, Kellye SoRelle, to put him in touch with the White House, she told NBC News.

In addition to her work with the Oath Keepers, SoRelle was a volunteer for Lawyers for Trump during the 2020 election and was in contact with many of the people fighting a doomed legal battle to try to overturn the 2020 presidential election and keep former President Donald Trump in office. The contacts include, she said, people in Rudy Giuliani’s and Sidney Powell’s camps, as well as those inside the administration, although she added that she “wasn’t, like, communicating with Trump directly.”

Rhodes wanted her to put him in touch with the White House. “He was hitting me up for a contact,” said SoRelle, a family law lawyer who previously ran for the Texas state House. “He didn’t have any access points.”

Read the full story here.

445d ago / 2:19 PM UTC

Cipollone corroborated virtually everything from Hutchinson, Jan. 6 panel member says

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Trump White House counsel Pat Cipollone corroborated virtually all of the revelations from previous witnesses, including former White House aide Cassidy Hutchinson, in lengthy testimony before the panel last week, a top Jan. 6 committee member told NBC News.

“Cipollone has corroborated almost everything that we’ve learned from the prior hearings,” Rep. Jamie Raskin, D-Md., said in an exclusive interview just hours before the next hearing. “I certainly did not hear him contradict Cassidy Hutchinson. … He had the opportunity to say whatever he wanted to say, so I didn’t see any contradiction there.”

Video clips of Cipollone’s taped testimony will be presented at Tuesday’s hearing, which Raskin will lead alongside Rep. Stephanie Murphy, D-Fla., as the panel focuses on how the pro-Trump mob came together at the Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021.

Read the full story here.

445d ago / 1:43 PM UTC

A Jan. 6 defendant who’s expected to testify before the House panel posted Trump’s ‘will be wild’ tweet

Donald Trump supporter who posted the former president’s tweet encouraging supporters to go to Washington on Jan. 6, 2021, before he stormed the U.S. Capitol is expected to testify Tuesday before the committee investigating the insurrection, a source familiar with the matter said.

Stephen Ayres of Ohio pleaded guilty last month to disorderly and disruptive conduct in a restricted building. His sentencing hearing is scheduled for Sept. 13.

Ayres admitted that on Jan. 2, 2021, he posted an image of a poster stating that Trump was “calling on us to come back to Washington on January 6th for a big protest — ‘Be there, will be wild.’”

Read the full story here.

445d ago / 1:01 PM UTC

Here are the major revelations from the Jan. 6 committee hearings so far

Each new revelation in public testimony before the Jan. 6 committee has been more explosive than the last — from former President Donald Trump’s direct role in organizing “fake electors” to tirades that left ketchup oozing down a White House wall.

As the panel resumes its televised public hearings this week, lawmakers are focused on demonstrating how Trump’s actions merged with and culminated in the violence at the Capitol.

Committee members say it’s easy to sum up everything that’s been presented. “He lost, he knew it and he embarked on an alternate effort to stay in power,” said Rep. Stephanie Murphy, D-Fla., who is expected to lead questioning at an upcoming hearing.

But for those who haven’t watched every minute of the hearings — and even for some who have — it can be difficult to process all of the new information and keep it fresh as new bombshells drop. These are the key revelations so far.

Read the full story here.

445d ago / 1:01 PM UTC

Ties between Trump allies and extremist groups to be focus of Jan. 6 panel hearing

The Jan. 6 committee on Tuesday plans to demonstrate how right-wing militia groups that led the assault on the U.S. Capitol were connected to key Trump allies, including Roger Stone and Michael Flynn, who were at the center of the plot to overturn the 2020 election.

“We’ll show how some of these right-wing extremist groups who came to D.C. and led the attack on the Capitol had ties to Trump associates, including Roger Stone and General Flynn,” a committee aide said Monday on a conference call with reporters.

The hearing will also include clips of taped testimony from Trump White House counsel Pat Cipollone, multiple sources told NBC News. Cipollone met with the panel on Friday for around eight hours and was involved in a Dec. 18, 2020, meeting at the White House that included members of Trump’s outside and internal White House legal teams, as well as the president.

Read the full story here.