The Jan. 6 committee held its eighth public hearing Thursday, the latest in a series of high-profile productions laying out the case that the deadly riot was the result of then-President Donald Trump's attempts to overturn the election.
The prime-time hearing focused on what happened during the 187 minutes between Trump's speech, during which he encouraged supporters to march to the Capitol, and his tweet encouraging rioters to head home.
- Trump refused to say the election was over in a Jan. 7 speech, according to never-before-seen outtakes aired Thursday.
- New footage shows Sen. Josh Hawley fleeing the mob after he "riled up" the crowd with a fist pump.
- Trump resisted calling for peace until Ivanka Trump convinced him, a former White House aide said in live testimony.
- Former White House counsel Pat Cipollone said in recorded testimony that White House staff wanted rioters to go home and suggested Trump did not.
- Witnesses corroborated a "heated exchange" between Trump and his security detail.
Lofgren says Secret Service agents who rode with Trump on Jan. 6 have retained counsel before testifying
Rep. Zoe Lofgren identified two Secret Service agents who have “recently obtained private counsel” after agreeing to speak with the committee.
The agents, whom Lofgren identified as Tony Ornato and Robert Engel, as well as an unnamed driver, have all agreed to speak to the committee under oath, but have not yet done so, she said. Lofgren called the agents’ decision to obtain counsel, “unusual,” but noted, “they have a right to do that.”
The agents could be key to former White House aide Cassidy Hutchinson’s bombshell testimony that Trump got into a physical altercation with his detail on his drive from the Ellipse back to the White House on Jan. 6. Hutchinson testified that Orntao told her Trump was irate when agents told him they would not take him to the Capitol on Jan. 6 and lunged at Engel and tried to grab for the steering wheel. Engel, she said, was present when Ornato related the story to her and did not dispute the account.
Two other witnesses corroborated some aspects of Hutchinson's story during Thursday's testimony, saying that Trump got into a "heated argument" with his detail over their refusal to take him to the Capitol.
The Secret Service has also come under fire because of the destruction of Secret Service text messages from Jan. 5 and 6. Lofgren said that the agency had turned over new information to the committee Thursday that the panel was still reviewing.
Dem. lawmakers call out Trump's inaction, spread video of Hawley fleeing
Democrats responded to Thursday's hearing by highlighting Trump's inaction on Jan. 6 and the opportunities he had during that 187 minutes to put an end to the insurrection at the Capitol.
"Within 15 minutes of leaving his rally, Trump knew the Capitol was under attack. But what did he do? He went to his dining room, turned on the TV, and watched the deadly insurrection he incited in real time as entertainment," Rep. Jimmy Gomez, D-Calif., tweeted.
The committee continued to reveal that House Republican Leader Kevin McCarthy and Fox News hosts, among others, pleaded with Trump to put an end to his followers' invasion. Rep. Norma Torres, D-Calif, and Rep. Steve Cohen, D-Tenn., called for legal action.
"Prosecute Donald Trump. That's the tweet," Torres wrote.
The Republican response was scant, but for the House Republican caucus' account tweeting "All hearsay." The same account tweeted criticism of former White House press aide Sarah Matthews, who testified Thursday, but the post was deleted.
Numerous Democratic lawmakers posted the now-viral video of Sen. Josh Hawley fleeing the halls of the Capitol to escape the rioters hours after he was photographed raising a fist toward Trump supporters, in a move Rep. Luria said "riled up" the mob.
Rep. Carolyn Maloney, D-N.Y., posted both the photo of Hawley's fist bump and a video screenshot of him fleeing with the simple caption "Sowing. Reaping."
Throughout the evening, the committee showed disturbing footage of lawmakers in the gallery who were present on Jan 6. putting on gas masks or finding cover, including Rep. Pramila Jayapal, D-Wa.
"These hearings are incredibly difficult to watch, to relive that horrifying day when I didn’t know if I’d make it out of the Capitol alive," Jayapal tweeted. But we all must bear witness to protect our democracy from the Big Lie."
Jayapal was present at tonight's hearing and was visibly emotional when the committee showed the footage.
Trump violated his oath of office, 'No ambiguity. No nuance,' Cheney concludes
Trump made a purposeful choice to violate his oath of office, Cheney said in her closing remarks, "There was no ambiguity. No nuance."
"You saw an American president faced with a stark, unmistakable choice between right and wrong," she said. "To ignore ongoing violence against law enforcement. To threaten our constitutional order. There is no way to excuse that behavior. It was indefensible."
She urged Americans to ask themselves if Trump could ever be trusted with "any position of authority" again after the evidence that was presented during this series of eight hearings.
"In this room, in 1918, the Committee on Women’s Suffrage convened to discuss and debate whether women should be granted the right to vote. This room is full of history, and we know we have a solemn obligation not to idly squander what so many Americans have fought and died for," she continued.
"This committee understands the gravity of this moment and the consequences for our nation. We have much work yet to do, and will see you all again in September."
'I don’t want to say the election is over,' Trump said in new Jan. 7 footage
The committee played additional, never-before-seen footage of Trump struggling to refine a taped message to the country a day after the riot. The outtakes show the then-president having a hard time with using the word "yesterday" and refusing to say that the "election is over."
"To those who broke the law, you will pay. You do not represent our movement, you do not represent our country, and if you broke the law ..." Trump said, pausing. "I can't say that — I'm not — I already said, 'You will pay.'"
"But this election is now over. Congress has certified the results," Trump continued later in the video, before interrupting himself again. "I don’t want to say the election is over. I just want to say Congress has certified the results without saying the election is over, OK?”
The footage also showed Trump stumbling over some parts of the script. “The demonstrators who infiltrated the Capitol have defied the seat of desk — it’s defiled, right? See, I can’t see it very well. I’ll do this. I’m going to do this. Let’s go.”
At another point he began, “I like to begin by addressing the heinous attack yesterday — yesterday is a hard word for me.”
The case against Trump was made by 'his own friends' not political enemies, Cheney says
In closing remarks, Cheney thanked Matthews and Pottinger for their testimony, saying they would be remembered for their "bravery and honor."
Cheney also acknowledged Cassidy Hutchinson, who has faced an onslaught of criticism and scrutiny over damning testimony that detailed a physical altercation between Trump and his security detail after leaving the Ellipse.
"She sat here alone, took the oath and testified before millions of Americans," Cheney said of Hutchinson. "She knew all along she would be attacked by President Trump and by the 50-, 60- and 70-year-old men who hide themselves behind executive privilege."
She added that the committee's case against Trump was "not made by witnesses who were his political enemies," but by people in his own party, citing the many Republicans who have come forward to testify.
"It is instead a series of confessions by Donald Trump’s own appointees, his own friends, his own campaign officials, people who worked for him for years, and his own family," Cheney said. "They have come forward and they have told the American people the truth."
Capitol police officer stunned at Herschmann's statement Trump advisers were 'pretty drained'
As rioters were still at the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6 and police scrambled to defend it, Herschmann said of the day that fellow Trump aides and advisers "were pretty drained."
"I’d have to go back and look, but I believe law enforcement was either there or moving in, or going to take charge. I don’t think there was anything else to do," Herschmann said in video testimony that the committee showed.
But video footage showed the insurrection was far from over. And Sgt. Aquilino Gonell, a U.S. Capitol police officer who defended the Lower West Terrace, tweeted an exasperated message following Herschmann's statements.
"They were emotional[ly] drained from watching us fighting. Are you serious?" he wrote. When Gonell testified before the committee, he compared the Capitol that day to a medieval battleground.
Navy vet. Luria says Jan. 6 was personal: 'I never imagined the enemy would come from within'
Luria said in her closing statement that the insurrection on Jan. 6 was personal to her because she first "swore an oath to support and defend the Constitution against all enemies, foreign and domestic" when she entered the U.S. Naval Academy at age 17.
"I spent two decades serving on ships at sea, defending our nation from known and identifiable foreign enemies who sought to do us harm," she said.
"I never imagined that that enemy would come from within," Luria continued. "I was not as prescient as Abraham Lincoln, who 23 years before the Civil War said, 'If destruction be our lot, we must ourselves be its author and finisher.'"
Kinzinger calls Trump’s conduct on Jan. 6 a 'supreme violation of his oath of office'
In his closing statement, Kinzinger said Trump's conduct on Jan. 6 was a "supreme violation of his oath of office."
Trump sent tweets that "inflamed" and "expressed support for the desire of some to literally kill Vice President Mike Pence," Kinzinger said.
"For three hours he refused to call off the attack," Kinzinger continued, adding that Trump refused to take the advice of his family, friends, staff and advisers to call off the mob.
Kinzinger said that "it was only once" Pence and lawmakers were in secure locations and officers "began to turn the tide" that Trump "engaged in the political theater of telling the mob to go home. And even then, he said they were 'special' and that he 'loved' them."
"Whatever your politics, whatever you think about the outcome of the election, we as Americans must all agree on this: Donald Trump’s conduct on January 6th was a supreme violation of his oath of office and a complete dereliction of his duty to our nation," he said. "It is a stain on our history. It is a dishonor to all those who have sacrificed and died in service of our democracy."
Trump silent on police death because it would 'implicitly' fault the mob, campaign staff said
The panel displayed portions of text messages between Trump campaign official Tim Murtaugh and one of his deputies, Matthew Wolking, which appeared to show the pair criticizing Trump's failure to acknowledge a Capitol Police officer's death following the riot.
"Everything he said about supporting law enforcement was a lie," Wolking wrote, according to the text displayed.
Murtaugh, who also criticized the inaction, further suggested that by Trump acknowledging a cop's death, he would be "implicitly faulting the mob."
"[H]e won’t do that, because they’re his people. And he would also be close to acknowledging that what he lit at the rally got out of control," the text attributed to Murtaugh said. "No way he acknowledges something that could ultimately be called his fault. No way."
Pottinger says Jan. 6 'emboldened' American enemies
Matt Pottinger said in live testimony that the events of Jan. 6 harmed U.S. national security because it "emboldened" the country's enemies.
"It, I think, emboldened our enemies by helping give them ammunition to feed a narrative that our system of government doesn’t work — that the United States is in decline," he said during the hearing.
Pottinger said China, Russia and Iran are fond of pushing those narratives.
"The other part, I think, is simply our allies. I heard from a lot of friends in Europe, in Asia, allies, close friends and supporters of the United States that they were concerned about the health of our democracy," he continued. "And so I think it’s incumbent upon us to put their minds at ease, to put our own hearts at ease by investigating what happened on the 6th, and making sure that it never happens again."
Cipollone and others feared resigning would make things worse
As some Trump administration staffers resigned in the wake of Jan. 6, others were worried that leaving the president to his own devices would put the country at further risk, Kinzinger said.
The committee aired interviews with some of those people.
Cipollone said he considered resigning but had concerns that his replacement "might be somebody who had been giving bad advice."
Eugene Scalia, who was secretary of labor, said, "I thought that trying to work within the administration to steady the ship was likely to have greater value than simply resigning," adding that he would have been "powerless" to effect change within the administration if he resigned.
On the morning of Jan. 7, Scalia said he sought a meeting of the Cabinet, putting the request in a memo to Trump.
"I believe it is important to know that while president, you will no longer publicly question the election results," Scalia wrote in the memo, which was displayed by the committee.
Jason Miller said he disagreed with Trump on orderly transition statement
Jason Miller, a Trump campaign adviser, told the committee that after the joint session had resumed on Jan. 6, he heard nothing from Trump or the White House about assuring the country there would be a peaceful transfer of power.
Miller then decided to draft a statement and called the president at 9:23 p.m. to persuade him to release it.
Asked if Trump disagreed with what he wrote in the statement, Miller told the committee in video testimony aired during the hearing, "I’d say just that he wanted to say 'peaceful transition,' and I said, 'That ship’s kind of already sailed, so we’re going to say 'orderly transition.'"
"That was about the extent of disagreement or pushback from the conversation," he said.
Trump ended Jan. 6 by telling White House employee, 'Pence let me down'
At 6:27 p.m., just minutes after lauding the mob as "great patriots" on Twitter, Trump departed the White House dining room to go up to the residence for the night, Kinzinger said, as the panel displayed a photograph of Trump from that evening.
"As he was gathering his things in the dining room to leave, President Trump reflected on the day’s events with a White House employee," Kinzinger said.
According to Kinzinger, the employee had met Trump earlier in the day in the Oval Office after he returned from his speech at the Ellipse. During the evening encounter, Trump did not mention the riot, but instead the employee said the then-president said, “Mike Pence let me down.”
Matthews 'disturbed' by Trump's final video statement, called president's behavior 'indefensible'
Matthews said in live testimony that Trump's refusal to act and call off the mob on Jan. 6 was "indefensible" and she decided to resign that evening.
Matthews said she was "shocked" to see that Trump began his video statement at 4:17 p.m. "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," she said. "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."
"As a spokesperson for him, I knew that I would be asked to defend that and 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 be resigning that evening."
Kinzinger said Trump 'showed absolutely no remorse' in final Jan. 6 tweet
Kinzinger said that while everyone was working to get Congress back into session on the evening of Jan. 6, Trump "justified the violence" in his last tweet of the day.
"After officers engaged in multiple hours of hand-to-hand combat, with over a hundred of them sustaining injuries, President Trump tweeted at 6:01 and justified the violence as a natural response to the election," Kinzinger said.
A minute after the citywide curfew took effect, Trump tweeted: "These are the things and events that happen when a sacred landslide election victory is so unceremoniously & viciously stripped away from great patriots who have been badly & unfairly treated for so long. Go home with love & in peace. Remember this day forever!"
Kinzinger said that Trump "called the mob 'great patriots.' He told people to remember the day forever. He showed absolutely no remorse."
Herschmann says everyone at White House was 'drained'
After Trump recorded the video telling his supporters to leave the Capitol, White House lawyer Eric Herschmann said the White House basically closed up shop.
"When he finished his video, I think everyone was, like, day’s over. People were pretty drained," Herschmann said.
Asked to repeat how people were feeling by that point, Herschmann said, "Drained."
"There were people in the Capitol, but I believe by this stage, you know, law enforcement — I’d have to go back and look, but I believe law enforcement was either there or moving in, or going to take charge," he said. "I don’t think there was anything else to do. I’d just say people were emotionally drained by the time that videotape was done."
Committee plays new video of Schumer and McConnell calling DOD for help
With Trump refusing to do more, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., and Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., called acting Secretary of Defense Chris Miller for help, Luria said.
In video of their 4:45 p.m. call on Jan. 6, aired for the first time by the committee, McConnell told Miller: "We're not gonna let these people keep us from finishing our business. So, we need you to get the building cleared, give us the OK, so we can go back in session and finish up the people's business as soon as possible."
Schumer asked Miller when lawmakers could "safely resume" proceedings in the House and Senate chambers.
"I’d prefer to be on the ground, which I personally would prefer to be right now," Miller replied. "I would say, best case, we’re looking at four to five hours."
In recorded video, Trump ignored script telling rioters to leave Capitol
Trump's staff had prepared a script for him to record a video message in the Rose Garden calling on his supporters to immediately leave the Capitol, but "he refused to use it," Luria said.
An excerpt of the prepared remarks presented at the hearing and stamped "President Has Seen" said: “I am asking you to leave the Capitol Hill region NOW and go home in a peaceful way.”
The committee then played footage of Trump's speech in the Rose Garden, in which he omitted the line.
When asked if Trump had used any of the written remarks, Nick Luna, who served as Trump's personal aide and was present for the taping, said that to his knowledge, the president was "off the cuff."
Matthews says another Trump aide said condemning the violence would be 'handing a win to the media'
Sarah Matthews said in live testimony that a conversation unfolded in the White House press office on Jan. 6 about Trump's latest two tweets being insufficient.
"A colleague suggested that the president shouldn’t condemn the violence because they thought it would be 'handing a win to the media,'" Matthews said during the hearing.
"I disagreed. I thought that we should condemn the violence and condemn it unequivocally. And I thought that he needed to include a call to action and to tell these people to go home, and a debate ensued over it," she said.
Matthews said she became "visibly frustrated" and her colleagues were aware.
"I couldn’t believe that we’re arguing over this and in the middle of the West Wing," she said, about concerns over the politics of a tweet. "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.'"
Luria: Trump wouldn't tell rioters to leave until it was clear they 'would not succeed'
Luria said Trump "finally relented" and tweeted a video at 4:17 p.m. telling the rioters to go home "while also telling them they were special and 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," Luria said. "The writing was already on the wall: The rioters would not succeed."
The committee then aired a Fox News clip from that day, a channel Trump was "watching all afternoon," Luria said. In the clip, the anchors noted how dangerous the situation was at the Capitol and that Trump hadn't said anything to call off the mob.
"It is no coincidence, then, that President Trump finally gave in and went out to the Rose Garden at 4:03. His staff had prepared a script for him to read. He refused to use it," she said.
McCarthy called Trump, then went to Ivanka and Jared for help, Kinzinger says
House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., was one of the many people in Trump's orbit who pushed him to tell rioters to leave the Capitol on Jan. 6, Kinzinger said.
Kinzinger said McCarthy reached Trump by phone and urged him to call off the mob of his supporters, and when Trump refused, McCarthy then reached out to his daughter and son-in-law, Ivanka Trump and Jared Kushner.
Several witnesses, including Marc Short, who was Pence's chief of staff, and Rep. Jaime Herrera Beutler, R-Wash., testified that McCarthy confirmed the conversation with Trump on Jan. 6.
Kushner recalled McCarthy had asked him for help during their call. "He told me it was getting really ugly over at the Capitol," Kushner told the committee in an interview.
"Think about that. Leader McCarthy, who was 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," Kinzinger said.
Matthews said Trump resisted calling for peace until Ivanka Trump convinced him
Sarah Matthews said in live testimony that after Trump attacked Pence in a tweet on Jan. 6, she immediately went to go speak to then-press secretary Kayleigh McEnany and told her Trump needed to post a tweet condemning the violence.
Matthews said McEnany agreed and went to the dining room to find Trump. When McEnany returned, she told Matthews that a tweet had been sent out.
"I thought the tweet did not go far enough," she said. "I thought there needed to be a call to action and he needed to condemn the violence."
Matthews said McEnany looked at her and said in a "hushed tone" that Trump didn't "want to include any sort of mention of peace in that tweet."
Matthews said she was told there was a "back and forth" in which people were "going over different phrases to find something that he was comfortable with."
"It wasn’t until Ivanka Trump suggested the phrase 'stay peaceful,' that he finally agreed to include it," she said.
House GOP deletes tweets during Jan. 6 hearing
The official Twitter account of the House Republican caucus deleted several tweets during the Jan. 6 hearing Thursday evening.
One deleted tweet attacked the credibility of witness Sarah Matthews, a former House GOP staffer herself. The tweet drew swift criticism from Republicans with whom Matthews had worked.
The second deleted tweet appears to have been a typo: "This is all heresy," it read before it was removed.
Oath Keepers' response to Trump tweet: 'He didn't say not to do anything to the Congressmen'
The committee played audio of members of the Oath Keepers live-reacting to Trump's infamous 2:38 p.m. tweet on Jan. 6 that urged rioters not to harm Capitol Police and to "stay peaceful."
After one of the Oath Keepers read Trump's tweet to the group, another replied, "That's saying a lot by what he didn't say, he didn't say not to do anything to the Congressmen."
Plenty of laughter could be heard following the comment.
The Oath Keepers spoke through Zello — an app that simulates push-to-talk walkie-talkies over cellphone networks. Among the people on the chat was Jessica Watkins, one of several Oath Keepers members who have been charged with seditious conspiracy.
When one Oath Keeper on the chat told the group that all members of Congress had been evacuated, Watkins said there was "no safe place in the United States" for the legislators.
As another Oath Keeper who had breached the building said they were in the Capitol Dome and described the scene, "They're throwing grenades, they're freaking shooting people with paintballs," Watkins told everyone inside to be careful but to "keep going."
Yet another user, who said they were watching CNN, called the scene "radical."
"[Trump] is not leaving office," another man said. "I don't give a s--- what they say."
Cipollone said White House staff wanted rioters to go home, suggested Trump did not
The committee played video testimony of Trump White House counsel Pat Cipollone saying staff wanted rioters to leave the Capitol and go home and implied Trump didn't want them to.
"I can’t think of anybody on that day who didn’t want people to get out of the Capitol once the, particularly once the violence started," Cipollone said.
Asked about Trump, Cipollone said he couldn't reveal communications, while adding, "But obviously I think, you know — yeah."
"Let’s pause on that last statement," Kinzinger said at the hearing. "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."
The committee returns
The committee returned from its recess at 9:25 p.m.
Matthews says Trump's tweet criticizing Pence gave Capitol mob a 'green light'
Former Trump national security aide Matt Pottinger explained in live testimony that he decided to resign after seeing a tweet from Trump on Jan. 6 at 2:24 p.m. in which the then-president called his vice president, Mike Pence, a coward and blamed him for not stopping the certification.
"I read it and was quite disturbed by it," Pottinger said during the hearing. "I was disturbed and worried to see the president attacking Vice President Pence for doing his constitutional duty. So the tweet looked to me like the opposite of what we really needed that moment, which was a de-escalation."
"That’s why I said earlier that it looked like fuel being poured on the fire," he said. "That would be my last day at the White House. I simply didn’t want to be associated with the events that were unfolding on the Capitol."
Former press aide Sarah Matthews said in live testimony during the hearing that the tweet was "the last thing that was needed in that moment."
"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," she said, adding that she thought the tweet would be viewed by rioters as Trump saying that what they were doing at the Capitol was appropriate. "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’re seeing."
"I’ve seen the impact that his words have on his supporters," Matthews said. "They truly latch on to every word and every tweet that he says. And so I think in that moment for him to tweet out that message about Mike Pence was pouring gasoline in the fire and making it much worse."
Committee takes a break
The committee took a 10-minute break around 9:11 p.m.
Cipollone, Kellogg and Kushner say Trump had duty to ensure peaceful transfer of power
When asked during a committee interview if he believed Trump had "an obligation" to ensure a peaceful transfer of power, his son-in-law and senior adviser Jared Kushner responded: "Yes."
Cipollone and Kellogg also responded affirmatively when asked a similar question during interviews with the committee.
Cheney asked Cipollone during an interview if Trump held a responsibility to ensure that laws are "faithfully executed," to which Cipollone responded: "That is one of the president’s obligations, correct."
Kellogg separately told the committee that Trump had a "constitutional duty." "He’s the commander in chief," Kellogg said. "That was my biggest issue with him as a national security adviser."
Committee shows footage of Josh Hawley fleeing after he 'riled up' protesters
The Jan. 6 committee played footage of Sen. Josh Hawley, R-Mo., fleeing from rioters after he saluted protesters outside the Capitol on Jan. 6.
The committee revealed at the hearing that a Capitol Police officer told them that Hawley's decision to fist pump toward the protesters had "riled up" the crowd, making officers' jobs more difficult. The barriers on the east side of the Capitol, where Hawley gave his salute, were soon breached.
Many of the members of the crowd who were present when Hawley saluted them joined the mob after the barricades were breached.
The video of Hawley running away elicited a burst of laughter in the hearing room.
Pence evacuated a second time after Trump tweet blaming him, Luria says
Pence was evacuated to safety a second time after Trump blamed him publicly, putting a target on his own vice president's back, Luria said.
"Mike Pence didn’t have the courage to do what should have been done to protect our Country and our Constitution," Trump tweeted at 2:24 p.m.
Two minutes later, security officials moved to evacuate Pence, and during that process, he came within 40 feet of rioters, who quickly escalated their attack following Trump's social media post, Luria continued.
Trump, meanwhile, returned to his efforts to delay the certification of Joe Biden's election win by calling Republican senators, Luria said, including Tommy Tuberville of Alabama, who later recalled that he had to end that call to evacuate the Senate chamber.
Committee shows chat from NSC staffers, plays video about Secret Service agents fearing for their lives
Luria showed a chat among National Security Council staff as the insurrection unfolded on Jan. 6 and played a video clip from an anonymous national security professional who said Secret Service agents feared for their lives that day.
"At 2:13, the staff learned that rioters were kicking in 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," Luria said, describing the chat. "At 2:24, the staff noted that the Secret Service agents at the Capitol did not 'sound good right now.'"
The committee then played testimony from a White House security staffer who recently answered questions about that day. The clip was modified, Luria said, to protect the person's identity.
Asked what "service at the Capitol does not sound good right now" meant, the security official told the committee that members of Pence's Secret Service detail "were starting to fear for their own lives."
"There was a lot of yelling, a lot of — I don’t know — a lot of very personal calls over the radio," the person said. "So, it was disturbing. I don’t like talking about it, but there were calls to say goodbye to family members and so forth. It was getting, for whatever the reason was on the ground, the V.P. detail thought that this was about to get very ugly."
The security official said it was "chaos." When asked to elaborate about what prompted the person to write in the chat "service at the Capitol," the person said they were referring to the Secret Service "running out of options" and were "getting nervous."
The person then said it sounded like Secret Service agents "came very close to either Service having to use lethal options or worse."
"At that point, I don’t know. Is the V.P. compromised? Is the detail — like, I don’t know. Like, we didn’t have visibility, but it doesn’t — if they’re screaming and saying things, like, say goodbye to the family, like the floor needs to know this is going to a whole another level soon," the person said at the end of the video clip.
Pence was stuck for 13 minutes as Secret Service tried to find clear path out
The vice president was stuck in his office for 13 minutes as Secret Service agents tried to find a safe route to get him to a secure location, Luria said.
"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," Luria said.
She also played dramatic radio footage from the agents, who said rioters were just feet away and they were concerned about becoming trapped.
"If we lose any more time, we may lose the ability to leave," one of the agents said.
"There are six officers between us and the people that are 5 to 10 feet away from me," another said.
Kellogg worried Trump delivering speech during riot would make matters worse, Kinzinger says
Keith Kellogg, who served as Pence’s national security adviser, told the committee that some staff were concerned that Trump speaking live amid the riot would make matters worse, Kinzinger said.
Kinzinger recounted that Kellogg said he advised against Trump holding a live news conference at the time because he said he hadn't witnessed a "single clean press conference" during his four years with the Trump administration.
"Trump’s advisers knew his state of mind at that moment, and they were worried what he would say in unscripted comments," Kinzinger added.
House GOP leadership attacks Sarah Matthews during testimony
The official Twitter account of the House Republican caucus attacked the credibility of Sarah Matthews, a former Trump White House press aide who resigned shortly after the Jan. 6 attack, as she testified Thursday.
"Just another liar and pawn in Pelosi’s witch-hunt," said the account, which is overseen by the office of Rep. Elise Stefanik, R-N.Y., the GOP caucus chair.
The tweet linked to a post from Matthews thanking Trump on the day he left office, on Jan. 20, 2021. On Thursday, Matthews opened her testimony by establishing her GOP bona fides, calling herself a "lifelong Republican" and one of the first communications staffers on Trump's re-election campaign, before she joined the White House. She is also a former House Republican staffer herself.
Alyssa Farah, a former Trump White House aide who worked with Matthews, responded in her own tweet: "Hey geniuses, you realize this gives @SarahAMatthews1 more credibility? She’s there because she wanted to serve Trump. She believed in him like millions Americans. On 1/6 he let her & our entire country down."
The House Republican caucus later deleted the tweet attacking Matthews.
Cipollone said he spoke to Mark Meadows on Jan. 6 'forcefully' about getting Trump to call off riot
The committee played video during the hearing of testimony provided by Cipollone in which he explained how he pushed for the president to call off the mob on Jan. 6.
As the attack on the Capitol was underway, Cipollone said he "was pretty clear there needed to be an immediate and forceful response, statement, public statement, that people need to leave the Capitol now."
"Many people felt the same way," he said, including White House chief of staff Mark Meadows. "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."
Cipollone said that up until 4:17 p.m. that day, he and others — Ivanka Trump, Eric Herschmann and Meadows — were pushing Trump to issue a "stronger statement" after the tweets he posted.
Witness: W.H. adviser said president 'didn't want anything done'
A former White House employee with national security responsibilities told the committee that the Pentagon was unable to get ahold of the president about the riot on Jan. 6.
The witness recounted a conversation between senior adviser Eric Herschmann and Cipollone "about a pending call from the Pentagon seeking to coordinate on the response to the attack," Luria said.
"Mr. Herschmann turned to Mr. Cipollone and said 'the president didn’t want anything done.' Mr. Cipollone had to take the call himself," Luria said.
Trump never made phone calls to law enforcement, former W.H. officials say
Trump never made an effort to call upon the U.S. Secretary of Defense, National Guard or even law enforcement for aid in quelling the insurrection, former White House counsel Pat Cipollone said in a taped interview with the committee played Thursday.
Keith Kellogg, who served as Pence’s national security adviser, was also asked if he heard Trump asking for law enforcement response. He said no, adding later that he would have been made aware of any call for troops.
The committee also showed footage from an interview with former Trump assistant Nick Luna. He too said he was "unaware of any" requests for support from the National Guard, Department of Defense, Homeland Security or the FBI.
Instead, Luria said, Trump called a number of senators.
White House call logs, diary contain no info during 'critical period' on Jan. 6
Luria said that Trump was in the White House dining room on Jan. 6 with the TV on for 2 1/2 hours, but "there is no official record of what President Trump did while in the dining room."
Luria then showed a presidential call log from Jan. 6 on screen during the hearing.
"As you can see, there is no official record of President Trump receiving or placing a call between 11:06 a.m. and 6:54 p.m.," she said, adding that the presidential daily diary also contained no information.
"As to what the president was doing that afternoon, the Presidential Daily Diary is also silent — it contains no information for the period between 1:21 p.m. and 4:03 p.m.," she said.
Luria said there are no photos of Trump during this "critical period" between 1:21 p.m. in the Oval Office and when he went outside to the Rose Garden after 4 p.m.
"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, 'no photographs,'" Luria said.
Luria: As rioters ransacked Capitol, Trump watched Fox News
After returning from the rally, Trump went to the private dining room of the Oval Office, where he stayed from 1:25 p.m. until after 4 p.m. ET watching Fox News, Luria said.
"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," Luria said. "We know from the employee that the TV was tuned to Fox News all afternoon."
She said that Trump learned that the Capitol was under attack within 15 minutes of leaving his rally at the Ellipse.
"Other witnesses confirmed that President Trump was in the dining room with the TV on for those more than 2 1/2 hours," Luria added. "There is no official record of what President Trump did while in the dining room."
Luria says 'certain Secret Service witnesses' have retained new private counsel
Luria said that the committee has learned that "certain Secret Service witnesses" from Jan. 6 have "retained new private counsel."
"We anticipate further testimony under oath and other new information in the coming weeks," Luria said about the Secret Service, though she didn't elaborate or say who might testify.
NBC News reported earlier Thursday that the Department of Homeland Security’s inspector general has launched a criminal investigation into the situation.
'New testimony' confirms White House knew 'multiple reports' of weapons on Jan. 6, Luria says
Luria said that, since the committee's last hearing, the panel received "new testimony from a security professional working in the White House complex" on Jan. 6.
The person had "access to relevant information and a responsibility to report to national security officials," Luria said.
"This security official told us that the White House was aware of multiple reports of weapons in the crowd that morning," she said, referring to the rally Trump held at the Ellipse prior to the riot on Jan. 6.
Luria said that before Trump got on stage, the president knew that "some of them were armed and prepared for combat."
Witnesses corroborate 'heated exchange' between Trump and Secret Service
Additional witnesses have testified about a "heated exchange" between Trump and his Secret Service detail after agents refused to take him to the Capitol, Luria said.
"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 not to let him go. That led to a heated argument with his detail that delayed the departure of the motorcade to the White House," Luria said.
She added that the panel has "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."
At a hearing in June, former Mark Meadows aide Cassidy Hutchinson testified that she'd been told that Trump was so furious about the agents' refusal to go to the Capitol that he tried to grab the steering wheel himself and lunged at an agent.
Two Trump White House aides testifying live Thursday
Thursday night’s hearing — which focuses on the three-hour gap between when the Jan. 6 riot began and when Trump urged his supporters to leave the Capitol — is featuring live testimony from a pair of Trump White House aides, Sarah Matthews and Matthew Pottinger, who have already testified behind closed doors.
Both Matthews, a former deputy White House press secretary, and Pottinger, a member of the National Security Council during the Trump administration, resigned over Trump’s actions Jan. 6. Pottinger said in testimony previously aired by the committee that his decision was driven by Trump’s 2:24 p.m. tweet that day. In it, Trump wrote that his vice president lacked courage as a mob in the Capitol searched for him and chanted “Hang Mike Pence!”
Committee members on Thursday will also build on details laid out in previous hearings. They will demonstrate, committee aides said, that Trump not only wanted to join his supporters at the Capitol after his speech Jan. 6, but he continued expressing a desire to go there even after his security team told him it wasn’t safe and took him back to the White House.
Kinzinger: Trump 'chose not to act'
Rep. Luria: 'Nearly everyone' advised Trump to call off the riot
Rep. Elaine Luria, D-Va., said in her opening statement that "nearly everyone" in Trump's orbit tried to advise him to direct his supporters to leave the Capitol grounds on Jan. 6 and to "disperse and halt the violence."
"Virtually everyone told President Trump to condemn the violence in clear and unmistakable terms," she said. "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 these 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."
Thompson: Trump to blame for Jan. 6 and must face 'stiff consequences'
Thompson said in his opening statement that "there can be no doubt that there was a coordinated, multi-step effort to overturn an election overseen and directed by Donald Trump," and that the former president must be held accountable.
"There can be no doubt that he commanded a mob — a mob he knew was heavy-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," Thompson said.
He called for "accountability at every level: from the local precincts in many states where Donald Trump and his allies attacked election workers for doing their jobs, all the way up to the Oval Office where Donald Trump embraced the illegal advice of insurrectionists."
In a plea that seemed directed at the Justice Department, Thompson said: "Our democracy withstood the attack of January 6th. If there is no accountability for January 6th — for every part of this scheme — I fear that we will not overcome the ongoing threat to our democracy. There must be stiff consequences for those responsible."
Thompson: For 187 mins, Trump 'could not be moved' to stop rioters
Chairman Bennie Thompson, D-Miss., said in his opening statement that for 187 minutes on Jan. 6, Trump could not be persuaded to direct the rioters at the Capitol to stop the insurrection. Thompson delivered his remarks virtually due to his recent Covid diagnosis.
"For 187 minutes on January 6th, 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 desperate pleas of those facing down the riot," he said. "And more tellingly, Donald Trump ignored and disregarded the desperate pleas of his own family, including Ivanka and Don Jr."
Thompson said Trump 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," Thompson said. "He could not be moved."
Jan. 6 committee will hold more hearings in September
The Jan. 6 committee will hold more hearings about its investigation in September, three sources familiar told NBC News.
Cheney is expected to announce the second wave of hearings Thursday night. Thompson has said that the hearings will come in at least two phases.
Top takeaways from the previous Jan. 6 committee hearing
In case you missed it, here is what happened at the most recent Jan. 6 committee hearing, on July 12.
The hearing featured a new star witness in Pat Cipollone, the former White House counsel, who was the latest Trump administration official to rebut the former president's false claim of a stolen election.
Cipollone, who had sat for an eight-hour videotaped deposition behind closed doors, said in a clip aired during the hearing that he believed there was no widespread fraud sufficient to overturn Biden’s victory. What’s more, Cipollone said that in private conversations, then-White House chief of staff Mark Meadows said Trump would eventually depart the White House gracefully.
One surprise witness — an anonymous ex-Twitter employee — testified that if Trump were anyone else, he would have been banned from the platform much earlier. Twitter suspended Trump two days after the Capitol attack.
At the end of the hearing, Rep. Liz Cheney said Trump recently tried to contact a witness in the committee's investigation and that the panel had notified the Justice Department. She warned that Trump allies could be engaging in witness tampering and intimidation.
Committee is likely to show drafts or outtakes of the video Trump tweeted on Jan. 6
The Jan. 6 committee is likely to show drafts or outtakes of the video Trump ultimately tweeted on the day of the insurrection, multiple sources told NBC News.
Sources said that part of the presentation may be somewhat amusing because it shows Trump in "Apprentice-mode," with hands gesticulating or directing the camera.
Video shows Jan. 6 rioters watching clip of Trump during attack
Video recently introduced as government evidence in connection with the sentencing of a Jan. 6 defendant shows the extent to which those who stormed the Capitol were paying attention to Trump on the day of the riot.
The video, filmed by defendant Pam Hemphill, appears to show "QAnon Shaman" Jacob Chansley and another man trying to get the attention of the mob on the east side of the Capitol. They can be seen playing the recording in which Trump refers to rioters as "very special."
"This is our president!" someone says in the video. "Listen!" says another.
One woman says the video "looks prerecorded" and asks when Trump recorded it.
Former White House counsel Cipollone to play prominent role in Thursday's hearing
Multiple sources tell NBC News to expect to see more from former White House counsel Pat Cipollone at Thursday's hearing.
The panel interviewed Cipollone for more than seven hours earlier this month after he was subpoenaed in the wake of bombshell testimony by Cassidy Hutchinson, a former top aide to then-White House chief of staff Mark Meadows. Hutchinson detailed Cipollone’s efforts to rein in Trump on Jan. 6 and the days preceding it.
Rep. Elaine Luria, D-Va., said Cipollone was hesitant about describing any of his conversations with Trump but “really doesn’t hesitate to say what his opinion was of things that happened.”
Sources said to expect to hear how Cipollone joined the chorus of voices telling Meadows that more needed to be done to combat the violence at the Capitol while Trump was watching coverage of the riot on television.
Former D.C. police officer Fanone gives victim impact statement at Jan. 6 defendant's sentencing hearing
Former Metropolitan Police Department Officer Mike Fanone, who will attend Thursday night's hearing, spoke at a sentencing hearing earlier in the day for Jan. 6 defendant Lucas Denney, founder of the Patriot Boys of North Texas.
In prepared remarks, Fanone described MPD officers being subjected to any projectile that could be used “as a weapon to inflict injury on the police” who were trying to keep rioters at bay to ensure the safety of Pence and members of Congress.
“During this onslaught at the door, I was dragged from the front of the police line, pulled into the crowd, and violently beaten and electrocuted with a stun gun,” Fanone said in his victim impact statement. “The attackers attempted to remove my pistol from my utility belt; however, they were unsuccessful. I was eventually dragged back to the police line by demonstrators who intervened on my behalf. It is likely that without the intervention of those demonstrators, I would have lost my life.”
Fanone was one of three victims — two officers and one photographer — who spoke to Judge Randolph Moss about Denney's case. Denney wasn't sentenced Thursday, but Moss assured the victims who spoke that he would remember their words at sentencing and for “my remaining days on this Earth.”
Melania Trump says she was 'unaware' of Capitol attack on Jan. 6
Ahead of Thursday night's hearing on her husband's activities on Jan. 6, 2021, Melania Trump told Fox News Digital she was "fulfilling one of my duties as First Lady" that day "and accordingly, I was unaware of what was simultaneously transpiring at the U.S. Capitol Building."
The former first lady said she was busy on Jan. 6 working with photographers and archivists to record "the contents of the White House’s historic rooms, including taking archival photographs of all the renovations."
She also addressed a text message her former chief of staff Stephanie Grisham released from the date, in which Grisham asked if she wanted to tweet a statement condemning "lawlessness & violence." According to Grisham's screenshot, Trump replied simply, "No."
“Had I been fully informed of all the details, naturally, I would have immediately denounced the violence that occurred at the Capitol Building,” Trump told Fox. “I always condemn violence.”
She also blasted Grisham, who resigned on the day of the riot. “It is evident that Grisham’s recent betrayals are a last-ditch attempt to resuscitate her ruined career and reputation,” Trump said.
Asked for comment, Grisham said, "Everything she said is bullshit and she knows it."
Ex-Trump aide Garrett Ziegler goes on derogatory tirade after Jan. 6 deposition
Garrett Ziegler, a former Trump White House aide, went off on the Jan. 6 committee in an audio clip he uploaded to the social media platform Telegram on Tuesday, after going into a deposition with the committee.
In the audio clip, circulated Wednesday by the Republican Accountability Project, Ziegler called the panel's investigation “a Bolshevistic anti-white campaign.”
"If you can’t see that, your eyes are freaking closed," Ziegler said. "So they see me as a young Christian who they can try to basically scare, right. ... I'm the least racist person that many of you have ever met, by the way, I've no bigotry. I just try to see the world for where it is. I have no sort of army to hit back at them, right, because I'm the young guy in the room and they're not even going after any other young people."
Ziegler indicated that his closed-door testimony before the committee, which lasted under an hour, "was just a lot of saying that I invoke my right to silence under executive privilege in the Fifth Amendment."
He also used derogatory and sexist words to describe former Trump White House aide Cassidy Hutchinson, who testified publicly before the committee, and former Trump White House communications director Alyssa Farah Griffin.
Meadows refuses to answer questions from NBC News about Jan. 6
Mark Meadows, Trump's chief of staff during the insurrection, refused to answer numerous questions from NBC News about Jan. 6 after being spotted leaving the Capitol Hill Club on Thursday morning.
But he did reply to one question, about Trump's possible re-election plans: “The president’s opinions obviously speak for themselves. And I’m not commenting on anything that relates to the president running or Jan. 6.”
Meadows has emerged during the hearings as a central figure in the White House activities surrounding Jan. 6.
Wisconsin Assembly speaker says Trump called him to overturn 2020 results — 20 months after the election
Wisconsin Assembly Speaker Robin Vos said former President Donald Trump called this month and pushed him to try to overturn the results of the 20-month-old 2020 presidential election.
“He would like us to do something different in Wisconsin,” Vos, a Republican, told Milwaukee’s WISN in an interview that aired Tuesday.
Vos said Trump reached out to him “last week,” after the Wisconsin Supreme Court issued a decision this month restricting the use of absentee ballot drop boxes in future elections. The ruling said a decision in 2020 by the Wisconsin Elections Commission expanding the use of drop boxes because of the pandemic was “unlawful,” and their use should be restricted to the offices of election clerks going forward.
After the ruling Trump — who has repeatedly claimed without evidence that the boxes contributed to widespread voter fraud — took to social media to urge Vos to take action.
Biggest revelations from the hearings so far
If you haven’t watched every minute of the hearings — and even if you have — here are the key revelations so far.
Several of Trump’s political advisers testified in clips played at committee hearings that they told him he had lost the election to Biden — but Trump dismissed the assertions in favor of his then-personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani and others' unfounded and false claims that the election had been riddled with fraud.
In addition, testimony and documents produced by the committee revealed a much broader campaign by Trump and two of his lawyers — Giuliani and John Eastman — to stop valid electoral votes from being counted on Jan. 6 and to pressure state officials to overturn the election results and appoint alternate electors.
What’s more, as Jan. 6 neared, Trump became increasingly resigned to the idea that Pence was the last man standing between Trump and more time in the Oval Office — even though Pence had been advised, and believed, that he had no legal authority to do anything other than count the actual electoral votes.
Trump planned to use the “Stop the Steal” rally on Jan. 6 to rally his supporters to march to the Capitol, where he would join them, Cassidy Hutchinson, an aide to then-chief of staff Mark Meadows, testified at one of the hearings. According to Hutchinson’s testimony, Trump was told during the rally that some of his supporters were declining to come through magnetometers — metal detectors — because they were armed.
“I don’t f---ing care that they have weapons,” Trump railed, according to Hutchinson’s testimony. “They’re not here to hurt me. Take the f---ing mags away.”
DHS has launched criminal probe into destruction of Jan. 6 Secret Service text messages, sources say
The Department of Homeland Security’s inspector general has launched a criminal investigation into the circumstances surrounding the destruction of Secret Service text messages that may have been relevant to inquiries about the Jan. 6 Capitol riot, two sources familiar with the matter told NBC News.
The results of the criminal investigation could be referred to federal prosecutors, the sources said, depending on the results.
The DHS inspector general informed the Secret Service on Wednesday evening that the investigation is now criminal and that it should halt all internal investigations on the missing text messages, according to a letter detailed to NBC News.
“To ensure the integrity of our investigation, the USSS must not engage in any further investigative activities regarding the collection and preservation of the evidence referenced above,” DHS Deputy Inspector General Gladys Ayala wrote in a letter to Secret Service Director James Murray on Wednesday evening. “This includes immediately refraining from interviewing potential witnesses, collecting devices or taking any other action that would interfere with an ongoing criminal investigation.”
Kinzinger tweets sneak peak of depositions ahead of hearing
Rep. Adam Kinzinger, who will help lead this evening’s hearing, posted a tweet Thursday morning featuring a mash-up of new clips from various witness depositions that indicate Trump spent the several-hour period on Jan. 6 while rioters stormed the Capitol in the White House dining room watching the violence unfold on television.
“To the best of my recollection, he was always in the dining room,” Kayleigh McEnany, a former White House press secretary, said in one clip featured in the montage.
In other clips, former White House counsel Pat Cipollone; Keith Kellogg, who served as former Vice President Mike Pence’s national security adviser; and others all say Trump was watching the riot on a TV in the dining room.
Luria says there's 'a lot more' work for committee to do
Rep. Elaine Luria said Thursday's prime-time hearing was far from the end of the Jan. 6 committee's investigation into last year's insurrection.
“We’ve done a lot,” Luria, D-Va., said in an exclusive interview with NBC News. “But there’s a lot more to do.”
Luria, who will lead Thursday's hearing with Rep. Adam Kinzinger, R-Ill., did not rule out the possibility of former Vice President Mike Pence eventually being called to testify.
"I would say that we’re still in full swing in the investigation portion of this work," she said.
How to watch Thursday's prime-time hearing
The eighth public hearing hosted by the House Jan. 6 committee kicks off Thursday night. Below are details on when and where to watch the proceedings.
When does the hearing start?
The hearing is scheduled to start at 8 p.m. ET. It's only the second hearing to be held by the committee in prime time.
Where to watch the hearing
NBC News and MSNBC will both have special coverage, and each will have a live blog.
The committee will hear testimony from Trump White House deputy press secretary Sarah Matthews and former national security official Matthew Pottinger. Both resigned in the aftermath of the Jan. 6 riot.
What to expect during the hearing
The committee has said it will map out a minute-by-minute timeline detailing what then-President Donald Trump was doing during a roughly three-hour period while a mob of his supporters stormed the Capitol.
Thursday hearing to focus on 187 minutes
One hundred and eighty-seven minutes.
It’s the more than three-hour period during which the Jan. 6 committee says then-President Donald Trump refused to call off a violent mob of his supporters who were attacking police, ransacking the Capitol and hunting down lawmakers and his own vice president.
Committee members will be talking a lot about those 187 minutes during Thursday’s prime-time hearing — the finale in a series of eight televised public hearings but hardly the last of the year.