What was Trump doing during the 187 minutes before he called off the Jan. 6 attack?
The House committee investigating Jan. 6 showed outtakes of Trump’s video messages as he wrestled with his wording after ignoring pleas to call off the attack
Former President Donald Trump’s video message asking rioters to go home after attacking the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021 wasn’t filmed in one take.
The House select committee investigating the attack aired outtakes of Trump’s video as well as his address on Jan. 7, showing the former president wrestling with his wording to his supporters who stormed the Capitol.
“To those who broke the law, you will pay,” Trump said in an outtake. “If you broke the law... I can’t say that, I already said ‘you will pay.’”
“I don’t want to say the election is over,” he said.
The committee’s Thursday primetime hearing focused on the 187 minutes between Trump leaving his rally on the Ellipse and his video message finally asking the rioters at the Capitol to go home.
There was no official record of what Trump did between 1:10 p.m. to 4:17 p.m. and no White House call logs or official White House photos, but the committee found Trump spent the time watching Fox News from the dining room next to the Oval Office and refusing to call off the attack, even as family members and allies begged him to tell his supporters to leave.
“President Trump’s plan for Jan. 6 was to halt or delay Congress’ official proceedings to count the vote,” said Rep. Adam Kinzinger, R-Ill. “The mob was accomplishing President Trump’s purposes.”
Former Trump officials, including then-White House counsel Pat Cipollone, said they were not aware of Trump making calls to the Department of Defense, FBI, Security Service, National Guard, Washington Mayor Muriel Bowser, or Capitol Police, even as he watched the attack unfold on television.
The committee aired footage from Fox News, showing what the president would have seen as the network reported the attack.
“It appears that individuals are storming the U.S. Capitol building,” former White House deputy press secretary Judd Deere recalled saying in a taped interview shown by the committee. “They also appear to be supporters of Donald Trump who may have been in attendance at the rally [at the Ellipse]. We’re going to need to say something.”
An anonymous White House security official said during a taped interview that Secret Service members assigned to former Vice President Mike Pence were making “calls to say goodbye to family members” because they feared they would be killed.
White House staff prepared remarks for Trump to deliver in his taped Rose Garden address, but he didn’t stick to it. “I am asking you to leave the Capitol Hill region NOW and go home in a peaceful way,” the prepared remarks obtained by the committee read. Instead, Trump told the rioters he loved them and falsely claimed the election was stolen.
“I know your pain, I know your hurt,” Trump said in an outtake. “We had an election that was stolen from us. It was stolen from us. It was a landslide election and everyone knows it. Especially the other side.”
Rep. Liz Cheney, R-Wyo., said Trump preyed on his supporters’ patriotism in lying to them about the election and sending them to the Capitol.
“Donald Trump knows that millions of Americans who supported him would stand up and defend our nation were it threatened,” she said. “They would put their lives and their freedom at stake to protect her, and he is preying on their patriotism.”
“On Jan. 6, Donald Trump turned their love of country into a weapon against our capitol and our Constitution,” Cheney added.
Thursday’s hearing was the final hearing of the summer, but the committee said it plans to resume hearings in September.
“The dam has begun to break,” Cheney said.. “We have far more evidence to share with the American people and more to gather.”