Trump glued to TV, Secret Service fears, Cheney forecasts 'dam' break: Takeaways from the Jan. 6 hearing
- "He chose not to act," Rep. Adam Kinzinger, R-Ill., said of Trump.
- Mike Pence's security detail feared for their lives as rioters approached inside the Capitol.
- Trump stayed glued to Fox News and ignored pleas to call off the attack, his aides told the committee.
WASHINGTON – Former President Donald Trump watched his supporters attack the U.S. Capitol in real time on television from the White House dining room, ignoring pleas from aides to call off the insurrection as Vice President Mike Pence's security detail inside the Capitol feared for their lives.
The House committee investigating the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the U.S. Capitol used its eighth hearing Thursday night to paint a frame-by-frame account of Trump's actions for the 187 minutes after he finished a speech that day until he finally encouraged the mob to go home.
Trump's silence and failure to direct the National Guard to the Capitol represented a "complete dereliction of duty" and a "betrayal of his oath of office," committee members said.
And they argued it wasn't by accident.
"President Trump did not fail to act during the 187 minutes between leaving the Ellipse and telling the mob to go home. He chose not to act," said Rep. Adam Kinzinger, R-Ill., who helped oversee the hearing, referring to the site of Trump's speech. "The mob was accomplishing President Trump's purpose, so of course, he didn't intervene."
Here are the key takeaways from a hearing that previewed more is to come:
What Trump did Jan. 6:A breakdown of the 187 minutes Trump was out of view on Jan. 6 as aides urged him to act
Pence's Secret Service detail said goodbyes to family members
As rioters breached the Capitol, Pence's Secret Service detail feared for their lives and told security to say goodbye to their families.
The chilling moment was relayed by an anonymous White House security member to the committee.
“There were calls to say goodbye to family members, so on and so forth," the security official said in a video played by the committee. "For whatever the reason was on the ground, the VP detail thought that this was about to get very ugly."
The calls were so “disturbing,” the White House official said, that they “didn’t like talking about it.”
Over the radio, the official heard the vice president’s detail screaming, calling it “chaos,” and they were concerned they would have to use “lethal options” to protect Pence.
"If we lose any more time, we may lose the ability to leave," one Secret Service agent said. "If we are going to leave we need to do it now."
Trump tweet forced Pence back into hiding
Pence had to be evacuated a second time inside the Capitol at 2:26 p.m. on Jan. 6 after a tweet from Trump said Pence “didn’t have the courage to do what should have been done.” Trump had been pressuring Pence to reject certain electors Joe Biden won in order to tilt the election in his favor.
The committee showed surveillance footage of Pence and his security heading back to hiding inside the Capitol, coming within 40 feet of rioters.
“The attack escalated quickly right after the tweet,” said Rep. Elaine Luria, D-Va. "During this chaos, What did President Trump do at that point? He went back to calling senators to try to further delay the Electoral College."
Matthew Pottinger, who resigned as Trump's deputy national security adviser, told the committee the tweet was “the opposite of what we really needed at that moment.”
Luria said Trump called Sen. Tommy Tuberville, R-Ala., one of his closest allies in the Senate, who quickly told the president he had to hang up to take cover.
Trump, glued to Fox News, ignored pleas to call off attack
As the pro-Trump mob stormed the Capitol, Trump was glued to the television in the White House dining room watching the chaos.
“To the best of my recollection, he was always in the dining room,” former Trump press secretary Kayleigh McEnany told the committee.
Former White House attorney Pat Cipollone told the committee that multiple advisers and family members of Trump advised the former president to make a “strong statement” condemning the attack but that he ignored their pleas.
Among those who urged Trump to issue a statement, he said, were his daughter Ivanka Trump and son-in-law Jared Kushner, in addition to those in the White House legal counsel's office.
“Many people suggested it,” Cipollone said. “Not just me. Many people felt the same way.”
Sarah Matthews, a former Trump deputy press secretary, said it would have taken "probably less than 60 seconds" for Trump to talk to the White House press briefing room to deliver remarks.
"He could have been on camera almost instantly," she said.
Finally, at 4:17 p.m., Trump tweeted a video that offered no condemnation: "I know your pain. I know you're hurt," he said. "We had an election that was stolen from us. It was a landslide election. And everyone knows it. Especially the other side. But you have to go home now."
Even his own White House staff didn't think it was enough
Judd Deere, former Trump deputy press secretary, told the committee it was "the absolute bare minimum of what could have been said at that point."
Kushner says 'scared' McCarthy called during attack
During the attack, House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., called Kushner, seeking help while he and other members of Congress were hiding in the Capitol.
Kushner said he could tell McCarthy was fearful during their conversation. “He told me it was getting really ugly over at the Capitol and said please, you know, anything you could do to help, I would appreciate it.,” Kushner said. “He was scared."
McCarthy was brought up several times during the hearing.
The committee played audio of McCarthy, previously reported by the New York Times, telling his Republican colleagues of Trump: "He told me he does have some responsibility for what happened, and he needs to acknowledge that."
McCarthy, however, quickly reestablished strong relations with Trump after the Capitol attack.
'I don't want to say the election's over,' Trump said on Jan. 7
Never-before-seen video of Trump on Jan. 7, 2021, the day after the Capitol attack, showed the former president struggling to come to terms with his election loss.
“I don’t want to say the election is over," Trump said in outtakes from a videotaped speech he was about to make. "I just want to say Congress has certified the results.”
Trump has never admitted he lost the 2020 election to Biden.
The outtakes also showed Trump stumbling over certain words – "yesterday's a hard word for me."
Timeline of Trump's actions on Jan. 6:On Jan. 6, Trump was out of public view as aides urged him to act. A breakdown of those 187 minutes.
'No way': Trump aide explains why Trump won't acknowledge dead officer
Trump's aides privately texted each other about Trump's unwillingness to offer any remorse about the attack.
Tim Murtaugh, former Trump campaign communications director, texted one of his deputies, Matthew Wolking, that it was (expletive) of Trump not to acknowledge the death of Capitol Police Officer Brian Sicknick, who died from what was ruled natural causes the day after he was injured in the attack.
"If he acknowledged the dead cop, he'd be implicitly faulting the mob. And he won't do that because they're his people," Murtaugh texted. "And he would also be close to acknowledging that what he lit at the rally got out of control. No way he acknowledges something that could ultimately be called his fault. No way."
Two witnesses confirm heated motorcade, and Secret Service agents lawyer up
Two separate witnesses, including a protected witness, told the committee there was a heated discussion in Trump’s motorcade during the Jan. 6 riot as the president was told he would not be taken to the Capitol as he wanted.
The new witness testimony comes weeks after Cassidy Hutchinson, a former aide to Trump's chief of staff, Mark Meadows, delivered riveting testimony about an alleged scuffle in a vehicle carrying Trump.
Hutchinson previously relayed an account from Anthony Ornato, deputy chief of staff, about Trump lunging at his security detail Robert Engel, after his staff refused to take him to the Capitol.
Luria said one of the witnesses – who she described as a White House employee with national security responsibilities – said Ornato told others that Trump "was irate."
Similarly. Sgt. Mark Robinson said Trump wanted to travel to the Capitol after he returned to the White House but the motorcade was placed on standby.
“We do know that while inside the limo the president was still adamant about going to the Capitol,” Robinson said. “However, the POTUS motorcade was placed on standby.”
Luria said the committee subpoenaed further information from the Secret Service and some agents who have been witnesses have retained legal counsel.
It comes as the Department of Homeland Security's inspector general has launched a criminal investigation into the destruction of Secret Service text messages sought as part of investigations.
Secret Service investigation:Watchdog launches criminal inquiry into deleted Secret Service text messages
'The dam has begun to break,' Cheney says
If there were any thoughts the Jan. 6 committee had concluded its work, Rep. Liz Cheney, R-Wyo., the panel's vice chairman, dismissed those.
She said the committee has received "new evidence and new witnesses have bravely stepped forward."
"Doors have opened. New subpoenas have been issued, and the dam has begun to break," Cheney said.
The committee announced that new hearings will be scheduled in September.
"In the end, this is not as it may appear: a story of inaction in a time of crisis," Luria said. "But instead it was the final action of Donald Trump's own plan to usurp the will of the American people and remain in power."
Contributing: David Jackson, Candy Woodall, Mabinty Quarshie, Kenneth Tran, Katherine Swartz and Erin Mansfield
Reach Joey Garrison on Twitter @joeygarrison.