Select Committee to Investigate the January 6th Attack

Select Committee to Investigate the January 6th Attack

Postby admin » Sat Dec 24, 2022 5:56 am

Final Report of the Select Committee to Investigate the January 6th Attack on the United States Capitol
117th Congress Second Session
House Report 117-000
December X, 2022

Committed to the Committee of the Whole House on the State of the Union and ordered to be printed
U.S. GOVERNMENT PUBLISHING OFFICE
WASHINGTON: 2022

TABLE OF CONTENTS

• PRELIMINARIES
• Foreword: Speaker of the House . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . vii
• Foreword: Chairman . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . viii
• Foreword: Vice Chair . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . xiv
• Executive Summary . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1
o Executive Summary: Overview of the Evidence Developed . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 8
o Referrals to the U.S. Department of Justice Special Counsel and House Ethics Committee . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 98
o Efforts to Avoid Testifying, Evidence of Obstruction, and Assessments of Witness Credibility . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 118
o Summary: Creation of the Select Committee; Purposes . . . . . . 128
o Select Committee Witnesses Were Almost Entirely Republican . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 131
• NARRATIVE
• Chapter 1 THE BIG LIE . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 195
o 1.1 The Big Lie Reflected Deliberate Exploitation of the “Red Mirage” . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 197
o 1.2 Trump’s Pre-Election Plans to Declare Victory . . . . . . . . . . . 199
o 1.3 Trump’s Pre-Election Efforts to Delegitimize the Election Process . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 201
o 1.4 President Trump’s Launch of the Big Lie . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 202
o 1.5 Post-Election: President Trump Replaces His Campaign Team . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 203
o 1.6 President Trump’s Campaign Team Told Him He Lost the Election and There Was No Significant Fraud . . . . . . . 204
o 1.7 President Trump Had His Day in Court . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 210
o 1.8 President Trump Repeatedly Promoted Conspiracy Theories . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 213
o 1.9 President Trump’s January 6th Speech . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 231
• Chapter 2 “I JUST WANT TO FIND 11,780 VOTES” . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 263
o 2.1 The Electoral College, and President Trump’s Attempt to Subvert It . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 265
o 2.2 The Plan Emerges . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 266
o 2.3 Outreach and Implementation of the Plan . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 270
o 2.4 An Outright Request for Victory . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 291
o 2.5 Some Officials Eagerly Assisted President Trump With His Plans . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 293
o 2.6 The Final Outreach to State Legislators . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 296
o 2.7 The Harm Caused by Demonizing Public Servants . . . . . . . 300
• Chapter 3 FAKE ELECTORS AND THE “THE PRESIDENT OF THE SENATE STRATEGY” . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 341
o 3.1 Laying the Groundwork for the Fake Elector Plan: The Chesebro Memos . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 343
o 3.2 President Trump and the Campaign Adopt the Fake Elector Scheme . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 345
o 3.3 The Campaign Legal Team Bows Out, and Giuliani Steps In . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 346
o 3.4 Some of the Proposed Fake Electors Express Concerns About the Plan . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 351
o 3.5 On December 14th, The Fake Electors Meet and Vote . . . 352
o 3.6 The Fallout from the Fake Elector Plan . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 354
• Chapter 4 ‘‘JUST CALL IT CORRUPT AND LEAVE THE REST TO ME’’ . . . . . . . . . 373
o 4.1 The DOJ Found No Significant Evidence of Fraud . . . . . . . . 373
o 4.2 November 23, 2020: Barr Challenges President Trump’s Election Lies . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 374
o 4.3 December 1, 2020: President Trump is Irate After Barr Says There is No Significant Fraud . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 376
o 4.4 December 14, 2020: Barr Submits His Resignation . . . . . . 379
o 4.5 Acting Attorney General Jeffrey Rosen and Acting Deputy Attorney General Richard Donoghue Hold the Line. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 381
o 4.6 President Trump is Introduced to Jeffrey Clark . . . . . . . . 382
o 4.7 December 27th Phone Call . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 384
o 4.8 Congressman Scott Perry Calls Donoghue . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 387
o 4.9 December 28, 2020: The Clark Letter . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 389
o 4.10 December 29th Meeting . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 393
o 4.11 Rosen’s December 30th Call with President Trump . . . . . 395
o 4.12 December 31st Meeting . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 396
o 4.13 January 2, 2021: Rosen and Donoghue Confront Clark Again . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 397
o 4.14 January 3, 2021: Clark Informs DOJ Leadership that He Will Accept President Trump’s Offer . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 398
o 4.15 President Trump’s Unprecedented Attempt to Subvert the DOJ . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 402
• Chapter 5 “A COUP IN SEARCH OF A LEGAL THEORY” . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 427
o 5.1 President Trump and His Allies Embark on a Desperate Gambit to Block Certification of the 2020 Presidential Election. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 430
o 5.2 President Trump and his Allies Exert Intense Public and Private Pressure on the Vice President in Advance of the Joint Session of Congress on January 6th . . . . . . . . . . . 441
o 5.3 President Trump and his Allies Continue to Pressure the Vice President on January 6th, Threatening His Life and Our Democracy. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 456
o 5.4 President Trump Endangers Pence’s Life, Causing the Vice President, His Family, and Staff to Narrowly Miss the Rioters as They Flee the Mob Attacking the Capitol. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 465
o 5.5 Aftermath of the Attack. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 469
• Chapter 6 “BE THERE, WILL BE WILD!” . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 499
o 6.1 How Far-Right Extremists and Conspiracy Theorists Planned for January 6th . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 502
o 6.2 The Proud Boys: “[Y]ou Want to Storm the Capitol” . . . . 507
o 6.3 The Oath Keepers: “He Called Us All to the Capitol and Wants Us to Make it Wild!!!” . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 512
o 6.4 “Trump Said It’s Gonna be Wild!!!!!!! It’s Gonna be Wild!!!!!!!” . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 514
o 6.5 “Ready to Step in And Do What Is Needed” . . . . . . . . . . . . 516 6.6 “Friends of Stone” . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 517
o 6.7 White Nationalists: “The Capitol Siege was Fucking Awesome…” . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 519
o 6.8 The Three (III%) Percenters: “#OccupyCongress” . . . . . . . 521
o 6.9 QAnon: “Operation Occupy the Capitol” . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 525
o 6.10 TheDonald.win: “Occupy the Capitol” . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 527
o 6.11 How the White House and Rally Organizers Prepared for January 6th . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 530
o 6.12 “He’s Calling on You, He Needs Your Help” . . . . . . . . . . . . . 531
o 6.13 “Trump is Supposed to Order Us to the Capitol” . . . . . . . 532
o 6.14 “Well, I Should Walk With the People.” . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 533
o 6.15 “POTUS…Likes the Crazies.” . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 534
o 6.16 January 5, 2021: “Fort Trump” . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 536
o 6.17 “Together, We Will STOP THE STEAL.” . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 538
• Chapter 7 187 MINUTES OF DERELICTION . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 577
o 7.1 “Reinsert the Mike Pence Lines” . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 581
o 7.2 “I’ll Be There With You” . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 585
o 7.3 The President’s Anger When He Could Not March to the Capitol . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 587
o 7.4 “We’re Going to Try to Get the President to Put Out a Statement” . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 592
o 7.5 “He Doesn’t Want to Do Anything” . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 595
o 7.6 “He Thinks Mike Deserves It” . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 596
o 7.7 “I Guess They’re Just More Upset About the Election Theft Than You Are” . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 597
o 7.8 “Stay Peaceful!” . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 599
o 7.9 “The President Needs to Stop This ASAP” . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 600
o 7.10 “We Love You. You’re Very Special” . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 603
o 7.11 “Remember This Day Forever!” . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 607
o 7.12 President Trump Still Sought to Delay the Joint Session . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 608
o 7.13 He “Just Didn’t Want to Talk About It Anymore” . . . . . . . . 610
o 7.14 President Trump’s “Rhetoric Killed Someone” . . . . . . . . . . 611
• Chapter 8 ANALYSIS OF THE ATTACK . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 637
o 8.1 The Mob Assembles in Washington . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 639
o 8.2 March of the Proud Boys . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 642
o 8.3 The Initial Attack . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 645
o 8.4 President Trump’s Mob Descends on the U.S. Capitol . . . 647
o 8.5 The Mob Surges . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 651
o 8.6 The United States Capitol is Breached . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 653
o 8.7 President Trump Pours Fuel on the Fire . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 659
o 8.8 The Evacuation . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 664
o 8.9 Clearing the U.S. Capitol Building and Restricted Grounds . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 666
• RECOMMENDATIONS Recommendations . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 689
• APPENDICES Appendix 1 GOVERNMENT AGENCY PREPARATION FOR AND RESPONSE TO JANUARY 6TH . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 693
• APPENDIX 2: DC NATIONAL GUARD PREPARATION FOR AND RESPONSE TO JANUARY 6TH . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 724
• APPENDIX 3: THE BIG RIP-OFF: FOLLOW THE MONEY . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 770
• APPENDIX 4: MALIGN FOREIGN INFLUENCE . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 806
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Re: Select Committee to Investigate the January 6th Attack

Postby admin » Tue Dec 27, 2022 8:37 am

SELECT COMMITTEE TO INVESTIGATE THE JANUARY 6TH ATTACK ON THE UNITED STATES CAPITOL

BENNIE G. THOMPSON Mississippi, Chairman
LIZ CHENEY Wyoming, Vice Chair
ZOE LOFGREN California
ADAM B. SCHIFF California
PETE AGUILAR California
STEPHANIE N. MURPHY Florida
JAMIE RASKIN Maryland
ELAINE G. LURIA Virginia
ADAM KINZINGER Illinois

COMMITTEE STAFF

DAVID B. BUCKLEY Staff Director
KRISTIN L. AMERLING Deputy Staff Director and Chief Counsel
HOPE GOINS Senior Counsel to the Chairman
JOSEPH B. MAHER Senior Counsel to the Vice Chair
TIMOTHY J. HEAPHY Chief Investigative Counsel
JAMIE FLEET Senior Advisor
TIMOTHY R. MULVEY Communications Director
CANDYCE PHOENIX Senior Counsel and Senior Advisor
JOHN F. WOOD Senior Investigative Counsel and Of Counsel to the Vice Chair
KATHERINE B. ABRAMS, Staff Associate
TEMIDAYO AGANGA-WILLIAMS, Senior Investigative Counsel
ALEJANDRA APECECHEA, Investigative Counsel
LISA A. BIANCO, Director of Member Services and Security Manager
JEROME P. BJELOPERA, Investigator
BRYAN BONNER, Investigative Counsel
RICHARD R. BRUNO, Senior Administrative Assistant
MARCUS CHILDRESS, Investigative Counsel
JOHN MARCUS CLARK, Security Director
JACQUELINE N. COLVETT, Digital Director
HEATHER I. CONNELLY, Professional Staff Member
MEGHAN E. CONROY, Investigator
HEATHER L. CROWELL, Printer Proofreader
WILLIAM C. DANVERS, Senior Researcher
SOUMYALATHA O. DAYANANDA, Senior Investigative Counsel
STEPHEN W. DEVINE, Senior Counsel
LAWRENCE J. EAGLEBURGER, Professional Staff Member
KEVIN S. ELLIKER, Investigative Counsel
MARGARET E. EMAMZADEH, Staff Associate
SADALLAH A. FARAH, Professional Staff Member
DANIEL GEORGE, Senior Investigative Counsel
JACOB H. GLICK, Investigative Counsel
AARON S. GREENE, Clerk
MARC S. HARRIS, Senior Investigative Counsel
ALICE K. HAYES, Clerk
QUINCY T. HENDERSON, Staff Assistant
JENNA HOPKINS, Professional Staff Member
CAMISHA L. JOHNSON, Professional Staff Member
THOMAS E. JOSCELYN, Senior Professional Staff Member
REBECCA L. KNOOIHUIZEN, Financial Investigator
CASEY E. LUCIER, Investigative Counsel
DAMON M. MARX, Professional Staff Member
EVAN B. MAULDIN, Chief Clerk
YONATAN L. MOSKOWITZ, Senior Counsel
HANNAH G. MULDAVIN, Deputy Communications Director
JONATHAN D. MURRAY, Professional Staff Member
JACOB A. NELSON, Professional Staff Member
ELIZABETH OBRAND, Staff Associate
RAYMOND O’MARA, Director of External Affairs
ELYES OUECHTATI, Technology Partner
ROBIN M. PEGUERO, Investigative Counsel
SANDEEP A. PRASANNA, Investigative Counsel
BARRY PUMP, Parliamentarian
SEAN M. QUINN, Investigative Counsel
BRITTANY M. J. RECORD, Senior Counsel
DENVER RIGGLEMAN, Senior Technical Advisor
JOSHUA D. ROSELMAN, Investigative Counsel
JAMES N. SASSO, Senior Investigative Counsel
GRANT H. SAUNDERS, Professional Staff Member
SAMANTHA O. STILES, Chief Administrative Officer
SEAN P. TONOLLI, Senior Investigative Counsel
DAVID A. WEINBERG, Senior Professional Staff Member
AMANDA S. WICK, Senior Investigative Counsel
DARRIN L. WILLIAMS, JR., Staff Assistant
ZACHARY S. WOOD, Clerk

CONTRACTORS & CONSULTANTS

RAWAA ALOBAIDI
MELINDA ARONS
STEVE BAKER
ELIZABETH BISBEE
DAVID CANADY
JOHN COUGHLIN
AARON DIETZEN
GINA FERRISE
ANGEL GOLDSBOROUGH
JAMES GOLDSTON
POLLY GRUBE
L. CHRISTINE HEALEY
DANNY HOLLADAY
PERCY HOWARD
DEAN JACKSON
STEPHANIE J. JONES
HYATT MAMOUN
MARY MARSH
TODD MASON
RYAN MAYERS
JEFF MCBRIDE
FRED MURAM
ALEX NEWHOUSE
JOHN NORTON
ORLANDO PINDER
OWEN PRATT
DAN PRYZGODA
BRIAN SASSER
WILLIAM SCHERER
DRISS SEKKAT
CHRIS STUART
PRESTON SULLIVAN
BRIAN YOUNG
INNOVATIVE DRIVEN

LETTER OF TRANSMITTAL

HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES, SELECT COMMITTEE TO INVESTIGATE THE JANUARY 6TH ATTACK ON THE UNITED STATES CAPITOL,
Washington, DC,
December 00, 2022.

Hon. CHERYL L. JOHNSON,
Clerk, U.S. House of Representatives,
Washington, DC.

DEAR MS. JOHNSON: By direction of the Select Committee to Investigate the January 6th Attack on the United States Capitol, I hereby transmit its final report pursuant to section 4(a) of House Resolution 503, 117th Congress.

Sincerely,

BENNIE G. THOMPSON,
Chairman
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Re: Select Committee to Investigate the January 6th Attack

Postby admin » Tue Dec 27, 2022 8:39 am

FOREWORD: SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE
NANCY PELOSI

“THE LAST BEST HOPE OF EARTH”


“I do solemnly swear that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; that I take this obligation freely, without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion; and that I will well and faithfully discharge the duties of the office on which I am about to enter: So help me God.”


All Members of the United States Congress take this sacred oath. On January 6, 2021, Democrats and Republicans agreed that we would fulfill this oath— and that we had an obligation to signal to the world that American Democracy would prevail.

In furtherance of fulfilling this duty, the Select Committee to Investigate the January 6th Attack on the United States Capitol was charged with investigating the facts, circumstances and causes that led to this domestic terror attack on the Capitol, the Congress and the Constitution.

We owe a debt of gratitude to Chairman Bennie Thompson, Vice Chair Liz Cheney, the patriotic Members of Congress and dedicated staff—who devoted themselves to this investigation, to uncovering the truth and to writing a report that is a “Roadmap for Justice.”

The Select Committee to Investigate the January 6th Attack has succeeded in bringing clarity and demonstrating with painstaking detail the fragility of our Democracy. Above all, the work of the Select Committee underscores that our democratic institutions are only as strong as the commitment of those who are entrusted with their care.

As the Select Committee concludes its work, their words must be a clarion call to all Americans: to vigilantly guard our Democracy and to give our vote only to those dutiful in their defense of our Constitution.

Let us always honor our oath to, as Abraham Lincoln said, “nobly save, or meanly lose, the last best hope of earth.” So help us God.

Image

NANCY PELOSI
Speaker of the House
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Re: Select Committee to Investigate the January 6th Attack

Postby admin » Tue Dec 27, 2022 8:39 am

FOREWORD: CHAIRMAN
BENNIE G. THOMPSON

We were told to remove our lapel pins. At the start of every new Congress, House Members are presented with lapel pins. They are about the size of a quarter and carry a seal of a bald eagle.

On a routine day in the Capitol, there are thousands of tourists, advocates, and workers. Typically, the pins are an easy way to spot House Members.

However, on January 6, 2021, the pin that once was a badge of honor and distinction turned into a bullseye.


On that day, tear gas fogged the air as gunfire rang out, and a violent mob crashed against the sealed doors. Concerned for our safety, Capitol Police officers told us that our lapel pins would make us a target for rioters.

As the Capitol Police rushed Members of Congress and staff to safety, that simple and, in context, sensible warning stuck with me. On January 6, 2021, my colleagues and I came to work with the intent of fulfilling our oaths of office and constitutional duty to carry out the peaceful transfer of power. We were the people’s representatives in the people’s House doing the people’s business. Sadly, on that day, the danger was too great for our work to continue and for us to remain in the Capitol. It was too dangerous to be identified as a representative of the American people.

I’ve been a Member of the House for nearly 30 years. In that time, there’s not a day that goes by that I don’t feel a profound sense of duty and responsibility to the men and women who sent me to Congress to be their voice. After all, I’m from a part of the country where, in my lifetime, Black people were excluded entirely from political processes. Jim Crow laws prevented my father from registering to vote, and tragically during his life, he never cast a vote.

For generations, the people in communities I represent have struggled to have their voices heard by their government. Therefore, I take my duties and responsibilities seriously, advocating for greater economic opportunity, robust infrastructure, better schools, and safer housing for my constituents.

However, that long struggle to overcome oppression and secure basic civil and human rights continues to be my highest priority. I am always mindful of the journey that brought me to Washington as a member of Congress to be the voice of the women and men of Mississippi. As a violent mob stormed the Capitol trying to take away people’s votes, rioters carried the battle flag from a failed rebellion of confederate states. This moment resonated deeply with me because of my personal history. Additionally, I continually think about the ongoing struggle to ensure justice and equality for all Americans.

The Capitol building itself is a fixture in our country’s history, of both good and bad. After all, this structure is among the most recognizable symbols of American democracy. The Capitol’s shining dome, topped with the statue of goddess Freedom, was built partially by the labor of enslaved people in the 18th and 19th centuries. Dark chapters of America’s history are written into the building’s marble, sandstone, and mortar. And yet in the halls and chambers of this building, leaders of courage passed amendments to our Constitution and enacted the laws that banned slavery, guaranteed equal rights under the law, expanded the vote, promoted equality, and moved our country, and her people, forward. The Capitol Building itself is a symbol of our journey toward a more perfect union. It is a temple to our democracy.

Those great moments in our history have come when men and women put loyalty to our country and Constitution ahead of politics and party. They did the right thing. The work of the Select Committee certainly originates from the same tradition. Our bipartisan membership has moved politics to the side and focused on the facts, circumstances, and causes of January 6th.

When I think back to January 6th, after nearly a year and a half of investigation, I am frightened about the peril our democracy faced. Specifically, I think about what that mob was there to do: to block the peaceful transfer of power from one president to another based on a lie that the election was rigged and tainted with widespread fraud.

I also think about why the rioters were there, besieging the legislative branch of our government. The rioters were inside the halls of Congress because the head of the executive branch of our government, the then-President of the United States, told them to attack. Donald Trump summoned that mob to Washington, DC. Afterward, he sent them to the Capitol to try to prevent my colleagues and me from doing our Constitutional duty to certify the election. They put our very democracy to the test.

Trump’s mob came dangerously close to succeeding. Courageous law enforcement officers put their lives on the line for hours while Trump sat in the White House, refusing to tell the rioters to go home, while watching the assault on our republic unfold live on television.

When it was clear the insurrection would fail, Trump finally called off the mob, telling them, “We love you.” Afterward, Congress was able to return to this Capitol Building and finish the job of counting the Electoral College votes and certifying the election.

This is the key conclusion of the Select Committee, all nine of us, Republicans and Democrats alike.


But who knows what would have happened if Trump’s mob had succeeded in stopping us from doing our job? Who knows what sort of constitutional grey zone our country would have slid into? Who would have been left to correct that wrong?

As required by House Resolution 503, which established the Select Committee, we’ve explored in great detail the facts, circumstances, and causes of the attack. This report will provide new details that supplement those findings the committee already presented during our hearings.

But there are some questions for which there are still no clear answers, even if all the facts, circumstances, and causes are brought to bear. The “What If?” questions. For the good of American democracy, those questions must never again be put to the test. So, while it’s important that this report lays out what happened, it’s just as important to focus on how to make sure that January 6th was a one-time event—to identify the ongoing threats that could lead us down that dangerous path again—with hopes and humble prayers that the committee’s work is carried on through corrective action.

This report will provide greater detail about the multistep effort devised and driven by Donald Trump to overturn the 2020 election and block the transfer of power. Building on the information presented in our hearings earlier this year, we will present new findings about Trump’s pressure campaign on officials from the local level all the way up to his Vice President, orchestrated and designed solely to throw out the will of the voters and keep him in office past the end of his elected term.

As we’ve shown previously, this plan faltered at several points because of the courage of officials (nearly all of them Republicans) who refused to go along with it.
Donald Trump appeared to believe that anyone who shared his partisan affiliation would also share the same callous disregard for his or her oath to uphold the rule of law. Fortunately, he was wrong.

The failure of Trump’s plan was not assured. To the contrary, Trump’s plan was successful at several turns. When his scheme to stay in power through political pressure hit roadblocks, he relentlessly pushed ahead with a parallel plan: summoning a mob to gather in Washington, DC on January 6th, promising things “will be wild!”

That mob showed up. They were armed. They were angry. They believed the “Big Lie” that the election had been stolen. And when Donald Trump pointed them toward the Capitol and told them to “fight like hell,” that’s exactly what they did.

Donald Trump lit that fire. But in the weeks beforehand, the kindling he ultimately ignited was amassed in plain sight.

That’s why as part of the Select Committee’s investigation, we took a hard look at whether enough was done to mitigate that risk.
Our investigative teams focused on the way intelligence was gathered, shared, and assessed. We probed preparations by law enforcement agencies and security responses on the day of the attack. We followed the money, to determine who paid for a number of events in the run-up to the attack and to gain a clearer understanding of the way the former President’s campaign apparatus cashed in on the big lie. And we pulled back the curtain at certain major social media companies to determine if their policies and protocols were up to the challenge when the President spread a message of violence and his supporters began to plan and coordinate their descent on Washington.

The Select Committee’s conclusion on these matters—particularly dealing with intelligence and law enforcement—is consistent with our broader findings about the causes of January 6th. Were agencies perfect in their preparations for January 6th and their responses as the violence unfolded? Of course not. Relevant oversight committees and watchdogs should continue to find efficiencies and improvements, some of which are laid out in Committee’s recommendations.

But the shortfall of communications, intelligence and law enforcement around January 6th was much less about what they did or did not know. It was more about what they could not know. The President of the United States inciting a mob to march on the Capitol and impede the work of Congress is not a scenario our intelligence and law enforcement communities envisioned for this country. Prior to January 6th, it was unimaginable. Whatever weaknesses existed in the policies, procedures, or institutions, they were not to blame for what happened on that day.

And so, when I think about the ongoing threats—when I think about how to avoid having to confront those “What-Ifs?” in the future—my concerns are less with the mechanics of intelligence gathering and security posture, as important as those questions are. My concerns remain first and foremost with those who continue to seek power at the expense of American democracy.

What if those election officials had given in to Donald Trump’s pressure? What if the Justice Department had gone along with Trump’s scheme to declare the 2020 election fraudulent? What if the Vice President had tried to throw out electoral votes? What if the rioters bent on stopping the peaceful transfer of power hadn’t been repelled?

To cast a vote in the United States of America is an act of both hope and faith. When you drop that ballot in the ballot box, you do so with the confidence that every person named on that ballot will hold up their end of the bargain. The person who wins must swear an oath and live up to it. The people who come up short must accept the ultimate results and abide by the will of the voters and the rule of law. This faith in our institutions and laws is what upholds our democracy.

If that faith is broken—if those who seek power accept only the results of elections that they win—then American democracy, only a few centuries old, comes tumbling down.


That’s the danger.

What’s the solution?

The Committee believes a good starting point is the set of recommendations we set forth in our report, pursuant to House Resolution 503. Driven by our investigative findings, these recommendations will help strengthen the guardrails of our democracy.

Beyond what we recommend, in my view and as I said during our hearings, the best way to prevent another January 6th is to ensure accountability for January 6th. Accountability at all levels.

I have confidence in our Department of Justice and institutions at the state and local level to ensure accountability under the law. As this report is released, we see those processes moving forward.

But preventing another January 6th will require a broader sort of accountability. Ultimately, the American people chart the course for our country’s future. The American people decide whom to give the reins of power. If this Select Committee has accomplished one thing, I hope it has shed light on how dangerous it would be to empower anyone whose desire for authority comes before their commitment to American democracy and the Constitution.

I believe most Americans will turn their backs on those enemies of democracy.

But some will rally to the side of the election deniers, and when I think about who some of those people are, it troubles me deep inside. White supremacists. Violent extremists. Groups that subscribe to racism, anti-Semitism, and violent conspiracy theories; those who would march through the halls of the Capitol waving the Confederate battle flag.

These are people who want to take America backward, not toward some imagined prior greatness, but toward repression. These are people who want to roll back what we’ve accomplished. I believe that those who aligned with the scheme to overturn the election heeded Donald Trump’s call to march on the Capitol because they thought taking up Donald Trump’s cause was a way to advance their vile ambitions.

That is why I did not remove my lapel pin on January 6th.

Our country has come too far to allow a defeated President to turn himself into a successful tyrant by upending our democratic institutions, fomenting violence, and, as I saw it, opening the door to those in our country whose hatred and bigotry threaten equality and justice for all Americans.

We can never surrender to democracy’s enemies. We can never allow America to be defined by forces of division and hatred. We can never go backward in the progress we have made through the sacrifice and dedication of true patriots. We can never and will never relent in our pursuit of a more perfect union, with liberty and justice for all Americans.


I pray that God continues to bless the United States of America.

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BENNIE G. THOMPSON
Chairman
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Re: Select Committee to Investigate the January 6th Attack

Postby admin » Tue Dec 27, 2022 8:40 am

FOREWORD: VICE CHAIR
LIZ CHENEY

In April 1861, when Abraham Lincoln issued the first call for volunteers for the Union Army, my great-great grandfather, Samuel Fletcher Cheney, joined the 21st Ohio Volunteer Infantry. He fought through all four years of the Civil War, from Chickamauga to Stones River to Atlanta. He marched with his unit in the Grand Review of Troops up Pennsylvania Avenue in May 1865, past a reviewing stand where President Johnson and General Grant were seated.

Silas Canfield, the regimental historian of the 21st OVI, described the men in the unit this way:

Industry had taught them perseverance, and they had learned to turn aside for no obstacle. Their intelligence gave them a just appreciation of the value and advantage of free government, and the necessity of defending and maintaining it, and they enlisted prepared to accept all the necessary labors, fatigues, exposures, dangers, and even death for the unity of our Nation, and the perpetuity of our institutions.1


I have found myself thinking often, especially since January 6th, of my great-great grandfather, and all those in every generation who have sacrificed so much for “the unity of our Nation and the perpetuity of our institutions.”

At the heart of our Republic is the guarantee of the peaceful transfer of power. Members of Congress are reminded of this every day as we pass through the Capitol Rotunda. There, eight magnificent paintings detail the earliest days of our Republic. Four were painted by John Trumbull, including one depicting the moment in 1793 when George Washington resigned his commission, handing control of the Continental Army back to Congress. Trumbull called this, “one of the highest moral lessons ever given the world.” With this noble act, George Washington established the indispensable example of the peaceful transfer of power in our nation.

Standing on the West Front of the Capitol in 1981, President Ronald Reagan described it this way:

To a few of us here today, this is a solemn and most momentous occasion, and yet in the history of our nation it is a commonplace occurrence. The orderly transfer of authority as called for in the Constitution routinely takes place, as it has for almost two centuries, and few of us stop to think how unique we really are. In the eyes of many in the world, this every-4-year ceremony we accept as normal is nothing less than a miracle.


Every President in our history has defended this orderly transfer of authority, except one. January 6, 2021 was the first time one American President refused his Constitutional duty to transfer power peacefully to the next.

In our work over the last 18 months, the Select Committee has recognized our obligation to do everything we can to ensure this never happens again. At the outset of our investigation, we recognized that tens of millions of Americans had been persuaded by President Trump that the 2020 Presidential election was stolen by overwhelming fraud. We also knew this was flatly false, and that dozens of state and federal judges had addressed and resolved all manner of allegations about the election. Our legal system functioned as it should, but our President would not accept the outcome.

What most of the public did not know before our investigation is this: Donald Trump’s own campaign officials told him early on that his claims of fraud were false. Donald Trump’s senior Justice Department officials—each appointed by Donald Trump himself—investigated the allegations and told him repeatedly that his fraud claims were false. Donald Trump’s White House lawyers also told him his fraud claims were false. From the beginning, Donald Trump’s fraud allegations were concocted nonsense, designed to prey upon the patriotism of millions of men and women who love our country.

Most Americans also did not know exactly how Donald Trump, along with a handful of others, planned to defeat the transfer of Presidential power on January 6th. This was not a simple plan, but it was a corrupt one. This report lays that plan out in detail—a plan that ultimately had seven parts, anticipating that Vice President Pence, serving in his role as President of the Senate, would refuse to count official Biden electoral slates from multiple states. We understood from the beginning that explaining all the planning and machinations would be complex and would require many hours of public presentations and testimony. We also understood that our presentations needed to be organized into a series of hearings that presented the key evidence for the American public to watch live or streamed over a reasonable time period, rather than rely on second-hand accounts as reported by media organizations with their own editorial biases. We organized our hearings in segments to meet that goal. Tens of millions of Americans watched.

Among the most shameful findings from our hearings was this: President Trump sat in the dining room off the Oval Office watching the violent riot at the Capitol on television. For hours, he would not issue a public statement instructing his supporters to disperse and leave the Capitol, despite urgent pleas from his White House staff and dozens of others to do so. Members of his family, his White House lawyers, virtually all those around him knew that this simple act was critical. For hours, he would not do it. During this time, law enforcement agents were attacked and seriously injured, the Capitol was invaded, the electoral count was halted and the lives of those in the Capitol were put at risk. In addition to being unlawful, as described in this report, this was an utter moral failure—and a clear dereliction of duty. Evidence of this can be seen in the testimony of his White House Counsel and several other White House witnesses. No man who would behave that way at that moment in time can ever serve in any position of authority in our nation again. He is unfit for any office.

* * * * *

In presenting all of the information in our hearings, we decided that the vast majority of our witnesses needed to be Republicans. They were. We presented evidence from two former Trump Administration Attorneys General, a former White House Counsel, many former Trump-appointed White House, Justice Department, and Trump Campaign staff, a respected former conservative judge, the former Secretary of Labor, and many others.

Like our hearings, this report is designed to deliver our findings in detail in a format that is accessible for all Americans. We do so in an executive summary, while also providing immense detail for historians and others. We are also releasing transcripts and evidence for the public to review, consistent with a small number of security and privacy concerns. A section of this report also explains the legal conclusions we draw from the evidence, and our concerns about efforts to obstruct our investigation.

The Committee recognizes that this investigation is just a beginning; it is only an initial step in addressing President Trump’s effort to remain in office illegally. Prosecutors are considering the implications of the conduct we describe in this report. As are voters. John Adams wrote in 1761, “The very ground of our liberties is the freedom of elections.” Faith in our elections and the rule of law are paramount to our Republic. Election-deniers— those who refuse to accept lawful election results—purposely attack the rule of law and the foundation of our country.

As you read this report, please consider this: Vice President Pence, along with many of the appointed officials who surrounded Donald Trump, worked to defeat many of the worst parts of Trump’s plan to overturn the election. This was not a certainty. It is comforting to assume that the institutions of our Republic will always withstand those who try to defeat our Constitution from within. But our institutions are only strong when those who hold office are faithful to our Constitution. We do not know what would have happened if the leadership of the Department of Justice declared, as Donald Trump requested, that the election was “corrupt,” if Jeff Clark’s letters to State Legislatures had been sent, if Pat Cipollone, Jeff Rosen, Richard Donoghue, Steve Engel and others were not serving as guardrails on Donald Trump’s abuses.

Part of the tragedy of January 6th is the conduct of those who knew that what happened was profoundly wrong, but nevertheless tried to downplay it, minimize it or defend those responsible. That effort continues every day. Today, I am perhaps most disappointed in many of my fellow conservatives who know better, those who stood against the threats of communism and Islamic terrorism but concluded that it was easier to appease Donald Trump, or keep their heads down. I had hoped for more from them.

The late Charles Krauthammer wrote, “The lesson of our history is that the task of merely maintaining strong and sturdy the structures of a constitutional order is unending, the continuing and ceaseless work of every generation.” This task is unending because democracy can be fragile and our institutions do not defend themselves.

The history of our time will show that the bravery of a handful of Americans, doing their duty, saved us from an even more grave Constitutional crisis. Elected officials, election workers, and public servants stood against Donald Trump’s corrupt pressure. Many of our witnesses showed selfless patriotism and their words and courage will be remembered.

The brave men and women of the Capitol Police, Metropolitan Police and all the other law enforcement officers who fought to defend us that day undoubtedly saved lives and our democracy.

Finally, I wish to thank all who honorably contributed to the work of the Committee and to this Report. We accomplished much over a relatively short period of time, and many of you sacrificed for the good of your nation. You have helped make history and, I hope, helped right the ship.

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LIZ CHENEY
Vice Chair

ENDNOTE

1. Silas S. Canfield, History of the 21st Regiment Ohio Volunteer Infantry in the War of the Rebellion (Vrooman, Anderson & Bateman, printers, 1893), p. 10.
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Re: Select Committee to Investigate the January 6th Attack

Postby admin » Tue Dec 27, 2022 9:20 am

Part 1 of 12

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY

On October 31, 2022, in a Federal courthouse in Washington, DC, Graydon Young testified against Stewart Rhodes and other members of the Oath Keepers militia group. The defendants had been charged with seditious conspiracy against the United States and other crimes related to the January 6, 2021, attack on Congress.[1]

In his testimony that day, Young explained to the jury how he and other Oath Keepers were provoked to travel to Washington by President Donald Trump’s tweets and by Trump’s false claims that the 2020 Presidential election was “stolen” from him.[2] And, in emotional testimony, Young acknowledged what he and others believed they were doing on January 6th: attacking Congress in the manner the French had attacked the Bastille at the outset of the French Revolution.[3] Reflecting on that day more than a year and half later, Young testified:

Prosecutor: And so how do you feel about the fact that you were pushing towards a line of police officers?

Young: Today I feel extremely ashamed and embarrassed.…

Prosecutor: How did you feel at the time?

Young: I felt like, again, we were continuing in some kind of historical event to achieve a goal.

* * *

Prosecutor: Looking back now almost two years later, what would that make you as someone who was coming to D.C. to fight against the government?

Young: I guess I was [acting] like a traitor, somebody against my own government.[4]


Young’s testimony was dramatic, but not unique. Many participants in the attack on the Capitol acknowledged that they had betrayed their own country:

• Reimler: “And I’m sorry to the people of this country for threatening the democracy that makes this country so great…My participation in the events that day were part of an attack on the rule of law.”[5]

• Pert: “I know that the peaceful transition of power is to ensure the common good for our nation and that it is critical in protecting our country’s security needs. I am truly sorry for my part and accept full responsibility for my actions.”[6]

• Markofski: “My actions put me on the other side of the line from my brothers in the Army. The wrong side. Had I lived in the area, I would have been called up to defend the Capitol and restore order…My actions brought dishonor to my beloved U.S. Army National Guard.”[7]

• Witcher: “Every member—every male member of my family has served in the military, in the Marine Corps, and most have saw combat. And I cast a shadow and cast embarrassment upon my family name and that legacy.”[8]

• Edwards: “I am ashamed to be for the first time in my 68 years, standing before a judge, having pleaded guilty to committing a crime, ashamed to be associated with an attack on the United States Capitol, a symbol of American democracy and greatness that means a great deal to me.”[9]

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Protestors gather at the Capitol. (Photo by Samuel Corum/Getty Images)

Hundreds of other participants in the January 6th attack have pleaded guilty, been convicted, or await trial for crimes related to their actions that day. And, like Young, hundreds of others have acknowledged exactly what provoked them to travel to Washington, and to engage in violence. For example:

• Ronald Sandlin, who threatened police officers in the Capitol saying, “[y]ou’re going to die,” posted on December 23, 2020: “I’m going to be there to show support for our president and to do my part to stop the steal and stand behind Trump when he decides to cross the rubicon. If you are a patriot I believe it’s your duty to be there. I see it as my civic responsibility.”[10]

• Garret Miller, who brought a gun to the Capitol on January 6th, explained: “I was in Washington, D.C. on January 6, 2021, because I believed I was following the instructions of former President Trump and he was my president and the commander-in-chief. His statements also had me believing the election was stolen from him.”[11]

• John Douglas Wright explained that he brought busloads of people to Washington, DC, on January 6th “because [Trump] called me there, and he laid out what is happening in our government.”[12]

• Lewis Cantwell testified: If “the President of the United States … [is] out on TV telling the world that it was stolen, what else would I believe, as a patriotic American who voted for him and wants to continue to see the country thrive as I thought it was?”[13]

• Likewise, Stephen Ayres testified that “with everything the President was putting out” ahead of January 6th that “the election was rigged … the votes were wrong and stuff… it just got into my head.” “The President [was] calling on us to come” to Washington, DC. [14] Ayres “was hanging on every word he [President Trump] was saying”[15] Ayres posted that “Civil War will ensue” if President Trump did not stay in power after January 6th.[16]

The Committee has compiled hundreds of similar statements from participants in the January 6th attack.[17]
House Resolution 503 instructed the Select Committee to “investigate and report upon the facts, circumstances, and causes relating to the January 6, 2021, domestic terrorist attack upon the United States Capitol Complex” and to “issue a final report” containing “findings, conclusions, and recommendations for corrective measures.” The Select Committee has conducted nine public hearings, presenting testimony from more than 70 witnesses. In structuring our investigation and hearings, we began with President Trump’s contentions that the election was stolen and took testimony from nearly all of the President’s principal advisors on this topic. We focused on the rulings of more than 60 Federal and State courts rejecting President Trump’s and his supporters’ efforts to reverse the electoral outcome.

Despite the rulings of these courts, we understood that millions of Americans still lack the information necessary to understand and evaluate what President Trump has told them about the election. For that reason, our hearings featured a number of members of President Trump’s inner circle refuting his fraud claims and testifying that the election was not in fact stolen. In all, the Committee displayed the testimony of more than four dozen Republicans—by far the majority of witnesses in our hearings—including two of President Trump’s former Attorneys General, his former White House Counsel, numerous members of his White House staff, and the highest-ranking members of his 2020 election campaign, including his campaign manager and his campaign general counsel. Even key individuals who worked closely with President Trump to try to overturn the 2020 election on January 6th ultimately admitted that they lacked actual evidence sufficient to change the election result, and they admitted that what they were attempting was unlawful.[18]

This Report supplies an immense volume of information and testimony assembled through the Select Committee’s investigation, including information obtained following litigation in Federal district and appellate courts, as well as in the U.S. Supreme Court. Based upon this assembled evidence, the Committee has reached a series of specific findings,[19] including the following:

1. Beginning election night and continuing through January 6th and thereafter, Donald Trump purposely disseminated false allegations of fraud related to the 2020 Presidential election in order to aid his effort to overturn the election and for purposes of soliciting contributions. These false claims provoked his supporters to violence on January 6th.

2. Knowing that he and his supporters had lost dozens of election lawsuits, and despite his own senior advisors refuting his election fraud claims and urging him to concede his election loss, Donald Trump refused to accept the lawful result of the 2020 election. Rather than honor his constitutional obligation to “take Care that the Laws be faithfully executed,” President Trump instead plotted to overturn the election outcome.

3. Despite knowing that such an action would be illegal, and that no State had or would submit an altered electoral slate, Donald Trump corruptly pressured Vice President Mike Pence to refuse to count electoral votes during Congress’s joint session on January 6th.

4. Donald Trump sought to corrupt the U.S. Department of Justice by attempting to enlist Department officials to make purposely false statements and thereby aid his effort to overturn the Presidential election. After that effort failed, Donald Trump offered the position of Acting Attorney General to Jeff Clark knowing that Clark intended to disseminate false information aimed at overturning the election.

5. Without any evidentiary basis and contrary to State and Federal law, Donald Trump unlawfully pressured State officials and legislators to change the results of the election in their States.

6. Donald Trump oversaw an effort to obtain and transmit false electoral certificates to Congress and the National Archives.

7. Donald Trump pressured Members of Congress to object to valid slates of electors from several States.

8. Donald Trump purposely verified false information filed in Federal court.

9. Based on false allegations that the election was stolen, Donald Trump summoned tens of thousands of supporters to Washington for January 6th. Although these supporters were angry and some were armed, Donald Trump instructed them to march to the Capitol on January 6th to “take back” their country.

10. Knowing that a violent attack on the Capitol was underway and knowing that his words would incite further violence, Donald Trump purposely sent a social media message publicly condemning Vice President Pence at 2:24 p.m. on January 6th.

11. Knowing that violence was underway at the Capitol, and despite his duty to ensure that the laws are faithfully executed, Donald Trump refused repeated requests over a multiple hour period that he instruct his violent supporters to disperse and leave the Capitol, and instead watched the violent attack unfold on television. This failure to act perpetuated the violence at the Capitol and obstructed Congress’s proceeding to count electoral votes.

12. Each of these actions by Donald Trump was taken in support of a multi-part conspiracy to overturn the lawful results of the 2020 Presidential election.

13. The intelligence community and law enforcement agencies did successfully detect the planning for potential violence on January 6th, including planning specifically by the Proud Boys and Oath Keeper militia groups who ultimately led the attack on the Capitol. As January 6th approached, the intelligence specifically identified the potential for violence at the U.S. Capitol. This intelligence was shared within the executive branch, including with the Secret Service and the President’s National Security Council.

14. Intelligence gathered in advance of January 6th did not support a conclusion that Antifa or other left-wing groups would likely engage in a violent counter-demonstration, or attack Trump supporters on January 6th. Indeed, intelligence from January 5th indicated that some left-wing groups were instructing their members to “stay at home” and not attend on January 6th.[20] Ultimately, none of these groups was involved to any material extent with the attack on the Capitol on January 6th.

15. Neither the intelligence community nor law enforcement obtained intelligence in advance of January 6th on the full extent of the ongoing planning by President Trump, John Eastman, Rudolph Giuliani and their associates to overturn the certified election results. Such agencies apparently did not (and potentially could not) anticipate the provocation President Trump would offer the crowd in his Ellipse speech, that President Trump would “spontaneously” instruct the crowd to march to the Capitol, that President Trump would exacerbate the violent riot by sending his 2:24 p.m. tweet condemning Vice President Pence, or the full scale of the violence and lawlessness that would ensue. Nor did law enforcement anticipate that President Trump would refuse to direct his supporters to leave the Capitol once violence began. No intelligence community advance analysis predicted exactly how President Trump would behave; no such analysis recognized the full scale and extent of the threat to the Capitol on January 6th.

16. Hundreds of Capitol and DC Metropolitan police officers performed their duties bravely on January 6th, and America owes those individual immense gratitude for their courage in the defense of Congress and our Constitution. Without their bravery, January 6th would have been far worse. Although certain members of the Capitol Police leadership regarded their approach to January 6th as “all hands on deck,” the Capitol Police leadership did not have sufficient assets in place to address the violent and lawless crowd.[21] Capitol Police leadership did not anticipate the scale of the violence that would ensue after President Trump instructed tens of thousands of his supporters in the Ellipse crowd to march to the Capitol, and then tweeted at 2:24 p.m. Although Chief Steven Sund raised the idea of National Guard support, the Capitol Police Board did not request Guard assistance prior to January 6th. The Metropolitan Police took an even more proactive approach to January 6th, and deployed roughly 800 officers, including responding to the emergency calls for help at the Capitol. Rioters still managed to break their line in certain locations, when the crowd surged forward in the immediate aftermath of Donald Trump’s 2:24 p.m. tweet. The Department of Justice readied a group of Federal agents at Quantico and in the District of Columbia, anticipating that January 6th could become violent, and then deployed those agents once it became clear that police at the Capitol were overwhelmed. Agents from the Department of Homeland Security were also deployed to assist.

17. President Trump had authority and responsibility to direct deployment of the National Guard in the District of Columbia, but never gave any order to deploy the National Guard on January 6th or on any other day. Nor did he instruct any Federal law enforcement agency to assist. Because the authority to deploy the National Guard had been delegated to the Department of Defense, the Secretary of Defense could, and ultimately did deploy the Guard. Although evidence identifies a likely miscommunication between members of the civilian leadership in the Department of Defense impacting the timing of deployment, the Committee has found no evidence that the Department of Defense intentionally delayed deployment of the National Guard. The Select Committee recognizes that some at the Department had genuine concerns, counseling caution, that President Trump might give an illegal order to use the military in support of his efforts to overturn the election.

* * *

This Report begins with a factual overview framing each of these conclusions and summarizing what our investigation found. That overview is in turn supported by eight chapters identifying the very specific evidence of each of the principal elements of President Trump’s multi-part plan to overturn the election, along with evidence regarding intelligence gathered before January 6th and security shortfalls that day.

Although the Committee’s hearings were viewed live by tens of millions of Americans and widely publicized in nearly every major news source,[22] the Committee also recognizes that other news outlets and commentators have actively discouraged viewers from watching, and that millions of other Americans have not yet seen the actual evidence addressed by this Report. Accordingly, the Committee is also releasing video summaries of relevant evidence on each major topic investigated.

This Report also examines the legal implications of Donald Trump and his co-conspirators’ conduct and includes criminal referrals to the Department of Justice regarding President Trump and certain other individuals. The criminal referrals build upon three relevant rulings issued by a Federal district court and explain in detail how the facts found support further evaluation by the Department of Justice of specific criminal charges. To assist the public in understanding the nature and importance of this material, this Report also contains sections identifying how the Committee has evaluated the credibility of its witnesses and suggests that the Department of Justice further examine possible efforts to obstruct our investigation. We also note that more than 30 witnesses invoked their Fifth Amendment privilege against self-incrimination, others invoked Executive Privilege or categorically refused to appear (including Steve Bannon, who has since been convicted of contempt of Congress).

Finally, this report identifies a series of legislative recommendations, including the Presidential Election Reform Act, which has already passed the House of Representatives.

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY: OVERVIEW OF THE EVIDENCE DEVELOPED

In the Committee’s hearings, we presented evidence of what ultimately became a multi-part plan to overturn the 2020 Presidential election. That evidence has led to an overriding and straight-forward conclusion: the central cause of January 6th was one man, former President Donald Trump, who many others followed. None of the events of January 6th would have happened without him.

THE BIG LIE

In the weeks before election day 2020, Donald Trump’s campaign experts, including his campaign manager Bill Stepien, advised him that the election results would not be fully known on election night.[23] This was because certain States would not begin to count absentee and other mail-in votes until election day or after election-day polls had closed.[24] Because Republican voters tend to vote in greater numbers on election day and Democratic voters tend to vote in greater numbers in advance of election day, it was widely anticipated that Donald Trump could initially appear to have a lead, but that the continued counting of mail-in, absentee and other votes beginning election night would erode and could overcome that perceived lead.[25] Thus, as President Trump’s campaign manager cautioned, understanding the results of the 2020 election would be a lengthy “process,” and an initial appearance of a Trump lead could be a “red mirage.”[26] This was not unique to the 2020 election; similar scenarios had played out in prior elections as well.[27]

Prior to the 2020 election, Donald Trump’s campaign manager Bill Stepien, along with House Republican Leader Kevin McCarthy, urged President Trump to embrace mail-in voting as potentially beneficial to the Trump campaign.[28] Presidential advisor and son-in-law Jared Kushner recounted others giving Donald Trump the same advice: “[M]ail in ballots could be a good thing for us if we looked at it correctly.”[29] Multiple States, including Florida, had successfully utilized mail-in voting in prior elections, and in 2020.[30] Trump White House Counselor Hope Hicks testified: “I think he [President Trump] understood that a lot of people vote via absentee ballot in places like Florida and have for a long time and that it’s worked fine.”[31] Donald Trump won in numerous States that allowed no-excuse absentee voting in 2020, including Alaska, Florida, Idaho, Iowa, Kansas, Montana, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Dakota, and Wyoming.[32]

On election night 2020, the election returns were reported in almost exactly the way that Stepien and other Trump Campaign experts predicted, with the counting of mail-in and absentee ballots gradually diminishing President Trump’s perceived lead. As the evening progressed, President Trump called in his campaign team to discuss the results. Stepien and other campaign experts advised him that the results of the election would not be known for some time, and that he could not truthfully declare victory.[33] “It was far too early to be making any calls like that. Ballots—ballots were still being counted. Ballots were still going to be counted for days.”[34]

Campaign Senior Advisor Jason Miller told the Select Committee that he argued against declaring victory at that time as well, because “it was too early to say one way [or] the other” still who had won.[35] Stepien advised Trump to say that “votes were still being counted. It’s too early to tell, too early to call the race but, you know, we are proud of the race we run – we ran and we, you know, think we’re—think we’re in a good position” and would say more in the coming days.[36]

President Trump refused, and instead said this in his public remarks that evening: “This is a fraud on the American public. This is an embarrassment to our country. We were getting ready to win this election. Frankly, we did win this election. We did win this election…. We want all voting to stop.”[37] And on the morning of November 5th, he tweeted “STOP THE COUNT!”[38] Halting the counting of votes at that point would have violated both State and Federal laws.[39]

According to testimony received by the Select Committee, the only advisor present who supported President Trump’s inclination to declare victory was Rudolph Giuliani, who appeared to be inebriated.[40] President Trump’s Attorney General, Bill Barr, who had earlier left the election night gathering, perceived the President’s statement this way:

[R]ight out of the box on election night, the President claimed that there was major fraud underway. I mean, this happened, as far as I could tell, before there was actually any potential of looking at evidence. He claimed there was major fraud. And it seemed to be based on the dynamic that, at the end of the evening, a lot of Democratic votes came in which changed the vote counts in certain States, and that seemed to be the basis for this broad claim that there was major fraud. And I didn’t think much of that, because people had been talking for weeks and everyone understood for weeks that that was going to be what happened on election night….[41]


Image
President Trump declares victory in a speech at an election night party. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

President Trump’s decision to declare victory falsely on election night and, unlawfully, to call for the vote counting to stop, was not a spontaneous decision. It was premeditated. The Committee has assembled a range of evidence of Trump’s preplanning for a false declaration of victory. This includes multiple written communications on October 31 and November 3, 2020, to the White House by Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton.[42] This evidence demonstrates that Fitton was in direct contact with Trump and understood that Trump would falsely declare victory on election night and call for vote counting to stop. The evidence also includes an audio recording of President Trump’s advisor Steve Bannon, who said this on October 31, 2020, to a group of his associates from China:

And what Trump’s gonna do is just declare victory, right? He’s gonna declare victory. But that doesn’t mean he’s a winner. He’s just gonna say he’s a winner… The Democrats – more of our people vote early that count. Theirs vote in mail. And so they’re gonna have a natural disadvantage, and Trump’s going to take advantage of it – that’s our strategy. He’s gonna declare himself a winner. So when you wake up Wednesday morning, it’s going to be a firestorm…. Also, if Trump, if Trump is losing, by 10 or 11 o’clock at night, it’s going to be even crazier. No, because he’s gonna sit right there and say ‘They stole it. I’m directing the Attorney General to shut down all ballot places in all 50 states. It’s going to be, no, he’s not going out easy. If Trump – if Biden’s winning, Trump is going to do some crazy shit.[43]


Also in advance of the election, Roger Stone, another outside advisor to President Trump, made this statement:

I really do suspect it will still be up in the air. When that happens, the key thing to do is to claim victory. Possession is nine-tenths of the law. No, we won. Fuck you, Sorry. Over. We won. You’re wrong. Fuck you.[44]


On election day, Vice President Pence’s staff, including his Chief of Staff and Counsel, became concerned that President Trump might falsely claim victory that evening. The Vice President’s Counsel, Greg Jacob, testified about their concern that the Vice President might be asked improperly to echo such a false statement.[45] Jacob drafted a memorandum with this specific recommendation: “[ i]t is essential that the Vice President not be perceived by the public as having decided questions concerning disputed electoral votes prior to the full development of all relevant facts.”[46]
Millions of Americans believed that Trump was telling the truth on election night – that Trump actually had proof the election was stolen and that the ongoing counting of votes was an act of fraud.

As votes were being counted in the days after the election, President Trump’s senior campaign advisors informed him that his chances of success were almost zero.

Former Trump Campaign Manager Bill Stepien testified that he had come to this conclusion by November 7th, and told President Trump:

Committee Staff: What was your view on the state of the election at that point?

Stepien: You know, very, very, very bleak. You know, I – we told him – the group that went over there outlined, you know, my belief and chances for success at this point. And then we pegged that at, you know, 5, maybe 10 percent based on recounts that were – that, you know, either were automatically initiated or could be – could be initiated based on, you know, realistic legal challenges, not all the legal challenges that eventually were pursued. But, you know, it was – you know, my belief is that it was a very, very – 5 to 10 percent is not a very good optimistic outlook.[47]


Trump Campaign Senior Advisor Jason Miller testified to the Committee about this exchange:

Miller: I was in the Oval Office. And at some point in the conversation Matt Oczkowski, who was the lead data person, was brought on, and I remember he delivered to the President in pretty blunt terms that he was going to lose.

Committee Staff: And that was based, Mr. Miller, on Matt and the data team’s assessment of this sort of county-by-county, State-by-State results as reported?

Miller: Correct.[48]


In one of the Select Committee’s hearings, former Fox News political editor Chris Stirewalt was asked what the chance President Trump had of winning the election after November 7th, when the votes were tallied and every news organization had called the race for now-President Biden. His response: “None.”[49]

As the Committee’s hearings demonstrated, President Trump made a series of statements to White House staff and others during this time period indicating his understanding that he had lost.[50] President Trump also took consequential actions reflecting his understanding that he would be leaving office on January 20th. For example, President Trump personally signed a Memorandum and Order instructing his Department of Defense to withdraw all military forces from Somalia by December 31, 2020, and from Afghanistan by January 15, 2021.[51] General Keith Kellogg (ret.), who had been appointed by President Trump as Chief of Staff for the National Security Council and was Vice President Pence’s National Security Advisor on January 6th, told the Select Committee that “[a]n immediate departure that that memo said would have been catastrophic. It’s the same thing what President Biden went through. It would have been a debacle.”[52]

In the weeks that followed the election, President Trump’s campaign experts and his senior Justice Department officials were informing him and others in the White House that there was no genuine evidence of fraud sufficient to change the results of the election. For example, former Attorney General Bill Barr testified:

And I repeatedly told the President in no uncertain terms that I did not see evidence of fraud, you know, that would have affected the outcome of the election. And, frankly, a year and a half later, I haven’t seen anything to change my mind on that.[53]


Former Trump Campaign lawyer Alex Cannon, who was asked to oversee incoming information about voter fraud and set up a voter fraud tip line, told the Select Committee about a pertinent call with White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows in November 2020:

Cannon: So I remember a call with Mr. Meadows where Mr. Meadows was asking me what I was finding and if I was finding anything. And I remember sharing with him that we weren’t finding anything that would be sufficient to change the results in any of the key States.

Committee Staff: When was that conversation?

Cannon: Probably in November. Mid- to late November….

Committee Staff: And what was Mr. Meadows’s reaction to that information?

Cannon: I believe the words he used were: “So there is no there there?”[54]


President Trump’s Campaign Manager Bill Stepien recalled that President Trump was being told “wild allegations” and that it was the campaign’s job to “track [the allegations] down”:

Committee Staff: You said that you were very confident that you were telling the President the truth in your dealings with [him]. And had your team been able to verify any of these allegations of fraud, would you have reported those to the President?

Stepien: Sure.

Committee Staff: Did you ever have to report that –

Stepien: One of my frustrations would be that, you know, people would throw out, you know, these reports, these allegations, these things that they heard or saw in a State, and they’d tell President Trump. And, you know, it would be the campaign’s job to track down the information, the facts. And, you know, President Trump, you know – if someone’s saying, hey, you know, all these votes aren’t counted or were miscounted, you know, if you’re down in a State like Arizona, you liked hearing that. It would be our job to track it down and come up dry because the allegation didn’t prove to be true. And we’d have to, you know, relay the news that, yeah, that tip that someone told you about those votes or that fraud or, you know, nothing came of it.

That would be our job as, you know, the truth telling squad and, you know, not – not a fun job to be, you know, much – it’s an easier job to be telling the President about, you know, wild allegations. It’s a harder job to be telling him on the back end that, yeah, that wasn’t true.

Committee Staff: How did he react to those types of conversations where you [told] him that an allegation or another wasn’t true?

Stepien: He was—he had—usually he had pretty clear eyes. Like, he understood, you know – you know, we told him where we thought the race was, and I think he was pretty realistic with our viewpoint, in agreement with our viewpoint of kind of the forecast and the uphill climb we thought he had.[55]


Trump Campaign Senior Advisor Jason Miller told the Committee that he informed President Trump “several” times that “specific to election day fraud and irregularities, there were not enough to overturn the election.”[56]

Vice President Pence has also said publicly that he told President Trump there was no basis to allege that the election was stolen. When a reporter recently asked “Did you ever point blank say to the President [that] we lost this election?,” Pence responded that “I did… Many times.”[57] Pence has also explained:

There was never evidence of widespread fraud. I don’t believe fraud changed the outcome of the election. But the President and the campaign had every right to have those examined in court. But I told the President that, once those legal challenges played out, he should simply accept the outcome of the election and move on.[58]

The General Counsel of President Trump’s campaign, Matthew Morgan, informed members of the White House staff, and likely many others, of the campaign’s conclusion that none of the allegation of fraud and irregularities could be sufficient to change the outcome of the election:

What was generally discussed on that topic was whether the fraud, maladministration, abuse, or irregularities, if aggregated and read most favorably to the campaign, would that be outcome determinative. And I think everyone’s assessment in the room, at least amongst the staff, Marc Short, myself, and Greg Jacob, was that it was not sufficient to be outcome determinative.[59]


In a meeting on November 23rd, Barr told President Trump that the Justice Department was doing its duty by investigating every fraud allegation “if it’s specific, credible, and could’ve affected the outcome,” but that “they’re just not meritorious. They’re not panning out”[60]

Barr then told the Associated Press on December 1st that the Department had “not seen fraud on a scale that could have effected a different outcome in the election.”[61] Next, he reiterated this point in private meetings with the President both that afternoon and on December 14th, as well as in his final press conference as Attorney General later that month.[62] The Department of Homeland Security had reached a similar determination 2 weeks earlier: “There is no evidence that any voting system deleted or lost votes, changed votes, or was in any way compromised.”[63]

In addition, multiple other high ranking Justice Department personnel appointed by President Trump also informed him repeatedly that the allegations were false. As January 6th drew closer, Acting Attorney General Rosen and Acting Deputy Attorney General Donoghue had calls with President Trump on almost a daily basis explaining in detail what the Department’s investigations showed.[64] Acting Deputy Attorney General Richard Donoghue told the Select Committee that he and Acting Attorney General Rosen tried “to put it in very clear terms to the President. And I said something to the effect of ‘Sir, we’ve done dozens of investigations, hundreds of interviews. The major allegations are not supported by the evidence developed. We’ve looked in Georgia, Pennsylvania, Michigan, Nevada. We’re doing our job.’”[65] On December 31st, Donoghue recalls telling the President that “people keep telling you these things and they turn out not to be true.”[66] And then on January 3rd, Donoghue reiterated this point with the President:

[A]s in previous conservations, we would say to him, you know, “We checked that out, and there’s nothing to it.”[67]


Acting Attorney General Rosen testified before the Select Committee that “the common element” of all of his communications with President Trump was President Trump urging the Department to find widespread fraud that did not actually exist. None of the Department’s investigations identified any genuine fraud sufficient to impact the election outcome:

During my tenure as the Acting Attorney General, which began on December 24 of [2020], the Department of Justice maintained the position, publicly announced by former Attorney General William Barr, that the Department had been presented with no evidence of widespread voter fraud in a scale sufficient to change the outcome of the 2020 election.[68]


As President Trump was hearing from his campaign and his Justice Department that the allegations of widespread fraud were not supported by the evidence, his White House legal staff also reached the same conclusions, and agreed specifically with what Bill Barr told Trump. Both White House Counsel Pat Cipollone and White House Senior Advisor Eric Herschmann reinforced to President Trump that the Justice Department was doing its duty to investigate allegations of supposed voter fraud.[69]

Cipollone told the Select Committee that he “had seen no evidence of massive fraud in the election” and that he “forcefully” made this point “over and over again.” For example, during a late-night group meeting with President Trump on December 18th, at which he and Herschmann urged Trump not to heed the advice of several election conspiracists at the meeting:

Cipollone: They didn’t think that we were, you know – they didn’t think we believed this, you know, that there had been massive fraud in the election, and the reason they didn’t think we believed it is because we didn’t.

Committee Staff: And you articulated that forcefully to them during the meeting?

Cipollone: I did, yeah. I had seen no evidence of massive fraud in the election…. At some point, you have to deliver with the evidence. And I – again, I just to go back to what [Bill Barr] said, he had not seen and I was not aware of any evidence of fraud to the extent that it would change the results of the election. That was made clear to them, okay, over and over again.[70]


Similarly, White House Attorney Eric Herschmann was also very clear about his views:

[T]hey never proved the allegations that they were making, and they were trying to develop.[71]


In short, President Trump was informed over and over again, by his senior appointees, campaign experts and those who had served him for years, that his election fraud allegations were nonsense.

How did President Trump continue to make false allegations despite all of this unequivocal information? Trump sought out those who were not scrupulous with the facts, and were willing to be dishonest. He found a new legal team to assert claims that his existing advisors and the Justice Department had specifically informed him were false. President Trump’s new legal team, headed by Rudolph Giuliani, and their allies ultimately lost dozens of election lawsuits in Federal and State courts.

The testimony of Trump Campaign Manager Bill Stepien helps to put this series of events in perspective. Stepien described his interaction with Giuliani as an intentional “self-demotion,” with Stepien stepping aside once it became clear that President Trump intended to spread falsehoods. Stepien knew the President’s new team was relying on unsupportable accusations, and he refused to be associated with their approach:

“There were two groups of family. We called them kind of my team and Rudy’s team. I didn’t mind being characterized as being part of ‘team normal,’ as reporters, you know, kind of started to do around that point in time.”[72]


Having worked for Republican campaigns for over two decades, Stepien said, “I think along the way I’ve built up a pretty good -- I hope a good reputation for being honest and professional, and I didn’t think what was happening was necessarily honest or professional at that point in time.”[73]

As Giuliani visited Campaign headquarters to discuss election litigation, the Trump Campaign’s professional staff began to view him as unhinged.[74] In addition, multiple law firms previously engaged to work for the Trump campaign decided that they could not participate in the strategy being instituted by Giuliani. They quit. Campaign General Counsel Matthew Morgan explained that he had conversations with “probably all of our counsel who [we]re signed up to assist on election day as they disengaged with the campaign.”[75] The “general consensus was that the law firms were not comfortable making the arguments that Rudy Giuliani was making publicly.”[76] When asked how many outside firms expressed this concern, Morgan recalled having “a similar conversation with most all of them.”[77]

Stepien grew so wary of the new team that he locked Giuliani out of his office:

Committee Staff: Yeah. I’m getting the sense from listening to you here for a few hours that you sort of chose to pull back, that you were uncomfortable with what Mr. Giuliani and others were saying and doing and, therefore, you were purposefully stepping back from a day-to-day role as the leader of the campaign. Is that—I don’t want to put words in your mouth. Is that accurate?

Stepien: That’s accurate. That’s accurate. You know, I had my assistant -- it was a big glass kind of wall office in our headquarters, and I had my assistant lock my door. I told her, don’t let anyone in. You know, I’ll be around when I need to be around. You know, tell me what I need to know. Tell me what’s going on here, but, you know, you’re going to see less of me.

And, you know, sure enough, you know, Mayor Giuliani tried to, you know, get in my office and ordered her to unlock the door, and she didn’t do that, you know. She’s, you know, smart about that. But your words are ones I agree with.[78]


Over the weeks that followed, dozens of judges across the country specifically rejected the allegations of fraud and irregularities being advanced by the Trump team and their allies. For example, courts described the arguments as “an amalgamation of theories, conjecture, and speculation,” “allegations … sorely wanting of relevant or reliable evidence,” “strained legal arguments without merit,” assertions that “did not prove by any standard of proof that any illegal votes were cast and counted,” and even a “fundamental and obvious misreading of the Constitution.”[79]

Reflecting back on this period, Trump Campaign Communications Director Tim Murtaugh texted colleagues in January 2021 about a news report that the New York State Bar was considering expelling Rudolph Giuliani over the Ellipse rally: “Why wouldn’t they expel him based solely on the outrageous lies he told for 2 1/2 months?”[80]

This is exactly what ultimately came to pass. When suspending his license, a New York court said that Giuliani “communicated demonstrably false and misleading statements to courts, lawmakers and the public at large in his capacity as lawyer for former President Donald J. Trump and the Trump campaign in connection with Trump’s failed effort at reelection in 2020.”[81] The court added that “[t]he seriousness of [Giuliani’s] uncontroverted misconduct cannot be overstated.”[82]

Other Trump lawyers were sanctioned for making outlandish claims of election fraud without the evidence to back them up, including Sidney Powell, Lin Wood and seven other pro-Trump lawyers in a case that a Federal judge described as “a historic and profound abuse of the judicial process”:

It is one thing to take on the charge of vindicating rights associated with an allegedly fraudulent election. It is another to take on the charge of deceiving a federal court and the American people into believing that rights were infringed, without regard to whether any laws or rights were in fact violated. This is what happened here.[83]


A group of prominent Republicans have more recently issued a report – titled Lost, Not Stolen – examining “every count of every case brought in these six battleground states” by President Trump and his allies. The report concludes “that Donald Trump and his supporters had their day in court and failed to produce substantive evidence to make their case.”[84] President Trump and his legal allies “failed because of a lack of evidence and not because of erroneous rulings or unfair judges…. In many cases, after making extravagant claims of wrongdoing, Trump’s legal representatives showed up in court or state proceedings empty-handed, and then returned to their rallies and media campaigns to repeat the same unsupported claims.”[85]

There is no reasonable basis for the allegation that these dozens of rulings by State and Federal courts were somehow politically motivated.[86] The outcome of these suits was uniform regardless of who appointed the judges. One of the authors of Lost, Not Stolen, longtime Republican election lawyer Benjamin Ginsberg, testified before the Select Committee that “in no instance did a court find that the charges of fraud were real,” without variation based on the judges involved.[87] Indeed, eleven of the judges who ruled against Donald Trump and his supporters were appointed by Donald Trump himself.

One of those Trump nominees, Judge Stephanos Bibas of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit, rejected an appeal by the Trump Campaign claiming that Pennsylvania officials “did not undertake any meaningful effort” to fight illegal absentee ballots and uneven treatment of voters across counties.[88] Judge Bibas wrote in his decision that “calling an election unfair does not make it so. Charges require specific allegations and then proof. We have neither here.”[89] Another Trump nominee, Judge Brett Ludwig of the Eastern District of Wisconsin, ruled against President Trump’s lawsuit alleging that the result was skewed by illegal procedures that governed drop boxes, ballot address information, and individuals who claimed “indefinitely confined” status to vote from home.[90] Judge Ludwig wrote in his decision, that “[t]his Court has allowed plaintiff the chance to make his case and he has lost on the merits” because the procedures used “do not remotely rise to the level” of breaking Wisconsin’s election rules.[91]

Nor is it true that these rulings focused solely on standing, or procedural issues. As Ginsberg confirmed in his testimony to the Select Committee, President Trump’s team “did have their day in court.”[92] Indeed, he and his co-authors determined in their report that 30 of these post-election cases were dismissed by a judge after an evidentiary hearing had been held, and many of these judges explicitly indicated in their decisions that the evidence presented by the plaintiffs was wholly insufficient on the merits.[93]

Ultimately, even Rudolph Giuliani and his legal team acknowledged that they had no definitive evidence of election fraud sufficient to change the election outcome. For example, although Giuliani repeatedly had claimed in public that Dominion voting machines stole the election, he admitted during his Select Committee deposition that “I do not think the machines stole the election.”[94] An attorney representing his lead investigator, Bernard Kerik, declared in a letter to the Select Committee that “it was impossible for Kerik and his team to determine conclusively whether there was widespread fraud or whether that widespread fraud would have altered the outcome of the election.”[95] Kerik also emailed President Trump’s chief of staff on December 28, 2020, writing: “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.”[96] Other Trump lawyers and supporters, Jenna Ellis, John Eastman, Phil Waldron, and Michael Flynn, all invoked their Fifth Amendment privilege against self-incrimination when asked by the Select Committee what supposed proof they uncovered that the election was stolen.[97] Not a single witness--nor any combination of witnesses--provided the Select Committee with evidence demonstrating that fraud occurred on a scale even remotely close to changing the outcome in any State.[98]

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Rudolph Giuliani, Bernard Kerik, and other hold a press conference at Four Seasons Total Landscaping on November 7, 2020 falsely claiming Donald Trump had won the state of Pennsylvania. (Photo by Chris McGrath/Getty Images)

By mid-December 2020, Donald Trump had come to what most of his staff believed was the end of the line. The Supreme Court rejected a lawsuit he supported filed by the State of Texas in the Supreme Court, and Donald Trump had this exchange, according to Special Assistant to the President Cassidy Hutchinson:

The President was fired up about the Supreme Court decision. And so I was standing next to [Chief of Staff Mark] Meadows, but I had stepped back… The President [was] just raging about the decision and how it’s wrong, and why didn’t we make more calls, and just this typical anger outburst at this decision... And the President said I think – so he had said something to the effect of, “I don’t want people to know we lost, Mark. This is embarrassing. Figure it out. We need to figure it out. I don’t want people to know that we lost.”[99]


On December 14, 2020, the Electoral College met to cast and certify each State’s electoral votes. By this time, many of President Trump’s senior staff, and certain members of his family, were urging him to concede that he had lost.

Labor Secretary Gene Scalia told the Committee that he called President Trump around this time and gave him such feedback quite directly:

[S]o, I had put a call in to the President—I might have called on the 13th; we spoke, I believe, on the 14th—in which I conveyed to him that I thought that it was time for him to acknowledge that President Biden had prevailed in the election…. But 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 expected…. And I told him that I did believe, yes, that once those legal processes were run, if fraud had not been established that had affected the outcome of the election, that, unfortunately, I believed that what had to be done was concede the outcome.[100]


Deputy White House Press Secretary Judd Deere also told President Trump that he should concede. He recalled other staffers advising President Trump at some point to concede and that he “encouraged him to do it at least once after the electoral college met in mid-December.”[101] White House Counsel Pat Cipollone also believed that President Trump should concede: “[I]f your question is did I believe he should concede the election at a point in time, yes, I did.”[102]

Attorney General Barr told the Select Committee this: “And in my view, that [the December 14 electoral college vote] was the end of the matter. I didn’t see – you know, I thought that this would lead inexorably to a new administration. I was not aware at that time of any theory, you know, why this could be reversed. And so I felt that the die was cast….”[103]

Barr also told the Committee that he suggested several weeks earlier that the President’s efforts in this regard needed to come to an end soon, in conversation with several White House officials after his meeting with Trump on November 23rd:

[A]s I walked out of the Oval Office, Jared was there with Dan Scavino, who ran the President’s social media and who I thought was a reasonable guy and believe is a reasonable guy. And I said, how long is he going to carry on with this ‘stolen election’ stuff? Where is this going to go?

And by that time, Meadows had caught up with me and – leaving the office, and caught up to me and said that – he said, look, I think that he's becoming more realistic and knows that there's a limit to how far he can take this. And then Jared said, you know, yeah, we're working on this, we're working on it.[104]
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Re: Select Committee to Investigate the January 6th Attack

Postby admin » Tue Dec 27, 2022 9:22 am

Part 2 of 12

Despite all that Donald Trump was being told, he continued to purposely and maliciously make false claims. To understand the very stark differences between what he was being told and what he said publicly and in fundraising solicitations, the Committee has assembled the following examples.

Then-Deputy Attorney General Jeffrey Rosen (12/15/20):
“And so he said, ‘Well, what about this? I saw it on the videotape, somebody delivering a suitcase of ballots.’ And we said, ‘It wasn’t a suitcase. It was a bin. That’s what they use when they’re counting ballots. It’s benign.’”[105]
President Trump one week later (12/22/20):
“There is even security camera footage from Georgia that shows officials telling poll watchers to leave the room before pulling suitcases of ballots out from under the tables and continuing to count for hours.”[106]

Acting Deputy Attorney General Richard Donoghue (12/27 & 12/31/20):
“I told the President myself that several times, in several conversations, that these allegations about ballots being smuggled in in a suitcase and run through the machine several times, it was not true, that we looked at it, we looked at the video, we interviewed the witnesses, that it was not true…. I believe it was in the phone call on December 27th. It was also in a meeting in the Oval Office on December 31st.”[107]
President Trump later that week (1/2/21):
“[S]he stuffed the machine. She stuffed the ballot. Each ballot went three times, they were showing: Here’s ballot number one. Here it is a second time, third time, next ballot.” [108]

GA Sec. State Brad Raffensperger (1/2/21):
“You’re talking about the State Farm video. And I think it’s extremely unfortunate that Rudy Giuliani or his people, they sliced and diced that video and took it out of context.” … “[W]e did an audit of that and we proved conclusively that they were not scanned three times…. Yes, Mr. President, we’ll send you the link from WSB”
[Trump]: “I don’t care about a link. I don’t need it.”[109]
President Trump one day later (1/3/21):
“I spoke to Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger yesterday about Fulton County and voter fraud in Georgia. He was unwilling, or unable, to answer questions such as the ‘ballots under table’ scam, ballot destruction, out of state ‘voters’, dead voters, and more. He has no clue!”[110]

Attorney General Bill Barr (12/1/20):
“Then he raised the ‘big vote dump,’ as he called it, in Detroit. And, you know, he said, people saw boxes coming into the counting station at all hours of the morning and so forth…. I said, ‘Mr. President, there are 630 precincts in Detroit, and unlike elsewhere in the State, they centralize the counting process, so they’re not counted in each precinct, they’re moved to counting stations, and so the normal process would involve boxes coming in at all different hours.’
And I said, ‘Did anyone point out to you -- did all the people complaining about it point out to you, you actually did better in Detroit than you did last time? I mean, there’s no indication of fraud in Detroit.’”[111]
President Trump one day later (12/2/20):
“I’ll tell you what’s wrong, voter fraud. Here’s an example. This is Michigan. At 6:31 in the morning, a vote dump of 149,772 votes came in unexpectedly. We were winning by a lot. That batch was received in horror….
In Detroit everybody saw the tremendous conflict… there were more votes than there were voters.”[112]

Acting Deputy Attorney General Richard Donoghue (12/27/20):
“The President then continued, there are ‘more votes than voters…’. But I was aware of that allegation, and I said, you know, that was just a matter of them ‘comparing the 2020 votes cast to 2016 registration numbers.’ That is ‘not a valid complaint.’”[113]
President Trump ten days later (1/6/21):
“More votes than they had voters. And many other States also.”[114]

Acting Deputy Attorney General Richard Donoghue (1/3/21):
“[W]e would say to him, you know, ‘We checked that out, and there’s nothing to it…. And we would cite to certain allegations. And so – like such as Pennsylvania, right. ‘No, there were not 250,000 more votes reported than were actually cast. That’s not true.’ So we would say things like that.”[115]
President Trump three days later (1/6/21):
“In Pennsylvania, you had 205,000 more votes than you had voters. And the number is actually much greater than that now. That was as of a week ago. And this is a mathematical impossibility unless you want to say it’s a total fraud.”[116]

GA Sec. State Brad Raffensperger (1/2/21):
[Trump]: “[ i]t’s 4,502 who voted, but they weren’t on the voter registration roll, which they had to be. You had 18,325 vacant address voters. The address was vacant, and they’re not allowed to be counted. That’s 18,325.” …
[Raffensperger]: “Well, Mr. President, the challenge that you have is the data you have is wrong.”[117]
President Trump two days later (1/4/21):
“4,502 illegal ballots were cast by individuals who do not appear on the state’s voter rolls. Well, that’s sort of strange. 18,325 illegal ballots were cast by individuals who registered to vote using an address listed as vacant according to the postal service.”[118]

GA Sec. of State Brad Raffensperger (1/2/21):
[Trump]: “So dead people voted, and I think the number is close to 5,000 people. And they went to obituaries. They went to all sorts of methods to come up with an accurate number, and a minimum is close to about 5,000 voters.” …
[Raffensperger]: “The actual number were two. Two. Two people that were dead that voted. So that’s wrong.”[119]
President Trump four days later (1/6/21):
“[T]he number of fraudulent ballots that we've identified across the state is staggering. Over 10,300 ballots in Georgia were cast by individuals whose names and dates of birth match Georgia residents who died in 2020 and prior to the election.”[120]

GA Sec. State General Counsel Ryan Germany (1/2/21):
[Trump]: “You had out-of-state voters. They voted in Georgia, but they were from out of state, of 4,925.” …
[Germany]: “Every one we’ve been through are people that lived in Georgia, moved to a different state, but then moved back to Georgia legitimately.” … “They moved back in years ago. This was not like something just before the election. So there’s something about that data that, it’s just not accurate.”[121]
President Trump four days later (1/6/21):
“And at least 15,000 ballots were cast by individuals who moved out of the state prior to November 3rd election. They say they moved right back.”[122]

White House Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany (n.d.):
“[T]he one specific I remember referencing was I don’t agree with the Dominion track.” …
“I specifically referenced waving him off of the Dominion theory earlier in my testimony.” …
[Q] “Are you saying you think he still continued to tweet that after you waved him off of it?”
[A] “Yeah…”[123]
President Trump:
Between mid-November and January 5, 2021, President Trump tweeted or retweeted conspiracy theories about Dominion nearly three dozen times.[124]

Trump Campaign Senior Advisor Jason Miller:
“…the international allegations for Dominion were not valid.”
[Q] “Okay. Did anybody communicate that to the President?”
[A]: “I know that that was -- I know that was communicated. I know I communicated it”[125]
President Trump:
“You have Dominion, which is very, very suspect to start off with. Nobody knows the ownership. People say the votes are counted in foreign countries and much worse…”[126]

Attorney General Bill Barr (11/23/20):
“I specifically raised the Dominion voting machines, which I found to be one of the most disturbing allegations – ‘disturbing’ in the sense that I saw absolutely zero basis for the allegations … I told him that it was crazy stuff and they were wasting their time on that and it was doing great, great disservice to the country.”[127]
President Trump three days later (11/26/20):
“[T]hose machines are fixed, they’re rigged. You can press Trump and the vote goes to Biden…. All you have to do is play with a chip, and they played with a chip, especially in Wayne County and Detroit.”[128]

Attorney General Bill Barr (12/1/20):
“I explained, I said, look, if you have a machine and it counts 500 votes for Biden and 500 votes for Trump, and then you go back later and you have a -- you will have the 1,000 pieces of paper put through that machine, and you can see if there’s any discrepancy… there has been no discrepancy.”[129]
President Trump one day later (12/2/20):
“In one Michigan County, as an example, that used Dominion systems, they found that nearly 6,000 votes had been wrongly switched from Trump to Biden, and this is just the tip of the iceberg. This is what we caught. How many didn’t we catch?”[130]

Attorney General Bill Barr (12/14/20):
“‘I will, Mr. President. But there are a couple of things,’ I responded. ‘My understanding is that our experts have looked at the Antrim situation and are sure it was a human error that did not occur anywhere else. And, in any event, Antrim is doing a hand recount of the paper ballots, so we should know in a couple of days whether there is any real problem with the machines’.”[131]
President Trump one day later (12/15/20):
“This is BIG NEWS. Dominion Voting Machines are a disaster all over the Country. Changed the results of a landslide election. Can’t let this happen….”[132]

Then-Deputy Attorney General Jeffrey Rosen (12/15/20):
“[O]ther people were telling him there was fraud, you know, corruption in the election. The voting machines were no good. And we were telling him that is inconsistent, by ‘we,’ I mean Richard Donoghue and myself, that that was not what we were seeing.” … “There was this open issue as to the Michigan report. And -- I think it was Mr. Cuccinelli, not certain, but had indicated that there was a hand recount. And I think he said, "That's the gold standard.”[133]
President Trump one day later (12/16/20):
“Study: Dominion Machines shifted 2-3% of Trump Votes to Biden. Far more votes than needed to sway election.” Florida, Ohio, Texas and many other states were won by even greater margins than projected. Did just as well with Swing States, but bad things happened. @OANN”[134]

National Security Adviser Robert O’Brien (12/18/20):
“I got a call from, I think, Molly Michael in outer oval, the President’s assistant, and she said, ‘I’m connecting you to the Oval’… somebody asked me, was there -- did I have any evidence of election fraud in the voting machines or foreign interference in our voting machines. And I said, no, we’ve looked into that and there’s no evidence of it.”[135]
President Trump one day later (12/19/20):
“…There could also have been a hit on our ridiculous voting machines during the election, which is now obvious that I won big, making it an even more corrupted embarrassment for the USA. @DNI_Ratcliffe @SecPompeo”.[136]

Acting Deputy AG Richard Donoghue (12/31/20):
“We definitely talked about Antrim County again. That was sort of done at that point, because the hand recount had been done and all of that. But we cited back to that to say, you know, this is an example of what people are telling you and what’s being filed in some of these court filings that are just not supported by the evidence.”[137]
President Trump two days later (1/2/21):
“Well, Brad. Not that there’s not an issue, because we have a big issue with Dominion in other states and perhaps in yours…. in other states, we think we found tremendous corruption with Dominion machines, but we’ll have to see.” … “I won’t give Dominion a pass because we found too many bad things.”[138]

GA Sec. State Brad Raffensperger (1/2/21):
“I don’t believe that you’re really questioning the Dominion machines. Because we did a hand re-tally, a 100 percent re-tally of all the ballots, and compared them to what the machines said and came up with virtually the same result. Then we did the recount, and we got virtually the same result.”[139]
President Trump four days later (1/6/21):
“In addition, there is the highly troubling matter of Dominion Voting Systems. In one Michigan county alone, 6,000 votes were switched from Trump to Biden and the same systems are used in the majority of states in our country.” … “There is clear evidence that tens of thousands of votes were switched from President Trump to former Vice President Biden in several counties in Georgia.”[140]


Evidence gathered by the Committee indicates that President Trump raised roughly one quarter of a billion dollars in fundraising efforts between the election and January 6th.[141] Those solicitations persistently claimed and referred to election fraud that did not exist. For example, the Trump Campaign, along with the Republican National Committee, sent millions of emails to their supporters, with messaging claiming that the election was “rigged,” that their donations could stop Democrats from “trying to steal the election,” and that Vice President Biden would be an “illegitimate president” if he took office.

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Taped footage of William Barr speaking to the January 6th Select Committee is shown at one of its hearings. (Photo by Mandel Ngan-Pool/Getty Images)

Ultimately, Attorney General Bill Barr suggested that the Department of Justice’s investigations disproving President Trump’s fraud claims may have prevented an even more serious series of events:

[F]rankly, I think the fact that I put myself in the position that I could say that we had looked at this and didn’t think there was fraud was really important to moving things forward. And I sort of shudder to think what the situation would have been if the position of the Department was, “We’re not even looking at this until after Biden’s in office.” I’m not sure we would’ve had a transition at all.[142]


RATHER THAN CONCEDE, DONALD TRUMP CHOOSES TO OBSTRUCT THE JANUARY 6TH PROCEEDING

President Trump disregarded the rulings of the courts and rejected the findings and conclusions and advice from his Justice Department, his campaign experts, and his White House and Cabinet advisors. He chose instead to try to overturn the election on January 6th and took a series of very specific steps to attempt to achieve that result.

A central element of Donald Trump’s plan to overturn the election relied upon Vice President Mike Pence. As Vice President, Pence served as the President of the Senate, the presiding officer for the joint session of Congress on January 6th. Beginning in December, and with greater frequency as January 6th approached, Trump repeatedly and unlawfully pressured Pence in private and public to prevent Congress from counting lawful electoral votes from several States.

To understand the plan President Trump devised with attorney and law professor John Eastman, it is necessary to understand the constitutional structure for selecting our President.

At the Constitutional Convention 233 years ago, the framers considered but rejected multiple proposals that Congress itself vote to select the President of the United States.[143] Indeed the Framers voiced very specific concerns with Congress selecting the President. They viewed it as important that the electors, chosen for the specific purpose of selecting the President, should make the determination rather than Congress:

It was desireable, that the sense of the people should operate in the choice of the person to whom so important a trust was to be confided. This end will be answered by committing the right of making it, not to any pre-established body, but to men, chosen by the people for the special purpose, and at the particular conjuncture.[144]


The Framers understood that a thoughtful structure for the appointment of the President was necessary to avoid certain evils: “Nothing was more to be desired, than that every practicable obstacle should be opposed to cabal, intrigue and corruption.”[145] They were careful to ensure that “those who from situation might be suspected of too great devotion to the president in office” “were not among those that chose the president.”[146] For that reason, “[n]o senator, representative, or other person holding a place of trust or profit under the United States, can be of the number of the electors.”[147]

Article II of our Constitution, as modified by the Twelfth Amendment, governs election of the President. Article II created the electoral college, providing that the States would select electors in the manner provided by State legislatures, and those electors would in turn vote for the President. Today, every State selects Presidential electors by popular vote, and each State’s laws provide for procedures to resolve election disputes, including through lawsuits if necessary. After any election issues are resolved in State or Federal court, each State’s government transmits a certificate of the ascertainment of the appointed electors to Congress and the National Archives.

The electoral college meets in mid-December to cast their votes, and all of these electoral votes are then ultimately counted by Congress on January 6th. The Vice President, as President of the Senate, presides over the joint session of Congress to count votes. The Twelfth Amendment provides this straight-forward instruction: “The president of the Senate shall, in the presence of the Senate and House of Representatives, open all the certificates and the votes shall then be counted; The person having the greatest number of votes for President shall be the President…” The Vice President has only a ministerial role, opening the envelopes and ensuring that the votes are counted. Likewise, the Electoral Count Act of 1887 provides no substantive role for the Vice President in counting votes, reinforcing that he or she can only act in a ministerial fashion—the Vice President may not choose, for example, to decline to count particular votes. In most cases (e.g., when one candidate has a majority of votes submitted by the States) Congress has only a ministerial role, as well. It simply counts electoral college votes provided by each State’s governor. Congress is not a court and cannot overrule State and Federal court rulings in election challenges.

As January 6th approached, John Eastman and others devised a plan whereby Vice President Pence would, as the presiding officer, declare that certain electoral votes from certain States could not be counted at the joint session.[148] John Eastman knew before proposing this plan that it was not legal. Indeed, in a pre-election document discussing Congress’s counting of electoral votes, Dr. Eastman specifically disagreed with a colleague’s proposed argument that the Vice President had the power to choose which envelopes to “open” and which votes to “count.” Dr. Eastman wrote:

I don’t agree with this. The 12th Amendment only says that the President of the Senate opens the ballots in the joint session then, in the passive voice, that the votes shall then be counted. 3 USC § 12 [of the Electoral Count Act] says merely that he is the presiding officer, and then it spells out specific procedures, presumptions, and default rules for which slates will be counted. Nowhere does it suggest that the president of the Senate gets to make the determination on his own. § 15 [of the Electoral Count Act] doesn’t either.[149]


Despite recognizing prior to the 2020 election that the Vice President had no power to refuse to count certain electoral votes, Eastman nevertheless drafted memoranda 2 months later proposing that Pence could do exactly that on January 6th—refuse to count certified electoral votes from Arizona, Georgia, Michigan, Nevada, New Mexico, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin.[150]Eastman v. Thompson et al.

Eastman’s theory was related to other efforts overseen by President Trump (described in detail below, see infra [])to create and transmit fake electoral slates to Congress and the National Archives, and to pressure States to change the election outcome and issue new electoral slates. Eastman supported these ideas despite writing two months earlier that:

A
rticle II [of the Constitution] says the electors are appointed “in such manner as the Legislature thereof may direct,” but I don’t think that entitles the Legislature to change the rules after the election and appoint a different slate of electors in a manner different than what was in place on election day. And 3 U.S.C. §15 [of the Electoral Count Act] gives dispositive weight to the slate of electors that was certified by the Governor in accord with 3 U.S.C. §5.[151]


Even after Eastman proposed the theories in his December and January memoranda, he acknowledged in conversations with Vice President Pence’s counsel Greg Jacob that Pence could not lawfully do what his own memoranda proposed.[152] Eastman admitted that the U.S. Supreme Court would unanimously reject his legal theory. “He [Eastman] had acknowledged that he would lose 9-0 at the Supreme Court.”[153] Moreover, Dr. Eastman acknowledged to Jacob that he didn’t think Vice President Al Gore had that power in 2001, nor did he think Vice President Kamala Harris should have that power in 2025.[154]

In testimony before the Select Committee, Jacob described in detail why the Trump plan for Pence was illegal:

[T]he Vice President’s first instinct, when he heard this theory, was that there was no way that our Framers, who abhorred concentrated power, who had broken away from the tyranny of George III, would ever have put one person – particularly not a person who had a direct interest in the outcome because they were on the ticket for the election –in a role to have decisive impact on the outcome of the election. And our review of text, history, and, frankly, just common sense, all confirmed the Vice President’s first instinct on that point. There is no justifiable basis to conclude that the Vice President has that kind of authority.[155]


This is how the Vice President later described his views in a public speech:

I had no right to overturn the election. The Presidency belongs to the American people, and the American people alone. And frankly, there is no idea more un-American than the notion that any one person could choose the American President. Under the Constitution, I had no right to change the outcome of our election.[156]


But as January 6th approached, President Trump nevertheless embraced the new Eastman theories, and attempted to implement them. In a series of meetings and calls, President Trump attempted to pressure Pence to intervene on January 6th to prevent Congress from counting multiple States’ electoral votes for Joe Biden. At several points in the days before January 6th, President Trump was told directly that Vice President Pence could not legally do what Trump was asking. For example, at a January 4th meeting in the Oval Office, Dr. Eastman acknowledged that any variation of his proposal – whether rejecting electoral votes outright or delaying certification to send them back to the States – would violate several provisions of the Electoral Count Act. According to Greg Jacob:

In the conversation in the Oval Office on the 4th, I had raised the fact that . . . [Dr. Eastman’s] preferred course had issues with the Electoral Count Act, which he had acknowledged was the case, that there would be an inconsistency with the Electoral Count Act[.][157]


Jacob recorded Eastman’s admission in an internal memo he drafted for Vice President Pence on the evening of January 4th: “Professor Eastman acknowledges that his proposal violates several provisions of statutory law.”[158] And, during a phone call with President Trump and Dr. Eastman on the evening of January 5, 2021, Dr. Eastman again acknowledged that his proposal also would violate several provisions of the Electoral Count Act.

[W]e did have an in-depth discussion about [the Electoral Count Act] in the subsequent phone calls as I walked him through provision after provision on the recess and on the fact that . . . Congressmen and Senators are supposed to get to object and debate. And he acknowledged, one after another, that those provisions would -- in order for us to send it back to the States, we couldn’t do those things as well. We can’t do a 10-day, send it back to the States, and honor an Electoral Count Act provision that says you can’t recess for more than one day and, once you get to the 5th, you have to stay continuously in session.[159]


As Pence’s Chief of Staff, Marc Short, testified that the Vice President also repeatedly informed President Trump that the Vice President’s role on January 6th was only ministerial.

Committee Staff: But just to pick up on that, Mr. Short, was it your impression that the Vice President had directly conveyed his position on these issues to the President, not just to the world through a Dear Colleague Letter, but directly to President Trump?

Marc Short: Many times.

Committee Staff: And had been consistent in conveying his position to the President?

Short: Very consistent.[160]


As the situation grew increasingly acrimonious, Vice President Pence’s private counsel Richard Cullen contacted former Fourth Circuit Judge Michael Luttig, a renowned conservative judge for whom Dr. Eastman had previously clerked, and asked Luttig to make a public statement. On January 5th, Luttig wrote the following on Twitter: “The only responsibility and power of the Vice President under the Constitution is to faithfully count the electoral college votes as they have been cast.”[161] As Judge Luttig testified in the Committee’s hearings, “there was no basis in the Constitution or laws of the United States at all for the theory espoused by Dr. Eastman – at all. None.”[162] Judge Luttig completely rejected Dr. Eastman’s “blueprint to overturn the 2020 election” as “constitutional mischief” and ‘the most reckless, insidious, and calamitous failure[] in both legal and political judgment in American history.”[163]

Contemporaneous written correspondence also confirms both that: (1) Eastman himself recognized Pence could not lawfully refuse to count electoral votes, and (2) President Trump also knew this. While sheltering in a loading dock with the Vice President during the violent January 6th attack, Greg Jacob asked Dr. Eastman in an email, “Did you advise the President that in your professional judgment the Vice President DOES NOT have the power to decide things unilaterally?” Dr. Eastman’s response stated that the President had “been so advised,” but then indicated that President Trump continued to pressure the Vice President to act illegally: “But you know him – once he gets something in his head, it is hard to get him to change course.”[164]

To be absolutely clear, no White House lawyer believed Pence could lawfully refuse to count electoral votes. White House Counsel Pat Cipollone told the Select Committee this:

I thought that the Vice President did not have the authority to do what was being suggested under a proper reading of the law. I conveyed that, ok? I think I actually told somebody, you know, in the Vice President’s – “Just blame me.” You know this is – I’m not a politician, you know… but, you know, I just said, “I’m a lawyer. This is my legal opinion.”[165]


Cipollone also testified that he was “sure [he] conveyed” his views.[166] Indeed, other testimony from Cipollone indicates that Trump knew of Cipollone’s view and suggests that Trump purposely excluded Cipollone from the meeting with Pence and Pence’s General Counsel on January 4th.[167] Indeed, at one point, Cipollone confronted Dr. Eastman in the hallway outside the Oval Office and expressed his disapproval of and anger with Dr. Eastman’s position. According to Jason Miller, “Pat Cipollone thought the idea was nutty and had at one point confronted Eastman basically with the same sentiment” outside the Oval Office.[168] Pat Cipollone did not deny having an angry confrontation with Dr. Eastman outside of the Oval Office – though he said he didn’t have a specific recollection, he had no reason to contradict what Jason Miller said and, moreover, said that Dr. Eastman was aware of his views.[169]

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Greg Jacob and Judge Michael Luttig testify at January 6th Select Committee hearing. (Photo by House Creative Services)

Likewise, Eric Herschmann, another White House lawyer, expressed the same understanding that Dr. Eastman’s plan “obviously made no sense” and “had no practical ability to work.”[170] Herschmann also recounted telling Dr. Eastman directly that his plan was “completely crazy:”

And I said to [Dr. Eastman], hold on a second, I want to understand what you’re saying. You’re saying you believe the Vice President, acting as President of the Senate, can be the sole decisionmaker as to, under your theory, who becomes the next President of the United States? And he said, yes. And I said, are you out of your F’ing mind, right. And that was pretty blunt. I said, you’re completely crazy.[171]


Deputy White House Counsel Pat Philbin also had the same understanding.[172] Indeed, as Herschmann testified, even Rudolph Giuliani doubted that Vice President Mike Pence had any legal ability to do what Dr. Eastman had proposed.[173]

Despite all this opposition from all White House lawyers, Trump nevertheless continued to exert immense pressure on Pence to refuse to count electoral votes.

The pressure began before the January 4th Oval Office meeting with Pence, Dr. Eastman, Jacob, Short and Trump, but became even more intense thereafter. On the evening of January 5, 2021, the New York Times published an article reporting that “Vice President Mike Pence told President Trump on Tuesday that he did not believe he had the power to block congressional certification of Joseph R. Biden, Jr.’s victory in the Presidential election despite President Trump’s baseless insistence that he did.”[174] This reporting was correct – both as to the Vice President’s power and as to Vice President Pence having informed President Trump that he did not have the authority to change the outcome of the election. But in response to that story, late in the evening before January 6th Joint Session, President Trump dictated to Jason Miller a statement falsely asserting, “The Vice President and I are in total agreement that the Vice President has the power to act.”[175] This statement was released at President Trump’s direction and was false.[176]

Thereafter Trump continued to apply public pressure in a series of tweets. At 1:00 a.m. on January 6th, “[ i]f Vice President @Mike_Pence comes through for us, we will win the Presidency. Many States want to decertify the mistake they made in certifying incorrect & even fraudulent numbers in a process NOT approved by their State Legislatures (which it must be). Mike can send it back!”[177] At 8:17 a.m. on January 6th, he tweeted again: “States want to correct their votes, which they now know were based on irregularities and fraud, plus corrupt process never received legislative approval. All Mike Pence has to do is send them back to the States, AND WE WIN. Do it Mike, this is a time for extreme courage!”[178]

President Trump tried to reach the Vice President early in the morning of January 6th, but the Vice President did not take the call. The President finally reached the Vice President later that morning, shouting from the Oval Office to his assistants to “get the Vice President on the phone.”[179] After again telling the Vice President that he had “the legal authority to send [electoral votes] back to the respective states,” President Trump grew very heated.[180] Witnesses in the Oval Office during this call told the Select Committee that the President called Vice President Pence a “wimp,”[181] told him it would be “a political career killer” to certify the lawful electoral votes electing President Biden,[182] and accused him of “not [being] tough enough to make the call.”[183] As Ivanka Trump would recount to her chief of staff moments later, her father called the Vice President “the p-word” for refusing to overturn the election.[184]

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President Trump speaks with Vice President Pence over the phone in the Oval Office on the morning of January 6th. (Photo provided to the Select Committee by the National Archives and Records Administration)

In response, Vice President Pence again refused to take any action other than counting the lawfully certified electoral votes of the States. But President Trump was angry and undeterred. After the conclusion of this call, he edited his speech for the Ellipse to insert language to which his lawyers objected – targeting Vice President Pence directly.[185]

Earlier that morning, Eric Herschmann had tried to remove the reference to Vice President Pence from the speech. As he told speechwriter Stephen Miller, he “didn’t concur with the legal analysis” that John Eastman had advanced and believed it “wouldn’t advance the ball” to discuss it publicly.[186] But after the call with Vice President Pence, speechwriters were instructed to reinsert the line. Although the final written draft of his speech referred to Pence just once – a line President Trump didn’t end up reading[187] – the President went off-script five different times to pressure the Vice President:

“I hope Mike is going to do the right thing. I hope so. Because if Mike Pence does the right thing, we win the election,” Trump first told the crowd.[188]

“Mike Pence is going to have to come through for us,” Trump later said, “and if he doesn’t, that will be a, a sad day for our country because you’re sworn to uphold our Constitution.”[189]

Addressing Pence directly, Trump told the assembled crowd: “Mike Pence, I hope you’re going to stand up for the good of our Constitution and for the good of our country.” Trump said at another point, “And if you’re not, I’m going to be very disappointed in you. I will tell you right now. I’m not hearing good stories.”[190]

“So I hope Mike has the courage to do what he has to do. And I hope he doesn’t listen to the RINOs and the stupid people that he’s listening to,” Trump said.[191]

These statements to the assembled crowd at the Ellipse had Trump’s intended effect – they produced substantial anger against Pence. When Pence released a statement confirming that he would not act to prevent Congress from counting electoral votes, the crowd’s reaction was harshly negative:

I’m telling you what, I’m hearing that Pence — hearing the Pence just caved. No. Is that true? I didn’t hear it. I’m hear — I’m hearing reports that Pence caved. No way. I’m telling you, if Pence caved, we’re going to drag motherfuckers through the streets. You fucking politicians are going to get fucking drug through the streets.[192]

Pence voted against Trump. [Interviewer: “Ok. And that’s when all this started?”] Yup. That’s when we marched on the Capitol. [193]

We just heard that Mike Pence is not going to reject any fraudulent electoral votes. [Other speaker: “Boo. You’re a traitor!”] That's right. You’ve heard it here first. Mike Pence has betrayed the United States of America. [Other speaker: “Fuck you, Mike Pence!”] Mike Pence has betrayed this President and he has betrayed the people of the United States and we will never, ever forget. [Cheers][194]

This woman cames [sic] up to the side of us and she says Pence folded. So it was kind of, like, Ok, well — in my mind I was thinking, well that’s it. You know. Well, my son-in-law looks at me and he says I want to go in.[195]

[Q] What percentage of the crowd is going to the Capitol? [A] [Oath Keeper Jessica Watkins]: One hundred percent. It has, it has spread like wildfire that Pence has betrayed us, and everybody’s marching on the Capitol. All million of us. It’s insane.[196]

Bring him out. Bring out Pence. Bring him out. Bring out Pence. Bring him out. Bring out Pence. Bring him out. Bring out Pence.[197]

Hang Mike Pence. Hang Mike Pence. Hang Mike Pence. Hang Mike Pence. Hang Mike Pence.[198]


Once Trump returned to the White House, he was informed almost immediately that violence and lawlessness had broken out at the Capitol among his supporters.[199] At 2:24 p.m., President Trump applied yet further pressure to Pence (see infra []), posting a tweet accusing Vice President Mike Pence of cowardice for not using his role as President of the Senate to change the outcome of the election: “Mike Pence didn’t have the courage to do what should have been done to protect our Country and our Constitution, giving States a chance to certify a corrected set of facts, not the fraudulent or inaccurate ones which they were asked to previously certify. USA demands the truth!”[200] Almost immediately thereafter, the crowd around the Capitol surged, and more individuals joined the effort to confront police and break further into the building.

The sentiment expressed in President Trump's 2:24 p.m. tweet, already present in the crowd, only grew more powerful as the President’s words spread. Timothy Hale-Cusanelli – a white supremacist who expressed Nazi sympathies – heard about the tweet while in the Crypt around 2:25 p.m., and he, according to the Department of Justice, “knew what that meant.” Vice President Pence had decided not to keep President Trump in power.[201] Other rioters described what happened next as follows:

Once we found out Pence turned on us and that they had stolen the election, like officially, the crowd went crazy. I mean, it became a mob. We crossed the gate.[202]

Then we heard the news on [P]ence…And lost it…So we stormed.[203]


They’re making an announcement right now saying if Pence betrays us you better get your mind right because we’re storming that building.[204]

Minutes after the tweet—at 2:35 p.m.—rioters continued their surge and broke a security line of the DC Metropolitan Police Department, resulting in the first fighting withdrawal in the history of the that force.[205]

President Trump issued this tweet after he had falsely claimed to the angry crowd that Vice President Mike Pence could “do the right thing” and ensure a second Trump term, after that angry crowd had turned into a violent mob assaulting the Capitol while chanting, “Hang Mike Pence!”[206] and after the U.S. Secret Service had evacuated the Vice President from the Senate floor.[207] One minute after the President’s tweet, at 2:25 p.m., the Secret Service determined they could no longer protect the Vice President in his ceremonial office near the Senate Chamber, and evacuated the Vice President and his family to a secure location, missing the violent mob by a mere 40 feet.[208]
Further evidence presented at our hearing shows the violent reaction following President Trump’s 2:24 p.m. tweet and the efforts to protect Vice President Pence in the time that followed.[209]

The day after the attack on the Capitol, Dr. Eastman called Eric Herschmann to talk about continuing litigation on behalf of the Trump Presidential campaign in Georgia. Herschmann described his reaction to Eastman this way:

And I said to him, are you out of your F'ing mind? Right? I said, because I only want to hear two words coming out of your mouth from now on: Orderly transition. I said, I don't want to hear any other F'ing words coming out of your mouth, no matter what, other than orderly transition. Repeat those words to me.”[210]


Herschmann concluded the call by telling Dr. Eastman: “Now I’m going to give you the best free legal advice you’re ever getting in your life. Get a great F’ing criminal defense lawyer, you’re going to need it,” and hanging up the phone.[211]

In the course of investigating this series of facts, the Select Committee subpoenaed Dr. John Eastman’s emails from his employer, Chapman University.[212] Dr. Eastman sued to prevent Chapman from producing the emails, arguing that the emails were attorney-client privileged. Federal District Court Judge David Carter reviewed Dr. Eastman’s emails in camera to determine, among other things, whether the emails had to be produced because they likely furthered a crime committed by one of Dr. Eastman’s clients or by Dr. Eastman himself. In addition to reviewing the emails themselves, Judge Carter reviewed substantial additional evidence presented by the Select Committee and by Dr. Eastman.

After reciting a series of factual findings regarding President Trump’s multi-part plan to overturn the election, Judge Carter concluded that President Trump likely violated two criminal statutes: 18 U.S.C. § 1512(c) (corruptly obstructing, impeding or influencing Congress’s official proceeding to count electoral votes); and 18 U.S.C. § 371 (conspiring to defraud the United States). The Court also concluded that John Eastman likely violated at least one of these criminal laws. As to §1512(c), Judge Carter explained:

Taken together, this evidence demonstrates that President Trump likely knew the electoral count plan had no factual justification.

The plan not only lacked factual basis but also legal justification. . . .

The illegality of the plan was obvious. Our nation was founded on the peaceful transition of power, epitomized by George Washington laying down his sword to make way for democratic elections. Ignoring this history, President Trump vigorously campaigned for the Vice President to single-handedly determine the results of the 2020 election. . . . Every American – and certainly the President of the United States – knows that in a democracy, leaders are elected, not installed. With a plan this “BOLD,” President Trump knowingly tried to subvert this fundamental principle. Based on the evidence, the Court finds it more likely than not that President Trump corruptly attempted to obstruct the Joint Session of Congress on January 6, 2021.[213]


As to 18 U.S.C. § 371, Judge Carter identified evidence demonstrating that both President Trump and John Eastman knew their electoral count plan was illegal, and knew it could not “survive judicial scrutiny” in any of its iterations:

Dr. Eastman himself repeatedly recognized that his plan had no legal support. . . . Dr. Eastman likely acted deceitfully and dishonestly each time he pushed an outcome-driven plan that he knew was unsupported by the law.[214]

Finally, Judge Carter concluded:

Dr. Eastman and President Trump launched a campaign to overturn a democratic election, an action unprecedented in American history. Their campaign was not confined to the ivory tower – it was a coup in search of a legal theory. The plan spurred violent attacks on the seat of our nation’s government, led to the deaths of several law enforcement officers, and deepened public distrust in our political process.[215]


Judge Luttig reached similar conclusions during his live hearing testimony: “I have written, as you said, Chairman Thompson, that, today, almost 2 years after that fateful day in January 2021, that, still, Donald Trump and his allies and supporters are a clear and present danger to American democracy.”[216]

During the hearing, Judge Luttig took issue with certain of Greg Jacob’s characterizations of the 12th Amendment’s text, explaining that the applicable text was not ambiguous in any way. The Committee agrees with Judge Luttig: the application of the Twelfth Amendment’s text is plain in this context; it does not authorize Congress to second-guess State and Federal courts and refuse to count State electoral votes based on concerns about fraud. See infra []. Although Jacob did not discuss his position in great detail during the hearing, his private testimony gives more insight on his actual views:

In my view, a lot has been said about the fact that the role of the Vice President in the electoral count on January 6th is purely ministerial, and that is a correct conclusion. But if you look at the constitutional text, the role of Congress is purely ministerial as well. You open the certificates and you count them. Those are the only things provided for in the Constitution.[217]
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Re: Select Committee to Investigate the January 6th Attack

Postby admin » Tue Dec 27, 2022 9:30 am

Part 3 of 12

EFFORTS TO PRESSURE STATES TO CHANGE THE ELECTION OUTCOME, AND TO CREATE AND TRANSMIT FAKE ELECTION CERTIFICATES

Anticipating that the Eastman strategy for January 6th would be implemented, President Trump worked with a handful of others to prepare a series of false Trump electoral slates for seven States Biden actually won. President Trump personally conducted a teleconference with Eastman and Republican National Committee Chair Ronna McDaniel “a few days before December 14” and solicited the RNC’s assistance with the scheme.[218] McDaniel agreed to provide that assistance.[219]

A series of contemporaneous documents demonstrate what President Trump and his allies, including attorney Kenneth Chesebro, were attempting to accomplish: they anticipated that the President of the Senate (which, under the Constitution, is the Vice President) could rely upon these false slates of electors on January 6th to justify refusing to count genuine electoral votes.[220]

The false slates were created by fake Republican electors on December 14th, at the same time the actual, certified electors in those States were meeting to cast their States’ Electoral College votes for President Biden. By that point in time, election-related litigation was over in all or nearly all of the subject States, and Trump Campaign election lawyers realized that the fake slates could not be lawful or justifiable on any grounds. Justin Clark, the Trump Campaign Deputy Campaign Manager and Senior Counsel told the Select Committee that he “had real problems with the process.”[221] Clark warned his colleagues, “unless we have litigation pending like in these States, like, I don’t think this is appropriate or, you know, this isn’t the right thing to do. I don’t remember how I phrased it, but I got into a little bit of a back and forth and I think it was with Ken Chesebro, where I said, Alright, you know, you just get after it, like, I’m out.”[222]

Matthew Morgan, the Trump Campaign General Counsel, told the Select Committee that without an official State certificate of ascertainment,[223] “the [fake] electors were, for lack of a better way of saying it, no good or not -- not valid.”[224]

Image
Graphic depicting the difference between the real and the fake elector certificates.

The Office of White House Counsel also appears to have expressed concerns with this fake elector plan. In his interview by the Select Committee White House Counsel Pat Cipollone acknowledged his view that by mid-December, the process was “done” and that his deputy, Pat Philbin, may have advised against the fake elector strategy.[225] In an informal Committee interview, Philbin described the fake elector scheme as one of the “bad theories” that were like “whack-a-mole” in the White House during this period.[226] Cipollone agreed with this characterization.[227]

In her testimony, Cassidy Hutchinson testified that she heard at least one member of the White House Counsel’s Office say that the plan was not legal:

Committee Staff: … to be clear, did you hear the White House Counsel’s Office say that this plan to have alternate electors meet and cast votes for Donald Trump in States that he had lost was not legally sound?

Hutchinson: Yes, sir.[228]


Multiple Republicans who were persuaded to sign the fake certificates also testified that they felt misled or betrayed, and would not have done so had they known that the fake votes would be used on January 6th without an intervening court ruling One elector told the Select Committee that he thought his vote would be strictly contingent: “[ i]t was a very consistent message that we were told throughout all of that, is this is the only reason why we’re doing this, is to preserve the integrity of being able to have a challenge.”[229]

The “Chairperson” of the Wisconsin fake electors, who was also at the time Chairman of the Wisconsin Republican Party, insisted in testimony to the Select Committee that he “was told that these would only count if a court ruled in our favor” and that he wouldn’t have supported anyone using the Trump electors’ votes without a court ruling.[230]

Despite the fact that all major election lawsuits thus far had failed, Trump and his co-conspirators in this effort, including John Eastman and Kenneth Chesebro, pressed forward with the fake elector scheme. Ultimately, these false electoral slates, five of which purported to represent the “duly elected” electoral college votes of their States, were transmitted to Executive Branch officials at the National Archives, and to the Legislative Branch, including to the Office of the President of the Senate, Vice President Mike Pence.[231]

The fake electors followed Chesebro’s step-by-step instructions for completing and mailing the fake certificates to multiple officials in the U.S. Government,[232] complete with registered mail stickers and return address labels identifying senders like the “Arizona Republican Party” and the “Georgia Republican Party.”[233] The Wisconsin Republican Party’s fake certificates apparently weren’t properly delivered, however, so the Trump campaign arranged to fly them to Washington just before the joint session on January 6th, and try to deliver them to the Vice President via Senator Ron Johnson and Representative Mike Kelly’s offices.[234] Both Johnson and Kelly’s offices attempted to do so, but Vice President Pence’s aide refused the delivery.[235]

Despite pressure from President Trump, Vice President Pence and the Senate parliamentarian refused to recognize or count the unofficial fake electoral votes. Greg Jacob testified that he advised Vice President Pence on January 2nd that “none of the slates that had been sent in would qualify as an alternate slate” under the law and that the Senate Parliamentarian “was in agreement” with this conclusion.[236]

* * *

In addition to this plan to create and transmit fake electoral slates, Donald Trump was also personally and substantially involved in multiple efforts to pressure State election officials and State legislatures to alter official lawful election results. As U.S. District Judge Carter stated in his June 7, 2022, opinion:

Dr. Eastman’s actions in these few weeks [in December 2022] indicate that his and President Trump’s pressure campaign to stop the electoral count did not end with Vice President Pence – it targeted every tier of federal and state elected officials. Convincing state legislatures to certify competing electors was essential to stop the count and ensure President Trump’s reelection.[237]


Judge Carter also explained that “Dr. Eastman and President Trump’s plan to disrupt the Joint Session was fully formed and actionable as early as December 7, 2020.”[238]

Chapter 2 of this report provides substantial detail on many of President Trump’s specific efforts to apply pressure to State officials and legislators. We provide a few examples here:

During a January 2, 2021, call, President Trump pressured Georgia’s Republican Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger to “find 11,780 votes.” During that call, President Trump asserted conspiracy theories about the election that Department of Justice officials had already debunked. Trump also made a thinly veiled threat to Raffensperger and his attorney about his failure to respond to Trump’s demands: “That’s a criminal, that’s a criminal offense . . . That’s a big risk to you and to Ryan, your lawyer . . . I’m notifying you that you’re letting it happen.”[239]

Judge Carter drew these conclusions:

Mr. Raffensperger debunked the President’s allegations “point by point” and explained that “the data you have is wrong;” however, President Trump still told him, “I just want to find 11,780 votes.”[240]

* * *

President Trump’s repeated pleas for Georgia Secretary of State Raffensperger clearly demonstrate that his justification was not to investigate fraud, but to win the election. … Taken together, this evidence demonstrates that President Trump likely knew the electoral count plan had no factual justification. The plan not only lacked factual basis but also legal justification.[241]


That call to Raffensperger came on the heels of Trump’s repeated attacks on Raffensperger, election workers, and other public servants about Trump’s loss in the election. A month earlier, the Georgia Secretary of State’s Chief Operating Officer, Gabriel Sterling, had given this explicit public warning to Trump and his team, a warning that the Select Committee has determined President Trump apparently saw and disregarded:[242]

[ I]t has all gone too far. All of it....

A 20-something tech in Gwinnett County today has death threats and a noose put out, saying he should be hung for treason because he was transferring a report on batches from an EMS to a county computer so he could read it.

It has to stop.

Mr. President, you have not condemned these actions or this language. Senators, you have not condemned this language or these actions. This has to stop. We need you to step up. And if you’re going to take a position of leadership, show some.

My boss, Secretary Raffensperger – his address is out there. They have people doing caravans in front of their house, they’ve had people come onto their property. Tricia, his wife of 40 years, is getting sexualized threats through her cellphone.

It has to stop.

This is elections, this is the backbone of democracy, and all of you who have not said a damn word are complicit in this. It’s too much….

What you don’t have the ability to do – and you need to step up and say this – is stop inspiring people to commit potential acts of violence. Someone’s going to get hurt. Someone’s going to get shot. Someone’s going to get killed.[243]


The stark warning was entirely appropriate, and prescient. In addition to the examples Sterling identified, Trump and his team were also fixated on Georgia election workers Ruby Freeman and Wandrea “Shaye” Moss. He and Giuliani mentioned Freeman repeatedly in meetings with State legislators, public rallies, and in the January 2nd call with Raffensperger. Referring to a video clip, Giuliani even accused Freeman and Moss of trading USB drives to affect votes “as if they [were] vials of heroin or cocaine.”[244] This was completely bogus: it was not a USB drive; it was a ginger mint.[245]

After their contact information was published, Trump supporters sent hundreds of threats to the women and even showed up at Freeman’s home.[246] As Freeman testified to the Select Committee, Trump and his followers’ conduct had a profound impact on her life. She left her home based on advice from the FBI, and wouldn’t move back for months.[247] And she explained, “I’ve lost my sense of security – all because a group of people, starting with Number 45 [Donald Trump] and his ally Rudy Giuliani, decided to scapegoat me and my daughter Shaye to push their own lies about how the Presidential election was stolen.”[248] The treatment of Freeman and Moss was callous, inhumane, and inexcusable. Rudolph Giuliani and others with responsibility should be held accountable.

Image
Gabriel Sterling at a press conference on November 6, 2020 in Atlanta, Georgia. (Photo by Jessica McGowan/Getty Images)

In Arizona, a primary target of Trump’s pressure, and ire, was House Speaker Russell “Rusty” Bowers, a longtime Republican who had served 17 years in the State legislature. Throughout November and December, Bowers spoke to Trump, Giuliani, and members of Giuliani’s legal team, in person or on the phone. During these calls, Trump and others alleged that the results in Arizona were affected by fraud and asked that Bowers consider replacing Presidential electors for Biden with electors for Trump.[249] Bowers demanded proof for the claims of fraud, but never got it. At one point, after Bowers pressed Giuliani on the claims of fraud, Giuliani responded, “we’ve got lots of theories, we just don’t have the evidence.”[250] Bowers explained to Giuliani: “You are asking me do something against my oath, and I will not break my oath.”[251]

Trump and his supporters’ intimidation tactics affected Bowers, too. Bowers’s personal cell phone and home address were doxed,[252] leading demonstrators to show up at his home and shout insults until police arrived. One protestor who showed up at his home was armed and believed to be a member of an extremist militia.[253] Another hired a truck with a defamatory and profane allegation that Bowers, a deeply religious man, was a pedophile, and drove it through Bowers’s neighborhood.[254] This, again, is the conduct of thugs and criminals, each of whom should be held accountable.

In Michigan, Trump focused on Republican Senate Majority Leader Mike Shirkey and Republican House Speaker Lee Chatfield. He invited them to the White House for a November 20, 2020, meeting during which Trump and Giuliani, who joined by phone, went through a “litany” of false allegations about supposed fraud in Michigan’s election.[255] Chatfield recalled Trump’s more generic directive for the group to “have some backbone and do the right thing,” which he understood to mean overturning the election by naming Michigan’s Electoral College electors for Trump.[256] Shirkey told Trump that he wouldn’t do anything that would violate Michigan law,[257] and after the meeting ended, issued a joint statement with Chatfield: “We have not yet been made aware of any information that would change the outcome of the election in Michigan and as legislative leaders, we will follow the law and follow the normal process regarding Michigan’s electors, just as we have said throughout this election.”[258]

When Trump couldn’t convince Shirkey and Chatfield to change the outcome of the election in Michigan during that meeting or in calls after, he or his team maliciously tweeted out Shirkey’s personal cell phone number and a number for Chatfield that turned out to be wrong.[259] Shirkey received nearly 4,000 text messages after that, and another private citizen reported being inundated with calls and texts intended for Chatfield.[260]

None of Donald Trump’s efforts ultimately succeeded in changing the official results in any State. That these efforts had failed was apparent to Donald Trump and his co-conspirators well before January 6th. By January 6th, there was no evidence at all that a majority of any State legislature would even attempt to change its electoral votes.[261]

This past October, Federal District Court Judge David Carter issued a further ruling relating to one of President Trump’s lawsuits in Georgia. Judge Carter applied the crime-fraud exception to attorney-client privilege again, and identified potential criminal activity related to a knowingly false representation by Donald Trump to a Federal court. He wrote:

The emails show that President Trump knew that the specific numbers of voter fraud were wrong but continued to tout those numbers, both in court and in public.[262]


Image
Steven Engel, Jeffrey Rosen and Richard Donoghue at a Select Committee hearing on June 23, 2022. (Photo by House Creative Services)

As John Eastman wrote in an email on December 31, 2020, President Trump was “made aware that some of the allegations (and evidence proffered by the experts)” in a verified State court complaint was “inaccurate.”[263] Dr. Eastman noted that “with that knowledge” President Trump could not accurately verify a Federal court complaint that incorporated by reference the “inaccurate” State court complaint: “I have no doubt that an aggressive DA or US Atty someplace will go after both the President and his lawyers once all the dust settles on this.”[264] Despite this specific warning, “President Trump and his attorneys ultimately filed the complaint with the same inaccurate numbers without rectifying, clarifying, or otherwise changing them.”[265] And President Trump personally “signed a verification swearing under oath that the incorporated, inaccurate numbers ‘are true and correct’ or ‘believed to be true and correct’ to the best of his knowledge and belief.”[266] The numbers were not correct, and President Trump and his legal team knew it.

EFFORTS TO CORRUPT THE DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE

In the weeks after the 2020 election, Attorney General Bill Barr advised President Trump that the Department of Justice had not seen any evidence to support Trump’s theory that the election was stolen by fraud. Acting Attorney General Jeffrey Rosen and his Deputy repeatedly reinforced to President Trump that his claims of election fraud were false when they took over in mid-December. Also in mid-December 2020, Attorney General Barr announced his plans to resign. Between that time and January 6th, Trump spoke with Acting Attorney General Jeff Rosen and Acting Deputy Richard Donoghue repeatedly, attempting to persuade them and the Department of Justice to find factual support for his stolen election claims and thereby to assist his efforts to reverse election results.

As Rosen publicly testified, “… between December 23rd and January 3rd, the President either called me or met with me virtually every day, with one or two exceptions, like Christmas Day.”[267] As discussed earlier, Justice Department investigations had demonstrated that these stolen election claims were false; both Rosen and Donoghue told Trump this comprehensively and repeatedly.

One of those conversations occurred on December 27th, when Trump called Rosen to go through a “stream of allegations” about the election.[268] Donoghue described that call as an “escalation of the earlier conversations” they had.[269] Initially, Trump called Rosen directly. When Donoghue joined the call, he sought to “make it clear to the President [that] these allegations were simply not true.”[270]

So [the President] went through [the allegations] – in what for me was a 90-minute conversation or so, and what for the former Acting AG was a 2-hour conversation – as the President went through them I went piece by piece to say “no, that’s false, that is not true,” and to correct him really in a serial fashion as he moved from one theory to another.[271]

The President raised, among others, debunked claims about voting machines in Michigan, a truck driver who allegedly moved ballots from New York to Pennsylvania, and a purported election fraud at the State Farm Arena in Georgia.[272] None of the allegations were credible, and Rosen and Donoghue said so to the President.[273]

At one point during the December 27th call in which Donoghue refuted Trump’s fraud allegations, Donoghue recorded in handwritten notes a request Trump made specifically to him and Acting Attorney General Rosen: “Just say the election was corrupt and leave the rest to me and the Republican Congressmen.”[274] Donoghue explained: “[T]he Department had zero involvement in anyone’s political strategy,” and “he wanted us to say that it was corrupt.”[275] “We told him we were not going to do that.”[276] At the time, neither Rosen nor Donoghue knew the full extent to which Republican Congressmen, including Representative Scott Perry, were attempting to assist Trump to overturn the election results.

The Committee’s investigation has shown that Congressman Perry was working with one Department of Justice official, Jeffrey Clark, regarding the stolen election claims. Perry was working with Clark and with President Trump and Chief of Staff Mark Meadows with this goal: to enlist Clark to reverse the Department of Justice’s findings regarding the election and help overturn the election outcome.[277]

After introducing Jeffrey Clark to the President, Perry sent multiple text messages to Meadows between December 26th and December 28th, pressing that Clark be elevated within the Department. Perry reminded Meadows that there are only “11 days to 1/6…We gotta get going!,” and, as the days went on, one asking, “Did you call Jeff Clark?”[278]

Acting Attorney General Rosen first learned about Clark’s contact with Trump in a call on Christmas Eve. On that call, President Trump mentioned Clark to Rosen, who was surprised to learn that Trump knew Clark and had met with him. Rosen later confronted Clark about the contact: “Jeff, anything going on that you think I should know about?”[279] Clark didn’t “immediately volunteer” the fact that he had met with the President, but ultimately “acknowledged that he had been at a meeting with the President in the Oval Office, not alone, with other people.”[280] Clark was “kind of defensive” and “somewhat apologetic,” “casting it as that he had had a meeting with Congressman Perry from Pennsylvania and that, to his surprise, or, you know, he hadn’t anticipated it, that they somehow wound up at a meeting in the Oval Office.”[281] Clark’s contact with Trump violated both Justice Department and White House policies designed to prevent political pressure on the Department.[282]

While Clark initially appeared apologetic and assured Rosen that “[ i]t won’t happen again,”[283] he nevertheless continued to work and meet secretly with Trump and Congressman Perry. Less than five days after assuring Rosen that he would comply with the Department’s White House contacts policy, Clark told Rosen and Donoghue that he had again violated that policy. Donoghue confronted him: “I reminded him that I was his boss and that I had directed him to do otherwise.”[284]

Around the same time, Representative Perry called Acting Deputy Attorney General Donoghue, criticized the FBI, and suggested that the Department hadn’t been doing its job. Perry told Donoghue that Clark “would do something about this.”[285]

On December 28th, Clark worked with a Department employee named Kenneth Klukowski – a political appointee who had earlier worked with John Eastman – to produce a draft letter from the Justice Department to the State legislature of Georgia.[286] That letter mirrored a number of the positions Trump and Eastman were taking at the time.[287] (Although both Clark and Eastman refused to answer questions by asserting their Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination, evidence shows that Clark and Eastman were in communication in this period leading up to January 6th.[288] The draft letter to Georgia was intended to be one of several Department letters to State legislatures in swing States that had voted for Biden.[289]

The letter read: “The Department of Justice is investigating various irregularities in the 2020 election for President of the United States.”[290] Clark continued: “The Department will update you as we are able on investigatory progress, but at this time we have identified significant concerns that may have impacted the outcome of the election in multiple States, including the State of Georgia.”[291] This was affirmatively untrue. The Department had conducted many investigations of election fraud allegations by that point, but it absolutely did not have “significant concerns” that fraud “may have impacted the outcome of the election” in any State. Jeff Clark knew this; Donoghue confirmed it again in an email responding to Clark’s letter: “[W]e simply do not currently have a basis to make such a statement. Despite dramatic claims to the contrary, we have not seen the type of fraud that calls into question the reported (and certified) results of the election.”[292]

The letter also explicitly recommended that Georgia’s State legislature should call a special session to evaluate potential election fraud. “In light of these developments, the Department recommends that the Georgia General Assembly should convene in special session so that its legislators are in a special position to take additional testimony, receive new evidence, and deliberate on the matter consistent with its duties under the U.S. Constitution.”[293]

Clark’s draft letter also referenced the fake electors that Trump and his campaign organized – arguing falsely that there were currently two competing slates of legitimate Presidential electors in Georgia:[294]

The Department believes that in Georgia and several other States, both a slate of electors supporting Joseph R. Biden, Jr., and a separate slate of electors supporting Donald J. Trump, gathered on [December 14, 2020] at the proper location to cast their ballots, and that both sets of those ballots have been transmitted to Washington, D.C., to be opened by Vice President Pence.[295]


This, of course, was part of Donald Trump and John Eastman’s plan for January 6th. This letter reflects an effort to use the Department of Justice to help overturn the election outcome in Georgia and elsewhere.

Rosen and Donoghue reacted immediately to this draft letter:

“[T]here’s no chance that I would sign this letter or anything remotely like this,” Donoghue wrote.[296] The plan set forth by Clark was “not even within the realm of possibility,”[297] and Donoghue warned that if they sent Clark’s letter, it “would be a grave step for the Department to take and it could have tremendous Constitutional, political and social ramifications for the country.”[298]

As Richard Donoghue testified when describing his response to Clark’s proposed letter:

Well, I had to read both the email and the attached letter twice to make sure I really understood what he was proposing because it was so extreme to me I had a hard time getting my head around it initially.

But I read it, and I did understand it for what he intended, and I had to sit down and sort of compose what I thought was an appropriate response....

In my response I explained a number of reasons this is not the Department’s role to suggest or dictate to State legislatures how they should select their electors. But more importantly, this was not based on fact. This was actually contrary to the facts as developed by Department investigations over the last several weeks and months.

So, I respond to that. And for the department to insert itself into the political process this way I think would have had grave consequences for the country. It may very well have spiraled us into a constitutional crisis.[299]


Rosen and Donoghue also met with Clark about the letter. Their conversation “was a very difficult and contentious” one, according to Donoghue.[300] “What you’re proposing is nothing less than the United States Justice Department meddling in the outcome of a Presidential election,” Donoghue admonished Clark, to which Clark indignantly responded, “I think a lot of people have meddled in this election.”[301]

Both Rosen and Donoghue refused to sign the letter, and confronted Clark with the actual results of the Department’s investigations.[302] They also permitted Clark access to a classified briefing from the Office of the Director of National Intelligence (“ODNI”) showing Clark that allegations he made to Rosen and Donoghue about foreign interference with voting machines were not true. According to Rosen, the decision to give Clark the briefing at that point “was a difficult question because, if he’s going to brief the President, I reluctantly think it’s probably better that he’s heard from Director Ratcliffe than that he not, even if – I don’t think he should brief the President. But, at this point, he’s telling me that this is happening whether I agree with it or not. So, so I let him have that briefing.”[303]

After Clark received the ODNI briefing, “he acknowledged [to Donoghue] that there was nothing in that briefing that would have supported his earlier suspicion about foreign involvement.”[304] While Clark then dropped his claims about foreign interference, he continued to press to send the letter to Georgia and other States, despite being told that the Department of Justice investigations had found no fraud sufficient to overturn the election outcome in Georgia or any other States. This was an intentional choice by Jeff Clark to contradict specific Department findings on election fraud, and purposely insert the Department into the Presidential election on President Trump’s behalf and risk creating or exacerbating a constitutional crisis.

By this point, President Trump recognized that neither Rosen nor Donoghue would sign the letter or support his false election claims. Trump and his team then communicated further with Clark and offered him the job of Acting Attorney General. On January 2nd, Clark told Rosen that he “… would turn down the President’s offer if [Rosen] reversed [his] position and signed the letter” that he and Klukowski had drafted.[305] The next day, Clark decided to accept and informed Rosen, who then called White House Counsel to seek a meeting directly with Trump. As Rosen put it, “… I wasn’t going to accept being fired by my subordinate, so I wanted to talk to the President directly.”[306]

On January 3rd, that meeting was convened. Although contemporaneous White House documents suggest that Clark had already been appointed as the Acting Attorney General,[307] all the participants in the meeting other than Clark and President Trump aggressively opposed Clark’s appointment.

At that point, Rosen decided to “broaden the circle” and ask that his subordinates inform all the other Assistant Attorneys General (AAGs) what was afoot.[308] Rosen wanted to know how the AAGs would respond if Jeff Clark was installed as the Acting Attorney General. Pat Hovakimian, who worked for Rosen, then set up a conference call. The AAGs almost immediately agreed that they would resign if Rosen was removed from office.[309]

Rosen, Donoghue, and Steve Engel, the Assistant Attorney General for the Office of Legal Counsel, attended the meeting. White House lawyers Pat Cipollone, Eric Herschmann and Pat Philbin joined as well.

When the meeting started, Clark attempted to defend his appointment. Clark declared that this was the “last opportunity to sort of set things straight with this defective election,” and he had the “intelligence,” the “will,” and “desire” to “pursue these matters in the way that the President thought most appropriate.”[310] Everyone else present disagreed that Clark could conceivably accomplish these things.

White House Counsel Pat Cipollone threatened to resign as well, describing Clark’s letter as a “murder-suicide pact.”[311] Cipollone warned that the letter would “damage everyone who touches it” and no one should have anything to do with it.[312]

Trump asked Donoghue and Engel what they would do if Clark took office. Both confirmed they would resign.[313] Steve Engel recalled that the President next asked if he would resign:

At some point, [] I believe Rich Donoghue said that senior Department officials would all resign if Mr. Clark were put in, and the President turned to me and said, ‘Steve, you wouldn’t resign, would you?’ I said, ‘Well, Mr. President, I’ve been with you through four Attorneys General, including two Acting Attorneys General, and I just couldn’t be part of this if Mr. Clark were here.’ And I said, ‘And I believe that the other senior Department officials would resign as well. And Mr. Clark would be here by himself with a hostile building, those folks who remained, and nothing would get done.’[314]


Donoghue added that they would not be the only ones to resign. “You should understand that your entire Department leadership will resign,” Donoghue recalled saying. This included every Assistant Attorney General. “Mr. President, these aren’t bureaucratic leftovers from another administration,” Donoghue reminded Trump, “You picked them. This is your leadership team.” Donoghue added, “And what happens if, within 48 hours, we have hundreds of resignations from your Justice Department because of your actions? What does that say about your leadership?”[315] Steve Engel then reinforced Donoghue’s point, saying that Clark would be leading a “graveyard.”

Faced with mass resignations and recognizing that the “breakage” could be too severe, Donald Trump decided to rescind his offer to Clark and drop his plans to use the Justice Department to aid in his efforts to overturn the election outcome.[316] The President looked at Clark and said, “I appreciate your willingness to do it. I appreciate you being willing to suffer the abuse. But the reality is, you’re not going to get anything done. These guys are going to quit. Everyone else is going to resign. It’s going to be a disaster. The bureaucracy will eat you alive. And no matter how much you want to get things done in the next few weeks, you won’t be able to get it done, and it’s not going to be worth the breakage.”[317]

* * *

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Peter Navarro releases 36-page report alleging election fraud 'more than sufficient' to swing victory to Trump washex.am/3nwaBCe. A great report by Peter. Statistically impossible to have lost the 2020 Election. Big protest in D.C. on January 6th. Be there, will be wild!
Peter Navarro releases 36-page report alleging election fraud 'more than sufficie...
Director of the Office of Trade and Manufacturing Policy Peter Navarro published a lengthy report Thursday outlining several examples of voting irregularities that a...
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Evidence gathered by the Committee also suggests that President Trump offered Sidney Powell the position of Special Counsel for election related matters during a highly charged White House meeting on December 18, 2020.[318] White House lawyers vehemently opposed Powell’s appointment, and it also was not ultimately made formal.
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Re: Select Committee to Investigate the January 6th Attack

Postby admin » Tue Dec 27, 2022 9:38 am

Part 4 of 12

SUMMONING A MOB TO WASHINGTON, AND KNOWING THEY WERE ANGRY AND ARMED, INSTRUCTING THEM TO MARCH TO THE CAPITOL

In the early morning hours of December 19th, shortly after the contentious December 18th White House meeting with Sidney Powell and others, Donald Trump sent a tweet urging his supporters to travel to Washington for January 6th. In that tweet, Trump attached false allegations that the election was stolen and promised a “wild” time on January 6th.[319] This Twitter invitation was followed by over a dozen other instances in which he used Twitter to encourage supporters to rally for him in Washington, DC on January 6th.[320]

The Committee has assembled detailed material demonstrating the effects of these communications from members of far-right extremist groups, like the Proud Boys, Oath Keepers, Three Percenters, and others, and from individuals looking to respond to their president’s call to action. President Trump’s supporters believed the election was stolen because they listened to his words,[321] and they knew what he had called them to do; stop the certification of the electoral count.[322]

For example, one supporter, Charles Bradford Smith, noted on December 22, 2020 that “Trump is asking everyone to go” to Washington, DC on January 6th “to fill the streets” on the “day Pence counts up the votes.”[323] Derek Sulenta posted to Facebook on December 23, 2020 that “I’ll be there Jan 6th to support the president no matter what happens” because “That’s the day he called for patriots to show up.”[324] By December 31, 2020, Robert Morss believed January 6th stood for the moment when “1776 Will Commence Again” because President Trump asked them to “Be there, Will be Wild.”[325] Kenneth Grayson predicted what would eventually happen on January 6th, when on December 23, 2020, he wrote on Facebook that President Trump called people to Washington, DC through his December 19th tweet and then added “IF TRUMP TELLS US TO STORM THE FUKIN CAPITAL IMA DO THAT THEN!”[326] Some demonstrated their inspiration for January 6th by circulating flyers, which proclaimed “#OccupyCongress” over images of the United States Capitol.[327] Robert Gieswein, a Coloradan affiliated with Three Percenters who was among the first to breach the Capitol, said that he came to Washington, DC “to keep President Trump in.”[328]

Chapter 8 of this report documents how the Proud Boys led the attack, penetrated the Capitol, and led hundreds of others inside. Multiple Proud Boys reacted immediately to President Trump’s December 19th tweet and began their planning. Immediately, Proud Boys leaders reorganized their hierarchy, with Enrique Tarrio, Joseph Biggs, and Ethan Nordean messaging groups of Proud Boys about what to expect on January 6th.[329] Tarrio created a group chat known as the Ministry of Self-Defense for hand-selected Proud Boys whom he wanted to “organize and direct” plans for January 6th.[330] On social media, Tarrio referenced “revolt” and “[r]evolution,” and conspicuously asked “What if we invade it?” on Telegram.[331] As of December 29, 2020, Tarrio told the group the events on January 6th would be “centered around the Capitol.”[332]

At the time of publication of this report, prosecutions of certain Proud Boys are ongoing. To date, one Proud Boy has pled guilty to seditious conspiracy and other Proud Boys have pled guilty to other crimes, including conspiracy to obstruct Congress.[333] Jeremy Bertino, a Proud Boy who pled guilty to seditious conspiracy, admitted that he:

understood from internal discussions among the Proud Boys that in the leadup to January 6, the willingness to resort to unlawful conduct increasingly included a willingness to use and promote violence to achieve political objectives.[334]


Moreover,

Bertino believed that the 2020 election had been “stolen” and, as January 6, 2021, approached, believed that drastic measures, including violence, were necessary to prevent Congress from certifying the Electoral College Vote on January 6, 2021. Bertino made his views in this regard known publicly, as well as in private discussions with MOSD leadership. Bertino understood from his discussions with MOSD leadership that they agreed that the election had been stolen, that the purpose of traveling to Washington, D.C., on January 6, 2021, was to stop the certification of the Electoral College Vote, and that the MOSD leaders were willing to do whatever it would take, including using force against police and others, to achieve that objective.[335]


As set out in Bertino’s plea agreement, members of MOSD:

openly discussed plans for potential violence at the Capitol [… and] members of MOSD leadership were discussing the possibility of storming the Capitol. Bertino believed that storming the Capitol would achieve the group's goal of stopping Congress from certifying the Electoral College Vote. Bertino understood that storming the Capitol or its grounds would be illegal and would require using force against police or other government officials.[336]


Another Proud Boy who has pled guilty to conspiracy and assault charges, Charles Donohoe, understood that the Proud Boys planned to storm the Capitol. Donohoe, a Proud Boys local chapter leader from North Carolina:

was aware [as early as January 4, 2021] that members of MOSD leadership were discussing the possibility of storming the Capitol. Donohoe believed that storming the Capitol would achieve the group’s goal of stopping the government from carrying out the transfer of presidential power.[337]


The Department of Justice has charged a number of Oath Keepers with seditious conspiracy. Specifically, the government alleges that “[a]fter the Presidential Election, Elmer Stewart Rhodes III conspired with his co-defendants, introduced below, and other co-conspirators, known and unknown to the Grand Jury, to oppose by force the lawful transfer of presidential power.”[338] A jury agreed, convicting Stewart Rhodes and Kelly Meggs – the leader of the Florida Oath Keepers chapter – of seditious conspiracy. The jury also convicted Rhodes and Meggs, as well as fellow Oath Keepers Jessica Watkins, Kenneth Harrelson, and Thomas Caldwell,[339] of other serious felonies for their actions on January 6th.[340]

Meggs celebrated the December 19th tweet, sending an encrypted Signal message to Florida Oath Keepers that President Trump “wants us to make it WILD that’s what he’s saying. He called us all to the Capitol and wants us to make it wild!!! … Gentlemen we are heading to DC pack your shit!!”[341] Similarly, Oath Keeper Joshua James – who pleaded guilty to seditious conspiracy – told Oath Keepers that there was now a “NATIONAL CALL TO ACTION FOR DC JAN 6TH” following President Trump’s words.[342]

Stewart Rhodes, the Oath Keepers’ founder, felt that “the time for peaceful protest is over” after December 19th and, according to the government, “urged President Trump to use military force to stop the lawful transfer of presidential power, describing January 6, 2021, as “a hard constitutional deadline” to do so.[343] Rhodes created a “an invitation-only Signal group chat titled, ‘DC OP: Jan 6 21’” on December 30, 2020, which he and other Oath Keepers, like Meggs and James, used to plan for January 6th, including by creating a “quick reaction force” of firearms to be stashed in Virginia.[344]

Multiple members of the Oath Keepers have pleaded guilty to seditious conspiracy. Brian Ulrich started planning for January 6th right after President Trump sent out his December 19th tweet. The Department of Justice summarized Ulrich’s communications, as follows:

Ulrich messaged the “Oath Keepers of Georgia” Signal group chat, “Trump acts now maybe a few hundred radicals die trying to burn down cities ... Trump sits on his hands Biden wins ... millions die resisting the death of the 1st and 2nd amendment.” On December 20, 2020, an individual in the “Oath Keepers of Georgia” Signal group chat, who later traveled with Ulrich to Washington, D.C., and breached the Capitol grounds with Ulrich on January 6, 2021, messaged, “January 6th. The great reset. America or not.”[345]


The Justice Department’s Statement of Offense for Oath Keeper Joshua James provided these details:

I
n advance of and on January 6, 2021, James and others agreed to take part in the plan developed by Rhodes to use any means necessary, up to and including the use of force, to stop the lawful transfer of presidential power. In the weeks leading up to January 6, 2021, Rhodes instructed James and other coconspirators to be prepared, if called upon, to report to the White House grounds to secure the perimeter and use lethal force if necessary against anyone who tried to remove President Trump from the White House, including the National Guard or other government actors who might be sent to remove President Trump as a result of the Presidential Election.[346]


The former President’s call also galvanized Three Percenters to act. A group known as The Three Percenters Original sent a message to its members on December 16, 2020, noting they “stand ready and are standing by to answer the call from our President should the need arise” to combat the “pure evil that is conspiring to steal our country away from the american people” through the “2020 presidential election.”[347] After President Trump’s tweet, the group put out another letter instructing “any member who can attend … to participate” on January 6th because “[t]he President of the United States has put out a general call for the patriots of this Nation to gather” in Washington, DC.[348]

Other Three Percenter groups also responded. Alan Hostetter and Russell Taylor led a group of Three Percenters calling themselves the California Patriots – DC Brigade, who have been charged with conspiracy to obstruct Congress because they organized to fight to keep President Trump in power on January 6th after President Trump’s December 19th tweet inspired them to come to Washington, DC.[349] On December 19th, Hostetter posted on Instagram:

President Trump tweeted that all patriots should descend on Washington DC on Wednesday l/6/2021. This is the date of the Joint Session of Congress in which they will either accept or reject the fake/phony/stolen electoral college votes.[350]


Between December 19th and January 6th, Hostetter, Taylor, and other members of the California Patriots – DC Brigade exchanged messages and posted to social media about bringing gear, including “weaponry,” like “hatchet[s],” “bat[s],” or “[l]arge metal flashlights,” and possibly “firearms,” and, about being “ready and willing to fight” like it was “1776.” Taylor even spoke in front of the Supreme Court on January 5, 2021, explaining that “[p]atriots” would “not return to our peaceful way of life until this election is made right … .”[351] On December 29, 2020, Taylor exclaimed “I personally want to be on the front steps and be one of the first ones to breach the doors!”[352]

Similarly, members of the Florida Guardians of Freedom, Three Percent sent around a flyer on December 24, 2020, saying they were “responding to the call from President Donald J. Trump to assist in the security, protection, and support of the people as we all protest the fraudulent election and re-establish liberty for our nation.”[353] Their leader, Jeremy Liggett, posted a meme to Facebook stating that “3% Will Show In Record Numbers In DC”[354] and put out a “safety video” instructing people that they could bring “an expandable metal baton, a walking cane and a folding knife”[355] to Washington, DC on January 6th. Several have been arrested for participating in the violence around the tunnel on January 6th.[356]

When interviewed by the FBI on March 31, 2021, Danny Rodriguez – a Three Percenter from California who tased Officer Michael Fanone in the neck as rioters tried to break through a door on the west side of the Capitol – reflected on his decision to go to Washington, DC[357]:

Trump called us to D.C. ... and he’s calling for help -- I thought he was calling for help. I thought he was -- I thought we were doing the right thing. … [W]e thought we were going to hit it like a civil war. There was going to be a big battle. … I thought that the main fight, the main battle, was going to be in D.C. because Trump called everyone there.[358]


These groups were not operating in silos. Meggs bragged on Facebook that following President Trump’s December 19th tweet he had formed an alliance between the Oath Keepers, the Florida Three Percenters, and the Proud Boys “to work together to shut this shit down.”[359] On December 19th, Meggs called Enrique Tarrio and they spoke for more than three minutes.[360] Three days later, Meggs messaged Liggett, echoing his excitement about the December 19th tweet and specifically referencing the seat of Congress: “He called us all to the Capitol and wants us to make it wild!!!”[361] Liggett said “I will have a ton of men with me” and Meggs replied that “we have made Contact [sic] with PB [Proud Boys] and they always have a big group. Force multiplier. … I figure we could splinter off the main group of PB and come up behind them. Fucking crush them for good.”[362] Aside from Meggs, Stewart Rhodes brought in at least one local militia leader[363] and Three Percenters into the Oath Keepers January 6th planning chats that came about following President Trump’s tweet.[364]

Even on January 6th, rioters referenced the tweet. An unknown rioter was caught on video as they ascended the Capitol steps saying “He said it was gonna be wild. He didn’t lie.”[365] MPD body-worn cameras captured Cale Clayton around 3:15 p.m. as he taunted officers from under the scaffolding: “Your fucking president told us to be here. You should be on this side, right here, going with us. You are an American citizen. Your fucking President told you to do that. You too. You too. You. All of you guys. That Tweet was for you guys. For us. For you.”[366]

As January 6th neared, intelligence emerged indicating that January 6th was likely to be violent, and specifically that the Capitol was a target. On January 3rd, an intelligence summary informed Department of Justice officials of plans to “occupy the Capitol” and “invade” the Capitol on January 6th. This summarized a “SITE Intelligence Group” report about the “online rhetoric focused on the 6 Jan event.” Some of the reporting includes: “Calls to occupy federal buildings.” “intimidating Congress and invading the capitol building.” The email also quoted WUSA9 local reporting: “one of the websites used for organizing the event was encouraging attendees to bring guns.”[367]

Acting Deputy Attorney General Richard Donoghue testified:

And we knew that if you have tens of thousands of very upset people showing up in Washington, DC, that there was potential for violence.[368]


At the same time, a Defense Department official predicted on a White House National Security Council call that violence could be targeted at the Capitol on January 6th. According to Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Mark Milley:

So during these calls, I — I only remember in hindsight because he was almost like clairvoyant. [Deputy Secretary of Defense David] Norquist says during one of these calls, the greatest threat is a direct assault on the Capitol. I’ll never forget it.[369]


Likewise, documentation received by the Committee from the Secret Service demonstrates a growing number of warnings both that January 6th was likely to be violent, and specifically that the Capitol would likely be the target, including intelligence directly regarding the Proud Boys and Oath Keepers militia groups.

Even two weeks ahead of January 6th, the intelligence started to show what could happen. On December 22, 2020, the FBI received a screenshot of an online chat among Oath Keepers, seemingly referring to the State capitols besieged by protesters across the country earlier that year: “if they were going to go in, then they should have went all the way.”[370] “There is only one way. It is not signs. It’s not rallies. It’s fucking bullets,” one user replied.[371]

A public source emailed the Secret Service a document titled “Armed and Ready, Mr. President,” on December 24th, which summarized online comments responding to President Trump’s December 19th tweet.[372] Protestors should “start marching into the chambers,” one user wrote.[373] Trump “can’t exactly openly tell you to revolt,” another replied. “This is the closest he’ll ever get.”[374] “I read [the President’s tweet] as armed,” someone said.[375] “[T]here is not enough cops in DC to stop what is coming,” replied yet another.[376] “[B]e already in place when Congress tries to get to their meeting,” the comments continued, and “make sure they know who to fear.’”[377] “[W]aiting for Trump to say the word,” a person said, and “this is what Trump expects,” exclaimed another.[378] Capitol Police’s head of intelligence, Jack Donohue, got the same compilation from a former colleague at the New York Police Department on December 28, 2020.[379]

On December 26, 2020, the Secret Service received a tip about the Proud Boys detailing plans to have “a large enough group to march into DC armed [that] will outnumber the police so they can’t be stopped.”[380] “Their plan is to literally kill people,” the informant stated. “Please please take this tip seriously ….”[381] On December 29, 2020, Secret Service forwarded related warnings to Capitol Police that pro-Trump demonstrators were being urged to “occupy federal building[s],” including “march[ing] into the capital building and mak[ing] them quake in their shoes by our mere presence.”[382]

Civilians also tipped off Capitol Police about bringing weapons to besiege the Capitol. One tipster, who had “track[ed] online far right extremism for years,” emailed Capitol Police warning “I’ve seen countless tweets from Trump supporters saying they will be armed,” and “I[’]ve also seen tweets from people organizing to ‘storm the Capitol’ on January 6th.”[383]

On December 29, 2020, Secret Service forwarded related warnings to Capitol Police that pro-Trump demonstrators were being urged to “occupy federal building,” including “march[ing] into the capital building and mak[ing] them quake in their shoes by our mere presence.”[384] Indeed, a Secret Service intelligence briefing on December 30th entitled “March for Trump,” highlighted the President’s “Will be wild!” tweet alongside hashtags #WeAreTheStorm, #1776Rebel, and #OccupyCapitols, writing “President Trump supporters have proposed a movement to occupy Capitol Hill.”[385]

On January 1, 2021, a lieutenant in the intelligence branch at DC Police forwarded a civilian tip about “a website planning terroristic behavior on Jan 6th, during the rally” to Capitol Police intelligence.[386] “There are detailed plans to storm federal buildings,” including “the capitol in DC on Jan 6th,” the tipster reported, linking to thedonald.win.[387]

On January 2, 2021, the FBI discovered a social media posting that read, “This is not a rally and it’s no longer a protest. This is a final stand . . . many are ready to die to take back #USA . . . . And don’t be surprised if we take the #capital building.”[388]

On January 3, 2021, a Parler user’s post – under the name 1776(2.0) Minuteman – noting “after weds we are going to need a new congress” and “Jan 6 may actually be their [Members of Congress] last day in office” reached the FBI and Capitol Police.[389]

The FBI field office in Norfolk, Virginia issued an alert to law enforcement agencies on January 5th tiled “Potential for Violence in Washington, D.C. Area in Connection with Planned ‘StopTheSteal’ Protest on 6 January 2021,” which noted:

An online thread discussed specific calls for violence to include stating ‘Be ready to fight. Congress needs to hear glass breaking, doors being kicked in, and blood… being spilled. Get violent...stop calling this a march, or rally, or a protest. Go there ready for war. We get our President or we die. NOTHING else will achieve this goal.’[390]


In addition, the alert copied “perimeter maps [of the Capitol] and caravan pictures [that] were posted” on thedonald.win, particularly worrying that the “caravans … had the same colors as the sections of the perimeter” of the Capitol.[391] Secret Service also knew about caravans planning to come to DC to “Occupy the Capitol.”[392]

That same day, representatives from DHS, FBI, DC’s Homeland Security and Emergency Management Agency, Secret Service, DC Police, and Capitol Police shared a website, Red State Secession, which had a post titled “Why the Second American Revolution Starts Jan 6.” A user asked visitors to post where they could find the home addresses of Democratic congressmen and “political enemies” and asked if “any of our enemies [will] be working in offices in DC that afternoon.” [393] “What are their routes to and from the event?” the post continued.[394] “[T]he crowd will be looking for enemies.”[395]

A Secret Service open-source unit flagged an account on thedonald.win that threatened to bring a sniper rifle to a rally on January 6th. The user also posted a picture of a handgun and rifle with the caption, “Sunday Gun Day Providing Overwatch January 6th Will be Wild.”[396]

The Secret Service learned from the FBI on January 5th about right-wing groups establishing armed quick reaction forces in Virginia, where they could amass firearms illegal in DC.[397] Trump supporters staged there waiting across the river “to respond to ‘calls for help.’”[398] The Oath Keepers were such a group.[399]

President Trump’s closest aides knew about the political power of sites like thedonald.win, which is where much of this violent rhetoric and planning happened. On December 30, 2020, Jason Miller – a senior adviser to and former spokesman for the former President – texted Chief of Staff Mark Meadows a link to the thedonald.win, adding “I got the base FIRED UP.”[400] The link connected to a page with comments like “Gallows don’t require electricity,” “if the filthy commie maggots try to push their fraud through, there will be hell to pay,” and Congress can certify Trump the winner or leave “in a bodybag.”[401] Symbolic gallows were constructed on January 6th at the foot of the Capitol.[402] [consider adding photo here]

After President Trump’s signal, his supporters did not hide their plans for violence at the Capitol, and those threats made their way to national and local law enforcement agencies. As described in this report, the intelligence agencies did detect this planning, and they shared it with the White House and with the U.S. Secret Service.

Image
Noose set up outside of the Capitol on January 6th.

Testimony from White House staff also suggests real concerns about the risk of violence as January 6th approached. Cassidy Hutchinson, for example, testified about a conversation she had with her boss, Mark Meadows, on January 2nd:

I went into Mark’s office, and he was still on his phone. . . . . I said to Mark, “Rudy [Giuliani] said these things to me. What’s going on here? Anything I should know about?”

This was – he was, like, looking at his phone. He was like, “Oh, it’s all about the rally on Wednesday. Isn’t that what he was talking to you about?”

I said, “Yeah. Yeah, sounds like we’re going to the Capitol.”

He said, “Yeah. Are you talking with Tony?”

"I’m having a conversation, sir.”

He said – still looking at his phone. I remember he was scrolling. He was like, “Yeah. You know, things might get real, real bad on the 6th.”

And I remember saying to him, “What do you mean?”

He was like, “I don’t know. There’s just going to be a lot of people here, and there’s a lot of different ideas right now. I’m not really sure of everything that’s going on. Let's just make sure we keep tabs on it.”[403]


Image
Mark Meadows walks along the South Lawn on October 30, 2020. (Photo by Sarah Silbiger/Getty Images)

Hutchinson also testified about a conversation she had with Director of National Intelligence, Ratcliffe:

He 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.[404]


Hope Hicks texted Trump Campaign spokesperson Hogan Gidley in the midst of the January 6th violence, explaining that she had “suggested … several times” on the preceding days (January 4th and January 5th) that President Trump publicly state that January 6th must remain peaceful and that he had refused her advice to do so.[405] Her recollection was that Herschmann earlier advised President Trump to make a preemptive public statement in advance of January 6th calling for no violence that day.[406] No such statement was made.

The District of Columbia Homeland Security office explicitly warned that groups were planning to “occupy the [Capitol] to halt the vote.”[407]

[W]e got derogatory information from OSINT suggesting that some very, very violent individuals were organizing to come to DC, and not only were they organized to come to DC, but they were — these groups, these nonaligned groups were aligning. And so all the red flags went up at that point, you know, when you have armed militia, you know, collaborating with White supremacy groups, collaborating with conspiracy theory groups online all toward a common goal, you start seeing what we call in, you know, terrorism, a blended ideology, and that’s a very, very bad sign. … [T]hen when they were clearly across — not just across one platform but across multiple platforms of these groups coordinating, not just like chatting, “Hey, how’s it going, what’s the weather like where you’re at,” but like, “what are you bringing, what are you wearing, you know, where do we meet up, do you have plans for the Capitol.” That’s operational – that’s like preoperational intelligence, right, and that is something that's clearly alarming.[408]


Again, this type of intelligence was shared, including obvious warnings about potential violence prior to January 6th.[409] What was not shared, and was not fully understood by intelligence and law enforcement entities, is what role President Trump would play on January 6th in exacerbating the violence, and later refusing for multiple hours to instruct his supporters to stand down and leave the Capitol. No intelligence collection was apparently performed on President Trump’s plans for January 6th, nor was there any analysis performed on what he might do to exacerbate potential violence. Certain Republican members of Congress who were working with Trump and the Giuliani team may have had insight on this particular risk, but none appear to have alerted the Capitol Police or any other law enforcement authority.

On January 2, 2021, Katrina Pierson wrote in an email to fellow rally organizers, “POTUS expectations are to have something intimate at the [E]llipse, and call on everyone to march to the Capitol.”[410] And, on January 4, 2021, another rally organizer texted Mike Lindell, the MyPillow CEO, that President Trump would “unexpectedly” call on his supporters to march to the Capitol:

This stays only between us … . It can also not get out about the march because I will be in trouble with the national park service and all the agencies but POTUS is going to just call for it “unexpectedly.”[411]


Testimony obtained by the Committee also indicates that President Trump was specifically aware that the crowd he had called to Washington was fired up and angry on the evening of January 5th. Judd Deere, a deputy White House press secretary recalled a conversation with President Trump in the Oval Office on the evening of January 5th:

Judd Deere: “I said he should focus on policy accomplishments. I didn’t mention the 2020 election.”

Committee Staff: “Okay. What was his response?”

Deere: “He acknowledged that and said, ‘We’ve had a lot,’ something along those lines, but didn’t – he fairly quickly moved to how fired up the crowd is, or was going to be.”

Committee Staff: “Okay. What did he say about it?”

Deere: “Just that they were – they were fired up. They were angry. They feel like the election’s been stolen, that the election was rigged, that – he went on and on about that for a little bit.”[412]


Testimony indicated that President Trump was briefed on the risk of violence on the morning of the 6th before he left the White House. Cassidy Hutchinson provided this testimony:

Vice Chair Cheney: So, Ms. Hutchinson, is it your understanding that Mr. Ornato told the President about weapons at the rally on the morning of January 6th?

Hutchinson: That is what Mr. Ornato relayed to me.[413]


The head of President Trump’s security detail, Bobby Engel, told the Select Committee that he when he shared critical information with White House Deputy Chief of Staff Anthony Ornato, it was a means of conveying that information with the Oval Office: “So, when it came to passing information to Mr. Ornato, I – my assumption was that it would get to the chief [of staff, Mark Meadows], or that he was sharing the information with the chief. I don’t – and the filtering process, or if the chief thinks it needs to get to the President, then he would share it with the President.”[414] Also, Engel confirmed that if “information would come to my attention, whether it was a protective intelligence issue or a concern or – primarily, I would – I would make sure that the information got filtered up through the appropriate chain usually through Mr. Ornato. So if I received a report on something that was happening in the DC area, I’d either forward that information to Mr. Ornato, or call him about that information or communicate in some way.”[415]

The Select Committee also queried Deputy Chief of Staff Ornato this November about what he generally would have done in this sort of situation, asking him the following: “Generally you receive information about things like the groups that are coming, the stuff that we talked earlier. You would bring that to Mr. Meadows and likely did here, although you don’t have a specific recollection?”[416] Ornato responded: “That is correct, sir.”[417] Ornato also explained to the Committee that “… in my normal daily functions, in my general functions as my job, I would’ve had a conversation with him about all the groups coming in and what was expected from the secret service.”[418] As for the morning of January 6th itself, he had the following answer:

Committee Staff: Do you remember talking to Chief of Staff Mark Meadows about any of your concerns about the threat landscape going into January 6th?

Ornato: I don’t recall; however, in my position I would’ve made sure he was tracking the demos, which he received a daily brief, Presidential briefing. So he most likely was getting all this in his daily brief as well. I wouldn’t know what was in his intelligence brief that day, but I would’ve made sure that he was tracking these things and just mentioned, “Hey, are you tracking the demos?” If he gave me a “yeah”, I don’t recall it today, but I’m sure that was something that took place.[419]


Ornato had access to intelligence that suggested violence at the Capitol on January 6th, and it was his job to inform Meadows and Trump of that. Although Ornato told us that he did not recall doing so, the Select Committee found multiple parts of Ornato’s testimony questionable. The Select Committee finds it difficult to believe that neither Meadows nor Ornato told Trump, as was their job, about the intelligence that was emerging as the January 6th rally approached.

Hours before the Ellipse rally on January 6th, the fact that the assembled crowd was prepared for potential violence was widely known. In addition to intelligence reports indicating potential violence at the Capitol, weapons and other prohibited items were being seized by police on the streets and by Secret Service at the magnetometers for the Ellipse speech. Secret Service confiscated a haul of weapons from the 28,000 spectators who did pass through the magnetometers: 242 cannisters of pepper spray, 269 knives or blades, 18 brass knuckles, 18 tasers, 6 pieces of body armor, 3 gas masks, 30 batons or blunt instruments, and 17 miscellaneous items like scissors, needles, or screwdrivers.[420] And thousands of others purposely remained outside the magnetometers, or left their packs outside.[421]

Others brought firearms. Three men in fatigues from Broward County, Florida brandished AR-15s in front of Metropolitan police officers on 14th Street and Independence Avenue on the morning of January 6th.[422] MPD advised over the radio that one individual was possibly armed with a “Glock” at 14th and Constitution Avenue, and another was possibly armed with a “rifle” at 15th and Constitution Avenue around 11:23 a.m.[423] The National Park Service detained an individual with a rifle between 12 and 1 p.m.[424] Almost all of this was known before Donald Trump took the stage at the Ellipse.

Image
President Trump looks backstage at the crowd gathered at the Ellipse. (Photo provided to the Select Committee by the National Archives and Records Administration)

By the time President Trump was preparing to give his speech, he and his advisors knew enough to cancel the rally. And he certainly knew enough to cancel any plans for a march to the Capitol. According to testimony obtained by the Select Committee, Trump knew that elements of the crowd were armed, and had prohibited items, and that many thousands would not pass through the magnetometers for that reason. Testimony indicates that the President had received an earlier security briefing, and testimony indicates that the Secret Service mentioned the prohibited items again as they drove President Trump to the Ellipse.

Cassidy Hutchinson was with the President backstage. Her contemporaneous text messages indicate that President Trump was “effing furious” about the fact that a large number of his supporters would not go through the magnetometers:

Cassidy Hutchinson: But the crowd looks good from this vanish [sic] point. As long as we get the shot. He was fucking furious

Tony Ornato: He doesn’t get it that the people on the monument side don’t want to come in. They can see from there and don’t want to come in. They can see from there and don’t have to go through mags. With 30k magged inside.

Cassidy Hutchinson: That’s what was relayed several times and in different iterations

Cassidy Hutchinson: Poor max got chewed out

Cassidy Hutchinson: He also kept mentioning [an off the record trip] to Capitol before he took the stage

Tony Ornato: Bobby will tell him no. It’s not safe to do. No assets available to safely do it.[425]


And Hutchinson described what President Trump said as he prepared to take the stage:

When we were in the off-stage announce area tent behind the stage, he was very concerned about the shot. Meaning the photograph that we would get because the rally space wasn’t full. One of the reasons, which I’ve previously stated, was because he wanted it to be full and for people to not feel excluded because they had come far to watch him at the rally. And he felt the mags were at fault for not letting everybody in, but another leading reason and likely the primary reasons is because he wanted it full and he was angry that we weren’t letting people through the mags with weapons—what the Secret Service deemed as weapons, and are, are weapons. But when we were in the off-stage announce tent, I was a part of a conversation, I was in the vicinity of a conversation where I overheard the President say something to the effect of, “I don’t F’ing care that they have weapons. They’re not here to hurt me. Take the F’ing mags away. Let my people in. They can march to the Capitol from here. Let the people in. Take the F’ing mags away.”[426]


The Secret Service special agent who drove the President after his speech told the Select Committee that Trump made a similar remark in the vehicle when his demand to go to the Capitol was refused—essentially that Trump did not believe his supporters posed a security risk to him personally.[427]

Minutes after the exchange that Hutchinson described—when President Trump took the stage—he pointedly expressed his concern about the thousands of attendees who would not enter the rally area and instructed Secret Service to allow that part of the crowd to enter anyway:

… I’d love to have if those tens of thousands of people would be allowed. The military, the secret service. And we want to thank you and the police law enforcement. Great. You’re doing a great job. But I’d love it if they could be allowed to come up here with us. Is that possible? Can you just let [them] come up, please?[428]


Although President Trump and his advisors knew of the risk of violence, and knew specifically that elements of the crowd were angry and some were armed, from intelligence and law enforcement reports that morning, President Trump nevertheless went forward with the rally, and then specifically instructed the crowd to march to the Capitol: “Because you’ll never take back our country with weakness. You have to show strength and you have to be strong. We have come to demand that Congress do the right thing and only count the electors who have been lawfully slated, lawfully slated.”[429] Much of President Trump’s speech was improvised. Even before his improvisation, during the review of President Trump’s prepared remarks, White House lawyer Eric Herschmann specifically requested that “if there were any factual allegations, someone needed to independently validate or verify the statements.”[430] And in the days just before January 6th, Herschmann “chewed out” John Eastman and told him he was “out of [his] F’ing mind” to argue that the Vice President could be the sole decision-maker as to who becomes the next President.[431] Herschmann told us, “I so berated him that I believed that theory would not go forward.”[432] But President Trump made that very argument during his speech at the Ellipse and made many false statements. Herschmann attended that speech, but walked out during the middle of it.[433]

President Trump’s speech to the crowd that day lasted more than an hour. The speech walked through dozens of known falsehoods about purported election fraud. And Trump again made false and malicious claims about Dominion voting systems.[434] As discussed earlier, he again pressured Vice President Mike Pence to refuse to count lawful electoral votes, going off script repeatedly, leading the crowd to believe falsely that Pence could and would alter the election outcome:

And I actually, I just spoke to Mike. I said: “Mike, that doesn’t take courage. What takes courage is to do nothing. That takes courage.” And then we’re stuck with a president who lost the election by a lot and we have to live with that for four more years. We’re just not going to let that happen….

When you catch somebody in a fraud, you’re allowed to go by very different rules.

So I hope Mike has the courage to do what he has to do. And I hope he doesn’t listen to the RINOs and the stupid people that he’s listening to.”[435]


This characterization of Vice President Pence’s decision had a direct impact on those who marched to and approached the Capitol, as illustrated by this testimony from a person convicted of crimes committed on January 6th:

So this woman came up to the side of us, and she, says, Pence folded. So it was kind of, like, okay. Well, in my mind I was thinking, Well, that’s it, you know. Well, my son-in-law looks at me, and he says, I want to go in.[436]


Trump used the word “peacefully,” written by speech writers, one time. But he delivered many other scripted and unscripted comments that conveyed a very different message:

Because you’ll never take back our country with weakness. You have to show strength and you have to be strong. We have come to demand that Congress do the right thing and only count the electors who have been lawfully slated, lawfully slated. . . .

And we fight. We fight like hell. And if you don’t fight like hell, you’re not going to have a country anymore….[437]


Trump also was not the only rally speaker to do these things. Mayor Giuliani for instance also said that “Let’s have trial by combat.”[438] Likewise, John Eastman used his two minutes on the Ellipse stage to make a claim already known to be false – that corrupted voted machines stole the election.[439]

The best indication of the impact of Trump’s words, both during the Ellipse speech and beforehand, are the comments from those supporters who attended the Ellipse rally and their conduct immediately thereafter. Videoclips show several of the attendees on their way to the Capitol or shortly after they arrived:

I’m telling you what, I’m hearing that Pence — hearing the Pence just caved. No. Is that true? I didn’t hear it. I’m hear — I’m hearing reports that Pence caved. No way. I’m telling you, if Pence caved, we’re going to drag motherfuckers through the streets. You fucking politicians are going to get fucking drug through the streets.[440]

Yes. I guess the hope is that there’s such a show of force here that Pence will decide do the right thing, according to Trump.[441]

Pence voted against Trump. [Interviewer: “Ok. And that’s when all this started?”] Yup. That’s when we marched on the Capitol.” [442]

We just heard that Mike Pence is not going to reject any fraudulent electoral votes. [Other speaker: “Boo. You're a traitor! Boo!”] That’s right. You’ve heard it here first. Mike Pence has betrayed the United States of America. [Other speaker: “Boo! Fuck you, Mike Pence!”] Mike Pence has betrayed this President and he has betrayed the people of the United States and we will never, ever forget. [Cheers][443]

[Q] What percentage of the crowd is going to the Capitol? [A] [Oath Keeper Jessica Watkins]: One hundred percent. It has, it has spread like wildfire that Pence has betrayed us, and everybody’s marching on the Capitol. All million of us. It’s insane.[444]


Another criminal defendant—charged with assaulting an officer with a flagpole and other crimes—explained in an interview why he went to the Capitol and fought:

Dale Huttle: We were not there illegally, we were invited there by the President himself. . . . Trump’s backers had been told that the election had been stolen. . . .

Reporter Megan Hickey: But do you think he encouraged violence?

Dale Huttle: Well, I sat there, or stood there, with half a million people listening to his speech. And in that speech, both Giuliani and [Trump] said we were going to have to fight like hell to save our country. Now, whether it was a figure of speech or not—it wasn’t taken that way.

Reporter Megan Hickey: You didn’t take it as a figure of speech?

Dale Huttle: No.[445]

President Trump concluded his speech at 1:10 p.m.


Among other statements from the Ellipse podium, President Trump informed the crowd that he would be marching to the Capitol with them:

Now, it is up to Congress to confront this egregious assault on our democracy. And after this, we’re going to walk down, and I’ll be there with you, we’re going to walk down, we’re going to walk down. Anyone you want, but I think right here, we’re going to walk down to the Capitol, and we’re going to cheer on our brave senators and congressmen and women, and we’re probably not going to be cheering so much for some of them.[446]


Hutchinson testified that she first became aware of President Trump’s plans to attend Congress’s session to count votes on or about January 2nd. She learned this from a conversation with Giuliani: “It’s going to be great. The President’s going to be there. He’s going to look powerful. He’s – he’s going to be with the members. He’s going to be with the Senators.”[447] Evidence also indicates that multiple members of the White House staff, including White House lawyers, were concerned about the President’s apparent intentions to go to the Capitol. [448]

After he exited the stage, President Trump entered the Presidential SUV and forcefully expressed his intention that Bobby Engel, the head of his Secret Service detail, direct the motorcade to the Capitol. The Committee has now obtained evidence from several sources about a “furious interaction” in the SUV. The vast majority of witnesses who have testified before the Select Committee about this topic, including multiple members of the Secret Service, a member of the Metropolitan police, and national security officials in the White House, described President Trump’s behavior as “irate,” “furious,” “insistent,” “profane” and “heated.” Hutchinson heard about the exchange second-hand and related what she heard in our June 28, 2022, hearing from Ornato (as did another witness, a White House employee with national security responsibilities, who shared that Ornato also recounted to him President Trump’s “irate” behavior in the Presidential vehicle.) Other members of the White House staff and Secret Service also heard about the exchange after the fact. The White House employee with national security responsibilities gave this testimony:

Committee Staff: But it sounds like you recall some rumor or some discussion around the West Wing about the President’s anger about being told that he couldn’t go to the Capitol. Is that right?

Employee: So Mr. Ornato said that he was angry that he couldn’t go right away. In the days following that, I do remember, you know, again, hearing again how angry the President was when, you know, they were in the limo. But beyond specifics of that, that's pretty much the extent of the cooler talk.[449]


The Committee has regarded both Hutchinson and the corroborating testimony by the White House employee with national security responsibilities as earnest and has no reason to conclude that either had a reason to invent their accounts. A Secret Service agent who worked on one of the details in the White House and was present in the Ellipse motorcade had this comment:

Committee Staff: Ms. Hutchinson has suggested to the committee that you sympathized with her after her testimony, and believed her account. Is that accurate?

Special Agent: I have no – yeah, that’s accurate. I have no reason – I mean, we – we became friends. We worked – I worked every day with her for 6 months. Yeah, she became a friend of mine. We had a good working relationship. I have no reason – she’s never done me wrong. She’s never lied that I know of.[450]


The Committee’s principal concern was that the President actually intended to participate personally in the January 6th efforts at the Capitol, leading the attempt to overturn the election either from inside the House Chamber, from a stage outside the Capitol, or otherwise. The Committee regarded those facts as important because they are relevant to President Trump’s intent on January 6th. There is no question from all the evidence assembled that President Trump did have that intent.[451]

As it became clear that Donald Trump desired to travel to the Capitol on January 6th, a White House Security Official in the White House complex became very concerned about his intentions:

To be completely honest, we were all in a state of shock. . . . it just – one, I think the actual physical feasibility of doing it, and then also we all knew what that implicated and what that meant, that this was no longer a rally, that this was going to move to something else if he physically walked to the Capitol. I – I don’t know if you want to use the word “insurrection,” “coup,” whatever. We all knew that this would move from a normal, democratic, you know, public event into something else.[452]


President Trump continued to push to travel to the Capitol even after his return to the White House, despite knowing that a riot was underway. Kayleigh McEnany, the White House press secretary, spoke with President Trump about his desire to go to the Capitol after he returned to the White House from the Ellipse. “So to the best of my recollection, I recall him being – wanting to – saying that he wanted to physically walk and be a part of the march and then saying that he would ride the Beast if he needed to, ride in the Presidential limo.”[453]

Later in the afternoon, Mark Meadows relayed to Cassidy Hutchinson that President Trump was still upset that he would not be able to go to the Capitol that day. As he told Hutchinson, “the President wasn’t happy that Bobby [Engel] didn’t pull it off for him and that Mark didn’t work hard enough to get the movement on the books.”[454]
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Re: Select Committee to Investigate the January 6th Attack

Postby admin » Tue Dec 27, 2022 9:54 am

Part 5 of 12

187 MINUTES: TRUMP’S DERELICTION OF DUTY

Just after 1:00 p.m., Vice President Pence, serving as President of the Senate under Article I of the Constitution, gaveled the Congress into its Joint Session. President Trump was giving a speech at the Ellipse, which he concluded at 1:10 pm. For the next few hours, an attack on our Capitol occurred, perpetrated by Trump supporters many of whom were present at the Ellipse for President Trump’s speech. More than 140 Capitol and Metropolitan police were injured, some very seriously.[455] A perimeter security line of Metropolitan Police intended to secure the Capitol against intrusion broke in the face of thousands of armed rioters – more than two thousand of whom gained access to the interior of the Capitol building.[456] A woman who attempted to forcibly enter the Chamber of the House of Representatives through a broken window while the House was in session was shot and killed by police guarding the chamber. Vice President Pence and his family were at risk, as were those Secret Service professionals protecting him. Congressional proceedings were halted, and legislators were rushed to secure locations.

From the outset of the violence and for several hours that followed, people at the Capitol, people inside President Trump’s Administration, elected officials of both parties, members of President Trump’s family, and Fox News commentators sympathetic to President Trump all tried to contact him to urge him to do one singular thing – one thing that all of these people immediately understood was required: Instruct his supporters to stand down and disperse – to leave the Capitol.

As the evidence overwhelmingly demonstrates, President Trump specifically and repeatedly refused to do so – for multiple hours – while the mayhem ensued. Chapter 8 of this report explains in meticulous detail the horrific nature of the violence taking place, that was directed at law enforcement officers at the Capitol and that put the lives of American lawmakers at risk. Yet in spite of this, President Trump watched the violence on television from a dining room adjacent to the Oval Office, calling Senators to urge them to help him delay the electoral count, but refusing to supply the specific help that everyone knew was unequivocally required. As this report shows, when Trump finally did make such a statement at 4:17 p.m. – after hours of violence – the statement immediately had the expected effect; the rioters began to disperse immediately and leave the Capitol.[457]

To fully understand the President’s behavior during those hours – now commonly known as the “187 minutes” – it is important to understand the context in which it occurred. As outlined in this report, by the afternoon of January 6th, virtually all of President Trump’s efforts to overturn the outcome of the 2020 election had failed. Virtually all the lawsuits had already been lost. Vice President Mike Pence had refused Trump’s pressure to stop the count of certain electoral votes. State officials and legislators had refused to reverse the election outcomes in every State where Trump and his team applied pressure. The Justice Department’s investigations of alleged election fraud had all contradicted Trump’s allegations.

The only factor working in Trump’s favor that might succeed in materially delaying the counting of electoral votes for President-elect Biden was the violent crowd at the Capitol. And for much of the afternoon of January 6th, it appeared that the crowd had accomplished that purpose. Congressional leaders were advised by Capitol Police at one or more points during the attack that it would likely take several days before the Capitol could safely be reopened.[458]

By the time the President’s speech concluded, the lawlessness at the United States Capitol had already begun, but the situation was about to get much worse.

By 1:25 p.m., President Trump was informed that the Capitol was under attack.

Minutes after arriving back at the White House, the President ran into a member of the White House staff and asked if they had watched his speech on television. “Sir, they cut it off because they’re rioting down at the Capitol,” the employee said. The President asked what they meant by that. “[T]hey’re rioting down there at the Capitol,” the employee repeated. “Oh really?” the President asked. “All right, let’s go see.”[459] A photograph taken by the White House photographer—the last one permitted until later in the day—captures the moment the President was made aware of the violent uprising at the Capitol.[460]

Not long thereafter, as thousands of Trump supporters from the Ellipse speech continued to arrive at the Capitol, the DC Metropolitan Police Department declared a riot at the Capitol at 1:49 p.m., the same time Capitol Police Chief Steven Sund informed the DC National Guard “that there was a dire emergency on Capitol Hill and requested the immediate assistance” of as many national guard troops as possible.[461]

No photographs exist of the President for the remainder of the afternoon until after 4 p.m. President Trump appears to have instructed that the White House photographer was not to take any photographs.[462] The Select Committee also was unable to locate any official records of President Trump’s telephone calls that afternoon.[463] And the President’s official Daily Diary contains no information for this afternoon between the hours of 1:19 p.m. and 4:03 p.m., at the height of the worst attack on the seat of the United States Congress in over two centuries.[464]

The Select Committee did, however, obtain records from non-official sources that contained data of some phone calls President Trump made that afternoon. Even though “he was placing lots of calls” that afternoon, according to his personal assistant,[465] the Select Committee was given no records of any calls from the President to security or law enforcement officials that afternoon, and that absence of data is consistent with testimony of witnesses who would have knowledge of any such calls, who said that he did not do so.[466] Based on testimony from President Trump’s close aides, we know that President Trump remained in the Dining Room adjacent to the Oval Office for the rest of the afternoon until after 4:03 p.m.[467]

In fact, from cellular telephone records, it appears that at 1:39 p.m. and 2:03 p.m., after being informed of the riot at the Capitol, President Trump called his lawyer, Rudolph Giuliani. These calls lasted approximately four minutes and eight minutes, respectively.[468] And Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany testified that President Trump also called a number of Senators.[469] The number or names of all such Members of Congress is unknown, although Senator Mike Lee (R-UT) received one such outgoing call from the President within the hour that followed.[470]

At 1:49 p.m., just as the DC Metropolitan Police officially declared a riot and the Capitol Police were calling for help from the National Guard to address the crisis, President Trump sent a tweet with a link to a recording of his speech at the Ellipse.[471]

At about that point, White House Counsel Pat Cipollone became aware of the Capitol riot. The Committee collected sworn testimony from several White House officials, each with similar accounts. The President’s White House Counsel Pat Cipollone testified that he raced downstairs, and went to the Oval Office Dining Room as soon as he learned about the violence at the Capitol—likely just around or just after 2 p.m. Cipollone knew immediately that the President had to deliver a message to the rioters—asking them to leave the Capitol.

Here is how he described this series of events:

… the first time I remember going downstairs was when people had breached the Capitol… But I went down with [Deputy White House Counsel] Pat [Philbin], and I remember we were both very upset about what was happening. And we both wanted, you know, action to be taken related to that… But we went down to the Oval Office, we went through the Oval office, and we went to the back where the President was…. I think he was already in the dining room… I can’t talk about conversations [with the President]. I think I was pretty clear there needed to be an immediate and forceful response, statement, public statement, that people need to leave the Capitol now.[472]


Cipollone also left little doubt that virtually everyone among senior White House staff had the same view:

There were a lot of people in the White House that day . . . Senior people who, you know, felt the same way that I did and who were working very hard to achieve that result. There were – I think Ivanka was one of them. And Eric Herschmann was there, Pat Philbin was there, and a number of other people…. many people suggested it. … Many people felt the same way. I’m sure I had conversations with Mark [Meadows] about this during the course of the day and expressed my opinion very forcefully that this needs to be done.[473]


Likewise, senior staff cooperated to produce a message for the President on a notecard, which read:

“ANYONE WHO ENTERED THE CAPITOL ILLEGALLY WITHOUT PROPER AUTHORITY SHOULD LEAVE IMMEDIATELY.”[474]


The President declined to make the statement. Cipollone also made it clear that the advice they were giving to the President never changed throughout this three-hour period. Trump refused to do what was necessary.

Committee Staff: … [ i]t sounds like you from the very onset of violence at the Capitol right around 2 o’clock were pushing for a strong statement that people should leave the Capitol. Is that right?

Cipollone: I was, and others were as well.[475]


Cassidy Hutchinson, who worked closely with Mark Meadows and sat directly outside his office, confirmed this account and described several additional details:

I see Pat Cipollone barreling down the hallway towards our office. And he rushed right in, looked at me, said, “Is Mark in his office?” And I said, “Yes.” And on a normal day he would’ve said, “Can I pop in,” or, “Is he talking to anyone,” or, “Is it an appropriate time for me to go chat with him,” and myself or Eliza would go let him in or tell him no. But after I had said yes, he just looked at me and started shaking his head and went over, opened Mark’s office door, stood there with the door propped open, and said something to the – Mark was still sitting on his phone. I remember, like, glancing in. He was still sitting on his phone.

And I remember Pat saying to him something to the effect of, “The rioters have gotten to the Capitol, Mark. We need to go down and see the President now.” And Mark looked up at him and said, “He doesn't want to do anything, Pat.” And Pat said something to the effect of – and very clearly said this to Mark – something to the effect of, “Mark, something needs to be done, or people are going to die and the blood’s gonna be on your F’ing hands. This is getting out of control. I’m going down there.[476]


The Select Committee believes that the entire White House senior staff was in favor of a Presidential statement specifically instructing the violent rioters to leave. But President Trump refused. White House Counsel Pat Cipollone answered certain questions from the Select Committee on this subject as follows:

Vice Chair Cheney: And when you talk about others on the staff thinking more should be done, or thinking that the President needed to tell people to go home, who would you put in that category?

Cipollone: Well, I would put … Pat Philbin, Eric Herschmann. Overall, Mark Meadows, Ivanka. Once Jared go there, Jared, General Kellogg. I’m probably missing some, but those are – Kayleigh I think was there. But I don’t – Dan Scavino.

Vice Chair Cheney: And who on the staff did not want people to leave the Capitol?”

Cipollone: On the staff?

Vice Chair Cheney: In the White House?

Cipollone: 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. No. I mean –

Mr. Schiff: What about the President?

Vice Chair Cheney: Yeah.

[Consultation between Mr. Cipollone and his counsel.]

Cipollone: Yeah. I can’t reveal communications. But obviously I think, you know – yeah.[477]


The testimony of a White House employee with national security responsibilities also corroborated these facts. This employee testified about a conversation between Pat Cipollone and Eric Herschmann in which Herschmann indicated that the President does not want to do anything to halt the violence. That employee told the Select Committee that he overheard Herschmann saying something to the effect of “the President didn’t want anything done.”[478]

Deputy Press Secretary Judd Deere also testified to the Select Committee that as soon as it was clear that the Capitol’s outer perimeter had been breached, he urged that the President make a statement telling the rioters to go home:

Committee Staff: And so what did you do at that point?

Judd Deere: If I recall, I went back up to [Press Secretary] Kayleigh [McEnany]’s office and indicated that we now likely needed to say something.

Committee Staff: Okay. And why did you think it was necessary to say something?

Deere: Well, I mean, it appears that individuals are storming the U.S. Capitol building. They also appear to be supporters of Donald Trump, who may have been in attendance at the rally. We’re going to need to say something.

Committee Staff: And did you have a view as to what should be said by the White House?

Deere: If I recall, I told Kayleigh that I thought that we needed to encourage individuals to stop, to respect law enforcement, and to go home…. And it was – it was incumbent upon us to encourage those individuals, should they be supporters of ours, to stop.[479]


Testimony from both Deputy Press Secretary Matthews and White House Counsel Cipollone indicated that it would have been easy, and nearly instantaneous, for Trump to make a public statement insisting that the crowd disperse. As Deputy Press Secretary Sarah Matthews explained, he could have done so in under a minute:

… it would take probably less than 60 seconds from the Oval Office dining room over to the Press Briefing Room. And, for folks that might not know, the Briefing Room is the room that you see the White House Press Secretary do briefings from with the podium and the blue backdrop. And there is a camera that is on in there at all times. And so, if the President had wanted to make a statement and address the American people, he could have been on camera almost instantly.[480]


Cipollone also shared that assessment:

Committee Staff: Would it have been possible at any moment for the President to walk down to the podium in the briefing room and talk to the nation at any time between when you first gave him that advice at 2 o’clock and 4:17 when the video statement went out? Would that have been possible?

Cipollone: Would it have been possible?”

Committee Staff: Yes.

Cipollone: Yes, it would have been possible.[481]

At 2:13 p.m., rioters broke into the Capitol and flooded the building.[482]


As the violence began to escalate, many Trump supporters and others outside the White House began urgently seeking his intervention. Mark Meadows’s phone was flooded with text messages. These are just some of them:

2:32 p.m. from Fox News anchor Laura Ingraham: “Hey Mark, The president needs to tell people in the Capitol to go home.”[483]

2:35 p.m. from Mick Mulvaney: “Mark: he needs to stop this, now. Can I do anything to help?”[484]

2:46 p.m. from Rep. William Timmons (R-SC): “The president needs to stop this ASAP”[485]

2:53 p.m. from Donald Trump, Jr.: “He’s got to condem [sic] this shit. Asap. The captiol [sic] police tweet is not enough.”[486]

3:04 p.m. from Rep. Jeff Duncan (R-SC): “POTUS needs to calm this shit down”[487]

3:09 p.m. from former White House Chief of Staff Reince Priebus: “TELL THEM TO GO HOME !!!”[488]

3:13 p.m. from Alyssa Farah Griffin: “Potus has to come out firmly and tell protestors to dissipate. Someone is going to get killed.”[489]

3:15 p.m. from Rep. Chip Roy (R-TX): “Fix this now.”[490]

3:31 p.m. from Fox News anchor Sean Hannity: “Can he make a statement. I saw the tweet. Ask people to peacefully leave the capital [sic]”[491]

3:58 p.m. from Fox News anchor Brian Kilmeade: “Please get him on tv. Destroying every thing you guys have accomplished”[492]


Others on Capitol Hill appeared in the media, or otherwise appeared via internet. Representative Mike Gallagher (R-WI) issued a video appealing directly to the President:

Mr. President, you have got to stop this. You are the only person who can call this off. Call it off. The election is over. Call it off![493]


Some Members of Congress sent texts to President Trump’s immediate staff or took to Twitter, where they knew the President spent time:

Sen. Bill Cassidy (R-LA) issued a tweet: @realDonaldTrump please appear on TV, condemn the violence and tell people to disband.[494]

Rep. Jaime Herrera Beutler (R-WA) sent a text to Mark Meadows: We need to hear from the president. On TV. I hate that Biden jumped him on it.[495]


Republican Leader Kevin McCarthy tried repeatedly to reach President Trump, and did at least once. He also reached out for help to multiple members of President Trump’s family, including Ivanka Trump and Jared Kushner.[496] Kushner characterized Leader McCarthy’s demeanor on the call as “scared”:

Kushner: I could hear in his voice that he really was nervous, and so, obviously, I took that seriously. And, you know, I didn’t know if I’d be able to have any impact, but I said, you know, it’s better to at least try. And so I – like I said, I turned the shower off, threw on a suit, and, you know, and rushed into the White House as quickly as I could.

Committee Staff: Yeah. What did he ask you to do? When you say have an impact, what is it specifically that he needed your help with?

Kushner: I don't recall a specific ask, just anything you could do. Again, I got the sense that, you know, they were – they were – you know, they were scared.

Committee Staff: “They” meaning Leader McCarthy and people on the Hill because of the violence?

Kushner: That he was scared, yes.[497]


Kevin McCarthy told Fox News at 3:09 p.m. about his call with the President[498] and elaborated about its contents in a conversation with CBS News’s Norah O’Donnell at around 3:30 p.m.:

O’Donnell: Have you spoken with the President and asked him to perhaps come to the Capitol and tell his supporters it’s time to leave?

Leader McCarthy: I have spoken to the President. I asked him to talk to the nation and tell them to stop this….

* * *

O’Donnell: The President invited tens of thousands of people to quote unquote stop the steal. I don’t know if you heard his more-than-hour-long remarks or the remarks of his son, who was the wind-up. It was some heated stuff, Leader McCarthy. I just wonder whether someone is going to accurately call a spade a spade, and I am giving you the opportunity right now that your precious and beloved United States Capitol and our democracy is witnessing this. Call a spade a spade.

Leader McCarthy: I was very clear with the President when I called him. This has to stop. And he has to, he’s gotta go to the American public and tell them to stop this.

* * *

O’Donnell: Leader McCarthy, the President of the United States has a briefing room steps from the Oval Office. It is, the cameras are hot 24/7, as you know. Why hasn’t he walked down and said that, now?

Leader McCarthy: I conveyed to the President what I think is best to do, and I’m hopeful the President will do it.[499]


The Committee has evidence from multiple sources regarding the content of Kevin McCarthy’s direct conversation with Donald Trump during the violence.

Rep. Jaime Herrera Beutler (R-WA), to whom McCarthy spoke soon after, relayed more of the conversation between McCarthy and President Trump:

And he said [to President Trump], “You have got to get on TV. You’ve got to get on Twitter. You’ve got to call these people off.” You know what the President said to him? This is as it’s happening. He said, “Well Kevin, these aren’t my people. You know, these are Antifa. And Kevin responded and said, “No, they’re your people. They literally just came through my office windows and my staff are running for cover. I mean they’re running for their lives. You need to call them off.” And the President’s response to Kevin to me was chilling. He said, “Well Kevin, I guess they’re just more upset about the election, you know, theft than you are”.[500]


Rep. Herrera Beutler’s account of the incident was also corroborated by former Acting White House Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney, who testified that Leader McCarthy told him several days later that President Trump had said during their call: “Kevin, maybe these people are just more angry about this than you are. Maybe they’re more upset.”[501]

Mulvaney was also trying to reach administration officials to urge President Trump to instruct his supporters to leave the Capitol.[502] As were many elected officials in both parties, including Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer, and several Republican Members of Congress.[503]
As already noted, Pat Cipollone and others in the White House repeatedly urged President Trump to tell his supporters to leave the Capitol. Cipollone described his conversations with Mark Meadows after they failed to convince President Trump to deliver the necessary message:

Committee Staff: Do you remember any discussion with Mark Meadows with respect to his view that the President didn’t want to do anything or was somehow resistant to wanting to say something along the lines that you suggested.

Pat Cipollone: Not just – just to be clear, many people suggested it.”

Committee Staff: Yeah.

Cipollone: Not just me. Many people felt the same way. 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.[504]

* * *

Committee Staff: So your advice was tell people to leave the Capitol, and that took over 2 hours when there were subsequent statements made, tweets put forth, that in your view were insufficient. Did you continue, Mr. Cipollone, throughout the period of time up until 4:17, continue, you and others, to push for a stronger statement?

Cipollone: Yes.[505]

* * *

Committee Staff: … at the onset of the violence when you first notice on television or wherever that rioters have actually breached the Capitol, did you have a conversation with Mark Meadows in which Meadows indicated he doesn’t want to do anything, “he” meaning the President?

Cipollone: I don’t – I had a conversation I’m sure with Mark Meadows, I’m sure with other people, of what I thought should be done. Did Mark say that to me? I don’t have a recollection of him saying that to me, but he may have said something along the lines.[506]


At 2:16 p.m., security records indicate that the Vice President was “being pulled” to a safer location.[507]

In an interview with the Select Committee, a White House Security Official on duty at the White House explained his observations as he listened to Secret Service communications and made contemporaneous entries into a security log. In particular, he explained an entry he made at 2:24 p.m.:

Committee Staff: Ok. That last entry on this page is: “Service at the Capitol does not sound good right now.

Official: Correct.

Committee Staff: What does that mean?

Official: The members of the VP detail at this time were starting to fear for their own lives. There were a lot of -- there was a lot of yelling, a lot of – I don’t know – a lot [of] very personal calls over the radio. So – it was disturbing. I don’t like talking about it, but there were calls to say good-bye to family members, so on and so forth. It was getting -- for whatever the reason was on the ground, the VP detail thought that this was about to get very ugly.

Committee Staff: And did you hear that over the radio?

Official: Correct.

Committee Staff: … obviously, you’ve conveyed that’s disturbing, but what prompted you to put it into an entry as it states there, Service at the Capitol –

Official: That they’re running out of options, and they’re getting nervous. It sounds like that we came very close to either Service having to use lethal options or worse. At that point, I don’t know. Is the VP 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 good-bye to the family, like, the floor needs to know this is going to a whole another level soon.[508]


Also at 2:24 p.m., knowing the riot was underway and that Vice President Pence was at the Capitol, President Trump sent this tweet:

Mike Pence didn’t have the courage to do what should have been done to protect our Country and our Constitution, giving States a chance to certify a corrected set of facts, not the fraudulent or inaccurate ones which they were asked to previously certify. USA demands the truth![509]


Evidence shows that the 2:24 p.m. tweet immediately precipitated further violence at the Capitol. Immediately after this tweet, the crowds both inside and outside of the Capitol building violently surged forward.[510] Outside the building, within ten minutes thousands of rioters overran the line on the west side of the Capitol that was being held by the Metropolitan Police Force’s Civil Disturbance Unit, the first time in history of the DC Metro Police that such a security line had ever been broken.[511]

Virtually everyone in the White House staff the Select Committee interviewed condemned the 2:24 p.m. tweet in the strongest terms.

Image
Police officers attempt to clear rioters inside the Capitol building. (Photo by Brent Stirton/Getty Images)

Deputy National Security Adviser Matthew Pottinger told the Select Committee that the 2:24 p.m. tweet was so destructive that it convinced him to resign as soon as possible:

One of my aides handed me a sheet of paper that contained the tweet that you just read. I read it and was quite disturbed by it. I was disturbed and worried to see that the President was attacking Vice President Pence for doing his constitutional duty.

So the tweet looked to me like the opposite of what we really needed at that moment, which was a de-escalation. And that is why I had said earlier that it looked like fuel being poured on the fire.

So that was the moment that I decided that I was going to resign, that that would be my last day at the White House. I simply didn’t want to be associated with the events with the events that were unfolding at the Capitol.[512]


Deputy Press Secretary Sarah Matthews had a similar reaction:

So it was obvious that the situation at the Capitol was violent and escalating quickly. And so I thought that the tweet about the Vice President was the last thing that was needed in that moment.

And 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, telling them that what they were doing at the steps of the Capitol and entering the Capitol was okay, that they were justified in their anger.

And 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 were seeing.

And I am someone who has worked with him, you know, I worked on the campaign, traveled all around the country, going to countless rallies with him, and I have seen the impact that his words have on his supporters. They truly latch onto every word and every tweet that he says.

And so, I think that in that moment for him to tweet out the message about Mike Pence, it was him pouring gasoline on the fire and making it much worse.[513]


Deputy Press Secretary Judd Deere stated the following:

Committee Staff: What was your reaction when you saw that tweet?

Deere: Extremely unhelpful.

Committee Staff: Why?

Deere: It wasn’t the message that we needed at that time. It wasn’t going to – the scenes at the U.S. Capitol were only getting worse at that point. This was not going to help that.[514]


White House Counsel Pat Cipollone told the Select Committee, “I don’t remember when exactly I heard about that tweet, but my reaction to it is that’s a terrible tweet, and I disagreed with the sentiment. And I thought it was wrong.”[515]

Likewise, Counselor to the President Hope Hicks texted a colleague that evening: “Attacking the VP? Wtf is wrong with him”.[516]

At 2:26 p.m., Vice President Pence was again moved to a different location.[517]

President Trump had the TV on in the dining room.[518] At 2:38 p.m., Fox News was showing video of the chaos and attack, with tear gas filling the air in the Capitol Rotunda. And a newscaster reported, “[T]his is a very dangerous situation.”[519] This is the context in which Trump sent the tweet.

Testimony obtained by the Committee indicates that President Trump knew about the rioters’ anger at Vice President Mike Pence, and indicated something to the effect that “Mike [Pence] deserves it.”[520] As Cassidy Hutchinson explained:

I remember Pat saying something to the effect of, “Mark, we need to do something more. They’re literally calling for the Vice President to be f’ing hung.” And Mark had responded something to the effect of, “You heard him, Pat. He thinks Mike deserves it. He doesn’t think they're doing anything wrong.” To which Pat said something, “[t]his is f’ing crazy, we need to be doing something more,” briefly stepped into Mark’s office, and when Mark had said something – when Mark had said something to the effect of, “He doesn’t think they’re doing anything wrong,” knowing what I had heard briefly in the dining room coupled with Pat discussing the hanging Mike Pence chants in the lobby of our office and then Mark’s response, I understood “they’re” to be the rioters in the Capitol that were chanting for the Vice President to be hung.[521]


Although White House Counsel Pat Cipollone was limited in what he would discuss because of privilege concerns, he stated the following:

Committee Staff: Do you remember any discussion at any point during the day about rioters at the Capitol chanting “hang Mike Pence?”

Cipollone: Yes. I remember – I remember hearing that – about that. Yes.

Committee Staff: Yeah. And –

Cipollone: I don’t know if I observed that myself on TV. I don’t remember.

Committee Staff: I'm just curious, I understand the privilege line you’ve drawn, but do you remember what you can share with us about the discussion about those chants, the ‘hang Mike Pence’ chants?

Cipollone: I could tell you my view of that.

Committee Staff: Yeah. Please.

Cipollone: My view of that is that is outrageous.

Committee Staff: Uh-huh.

Cipollone: And for anyone to suggest such a thing as the Vice President of the United States, for people in that crowd to be chanting that I thought was terrible. I thought it was outrageous and wrong. And I expressed that very clearly to people.[522]


Almost immediately after the 2:24 p.m. tweet, Eric Herschmann went upstairs in the West Wing to try to enlist Ivanka Trump’s assistance to persuade her father to do the right thing.[523] Ivanka rushed down to the Oval Office dining room. Although no one could convince President Trump to call for the violent rioters to leave the Capitol, Ivanka persuaded President Trump that a tweet could be issued to discourage violence against the police.

At 2:38 p.m., President Trump sent this tweet:

“Please support our Capitol Police and Law Enforcement. They are truly on the side of our Country. Stay peaceful!”[524]


While some in the meeting invoked executive privilege, or failed to recall the specifics, others told us what happened at that point. Sarah Matthews, the White House Deputy Press Secretary, had urged her boss, Kayleigh McEnany, to have the President make a stronger statement. But she informed us that President Trump resisted using the word “peaceful” in his message:

[Committee Staff] [Q]: Ms. Matthews, Ms. McEnany told us she came right back to the press office after meeting with the President about this particular tweet. What did she tell you about what happened in that dining room?

[Sarah Matthews] [A]: When she got back, she told me that a tweet had been sent out. And I told her that I thought the tweet did not go far enough, that I thought there needed to be a call to action and he needed to condemn the violence. And we were in a room full of people, but people weren’t paying attention. And so, she looked directly at me and in a hushed tone shared with me that the President did not want to include any sort of mention of peace in that tweet and that it took some convincing on their part, those who were in the room. And she said that there was a back and forth going over different phrases to find something that he was comfortable with. And it wasn’t until Ivanka Trump suggested the phrase ‘stay peaceful’ that he finally agreed to include it.”[525]


At 3:13 p.m., President Trump sent another tweet, but again declined to tell people to go home:

“I am asking for everyone at the U.S. Capitol to remain peaceful. No violence! Remember, WE are the Party of Law & Order – respect the Law and our great men and women in Blue. Thank you!”[526]


Almost everyone, including staff in the White House also found the President’s 2:38 p.m. and 3:13 p.m. tweets to be insufficient because they did not instruct the rioters to leave the Capitol. As mentioned, President Trump’s son, Donald Trump Jr., texted Meadows:

He’s got to condem [sic] this shit. Asap. The captiol [sic] police tweet is not enough.[527]

Sean Hannity also texted Mark Meadows:

Can he make a statement. I saw the tweet. Ask people to peacefully leave the capital [sic].[528]


None of these efforts resulted in President Trump immediately issuing the message that was needed. White House staff had these comments:

Pottinger: Yeah. It was insufficient. I think what – you you could count me among those who was hoping to see an unequivocal strong statement clearing out the Capitol, telling people to stand down, leave, go home. I think that’s what we were hoping for.[529]



Matthews: Yeah. So a conversation started in the press office after the President sent out those two tweets that I deemed were insufficient.... 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.[530]


And they were right. Evidence showed that neither of these tweets had any appreciable impact on the violent rioters. Unlike the video-message tweet that did not come until 4:17 finally instructing rioters to leave, neither the 2:38 nor the 3:13 tweets made any difference.

At some point after 3:05 p.m. that afternoon, President Trump’s Chief of Staff – and President Trump himself – were informed that someone was shot.[531] That person was Ashli Babbitt, who was fatally shot at 2:44 p.m. as she and other rioters tried to gain access to the House chamber.[532] There is no indication that this affected the President’s state of mind that day, and we found no evidence that the President expressed any remorse that day.

Meanwhile, leaders in Congress – including Speaker Pelosi, Senator Schumer, Senator McConnell – and the Vice President, were taking action. They called the Secretary of Defense, the Attorney General, governors and officials in Virginia, Maryland, and the District of Columbia, begging for assistance.[533]

President-elect Biden also broadcast a video calling on President Trump to take action:

I call on President Trump to go on national television now to fulfill his oath and defend the Constitution and demand an end to this siege.[534]


President Trump could have done this, of course, anytime after he learned of the violence at the Capitol. At 4:17 p.m., 187 minutes after finishing his speech (and even longer after the attack began), President Trump finally broadcast a video message in which he asked those attacking the Capitol to leave:

I know your pain. I know you’re hurt. 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. We have to have peace.[535]


President Trump’s Deputy Press Secretary, Sarah Matthews testified about her reaction to this video message:

[H]e told the people who we had just watched storm our nation’s Capitol with the intent on overthrowing our democracy, violently attack police officers, and chant heinous things like, “Hang Mike Pence,” “We love you. You’re very special.” As a spokesperson for him, I knew that I would be asked to defend that. And to me, 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.[536]


By this time, the National Guard and other additional law enforcement had begun to arrive in force and started to turn the tide of the violence. Many of those attackers in the Capitol saw or received word of President Trump’s 4:17 p.m. message, and they understood this message as an instruction to leave:[537]

• Stephen Ayres testified in front of the Select Committee that: “Well, we were there. As soon as that come out, everybody started talking about it, and it seemed like it started to disperse, you know, some of the crowd. Obviously, you know, once we got back to the hotel room, we seen that it was still going on, but it definitely dispersed a lot of the crowd.”[538]

• Jacob Chansley, also known as the QAnon-Shaman answered Trump’s directive: “I’m here delivering the President’s message. Donald Trump has asked everybody to go home.” Another responded to Chansley: “That’s our order.”[539]

• Other unknown individuals also listened to President Trump’s message while outside the Capitol, and responded: “He says, go home. He says, go home.” And “Yeah. Here. He said to go home.”[540]

At 6:01 p.m., President Trump sent his last tweet of the day, not condemning the violence, but instead attempting to justify it:

These are the things and events that happen when a sacred election landslide 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![541]


Staff in President Trump’s own White House and campaign had a strong reaction to this message:

Sarah Matthews: At that point I had already made the decision to resign and this tweet just further cemented my decision. I thought that January 6, 2021, was one of the darkest days in our Nation’s history and President Trump was treating it as a celebratory occasion with that tweet. And so, it just further cemented my decision to resign.[542]

Tim Murtaugh: I don’t think it’s a patriotic act to attack the Capitol. But I have no idea how to characterize the people other than they trespassed, destroyed property, and assaulted the U.S. Capitol. I think calling them patriots is a, let’s say, a stretch, to say the least. . . . I don’t think it’s a patriotic act to attack the U.S. Capitol.[543]

Pat Cipollone: [W]hat happened at the Capitol cannot be justified in any form or fashion. It was wrong, and it was tragic. And a lot – and it was a terrible day. It was a terrible day for this country.[544]

Greg Jacob: I thought it was inappropriate. . . . To my mind, it was a day that should live in infamy.[545]


At 6:27 p.m., President Trump retired to his residence for the night. As he did, he had one final comment to an employee who accompanied him to the residence. The one takeaway that the President expressed in that moment, following a horrific afternoon of violence and the worst attack against the U.S. Capitol building in over two centuries, was this: “Mike Pence let me down.”[546]

Image
A Trump sign with Vice President Mike Pence’s name removed. (Photo by Michael Ciaglo/Getty Images)

President Trump’s inner circle was still trying to delay the counting of electoral votes into the evening, even after the violence had been quelled. Rudolph Giuliani tried calling numerous Members of Congress in the hour before the joint session resumed, including Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH) and Senators Marsha Blackburn (R-TN), Tommy Tuberville (R-AL), Bill Hagerty (R-TN), Lindsey Graham (R-SC), Josh Hawley (R-MO), and Ted Cruz (R-TX).[547] His voicemail intended for Senator Tuberville at 7:02 p.m. that evening eventually was made public:

[Guiliani] Sen. Tuberville? Or I should say Coach Tuberville. This is Rudy Giuliani, the President’s lawyer. I’m calling you because I want to discuss with you how they’re trying to rush this hearing and how we need you, our Republican friends, to try to just slow it down so we can get these legislatures to get more information to you.[548]


Reflecting on President Trump’s conduct that day, Vice President Pence noted that President Trump “had made no effort to contact me in the midst of the rioting or any point afterward.”[549] He wrote that President Trump’s “reckless words had endangered my family and all those serving at the Capitol.”[550]

President Trump did not contact a single top national security official during the day. Not at the Pentagon, nor at the Department of Homeland Security, the Department of Justice, the F.B.I., the Capitol Police Department, or the D.C. Mayor’s office.[551] As Vice President Pence has confirmed, President Trump didn’t even try to reach his own Vice President to make sure that Pence was safe.[552] President Trump did not order any of his staff to facilitate a law enforcement response of any sort.[553] His Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff—who is by statute the primary military advisor to the President—had this reaction:

General Milley: “You know, you’re the Commander in Chief. You’ve got an assault going on on the Capitol of the United States of America. And there’s nothing? No call? Nothing? Zero?”[554]


General Milley did, however, receive a call from President Trump’s Chief of Staff Mark Meadows that day. Here is how he described that call:

He said, “We have to kill the narrative that the Vice President is making all the decisions. We need to establish the narrative, you know, that the President is still in charge and that things are steady or stable, or words to that effect. I immediately interpreted that as politics, politics, politics. Red flag for me, personally. No action. But I remember it distinctly. And I don’t do political narratives.”[555]


Some have suggested that President Trump gave an order to have 10,000 troops ready for January 6th.[556] The Select Committee found no evidence of this. In fact, President Trump’s Acting Secretary of Defense Christopher Miller directly refuted this when he testified under oath:

Committee Staff: To be crystal clear, there was no direct order from President Trump to put 10,000 troops to be on the ready for January 6th, correct?

Miller: No. Yeah. That’s correct. There was no direct—there was no order from the President.[557]


Later, on the evening of January 6th, President Trump’s former campaign manager, Brad Parscale, texted Katrina Pierson, one of President Trump’s rally organizers, that the events of the day were the result of a “sitting president asking for civil war” and that “This week I feel guilty for helping him win” now that “… a woman is dead.” Pierson answered: “You do realize this was going to happen.” Parscale replied: “Yeah. If I was Trump and knew my rhetoric killed someone.” “It wasn’t the rhetoric,” Pierson suggested. But Parscale insisted: “Yes it was.”[558]

THE IMMEDIATE AFTERMATH OF JANUARY 6TH


In days following January 6th, President Trump’s family and staff attempted repeatedly to persuade him not to repeat his election fraud allegations, to concede defeat, and to allow the transition to President Biden to proceed. Trump did make two video recordings, which initially appeared contrite. But evidence suggests that these statements were designed at least in part to ward off other potential consequences of January 6th, such as invocation of the 25th Amendment or impeachment.

In fact, Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy indicated after the attack, in a discussion with House Republican leaders that he would ask President Trump to resign:

Rep. Cheney: I guess there’s a question when we were talking about the 25th Amendment resolution, and you asked what would happen after he’s gone? Is there any chance? Are you hearing that he might resign? Is there any reason to think that might happen?

Leader McCarthy: I’ve had a few discussions. My gut tells me no. I’m seriously thinking of having that discussion with him tonight. I haven’t talked to him in a couple of days. From what I know of him, I mean, you guys all know him too, do you think he’d ever back away? But what I think I’m going to do is I’m going to call him. This is what I think. We know [the 25th Amendment resolution] will pass the House. I think there’s a chance it will pass the Senate, even when he’s gone. And I think there’s a lot of different ramifications for that. . . . Again, the only discussion I would have with him is that I think this will pass, and it would be my recommendation you should resign.[559]


Before January 6th, Fox News personality Sean Hannity warned that January 6th could be disastrous:

Dec. 31, 2020 text from Sean Hannity to Mark Meadows: “We can’t lose the entire WH counsels office. I do NOT see January 6 happening the way he is being told. After the 6 th [sic]. He should announce will lead the nationwide effort to reform voting integrity. Go to Fl and watch Joe mess up daily. Stay engaged. When he speaks people will listen.” 560


January 5, 2021 texts from Sean Hannity to Mark Meadows:

Im very worried about the next 48 hours

Pence pressure. WH counsel will leave.

Sorry, I can’t talk right now.

On with boss[561]


A member of the Republican Freedom caucus also warned, on December 31, 2020, and on January 1, 2021:

The President should call everyone off. It’s the only path. If we substitute the will of states through electors with a vote by Congress every 4 years... we have destroyed the electoral college... Respectfully.[562] If POTUS allows this to occur... we’re driving a stake in the heart of the federal republic...[563]


After January 6th, Sean Hannity of Fox News worked to persuade President Trump to stop talking about election fraud, proposed that Trump pardon Hunter Biden, and discussed attending the Inauguration:

1. No more stolen election talk.
2. Yes, impeachment and 25 th amendment are real, and many people will quit.
3. He was intrigued by the Pardon idea!! (Hunter)
4. Resistant but listened to Pence thoughts, to make it right.
5. Seemed to like attending Inauguration talk.[564]

Ultimately, President Trump took little of the advice from Hannity and his White House staff. A few days later, Hannity wrote again to Meadows and Jim Jordan:

Guys, we have a clear path to land the plane in 9 days. He can’t mention the election again. Ever. I did not have a good call with him today. And worse, I’m not sure what is left to do or say, and I don t like not knowing if it’s truly understood. Ideas?[565]


Likewise, despite her many contrary public statements, Republican Congresswoman Marjorie Taylor Greene privately texted her concerns on January 6th about a continuing and real threat of violence:

Mark I was just told there is an active shooter on the first floor of the Capitol Please tell the President to calm people This isn’t the way to solve anything[566]


Donald Trump was impeached on January 13th. In a speech that day, Republican Leader Kevin McCarthy made this statement from the House floor, but voted against impeachment:

The President bears responsibility for Wednesday’s attack on Congress by mob rioters. He should have immediately denounced the mob when he saw what was unfolding. These facts require immediate action by President Trump, accept his share of responsibility, quell the brewing unrest and ensure President-elect Biden is able to successfully begin his term. The President’s immediate action also deserves congressional action, which is why I think a fact-finding commission and a censure resolution would be prudent.[567]


Later, McCarthy told members of the House Republican conference that Trump had acknowledged that he was at least partially responsible for the January 6th attack.

Image
Kevin McCarthy speaks at a press conference at the Capitol building on August 27, 2021. (Photo by Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images)

I asked him personally today, does he hold responsibility for what happened? Does he feel bad about what happened? He told me he does have some responsibility for what happened. And he need to acknowledge that.[568]


Since January 6th, President Trump has continued to claim falsely that the 2020 Presidential election was stolen. Not only that, he has urged other politicians to push this argument as well. Representative Mo Brooks has issued a public statement appearing to represent Trump’s private views and intentions:

President Trump asked me to rescind the 2020 elections, immediately remove Joe Biden from the White House, immediately put President Trump back in the White House, and hold a new special election for the presidency.[569]
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