As previewed, the committee rolled out new video footage of the attack and snippets of recorded depositions from members of Trump’s administration and family. Their testimony, under penalty of perjury, directly undercut the former president’s allegations of widespread voter fraud.
Portions of videos were played including the depositions of the Trump administration and campaign officials like Attorney General Bill Barr, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff General Mark Milley, and Ivanka Trump, the former president’s daughter, and onetime White House adviser. Deposition from Trump’s senior campaign spokesperson Jason Miller was also played where he discussed campaign staffer Matthew Oczkowski giving Trump a county-by-county, state-by-state analysis of the results.
Trump had lost.
“I was in the Oval Office, and at some point in the conversation Matt Oczkowski, the lead data person, was brought on, and he delivered to the president in pretty blunt terms that he was going to lose,” Miller said.
During the hearings, Miller sent a message to a reporter at MSNBC. He claimed that in his next statement to the committee’s attorneys that Trump disagreed that he would lose because of the lawsuits being filed by his attorney, Rudy Giuliani.
Barr also testified that he expressly told Trump his voter fraud allegations were “bullshit,” backing up claims he made in a previously published book.
“I had three discussions with the president. I can recall one was on Nov. 23, one was on Dec. 1 and one was on Dec. 14, ”Barr said. “I made it clear I did not agree with the idea of saying the election was stolen and putting out this stuff which I told the president was bullshit and I did not want to be a part of it and that’s one of the reasons that went into me deciding to leave when I did.
I observed on Dec. 1, you can not live in a world where the incumbent administration stays in power based on its view, unsupported by specific evidence, that there was fraud in the election, “he said.
He “saw zero basis for the allegations,” he testified.
“But they were made in such a sensational way, they were obviously influencing members of the public that there was this systemic corruption in the system and their votes did not count, and these machines controlled by somebody else was determining it, and it was complete nonsense. I told them it was crazy stuff and they were wasting their time on that, and it was doing a grave, grave disservice to the country, ”Barr said.
In a clip of her deposition, Ivanka Trump admitted that Barr’s conclusion “affected” her perspective and she accepted that the 2020 election had not been stolen.
“I respect Attorney General Barr, so I accepted what he was saying,” Ivanka said.
Trump has already recoiled on his daughter, saying in a statement Friday that Ivanka was “not involved in looking at or studying the election results.”
“She had long since checked out and was, in my opinion, only trying to be respectful to Bill Barr and his position as Attorney General (he sucked)!” Trump wrote on Truth Social.
Whether Ivanka Trump looked at the election results or understood the data ultimately means very little.
Extensive audits and reviews of ballots were conducted in each battleground state. US intelligence apparatuses assessed the security of the 2020 election and found it to be safe and devoid of widespread fraud. Lawsuit after lawsuit challenging results were slapped down.
There was no widespread voter fraud in the 2020 election.
That did not stop Trump from fuming anyway during the hearing Thursday night and well into the next day. Even now, he continues to pump out his utterly baseless claim that the 2020 election was “rigged.”
Before the panel’s two live witnesses testified, the committee also aired new video footage of the attack. It featured frantic radio communications of officers who found themselves quickly overwhelmed by a horde of the former president’s supporters.
“We can not hold this, we’re going to get too many fucking people. We’re fucked. Look at this vantage point, ”one police officer is heard saying as he gestured to the thousands of people breaching barriers and scaling walls around him to get inside.
“There are people flooding the hallways outside, we have no way out,” another officer is hearing saying on a radio transmission.
The video footage exposed too how members of the crowd at the Ellipse hung on Trump’s every word, taking his calls to march on the Capitol seriously. At one moment in the video, a supporter of the former president is in the crowd and begins to use a bullhorn. She begins reading Trump’s tweets criticizing Pence for not having “the courage” to overturn the election results.
“All Mike has to do is send them back to the States. WE WIN. Do it, Mike, this is a time for extreme courage! ” Trump tweeted at 8:17 AM on Jan. 6.
During his speech at the Ellipse, Trump told the crowd:Because if Mike Pence does the right thing, we win the election. All he has to do, all this is, this is from the number one, or certainly one of the top constitutional lawyers in our country. He has the absolute right to do it. ”
He was referring to John Eastman, the conservative attorney who joined him on stage that day and spent the weeks prior, court records have shown, developing a strategy to have Pence overturn the results.
“All Vice President Pence has to do is send it back to the states to recertify, and we become president, and you are the happiest people, “Trump said on Jan. 6.
RELATED STORY: Tick-tock: A timeline of the insurrection at the US Capitol
Next week the committee will present live testimony from a few Pence officials including his chief of staff Marc Short and counsel Greg Jacob. J. Michael Luttig, a former federal judge and former assistant counsel to President Ronald Regan who also clerked for Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia, is also expected to testify.
Luttig told Frontline in May that a lawyer for Pence called him the morning before the attack and told him they needed his help and “very quickly.”
“Somehow, we need to get your voice out to the country,” Luttig recalled the attorney saying.
Luttig fired off a series of tweets with the help of his son. The thread started circulating in the news.
On Jan. 6, just before Pence was set to preside over Congress — and Trump spent the morning tweeting angrily at him — Pence issued a statement, making his position clear publicly. He did not have the “unilateral authority” to decide which votes could be counted and which votes could not.
Lutting told Frontline in May that the attempt by Trump to steal the election in 2022 was the “Republican blueprint to steal the 2024 election.”
When the committee met Thursday, more details were also fleshed out about Trump’s support of the “Hang Mike Pence” chants that reverberated around the Capitol on Jan. 6.
RELATED STORY: Jan. 6 committee: During Capitol attack, Trump reportedly approved of ‘Hang Mike Pence’ chants
Cheney described the witness testimony.
Trump was aware of the cries to murder the vice president.
“Aware of the rioters ‘chanters to hang Mike Pence, the president responded with this sentiment:’ Maybe our supporters have the right idea.”
Mike Pence, Trump said, according to the witness, “deserves it.”
The New York Timesciting anonymous sources, reported last month that it was Mark Meadows who divulged this detail to the committee.
Cheney was short on further details Thursday night. More information about Trump’s conduct during a 187-minute stretch of silence from the White House will soon be revealed.
The committee also teased out information about pardons sought by sitting Republican lawmakers. Cheney said Thursday night that Rep. Scott Perry, a Pennsylvania Republican, contacted the White House in the aftermath of the insurrection and sought a presidential pardon.
Rep. Pete Aguilar, a member of the Jan. 6 committee, told CNN on Friday morning that there were a number of Republicans who sought pardons for Trump. His advisers did, too.
Aguilar told CNN:
“We have gathered that information, and we will share it as it is relevant. Clearly individuals who were seeking pardons specifically after Jan. 6 really begs the question, ‘What level of behavior did they engage in if they felt it was necessary to seek and receive a pardon?’ ”
Other testimony from Nick Quested, a documentarian embedded with the Proud Boys before, during, and immediately after the insurrection, revealed how Proud Boys in Washington, DC appeared to be doing reconnaissance of the Capitol on the morning of the attack.
When he was with the Proud Boys at the Ellipse for Trump’s speech — he estimates there were about 200 to 250 members — he recalled how they abruptly left and made a beeline for the Capitol.
“The atmosphere was much darker” among them that day, Quested said.
He also said he was confused when the Proud Boys abandoned the speech and moved in unison toward the Capitol.
“The central question is whether the attack on the Capitol was coordinated and planned. What you witnessed is what a coordinated and planned effort would look like, ”Thompson remarked to Quested.
Testimony delivered from US Capitol Police Officer Caroline Edwards was also the nation’s first chance to hear from the very first officer believed to be injured during the attack.
Edwards recounted the experience, at times, her voice slightly choking. In the moments before she was assaulted, she recalled seeing Proud Boy Joseph Biggs leading a crowd. They were in civilian clothes, some had military fatigues though. And others had bulletproof vests.
“They did not seem extremely cohesive, but they had gathered there in their outfits,” Edwards said.
Tensions started to escalate when a group that US prosecutors have now identified as members of the Proud Boys Arizona chapter approached her as she stood behind a bike rack barrier.
“Fuck you antifa” was being chanted as the group approached Edwards. Then they started grilling her about her salary and throwing out information about officer payscales.
“I’ve worked hundreds of civil disturbance events. I know when I’m being turned into a villain. That’s when I turned to my sergeant and stated the understatement of the century. I said, Sarge, I think we’re going to need a few more people down here. ”
Edwards said she saw Biggs confer with others in the crowd, including now-defendant Ryan Samsel.
They got closer to her and started pushing the bike rack against her. They hit her over the top of the head. She was pushed backward. Her chain hit a handrail. Then she fell.
“The back of my head clipped the concrete stairs behind me,” she testified.
She was knocked unconscious.
Once alert again, she got up and kept going. The “adrenaline kicked in,” and she ran to the west front of the Capitol to try holding the line.
‘We were doing the best we could, grappling over bike racks and trying to hold them back as quickly as possible, ”Edwards recalled.
She was also tear-gassed.
“What I saw was just a war scene, it was something like I had seen in the movies. I couldn’t believe my eyes. There were officers on the ground, they were bleeding, they were throwing up. They had, I mean, I saw friends with blood all over their faces. I was slipping in people’s blood, ”Edwards testified Thursday.
“You know, I was catching people as they fell, I was, it was, carnage. It was chaos, ”she continued. “I can not even describe what I saw. Never in my wildest dreams did I think that as a police officer I would find myself in the middle of a battle. I’m trained to detain a couple of subjects and handle a crowd, but I’m not combat trained. “