Jan. 6 committee to examine Trump’s actions while mob attacked U.S. Capitol

President Donald Trump speaks at the "Save America" rally on the Ellipse near the White House on January 6, 2021. Thursday's public hearing will examine the 187 minutes between the end of the rally and when Trump told a mob of rioters at the Capitol to go home. File Photo by Shawn Thew/UPI

July 21 (UPI) — The eighth and final public hearing of the Jan. 6 committee, at least for several weeks, will take place in prime-time on Thursday evening and will explore the 187 minutes that President Donald Trump failed to act while radical supporters were breaking into the U.S. Capitol.

The panel has said it expects the hearing to be the last until late August or September. And some members of the committee have said it might be the most eye-opening hearing yet, as it details what Trump did for more than three hours while his supporters were trashing the Capitol in a bid to overturn the 2020 presidential election for him.

Thursday’s hearing will begin at 8 p.m. EDT and will be streamed live.

Pottinger and Sarah Matthews. Pottinger was the highest-ranked White House official to resign immediately after the attack at the Capitol. Matthews also resigned later that night. Both have given taped depositions to the committee.

Both have detailed knowledge of Trump’s actions on the afternoon of Jan. 6.

Committee members and Reps. Elaine Luria, D-Va., and Adam Kinzinger, R-Ill., will provide a “minute-by-minute” account of Trump’s actions and inaction during the assault on the Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021, after his fiery speech at his “Save America” rally near the White House, at which he directed the crowd to go “fight like hell.”

The mob of supporters marched over to the Capitol, began fighting with police officers and broke into the building as lawmakers were certifying Joe Biden‘s election victory.

A total of 187 minutes passed from the end of Trump’s speech at the Ellipse near the White House at 1:10 p.m. and when he sent out a tweet directing the mob to “go home” at 4:17 p.m.

During that time, some witnesses have previously testified that Trump watched “gleefully” on television as the mob broke into and vandalized the Capitol. In one of his tweets that afternoon, he called the rioters “patriots” and said he loved them. It was only much later that he condemned the attack after repeated pleas from aides, friends and members of his own family.

“The story we’re going to tell tomorrow is that in that time, President Trump refused to act to defend that Capitol as a violent mob stormed the Capitol with the aim of stopping the counting of the electoral votes and blocking the transfer of power,” a committee aide told NBC News.

The aide also said Trump was “directing a mob that he, the former president, knew was armed, pointing them toward the Capitol, telling them to ‘fight like hell’ and march to the Capitol and spurring them down Pennsylvania Avenue.”

In previous dramatic testimony, Cassidy Hutchinson, a former aide to Trump Chief of Staff Mark Meadows, said Trump had been fully aware that rioters had weapons and ordered that metal-detecting equipment be taken away and security personnel stop searching his supporters. At another point, she said, Trump tried to physically grab the steering wheel of his limo when he was told they weren’t going to the Capitol.

Both Matthews and Pottinger have previously said that one of Trump’s tweets during the attack disparaged Vice President Mike Pence for refusing to attempt to block the Electoral College certification.

At Thursday’s hearing, the committee will also examine a tweet from Trump at 6:01 p.m. — which was later deleted — that suggested the Capitol attack was brought on by “widespread fraud” in the 2020 election.

“These are the things and events that happen when a sacred landslide election victory is so unceremoniously and viciously stripped away from great patriots who have been badly and unfairly treated for so long. Go home with love and in peace. Remember this day forever!” the deleted tweet read.

None of Trump’s repeated claims of election fraud have ever been proven to be true.

Thursday’s hearing will also focus on the actions of Meadows, members of the Trump family, allies and Republican lawmakers during the attack.

Members of the committee have said they expected to receive a collection of text messages from the Secret Service from Jan. 6. A government watchdog said last week that the agency had deleted text messages from both Jan. 6 and Jan. 5.

Committee Chairman Rep. Bennie Thompson, D-Miss., will lead Thursday’s hearing remotely after testing positive for COVID-19 earlier this week.

“He’s feeling OK. He is vaccinated and boosted, but of course, we will observe COVID protocols,” an aide said.


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