Jan 6 panel pushes to link Trump to Capitol violence – a timeline

Panel: Trump knew there was no evidence of voter fraud, but told supporters to come to Washington, DC, on Jan 6 anyway.

Hearing om the January 6, 2021 attack of the Capitol.
Rep Raskin speaks during the July 12 hearing on the January 6 attack [Shawn Thew/Reuters pool]

The wide-ranging hearing gave a timeline of events leading up to the January 6 riot, showing how former United States President Donald Trump “summoned a mob” to Washington, DC, despite knowing that his claims of election fraud were false, the January 6 committee.

Trump had a responsibility to tell his supporters the truth that he had lost the election but “he went the opposite way,” Chair Bennie Thompson said.

“He seized on that anger he had already stoked among his most loyal supporters … and he urged them on,” Thompson said.

The panel played video witness testimony from Trump’s closest advisers, cabinet members and his daught,er indicating they knew and told him in December that his administration was coming to an end and urged him to step down.

A Trump tweet calling his followers to come to Washington, DC, on January 6, 2021 – ​​“Big protest in D.C. on January 6th. Be there, will be wild!” – motivated hardline far-right groups the Proud Boys and the Oath Keepers to work together ahead of the rally.

The hearing included testimony from a former Oath Keeper who has left the group, texts from Trump’s former campaign manager who said he felt “guilty” after January 6, and a list of members of Congress who in December met at the White House to discuss the scheme to have Vice President Mike Pence halt certification of the election.

Here are some of the highlights:

  • Former President Trump attempted to contact an investigation witness, who did not accept the call – that incident has been referred to the Justice Department, Cheney said.
  • Trump’s former campaign manager Brad Parscale blamed Trump’s rhetoric for the death of a woman on January 6.
  • Panel linked Trump’s tweet calling for ‘big protest’ on January 6 to the attack on the Capitol.
  • Committee portrayed a contentious meeting at the White House in December 2020, where election deniers pushed for seizing voting machines.
  • Former White House Counsel Pat Cipollone praised former Vice President Mike Pence for resisting a push to overturn election results.
  • Far-right groups that previously had not worked together wergalvaniseded by Trump’s call to come to Washington, DC, and shared ‘operational intelligence’: former DC intelligence official.

Below is a timeline of the hearing as it unfolded:

Trump tried to contact committee witness, Cheney says

Vice Chair Liz Cheney has warned that the panel will not take lightly efforts to interfere with or influence witnesses.

“President Trump tried to call a witness in our investigation – a witness you have not yet seen in these hearings,” she said.

“That person declined to answer or respond to President Trump’s call, and instead alerted their lawyer to the call; their lawyer alerted us. And this committee has supplied that information to the Department of Justice.

“Let me say one more time: We will take any efforts to influence witness testimony very seriously.”

Vice Chair Liz Cheney speaks during the January 6 hearing on July 12
Vice Chair Liz Cheney speaks during the January 6 hearing on July 12 [Elizabeth Frantz/Reuters]

Congress members present when theory to block certification discussed

Cipollone confirmed that members of Congress were at a December 21, 2020, White House meeting where the plan to have Vice President Mike Pence block the election certification was discussed, committee member Stephanie Murphy, a Florida Democrat, said.

According to White House visitors logs, Republicans Brian Babin, Andy Biggs, Matt Gaetz, Louie Gohmert, Paul Gosar, Andy Harris, Jody Hice, Jim Jordan, Scott Perry and Marjorie Taylor Greene then a Congresswoman-elect, were at the meeting, Murphy said.

She referred to the plan to have Pence not certify the election as the “Eastman theory” named for lawyer John Eastman who had been pushing an unconstitutional premise that Pence had the authority to block the electoral certification.

Cipollone says it was possible for Trump to tell rioters to leave earlier

Cipollone answered affirmatively when asked whether it was possible for Trump to take the White House briefing room podium and tell his supporters to leave the Capitol hours before he released a video urging them to end the riots.

The former White House counsel said it was his “obligation” to push Trump to tell his supporters to leave the Capitol.

January 6 assault will be Trump’s legacy, says Raskin

Raskin has said the attack on the Capitol will be Trump’s legacy.

“American carnage, that’s Donald Trump’s true legacy – his desire to overthrow the people’s election and seize the presidency, interrupt the counting of electoral college votes for the first time in American history,” Raskin said.

He added that Trump “nearly toppled the constitutional order and brutalised hundreds and hundreds of people”.

Oath Keepers leader wanted to create deck of cards with US politicians as targets

Former Oath Keepers’s spokesperson Van Tatenhove has testified that the leader of the group, Stewart Rhodes, was interested in creating a deck of cards with the faces of US politicians.

The project, according to Van Tatenhove, was meant to mimic the cards US authorities released in Iraq after the 2003 invasion with the faces of Saddam Hussein aides that Washington wanted to capture.

“That would include different politicians, judges – including up to Hillary Clinton as the Queen of Hearts,” Van Tatenhove told the panel.

“This is a project that I refused to do. But from the very start we saw that there was always the push for military training … There were courses in that community that went over explosives training, so yeah, this all falls in line.”

Jason Van Tatenhove, a former member of the Oath Keepers, testifies before the January 6 panel.
Jason Van Tatenhove, a former member of the Oath Keepers, testifies before the January 6 panel [Elizabeth Frantz/Reuters]

Former Oath Keepers spokesperson calls group ‘dangerous’

Van Tatenhove has described the far-right group as dangerous and violent.

“In my opinion, the Oath Keepers are a very dangerous organisation,” he told the panel.

“We saw a glimpse of what the vision of the Oath Keepers is on January 6. It doesn’t necessarily include the rule of law. It includes violence. It includes trying to get their way through lies, through deceit, through intimidation.”

Ex-campaign manager blamed Trump for riots

Former Trump Campaign Manager Brad Parscale has blamed the then-president for the January 6 riots, according to a text message exchange with ex-Trump spokeswoman Katrina Pierson that the committee put on display.

“This is about Trump pushing for uncertainty in our country,” Parscale wrote. “A sitting president asking for civil war. This week, I feel guilty for helping him.”

He later lamented that a “woman is dead”, likely referring to a Trump supporter who was fatally shot inside the Capitol.

“Yeah if I was Trump and I knew my rhetoric killed someone,” Parscale added.

Twitter witness says tried ‘for months’ to get company to do something about Trump and hardliners

On the eve of the January 6 rally, a witness said he sent a message to a colleague saying: “When people are shooting each other tomorrow, I will try and I will try and rest in the knowledge that we tried.”

The witness said despite his “begging”, he realised on January 5 that “no intervention was coming” from the company.

“We were at the mercy of a violent crowd that was locked and loaded.”

Trump added anti-Pence lines to his January 6 speech

Witnesses have told the committee that Trump added last-minute lines attacking Pence after the then-vice president refused to unilaterally overturn the elections.

Congresswoman Stephanie Murphy said Trump ad-libbed several references to Pence and “fighting” in his speech.

“A single scripted reference in the speech to Mike Pence became eight,” Murphy said.

“A single scripted reference to rally-goers marching to the Capitol became four, with President Trump ad-libbing that he would be joining the protesters at the Capitol. Added throughout his speech were references to fighting and the need for people to have courage and to be strong.”

Cipollone confirms he rejected theory that Pence could overturn election

Cipollone has confirmed accounts from previous testimonies that he vehemently rejected efforts to push Vice President Mike Pence to reverse election results when presiding over the counting of electoral college votes.

Cipollone told the committee that he did not disagree with the testimony of a White House aide that he had described the theory that the vice president can overturn the election as “nutty”.

The former White House counsel went on to praise Pence for refusing to go along with those efforts, saying that he had suggested that the ex-vice president should receive the Presidential Medal of Freedom.

Far-right groups shared ‘operational intelligence’ ahead of Jan 6: Former Washington official

Donell Harvin, a former top intelligence official at the District of Columbia government (Washington, DC), has said that previously non-aligned groups from the far-right started coordinating together ahead of the January 6 attack, saying, “all the red flags were up at that point”.

“We have far-right militia collaborating with white supremacy groups, collaborating with conspiracy theory groups,” Harvin said, calling the coordination a “blended ideology”.

He said the groups were sharing “operational intelligence” ahead of the riot and “that is something that’s clearly alarming”.

A general view of the January 6 hearing on July 12 showing cameras with committee members in the background.
A general view of the January 6 hearing on July 12 [Elizabeth Frantz/Reuters]

Trump’s tweet turned supporters’ focus to January 6

The December 19, 2020 tweet by Trump that called for a “big protest” in Washington, DC, on January 6 made his supporters laser-focused on that date, Raskin has argued.

“Statistically impossible to have lost the 2020 Election,” the tweet said. “Big protest in D.C. on January 6th. Be there, will be wild!”

Raskin said the founder of a website that served as a forum for election fraud claims “confirmed how the president’s tweet created a laser-like focus on the date of January 6”.

“After it was announced that he was going to be there on the sixth to talk, yes, then everything else was kind of shut out, and it was just going to be on the sixth,” Jody Williams, owner of the now-defunct thedonald.win website told the committee.

Trump used Twitter to speak to ‘extremists’, former employee says

A former Twitter employee who was on the content moderation team said if he had not been president, Trump would have been suspended from Twitter long before January 8, 2021.

The employee, whose identity was concealed to protect their identity, said there was concern in 2020 about Trump after he told far-right group The Proud Boys to “stand back and stand by” during a September presidential debate.

“My concern was that the former president for seemingly the first time was speaking directly to extremist organizations and giving them directives,” the Twitter employee said.

He said Trump’s tweet on December 19, 2020, to rally in the US capital and that it would be “wild” spurred many of his followers.

“This tweet, on December 19 was essentially staking his flag in DC on January 6 for his supporters to come and rally,” the employee said.

Election deniers and other aides clashed at White House meeting

The panel portrayed a contentious meeting between election deniers and aides who were pushing against unfounded fraud claims at the White House on December 18, 2020.

Ex-Trump lawyer Sidney Powell and former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn had come to the White House for an unscheduled meeting.

Cipollone said he pressed for evidence to back election fraud allegations decrying Powell’s “general disregard for the importance of actually backing up what you say with facts”.

Eric Herschmann, a former White House lawyer, said he also voiced opposition to some of the conspiracy theories that were being floated to back fraud allegations.

For his part, Rudy Giuliani said he accused aides who were not convinced that there was election fraud of not fighting hard enough.

“Maybe I put it another way: ‘You’re a bunch of p***ies’,” Giuliani said.
Other witnesses described screaming and the hurling of insults between the two camps.

The text message "The west wing is UNHINGED" is highlighted in this capture of communications between White house Deputy White House Chief of Staff Tony Ornato and Cassidy Hutchinson.
Text messages between White house Deputy White House Chief of Staff Tony Ornato and Cassidy Hutchinson on the meeting [Elizabeth Frantz/Reuters]

Draft executive order called for seizing election machines

The panel has displayed a draft executive order where the White House would have directed the Pentagon chief to seize and examine election machines.

“Effective immediately, the Secretary of Defense shall seize, collect, retain and analyze all machines, equipment, electronically stored information, and material records,” the draft said.

Separately, Bill Barr, the former attorney general, said in his testimony that he sternly rejected Trump’s idea of seizing election machines from the states by the federal government without probable cause. Former White House Counsel Cipollone called it “a terrible idea”.

Former Trump aides say Trump should have conceded

The committee has played testimonies from various former Trump aides and cabinet secretaries saying that by mid-December 2020, after his legal challenges failed and the electoral votes were certified, it was clear his administration was over, with some saying he should concede.

Then-White House Counsel Cipollone, former Labor Secretary Eugene Scalia, ex-Attorney General William Barr and Trump’s daughter Ivanka Trump all made statements to that effect.

Hearings have changed Trump’s defence strategy: Liz Cheney

Previous hearings have shown that everyone close to Trump knew the election had not been stolen, Cheney said in her opening statement.

She said that has prompted a change in strategy to defend Trump, with a narrative he was “manipulated by others”.

She dismissed that saying: “This of course, is nonsense. President Trump is a 76-year-old man, he is not an impressionable child, just like everyone else in our country. He is responsible for his own actions and his own choices.”

Trump ‘deployed a mob’ to attack transfer of power: Raskin

Congressman Raskin has accused Trump of deploying a “mob” on January 6, 2021, to prevent the certification of President Joe Biden’s victory.

“A president who lost an election deployed a mob, which included dangerous extremists, to attack the constitutional system of election and the peaceful transfer of power,” Raskin said.

Democratic Congressman Jamie Raskin during the January 6 hearings.
Raskin says Trump ‘deployed a mob’ to stop the transfer of power [Elizabeth Frantz/Reuters]

Trump and his aides knew there was no fraud, Cheney stresses

Vice Chair Liz Cheney, one of two Republicans on the January 6 panel, has stressed that Trump and his allies knew that their unfounded claims of election fraud were false, but still pushed to convince supporters that the vote was stolen.

“Donald Trump had access to more detailed and specific information showing that the election was not actually stolen than almost any other American,” Cheney said.

She added that Trump’s legal team, led by Rudy Giuliani, knew that it “lacked actual evidence of widespread fraud”.

“Consider how millions of Americans were persuaded to believe what Donald Trump’s closest advisors in his administration did not,” Cheney said. “These Americans did not have access to the truth like Donald Trump did. They put their faith and their trust in Donald Trump. They wanted to believe in Him. They wanted to fight for their country, and he deceived them.”

Trump ‘summoned a mob’ to Washington, DC: Thompson

Tuesday’s hearing will show how Trump “summoned a mob” to Washington, DC, in an effort to overturn the 2020 election, Panel Chair Bennie Thompson has said in his opening remarks.

“The committee will explain how as a part of his last-ditch effort to overturn the election and block the transfer of power, Donald Trump summoned a mob to Washington, DC and ultimately spurred that mob to wage a violent attack on our democracy,” Congressman Thompson said.

Hearing starts

Panel chair Bennie Thompson has gavelled in the hearing.

The seventh January 6 hearing by the congressional committee investigating the 2021 attack on the Capitol is underway.

Oath Keepers former spokesperson to testify: Reports

Jason Van Tatenhove, a former spokesperson for the far-right militia the Oath Keepers, will testify at Tuesday’s hearing, several US media outlets have reported, citing unidentified sources.

Early this year, the Department of Justice charged the Oath Keepers leader Stewart Rhodes with seditious conspiracy in relation to his alleged role in the Capitol attack.

Rhodes has pleaded not guilty.

Who are the Proud Boys?

The Proud Boys – a self-described pro-Western, chauvinist “fraternity” – are expected to be the main focus of Tuesday’s hearing.

Read about the far-right group here.

Roger Stone denies any wrongdoing

Roger Stone, a Trump confidant and right-wing political operative who was associated with the Proud Boys and Oath Keepers, has denied any wrongdoing.

Stone’s name is expected to come up at the hearing as a link between the White House and the far-right groups.

“Any assertion that I knew in advance about, was involved in or condoned any of the illegal actions at the Capitol is false,” the Reuters news agency quoted Stones as saying in an email. “Any claim that I knew from any member of the Proud Boys or Oath Keepers about any plan for illegal activities on January 6th is also false.”

Roger Stone
‘Any assertion that I knew in advance about, was involved in or condoned any of the illegal actions at the Capitol is false,’ Roger Stone says [File: Joshua Roberts/Reuters]

Cipollone’s testimony to be featured

The panel will feature parts of Cipollone’s interview at Tuesday’s hearing, Congressman Jamie Raskin, a key member of the committee, has said.

The ex-White House counsel was close to the centre of the events of the White House, and according to previous witnesses, he played a significant role in opposing Trump’s efforts to overturn the 2020 elections.

“We’re going to get to use a lot of Mr Cipollone’s testimony to corroborate other things we’ve learned along the way,” Raskin told CBS News on Sunday. “He was the White House Counsel at the time. He was aware of every major move, I think, that Donald Trump was making to try to overthrow the 2020 election and essentially seize the presidency.”

Committee to examine links between Trump and far-right agitators

The seventh hearing of the panel this year will examine alleged links between Trump and far-right agitators accused of plotting the January 6, 2021 attack on the Capitol.

The session is expected to draw a connection between the former president and groups like the Proud Boys and Oath Keepers.

“We will lay out the body of evidence that we have that talks about how the president’s tweet on the wee hours of December 19th of ‘Be there, [will] be wild,’ was a siren call to these folks,” Congresswoman Stephanie Murphy, a panel member, told NBC News on the weekend.

Cipollone did not contradict other witnesses, says panel member

Congresswoman Zoe Lofgren has said that former White House Counsel Pat Cipollone did not contradict previous witnesses when he was interviewed by the panel last week.

“Mr Cipollone did appear voluntarily and answer a whole variety of questions. He did not contradict the testimony of other witnesses,” Lofgren told CNN.

Cipollone agreed to speak to the panel after Cassidy Hutchinson, an aide to former White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows, gave explosive testimony on June 28.

Pat Cipollone
Pat Cipollone internally opposed Donald Trump’s push to overturn the 2020 elections, according to legislators and witnesses [File: Julio Cortez/AP Photo]

Key takeaways from last hearing

At the last hearing, on June 28, Cassidy Hutchinson shared “firsthand” stories of former President Donald Trump’s behaviour on and around January 6, 2021.

Her headline-making testimony included accounts of Trump insisting on going to the Capitol on the day of the riots and physically lunging at a Secret Service agent.

Read the key takeaways from that hearing here.

Welcome to Al Jazeera’s live coverage of a US congressional committee’s public hearing on the January 6, 2021 US Capitol riot.

Source: Al Jazeera and news agencies