(CNN) — The House select committee investigating the January 6, 2021 insurrection at the U.S. Capitol on Thursday concluded its first series of hearings in which it heard from witnesses, including top former Trump officials, poll workers, who participated in assault, and many others.
Through live testimony, video statements and never-before-seen footage, the commission tried to paint a picture of the former president’s plan to stay in power and the role he played on January 6.
Vice Chair Liz Cheney, a Republican from Wyoming, used her opening statement during the first hearing in June to set the panel’s agenda. Here are some of the key points Cheney said the commission would explore in the hearings and what they have found so far. The panel plans to meet again for more hearings in September.
“President Trump called the crowd, rallied it and lit the flame of this assault”
During the seventh hearing, the commission presented new information about the “crazy” Oval Office meeting that took place on December 18, 2020, after which then-President Donald Trump tweeted what Maryland Democratic Rep. Jamie Raskin called an “explosive invitation,” calling on supporters to come to Washington on January 6. During his speech that day, Trump told the crowd that he was “marching” on Capitol Hill and that they needed to “fight like hell.” The calls to action followed weeks in which Trump made false claims about the election results.
During the seventh hearing, Stephen Ayres, a troublemaker who pleaded guilty to trespassing on Capitol Hill on Jan. 6, testified that he had no intention of even going into the building until he heard Trump’s Ellipse speech.
“Well, basically, you know, the president pissed everyone off and told everyone to get out,” said Ayres, who lost his home and his job. “So we were basically following what he was saying.”
“While the violence was ongoing, President Trump took no immediate action to stop it and instructed his supporters to leave the Capitol.”
The commission used its final hearing in the series to detail the 187 minutes that former President Trump refused to act while the Capitol was under attack, despite learning of the assault minutes after he returned to the White House.
Witnesses testified to Trump’s disregard for more than three hours for the safety of his own vice president, responding officers and the joint session of Congress, despite watching the violence unfold on Fox and receiving numerous pleas from his aides. and Republican allies to stop the crowd.
And according to never-before-seen video testimony played during Thursday’s hearing, Trump didn’t make a single call to any of his law enforcement or national security officials as the riot unfolded.
“You will see that Donald Trump and his advisers knew that he had, in fact, lost the election…President Trump corruptly pressured state legislators and election officials to change the election results”
The commission showed that the then-president and his team continued to press false election claims even after they were presented with findings that their conspiracies had no merit.
Several former Trump advisers testified before the commission that they tried to tell the then-president there was no credible evidence of significant voter fraud and refused to go along with his plan to nullify the election.
The panel used the fourth hearing to detail the public and private effects of Trump’s pressure campaign on election officials. Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger, a Republican, told the commission that he and his family faced threats he believed were attempts to make him resign because of his unwillingness to participate in nullifying the election.
During the third hearing, the commission highlighted how Trump’s attorney, John Eastman, knew his plan to try to block the election would fail if it made it to the Supreme Court; however, the right-wing lawyer continued to fuel Trump’s hope.
“President Trump engaged in a massive effort to spread false and fraudulent information…and deliberately spent millions of dollars in campaign funds to spread false information…”
During the second hearing, the commission presented multiple conspiracy theories promoted by Trump advisers to convince state lawmakers to help him nullify the election.
Some theories included accusing Dominion Voting Systems of switching Trump votes to Biden votes in large numbers, shipping a truckload of ballots from New York to Pennsylvania, and Georgia poll workers scanning tens of thousands of Biden ballots that came from a bag. (All of these claims have been debunked.)
CNN’s Fredreka Schouten wrote during the second hearing that roughly $250 million raised after the election went largely to the former president’s political action committee, rather than the “election integrity” effort touted to its donors, she said. the Commission.
“You will see that President Trump corruptly planned to replace the United States attorney general so that the Justice Department would spread his false claims of stolen elections”
During the fifth hearing, the panel described a January 2021 meeting in which the then-president considered replacing Acting Attorney General Jeffrey Rosen with Jeffrey Clark, a top Justice Department official who became an advocate for false claims of Trump election fraud.
Rosen, who succeeded Bill Barr after he resigned in December 2020, investigated allegations of voter fraud and, after finding nothing that could change the outcome, refused to use Justice Department powers to help Trump nullify the election. Rosen testified before the commission that when he entered the meeting on January 3, 2021, Trump said “he doesn’t even agree with the claims of voter fraud, and this other guy could at least do something,” Rosen testified, referring to Trump. considering installing Clark.
Richard Donoghue, Rosen’s deputy, testified that as the presidential transition unfolded, Rosen told him and another senior Justice Department official that they should “just say the election was corrupt and leave the rest to [él] and Republican congressmen.”
“…we will focus on President Trump’s efforts to pressure Vice President Mike Pence to refuse to count electoral votes on January 6…in private and in public”
During a speech at the Ellipse on January 6, Trump urged then-Vice President Mike Pence to “do the right thing” by declaring electoral votes from battleground states illegitimate and sending them back to their state government for Republican recertification. to vote for Trump.
Trump was repeatedly told by advisers that his plan to have Pence nullify the Jan. 6 election was illegal, but he tried to do it anyway, and the commission showed video of Capitol rioters expressing anger at Pence for not complying. Trump’s wish.
The commission also learned from the testimony of former Trump White House aide Cassidy Hutchinson, who heard her boss, Trump Secretary General Mark Meadows, say that Trump seemed to agree with some troublemakers’ suggestion, recorded that day, that Pence should be hanged.
“I remember (White House counsel) Pat (Cipollone) saying something like, ‘Mark, we have to do something else, they’re literally asking to hang the vice president,'” he told the panel. “And Mark had been like, ‘You heard him, Pat, he thinks Mike deserves it, he doesn’t think they’re doing anything wrong.'”
On Thursday, the commission showed how dire the security situation became during the riots for Pence, with a White House security official testifying that members of Pence’s security detail began saying goodbye to loved ones.