Jan. 6 Hearing Revelations: Trump Condoning Capitol Attack and More - Rolling Stone
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What We Learned From the First Jan. 6 Committee Hearing

Reps. Bennie Thompson and Liz Cheney painted a devastating picture of the Trump administration’s efforts to overturn the 2020 election results

WASHINGTON, DC - JUNE 09: U.S. Rep. Liz Cheney (R-WY) Vice Chairwoman of the Select Committee to Investigate the January 6th Attack on the U.S. Capitol, and Chairman Rep. Bennie Thompson (D-MS) arrive for a hearing on the January 6th investigation on June 09, 2022 on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC. The bipartisan committee, which has been gathering evidence related to the January 6 attack at the U.S. Capitol for almost a year, will present its findings in a series of televised hearings. On January 6, 2021, supporters of President Donald Trump attacked the U.S. Capitol Building during an attempt to disrupt a congressional vote to confirm the electoral college win for Joe Biden. (Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images)WASHINGTON, DC - JUNE 09: U.S. Rep. Liz Cheney (R-WY) Vice Chairwoman of the Select Committee to Investigate the January 6th Attack on the U.S. Capitol, and Chairman Rep. Bennie Thompson (D-MS) arrive for a hearing on the January 6th investigation on June 09, 2022 on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC. The bipartisan committee, which has been gathering evidence related to the January 6 attack at the U.S. Capitol for almost a year, will present its findings in a series of televised hearings. On January 6, 2021, supporters of President Donald Trump attacked the U.S. Capitol Building during an attempt to disrupt a congressional vote to confirm the electoral college win for Joe Biden. (Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images)

Rep. Liz Cheney (R-Wyo.) Vice Chairwoman of the Select Committee to Investigate the January 6th Attack on the U.S. Capitol, and Chairman Rep. Bennie Thompson (D-Miss.) on June 9, 2022 on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C.

(Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images)

Ahead of the Jan. 6 committee’s first hearing, the panel’s Republican critics predicted the hearing would be a warmed-over rehash of partisan talking points about an attack on the Capitol that took place more than 17 months ago.

They were wrong.

The two-plus-hour hearing was filled with a torrent of new information, including never-before-heard testimony from top Trump administration officials, details about what Trump was doing and saying as the Capitol was under siege, and damning revelations about the lawmakers who knew their efforts to overturn the election may have been illegal. It was followed by a harrowing video montage that revealed, somehow, a shocking new level of violence and aggression from the insurrections as they stormed the halls of Congress.

Here are some of the biggest takeaways from Thursday night.

Trump explicitly condoned the Capitol attack as it was taking place

It’s been reported that Trump enjoyed watching his supporters descend on the Capitol, but on Thursday Liz Cheney revealed that he said explicitly that they were doing the right thing by breaking into the building.

“President Trump believed his supporters at the Capitol … and I quote… ‘were doing what they should be doing,’” Cheney recounted. ‘This is what he told his staff as they pleaded with him to call off the mob, to instruct his supporters to leave.”

Trump said Mike Pence “deserved” to be hanged, committee says

It’s also been previously reported that Trump wasn’t too bothered that his supporters were chanting for Vice President Mike Pence to be hanged. Trump wasn’t only unbothered by the chants, we learned on Thursday, he told his staff the vice president “deserved” to be assassinated for failing to illegally stop the Electoral College count.

Bill Barr, Ivanka Trump, and Mark Meadows all knew the Big Lie was bullshit

Bill Barr has already said that he didn’t buy into the Big Lie that the election was stolen, but the committee played footage of the former attorney general call the idea “bullshit.”

The committee also played footage of Ivanka Trump testifying that Barr’s belief that the election was legitimate “affected her perspective” on the issue, and that she “accepted what he was saying.”

Mark Meadows, the former chief of staff who was one of the central figures in the administration’s effort to overturn the election, was also informed that there was nothing to the president’s claims that the election was rigged. The committee played footage of Trump campaign lawyer Alex Cannon testifying that he told Meadows he wasn’t able to find any evidence of fraud. “I believe the words he used were, ‘So there’s no there there,’” he said of Meadows’ response.

Meadows didn’t care.

Republican lawmakers sought pardons for trying to overturn the election

The effort to overturn the election extended well beyond the Trump administration. The former president’s allies in Congress were also working hard to prevent Biden from taking office. Rolling Stone reported last fall that several of them helped organize the rally that preceded the riot at the Capitol.

Cheney revealed on Thursday that some Republican lawmakers — including Rep. Scott Perry — tried to get Trump to pardon them. “Rep. Perry contacted the White House in the weeks after Jan 6. to seek a presidential pardon,” she said, adding that “multiple other Republican congressmen also sought presidential pardons for their roles in attempting to overturn the 2020 election.”

The Proud Boys cased the Capitol on the morning of the insurrection

The testimony of British filmmaker Nick Quested — who was embedded with the Proud Boys on Jan. 6, and who filmed the violent storming of the halls of Congress — revealed that the Proud Boys showed little interest in president Trump’s speech. Instead, they showed up in the morning at the Capitol, and performed reconnaissance for the attack that they would later lead.

Quested testified that the Proud Boys watched Capitol cops getting set up near the Peace Circle on the west side, before circling to the east. They finished their recon mission so early that they had time to go out for out for lunch before returning to the spot they’d first examined — and waited to receive the throngs of Trump supporters, and lead the riot. “What you witnessed,” Chairman Bennie Thompson said, “is what a coordinated and planned effort would look like.”

In This Article: Jan. 6 Committee

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