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CNN Live Event/Special
Prime Time Hearing Of The January 6 Committee; Opening Statement From January 6 Committee Vice Chair Liz Cheney; January 6 Committee Presents Findings In First Prime-Time Hearing. Aired 8-9p ET
Aired June 09, 2022 - 20:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They want to make this case, the members of the Committee is because this is not just about in their view, a disaster that happened a year and a half ago. They see this as a clear and present threat, a clear and present danger to American democracy.
DANA BASH, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: That's right.
That is such a key theme and a key point that members of this Committee really want to hit home and push back against mostly Republicans. Trump supporters, Trump himself who talks about the fact that although this is ancient history, why are you bringing this up? They will argue either explicitly or implicitly that it is not about the past, it is about the present, it is still a very big threat, pushed by the former President, and now carried on by candidates for Senate, sitting Members of the House, and people who want to join the House that the election was stolen.
And people still egging on the core lie that led to this attack on the U.S. Capitol. So they argue that it's not just about -- it's important to note for history and investigate what happened. But it's also important because of what's happening now and what could happen in the future.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There is another police officer that we just saw there.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Here he is, the Chairman of the Committee, Congressman, Bennie Thompson. Behind him is the Vice Chair of the Committee, Congresswoman Liz Cheney, and other members of the Committee are walking on to the dais there.
Other members are Stephanie Murphy of Florida, et cetera, and Abby, Dana, was just talking about the fact that this is this is a clear and present danger to democracy because people who believe these lies and believe in what Trump was doing in trying to undermine the election, are running for office.
ABBY PHILLIP, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: And let's be honest, former President Trump is probably running for office again, as well, and he is going to be at the center of these hearings today. So that is why it's important, I think, for the Committee members to lay out what exactly was his role? What was the relationship between what was going on in the White House and the violence that unfolded on the Capitol, and they have to show evidence on that point.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The gavel has come down. Let's listen in.
REP. BENNIE THOMPSON (D-MS): The Select Committee to investigate the January 6 attack on the United States Capitol will be in order.
Without objection, the Chair is authorized to declare the Committee in recess at any point. Pursuant to House Deposition Authority Regulation 10, the Chair announces the Committee's approval to release the deposition material presented during tonight's hearing.
Thanks to everyone watching tonight for sharing part of your evening to learn the facts and causes of the events leading up to and including the violent attack on January 6, 2021, our democracy, electoral system, and country.
I am Bennie Thompson, Chairman of the January 6, 2021 Committee.
I was born, raised, and still live in Bolton, Mississippi, a town with a population of 521, which is midway between Jackson and Vicksburg, Mississippi, and the Mississippi River.
I'm from a part of the country where people justify the actions of slavery, the Ku Klux Klan, and lynching. I am reminded of that dark history, as I hear voices today, try and justify the actions of the insurrectionists on January 6, 2021.
Over the next few weeks, hopefully you will get to know the other members, my colleagues, up here and me. We represent a diversity of communities from all over the United States, rural areas, and cities, East Coast, West Coast and the Heartland, all of us have one thing in common. We swore the same oath, that same oath that all members of Congress take up on taking office and afterwards every two years, if they are re-elected.
We swore an oath to defend the Constitution against all enemies, foreign and domestic.
The words of the current oath taken by all of us that nearly every United States government employee takes have their roots in the Civil War.
Throughout our history, the United States has fought against foreign enemies to preserve our democracy, electoral system, and country.
When the United States Capitol was stormed and burned in 1814, foreign enemies were responsible.
At the war in 1862, when American citizens had taken up arms against this country, Congress adopted a new oath to help make sure no person who had supported the rebellion could hold a position of public trust.
Therefore, Congress persons and United States Federal government employees were required for the first time to swear an oath to defend the Constitution against all enemies, foreign and domestic. That oath was put to test on January 6, 2021.
The police officers who held the line that day, honored their oath. Many came out of that day, blooded and broken. They still bear those wounds, visible and invisible.
They did their duty. They repelled the mob, and ended the occupation of the Capitol. They defended the Constitution against domestic enemies so that Congress could return, uphold our own oath, and count your votes to ensure the transfer of power, just as we've done for hundreds of years.
But unlike in 1814, it was domestic enemies of the Constitution who stormed the Capitol and occupied the Capitol, who sought to thwart the will of the people to stop the transfer of power. And so they did so at the encouragement of the President of the United States -- the President of the United States, trying to stop the transfer of power, a precedent that had stood for 220 years, even as our democracy had faced his most difficult test.
Thinking back again to the Civil War, in the summer of 1864, the President of the United States lead -- he will be the doomed in his bid for re-election. He believed his opponent, General George McClellan, would wave the white flag when it came to preserving the Union.
But even with that grim fate hanging in the balance, President Lincoln was ready to accept the will of the voters, come what may.
He made a quiet pledge. He wrote down the words, "This morning, as for some days past, it seems exceedingly probable that this administration will not be re-elected, then it will be my duty to so cooperate with the President-elect. It will be my duty."
Lincoln sealed that memo and asked his Cabinet Secretaries to sign it, sight unseen. He asked them to make the same commitment he did, to accept defeat, if indeed defeat was the will of the people to uphold the rule of law, to do whatever the President who came before him did, and whatever a President who followed him would do, until Donald Trump.
Donald Trump lost the presidential election in 2020. The American people voted him out of office. It was not because of the rigged system, it was not because of voter fraud.
Don't believe me? Hear what his former Attorney General had to say about it. I want those who are watching that this contains strong language.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
WILLIAM BARR, FORMER U.S. ATTORNEY GENERAL: Not just what I've been through -- I've had -- I had three discussions with the President that I can recall. One was on November 23rd, one was on December 1st, and one was on December 14th, and I've been through sort of the give and take of those discussions. And in that context, 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, you know, I didn't 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. I think it was on December 1st, that you know, how can -- we can't live in a world where -- where the incumbent administration stays in power based on its view, unsupported by specific evidence that the election -- that there was fraud in the election.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
THOMPSON: Bill Barr on Election Day 2020, he was the Attorney General of the United States, the top law enforcement official in the country, telling the President exactly what he thought about claims of a stolen election.
Donald Trump had his days in Court to challenge the results. He was within his rights to seek those judgment.
In the United States, law-abiding citizens have those tools for pursuing justice. He lost in the Courts, just as he did at the ballot box. And in this country, that's the end of the line, but for Donald Trump, that was only the beginning of what became a sprawling, multistep conspiracy, aimed at overturning the presidential election, aimed at throwing out the votes of millions of Americans -- your votes, your voice in our democracy and replacing the will of the American people with his will to remain in power after his term ended.
Donald Trump was at the center of this conspiracy, and ultimately, Donald Trump, the President of the United States, spurred a mob of domestic enemies of the Constitution to march down the Capitol and subvert American democracy.
In the legal jargon, you hear about seditious conspiracy, obstruction of an official proceeding, conspiracy to defraud the United States boils down to this: January 6th was the culmination of an attempted coup, a brazen attempt, as one rioter put it shortly after January 6th "to overthrow the government."
The violence was no accident. It represents Trump's last stand, most desperate chance to halt the transfer of power.
Now, you may hear those words and think this is just another political attack on Donald Trump, by people who don't like him. That's not the case.
My colleagues and I all wanted an outside independent commission to investigate January 6th, similar to what we had after 9/11. But after first agreeing to that idea, Donald Trump's allies in Congress put a stop to it.
Apparently, they don't want January 6th investigated at all.
And in the last 17 months, many of those same people have tried to whitewash what happened on January 6, to rewrite history, call it a tourist visit, label it legitimate political discourse.
Donald Trump and his followers have adopted the words of the song writer, "Do you believe me, or your lying eyes." We can't sweep what happened under the rug. The American people deserve answers. So, I come before you this evening, not as a Democrat, but as an American who swore an oath to defend the Constitution.
The Constitution doesn't protect just Democrats, or just Republicans. It protects all of us, We, the People. And this scheme was an attempt to undermine the will of the people.
So tonight, and over the next few weeks, we're going to remind you of the reality of what happened that day. But our work must do much more than just look backwards. The course of our democracy remains in danger. The conspiracy to thwart the will of the people is not over.
There are those in this audience who thirst for power, but have no love or respect for what makes America great: Devotion to the Constitution, allegiance to a rule of law, our shared journey to build a more perfect union.
January 6th and the lives that led to insurrection have put two and a half centuries of constitutional democracy at risk. The world is watching what we do here. America has long been expected to be a shining city on the hill, a beacon of hope and freedom, a model for others when we are at our best. How can we play that role when our house is in such disorder?
We must confront the truth with candor, resolve, and determination. We need to show that we are worthy of the gifts that are the birthright of every American. That begins here and it begins now, with a true accounting of what happened and what led to the attack on our Constitution and our democracy.
In this moment, when the dangers of our Constitution and our democracy loom large, nothing could be more important.
Working alongside the public servants on this desk has been one of the greatest honors of my time in Congress. It's been a particular privilege to count as a partner in this effort and to count as a friend, the gentlewoman from Wyoming, Miss Cheney. She is a patriot, a public servant of profound courage, a devotion to her oath and the Constitution.
It is my pleasure to recognize Miss Cheney for her opening statement.
REP. LIZ CHENEY (R-WY): Thank you very much, Mr. Chairman.
And let me echo those words about the importance of bipartisanship and what a tremendous honor it is to work on this Committee.
Mr. Chairman, at 6:01 PM on January 6, after he spent hours watching a violent mob besiege, attack, and invade our Capitol, Donald Trump tweeted, but he did not condemn the attack. Instead, he justified it.
"These are the things and events that happen," he said, "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."
As you will see in the hearings to come, President Trump believed his supporters at the Capitol, and I quote, "We're doing what they should be doing." This is what he told his staff as they pleaded with him to call off the mob, to instruct his supporters to leave.
Over a series of hearings in the coming weeks, you will hear testimony, live and on video, from more than half a dozen former White House staff and the Trump administration, all of whom were in the West Wing of the White House on January 6th. You will hear testimony that quote, "The President did not really want to put anything out, calling off the riot or asking his supporters to leave."
You will hear that President Trump was yelling in quote, "really angry" at advisers who told him he needed to be doing something more.
And aware of the rioters' chants to hang Mike Pence, the President responded with this sentiment, quote, "Maybe our supporters have the right idea." Mike Pence, quote, "deserves it."
You will hear evidence that President Trump refused for hours to do what his staff, his family, and many of his other advisers begged him to do, immediately instruct his supporters to stand down and evacuate the Capitol.
Tonight, you will see never before seen footage of the brutal attack on our Capitol, an attack that unfolded while a few blocks away, President Trump sat watching television in the dining room next to the Oval Office.
You will hear audio from the brave police officers battling for their lives and ours, fighting to defend our democracy against a violent mob Donald Trump refused to call off.
Tonight and in the weeks to come, you will see evidence of what motivated this violence, including directly from those who participated in this attack. You will see a video of them explaining what caused them to do it. You will see their posts on social media. We will show you what they have said in Federal Court.
On this point, there is no room for debate. Those who invaded our Capitol and battled law enforcement for hours were motivated by what President Trump had told them that the election was stolen, and that he was the rightful President.
President Trump summoned the mob, assembled the mob and lit the flame of this attack. You will also hear about plots to commit seditious conspiracy on January 6th, a crime defined in our laws as conspiring to overthrow, put down, or destroy by force the government of the United States, or to oppose by force the authority thereof.
Multiple members of two groups, the Oath Keepers and the Proud Boys have been charged with this crime for their involvement in the events leading up to and on January 6th. Some have pled guilty.
The attack on our Capitol was not a spontaneous riot. Intelligence available before January 6 identified plans to quote, "invade the Capitol," occupy the Capitol, and take other steps to halt Congress's count of electoral votes that day.
In our hearings to come, we will identify elements of those plans, and we will show specifically how a group of Proud Boys led a mob into the Capitol Building on January 6th.
Tonight, I'm going to describe for you some of what our Committee has learned and highlight initial findings you will see this month in our hearings. As you hear this, all Americans should keep in mind, this fact: On the morning of January 6th, President Donald Trump's intention was to remain President of the United States, despite the lawful outcome of the 2020 election, and in violation of his constitutional obligation to relinquish power.
Over multiple months, Donald Trump oversaw and coordinated a sophisticated seven-part plan to overturn the presidential election and prevent the transfer of presidential power.
In our hearings, you will see evidence of each element of this plan.
In our second hearing, you will see that Donald Trump and his advisers knew that he had in fact lost the election. But despite this, President Trump engaged in a massive effort to spread false and fraudulent information to convince huge portions of the U.S. population, that fraud had stolen the election from him. This was not true.
Jason Miller was a senior Trump campaign spokesman. In this clip, Miller describes a call between the Trump campaigns internal data expert and President Trump a few days after the 2020 election.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JASON MILLER, FORMER SENIOR TRUMP CAMPAIGN SPOKESMAN: I was in the Oval Office and at some point in the conversation, Matt Oczkowski, who was the lead data person was brought on and I remember he delivered to the President pretty blunt terms that he was going to lose.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And that was based, Mr. Miller, on Matt and the data team's assessment of the sort of county by county, state by state results as reported?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CHENEY: Alex Cannon was one of President Trump's campaign lawyers. He previously worked for the Trump Organization. One of his responsibilities was to assess allegations of election fraud in November 2020.
Here is one sample of his testimony discussing what he told White House Chief of Staff, Mark Meadows.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ALEX CANNON, FORMER DONALD TRUMP CAMPAIGN LAWYER: I remember a call with Mr. Meadows, where Mr. Meadows was asking me what I was finding and if I was finding anything, and I remember sharing with him that we weren't finding anything that would be sufficient to change the results in any of the key states.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: When was that conversation?
CANNON: Probably in November -- mid to late November. I think it was before my child was born.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And what was Mr. Meadows' reaction to that information?
CANNON: I believe the words he used were "So there's no there, there."
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CHENEY: "There's no there, there."
The Trump campaign's general counsel, Matt Morgan gave similar testimony. He explained that all of the fraud allegations and the campaign's other election arguments taken together and viewed in the best possible light for President Trump could still not change the outcome of the election.
President Trump's Attorney General Bill Barr also told Donald Trump, his election claims were wrong.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BARR: I repeatedly told the President in no uncertain terms -- heck, I did not see evidence of fraud, and yes, that would have affected the outcome of the election.
And frankly, a year and a half later, I haven't seen anything to change my mind on that.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CHENEY: Attorney General Barr also told President Trump that his allegations about Dominion voting machines were groundless.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) BARR: I saw absolutely zero basis for the allegations, but they were made in such a sensational way that they obviously were in influencing a lot of people -- members of the public that there was this systemic corruption in the system and that their votes didn't count and that these machines controlled by somebody else, were actually determining it, which was complete nonsense.
And it was being laid out there, and I told them that it was -- that it was crazy stuff and they were wasting their time on that, and it was doing a great grave disservice to the country.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CHENEY: But President Trump persisted, repeating the false Dominion allegations in public at least a dozen more times even after his Attorney General told him they were, quote, "complete nonsense."
And after Barr's resignation on December 23rd, the acting Attorney General who replaced him, Jeff Rosen, and the Acting Deputy Richard Donoghue, told President Trump over and over again that the evidence did not support allegations he was making in public.
Many of President Trump's White House staff also recognized that the evidence did not support the claims President Trump was making. This is the President's daughter, commenting on Bill Barr's statement that the Department found no fraud sufficient to overturn the election.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: How did that affect your perspective about the election when Attorney General Barr made that statement?
IVANKA TRUMP, FORMER TRUMP WHITE HOUSE ADVISER: It affected my perspective. I respect Attorney General Barr. So, I accepted what he was saying.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CHENEY: As you will hear on Monday, the President had every right to litigate his campaign claims, but he ultimately lost more than 60 cases in State and Federal Courts.
The President's claims in the election cases were so frivolous and unsupported, that the President's lead lawyer, Rudy Giuliani not only lost the lawsuits, his license to practice law was suspended.
Here is what the Court said of Mr. Giuliani: "Giuliani communicated demonstrably false and misleading statements to Courts, lawmakers, and the public at large in his capacity as lawyer for former President Donald J. Trump and the Trump campaign in connection with Trump's failed effort at re-election in 2020."
As you will see in great detail in our hearings, President Trump ignored the rulings of our Nation's Courts. He ignored his own campaign leadership, his White House staff, many Republican state officials, he ignored the Department of Justice, and the Department of Homeland Security.
President Trump invested millions of dollars of campaign funds, purposely spreading false information, running ads he knew were false and convincing millions of Americans that the election was corrupt, and that he was the true President.
As you will see, this misinformation campaign provoked the violence on January 6th.
In our third hearing, you will see that President Trump corruptly planned to replace the Attorney General of the United States, so the U.S. Justice Department would spread his false stolen election claims.
In the days before January 6th, President Trump told his top Justice Department officials quote, "Just say the election was corrupt and leave the rest to me and the Republican Congressmen." Senior Justice Department officials, men he had appointed told him they could not do that because it was not true, so President Trump decided to replace them. He offered Jeff Clark, an environmental lawyer at the Justice Department the job of acting Attorney General.
President Trump wanted Mr. Clark to take a number of steps, including sending this letter to Georgia and five other states, saying the U.S. Department of Justice had quote, "Identified significant concerns that may have impacted the outcome of the election." This letter is a lie.
The Department of Justice had in fact repeatedly told President Trump exactly the opposite that they had investigated his stolen election allegations and found no credible fraud that could impact the outcome of the election.
This letter and others like it would have urged multiple states to withdraw their official and lawful electoral votes for Biden. Acting Deputy Attorney General Richard Donoghue described Jeff Clark's letter this way, quote: "This would be a grave step for the department to take and could have tremendous constitutional, political, and social ramifications for this country."
The Committee agrees with Mr. Donoghue's assessment. Had Clark assumed the role of Attorney General in the days before January 6th and issued these letters, the ramifications could indeed have been grave.
Mr. Donoghue also said this about Clark's plan.
(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)
RICHARD DONOGHUE, FMR ACTING DEPUTY GENERAL ATTORNEY: And I recall toward the end saying what you're proposing is nothing less than the United States Justice Department meddling in the outcome of a presidential election.
(END AUDIO CLIP) CHENEY: In our hearings, you will hear firsthand how the senior leadership of the Department of Justice threatened to resign. The White House Counsel threatened to resign and how they confronted Donald Trump and Jeff Clark in the Oval Office. The men involved including acting Attorney General Jeff Rosen, and acting Deputy Attorney General Richard Donoghue were appointed by President Trump. These men honored their oath of office, they did their duty, and you will hear from them in our hearings.
By contrast, Jeff Clark has invoked his Fifth Amendment privilege against self-incrimination and refuse to testify. Representative Scott Perry, who was also involved in trying to get Clark appointed as Attorney General has refused to testify here. As you will see, Representative Perry contacted the White House in the weeks after January 6, to seek a presidential pardon. Multiple other Republican Congressman also sought presidential pardons for their roles and attempting to overturn the 2020 election.
In our fourth hearing, we will focus on President Trump's efforts to pressure Vice President Mike Pence to refuse to count electoral votes on January 6. Vice President Pence has spoken publicly about this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MIKE PENCE, FMR VICE PRESIDENT OF UNITED STATES: President Trump is wrong. I had no right to overturn the election. The presidency belongs to the American people and the American people alone. And frankly, there is no idea more on American than the notion than any one person could choose the American president.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CHENEY: What President Trump demanded that Mike Pence do wasn't just wrong. It was illegal, and it was unconstitutional. You will hear this in great detail from the Vice President's former general counsel. Witnesses in these hearings will explain how the former vice president and his staff informed President Trump over and over again, that what he was pressuring Mike Pence to do was illegal. As you will hear, President Trump engaged in a relentless effort to pressure Pence, both in private and in public. You will see the evidence of that pressure from multiple witnesses live and on video. Vice President Pence demonstrated his loyalty to Donald Trump consistently over four years. But he knew that he had a higher duty to the United States Constitution. This is testimony from the vice president's chief of staff.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MARC SHORT, FMR VP PENCE CHIEF OF STAFF: So I think the Vice President was proud of his four years of service and he felt like a much had been accomplished in those four years. And I think he was proud to have stood beside the President for all that had been done. But I think he ultimately knew that his fidelity the Constitution was his first and foremost of and, and that's, that's what he articulated publicly. And I think that that's what he felt.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: His fidelity to the Constitution was more important than its fidelity to President Trump and his (INAUDIBLE).
SHORT: The oath he took.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes, yes.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CHENEY: You will also hear about a lawyer named John Eastman. Mr. Eastman was deeply involved in President Trump's plans. You'll hear from former Fourth Circuit Federal Judge Michael Luttig, a highly respected leading conservative judge. John Eastman clerked for Judge Luttig. Judge Luttig provided counsel to the Vice President's team in the days before January 6. The judge will explain how Eastman quote was wrong at every turn. And you will see the e-mail exchanges between Eastman and the Vice President's Council as the violent attack on Congress was underway. Mr. Jacob said this to me, Mr. Eastman. Thanks to your bullshit, we are under siege.
You will also see evidence that John Eastman did not actually believe the legal position he was taking. In fact, a month before the 2020 election, Eastman took exactly the opposite view on the same legal issues. In the course of the select committees work to obtain information from Mr. Eastman we have had occasion to present evidence to a federal judge. The judge evaluated the facts and he reached the conclusion that President Trump's efforts to pressure Vice President Pence to act illegally by refusing to count electoral votes likely violated to federal criminal statutes. And the judge also said this, if Dr. Eastman and President Trump's plan had worked it would have permanently ended the peaceful transition of power undermining American democracy and the Constitution. If the country does not commit to investigating and pursuing accountability for those responsible, the court fears January 6 will repeat itself.
Every American should read what this federal judge has written. The same judge, Judge Carter issued another decision on Tuesday night, just this week, indicating that John Eastman and other Trump lawyers knew that their legal arguments had no real chance of success in court. But they relied on those arguments anyway, to try to quote overturn a Democratic election. And you will hear that while Congress was under attack on January 6, and the hours following the violence, the Trump legal team in the Willard Hotel war room continued to work to halt the count of electoral votes.
In our fifth hearing, you will see evidence the President Trump corruptly pressured state legislators and election officials to change election results. You will hear additional details about President Trump's call to Georgia officials urging them to quote, fined 11,780 votes, votes that did not exist. And his efforts to get states to resend certified electoral slates without factual basis and contrary to law. You will hear new details about the Trump campaign and other Trump associates efforts to instruct Republican officials in multiple states to create intentionally false electoral slates and transmit those slates to Congress to the Vice President and the national archives, falsely certifying that Trump won states he actually lost. In our final two June hearings, you will hear how President Trump summoned a violent mob and directed them illegally to march on the United States Capitol. While the violence was underway, President Trump failed to take immediate action to stop the violence and instruct his supporters to leave the Capitol. As we present these initial findings, keep two points in mind. First, our investigation is still ongoing. So what we make public here will not be the complete set of information we will ultimately disclosed. And second, the Department of Justice is currently working with cooperating witnesses, and has disclosed to date only some of the information it is identified from encrypted communications and other sources.
On December 18, 2020, a group including General Michael Flynn, Sidney Powell, Rudy Giuliani and others visited the White House, they stayed late into the evening. We know that the group discussed a number of dramatic steps, including having the military cease voting machines and potentially rerun elections. You will also hear that President Trump met with that group alone for a period of time before White House lawyers and other staff discovered the group was there and rushed to intervene. A little more than an hour after Ms. Powell, Mr. Giuliani, General Flynn and the others finally left the White House, President Trump sent the tweet on the screen now telling people to come to Washington on January 6, be there he instructed them. Will be wild.
As you will see, this was a pivotal moment. This tweet initiated a chain of events. The tweet led to the planning for what occurred on January 6, including by the Proud Boys who ultimately led the invasion of the Capitol and the violence on that day. The indictment of a group of Proud Boys alleges that they plan to quote, to oppose by force the authority of the government of the United States. And according to the Department of Justice, on January 6, 2021, the defendants directed, mobilized and led members of the crowd onto the Capitol grounds and into the Capitol, leading to the dismantling of metal barricades, the destruction of property, the breaching of the Capitol Building and the assaults on law enforcement.
Although certain former Trump officials have argued that they did not anticipate violence on January 6, the evidence suggests otherwise. As you will see in our hearings, the White House was receiving specific reports in the days leading up to January 6, including during President Trump's ellipse rally, indicating that elements in the crowd were preparing for violence at the Capitol. And on the evening of January 5, the president's close adviser Steve Bannon said this on his podcast.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
STEVE BANNON, FMR WHITE HOUSE CHIEF STRATEGIST: All hell is going to break loose tomorrow. Just understand this, all hell is going to break loose tomorrow
(END VIDEO CLIP) CHENEY: As part of our investigation, we will present information about what the White House and other intelligence agencies knew and why the Capitol was not better prepared. But we will not lose sight of the fact that the Capitol Police did not cause the crowd to attack. And we will not blame the violence that day. Violence provoked by Donald Trump on the officers who bravely defended all of us.
In our final hearing, you will hear a moment by moment account of the hours long attack from more than half a dozen White House staff both live in the hearing room and via videotape testimony. There is no doubt that President Trump was well aware of the violence as it developed. White House staff urged President Trump to intervene and call off the mob. Here's a document written while the attack was underway by a member of the White House staff advising what the President needed to say, quote, anyone who entered the Capitol without proper authority should leave immediately. This is exactly what his supporters on Capitol Hill and nationwide were urging the President to do. He would not. You will hear that leaders on Capitol Hill begged the President for help, including Republican Leader McCarthy, who was quote, scared and called multiple members of President Trump's family after he could not persuade the President himself.
Not only did President Trump refuse to tell the mob to leave the Capitol, he placed no call to any element of the United States government to instruct that the Capitol be defended. He did not call his Secretary of Defense on January 6, he did not talk to his attorney general. He did not talk to the Department of Homeland Security. President Trump gave no order to deploy the National Guard that day. And he made no effort to work with the Department of Justice to coordinate and deploy law enforcement assets. But Vice President Pence did each of those things. For example, here's what General Milley, the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff testified to this Committee.
(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)
GEN. MARK MILLEY, CHAIRMAN, JOINTS CHIEF OF STAFF: So it took two or three calls with Vice President Pence. He was very animated. And he issued very explicit, very direct, unambiguous orders. There was no question about that. And he was, and I can get you the exact quotes, I guess from some of our record somewhere, but he was very animated, very direct, very firm, and to Secretary Miller, get the military, get the guard down here, put down this situation, et cetera.
(END AUDIO CLIP)
CHENEY: By contrast, here is General Milley's description of his conversation with President Trump's chief of staff Mark Meadows on January 6.
(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)
MILLEY: He said, we have, we have to kill the narrative, as the Vice President is making all the decisions. We need to establish the narrative that you know that the President is still in charge and that things are steady or stable or words to that effect. I immediately interpret that as politics, politics, politics. Red flag for me personally, no action, but I remember distinctly.
(END AUDIO CLIP)
CHENEY: And you will hear from witnesses how the day played out inside the White House, a multiple White House staff resigned in disgust. And now President Trump would not ask his supporters to leave the Capitol. It was only after multiple hours of violence, the President Trump finally released a video instructing the riotous mob to leave. And as he did so, he said to them, quote, we love you, and you're very special.
You will also hear that in the immediate aftermath of January 6 members, the president's family, White House staff, and others tried to step in to stabilize the situation, quote, to land the plane before the presidential transition on January 20. You will hear about members of the Trump cabinet discussing the possibility of invoking the 25th Amendment and replacing the President of the United States. Multiple members of President Trump's own cabinet resigned immediately after January 6.
One member of the cabinet suggested that the remaining cabinet officers needed to take a more active role in running the White House and the administration. But most emblematic of those days is this exchange of texts between Sean Hannity and former President Trump's press secretary Kayleigh McEnany.
Sean Hannity wrote in part, he now no more crazy people. No more stolen election talk. Yes, impeachment and 25th Amendment are real. Many people will quit. Ms. McEnaney responded in part, love that. That's the playbook.
The White House staff knew that President Trump was willing to entertain and use conspiracy theories to achieve his ends. They knew the President needed to be cut off from all of those who had encouraged him. They knew that President Donald Trump was too dangerous to be left alone, at least until he left office on January 20. These are important facts for Congress and the American people to understand fully.
When a president fails to take the steps necessary to preserve our union or worse causes a constitutional crisis. We're at a moment of maximum danger for our republic. Some in the White House took responsible steps to try to prevent January 6, others egged the president on, others who could have acted refuse to do so. In this case, the White House counsel was so concerned about potentially lawless activity, that he threatened to resign multiple times. That is exceedingly rare, and exceedingly serious. It requires immediate attention, especially when the entire team threatens to resign. However, in the Trump White House, it was not exceedingly rare, and it was not treated seriously.
This is a clip of Jared Kushner addressing multiple threats by White House Counsel Pat Cipollone, and his team of lawyers to resign in the weeks before January 6. (BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)
CHENEY: Jared, are you aware of instances where Pat Cipollone threatened to resign?
JARED KUSHNER, FMR WHITE HOUSE WH SENIOR ADVISOR: I kind of, like I said my interest at that time was on trying to get as many (INAUDIBLE) was done. And I know that, you know, he was always to him and the team were always saying, oh, we're going to resign. We're not going to be here if this happens, if that happens. So, I kind of took it up to just be whining to be honest with you.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CHENEY: Whining. There's a reason why people serving in our government take an oath to the Constitution. As our founding fathers recognize democracy is fragile. People in positions of public trust are duty bound to defend it, to step forward when action is required. In our country, we don't swear an oath to an individual or a political party. We take our oath to defend the United States Constitution. And that oath must mean something.
Tonight, I say this to my Republican colleagues who are defending the indefensible. There will come a day when Donald Trump is gone, but your dishonor will remain. Finally, I ask all of our fellow Americans, as you watch our hearings over the coming weeks, please remember what's at stake. Remember the men and women who have fought and died so that we can live under the rule of law, not the rule of men. I asked you to think of the scene in our Capitol rotunda on the night of January 6. They're in a sacred space in our Constitutional Republic, the place where our presidents lie in state, watched over by statues of Washington and Jefferson, Lincoln and Grant, Eisenhower, Ford and Reagan. Against every wall that night and circling the room. There were SWAT teams, men and women in tactical gear with long guns deployed inside our Capitol building.
There in the rotunda, these brave men and women rested beneath paintings, depicting the earliest scenes of our republic, including one painted in 1824, depicting George Washington resigning his commission, voluntarily relinquishing power, handing control of the Continental Army back to Congress. With this noble act, Washington set the indispensable example of the peaceful transfer of power. What President Reagan called, nothing less than a miracle. The sacred obligation to defend this peaceful transfer of power has been honored by every American president, except one.
As Americans, we all have a duty to ensure that what happened on January 6, never happens again, to set aside partisan battles, to stand together to perpetuate and preserve our great Republic.
Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
THOMPSON: As we provide answers to the American people about January 6, it's important that we remember exactly what took place that this was no tourists visit to the Capitol. Most of the footage we're about to play has never been seen. The Select Committee obtained it as a part of our investigation. This isn't easy to watch. I want to warn everyone that this video includes violence and the strong language.
Without objection, I include in the record a video presentation of the violence of January 6.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Grab your (INAUDIBLE) --
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes, just for awareness be advised there's probably about 300 Proud Boys, they're marching eastbound, in this foreigner block of kind of independence actually on the Mall towards the United States Capitol.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I am not allowed to say what's going to happen today, because everyone's just going to have to watch for themselves. But it's going to happen. Something's going to happen.
DONALD TRUMP (R) FMR PRESIDENT OF UNITED STATES: I hope Mike is going to do the right thing. I hope so. I hope so. Because if Mike Pence does the right thing, we win the election. 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. Mike Pence is going to have to come through for us and if he doesn't that will be a sad day for our country, because you'll never ever take back our country with weakness you have to show strength and you have to be strong.
UNIDENTIFIED SPEAKERS (in unison): USA! USA! USA! USA! USA!
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (INAUDIBLE) look like we're going to have an ad hoc march stepping off here. There's a crowd search heading east.
UNIDENTIFIED SPEAKERS (in unison): We were Trump! We were Trump! We were Trump! We were Trump! We were Trump! We were Trump! We were Trump!
TRUMP: Mike Pence I hope you got to stand up for the good of our Constitution and for the good of our country and if you're not I'm going to be very disappointed in you I will tell you right now.
UNIDENTIFIED SPEAKERS (in unison): USA! USA! USA! USA! USA!
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We just had protest (INAUDIBLE) circle (INAUDIBLE). We need back up.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Madam Speaker, the Vice President and the United States Senate. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We're going to get out of here (INAUDIBLE). We're going to give away a warning. (INAUDIBLE) now effectively a riot.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: (INAUDIBLE) hours declaring a riot.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (INAUDIBLE) please one advisor trying to breach and get to the Capitol.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes, copy.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (INAUDIBLE) we're trying to make our way through all of us.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (INAUDIBLE) we a breached to the Capitol. Breached at the Capitol (INAUDIBLE).
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes, the (INAUDIBLE) requesting additional resources on the east side as they've broken into that window and they're trying to kick it in.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Without objection the chair declares the House in recess pursuant to clause 12(b) of Rule 1.
TRUMP: Mike Pence didn't have the courage to do what should have been done to protect our Country and our Constitution. Giving States a chance to certify a corrected set of facts, not fraudulent or inaccurate ones which they were asked to previously certify. U.S. demands the truth.
UNIDENTIFIED SPEAKERS (in unison): Hang Mike Pence! Hang Mike Pence! Hang Mike Pence! Hang Mike Pence! Hang Mike Pence! Hang Mike Pence! Hang Mike Pence! Hang Mike Pence!
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Begin to hold this, we're going to get to many fucking people or look at this from the vantage point, we're fuck.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (INAUDIBLE) House members they're all walking over now to the (INAUDIBLE).
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We're trying to hold the (INAUDIBLE) now. We need to hold the doors to the Capitol. I need support. They cross the line, they cross the line. All (INAUDIBLE) get back. (INAUDIBLE). (CROSSTALK)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: (INAUDIBLE) Capitol police is going to start moving the resources inside. (INAUDIBLE).
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (INAUDIBLE) with four members, the doors barricade. There's people flooded the hallways outside. We have no way out.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Is that officers still remaining on the House floor? In the corner of the floor to use (INAUDIBLE) they found the evacuate. The security man was on the other side. Copy.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (INAUDIBLE) people now, the American people.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What are you ready to do?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: One more time.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What are you ready to do?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Whatever it takes. I'll lay my life down if it takes. Absolutely. That's why we showed up today.