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In the January 6 Select Committee’s final hearing of the summer, the panel Thursday evening attempted to lay out a minute-by-minute account of former President Trump’s actions during the Capitol Hill riot and claimed that he deliberately chose not to act despite being urged to denounce the violence by his aides.
“Here’s what will be clear by the end of this hearing,” Rep. Adam Kinzinger said near the opening of it. “President Trump did not fail to act during the one hundred and eighty-seven minutes between leaving the Ellipse and telling the mob to go home. He chose not to act.”
Kinzinger claimed that the “mob was accomplishing President Trump’s purpose” of delaying the counting of the votes “so, of course, he didn’t intervene.”
Much of the evidence put forward by the committee had been previously reported on or presented, though not previously on prime time TV.
Throughout the hearing, the committee provided testimony from Trump aides who said that they urged the president to denounce the riot more forcefully as it was happening.
The hearing featured testimony and text messages from Donald Trump Jr., former White House counsel Pat Cipollone, former national security adviser Matthew Pottinger, former press aide Sarah Matthews and others expressing frustration that Trump did not attempt to deescalate the situation earlier. Pottinger and Matthews testified live, the testimony of others was recorded.
The committee played snippets of a recorded interview it conducted with an unnamed former White House national security staffer. That staffer, whose voice was obscured to conceal his identity, said White House officials were “in a state of shock” over what was happening at the Capitol on Jan. 6.
Rep. Elaine Luria, a Democratic panel member from Virginia said Trump “did not call to issue orders. He did not call to offer assistance.”
The committee also played testimony from retired D.C. Metro Police Sergeant Mark Robinson, who was in Trump’s motorcade following his speech at the Ellipse.
Robinson, who was not in Trump’s car, testified that he was told there was a “heated argument” between the president and his security detail about going to the Capitol but did not offer to corroborate former Trump aide Cassidy Hutchinson’s testimony that a physical altercation took place.
Committee Chairman Bennie Thompson, who was participating in the hearing remotely due to a coronavirus diagnosis, said that the committee will “reconvene in September” as the “investigation goes forward.”
Rep. Cheney added that the committee has “considerably more to do.”
In the closing statements, committee members argued that former President Trump violated his oath of office by not doing more to dissuade the rioters.
“Whatever your politics, whatever you think about the outcome of the election, we as Americans must all agree on this: Donald Trump’s conduct on January 6th was a supreme violation of his oath of office and a complete dereliction of his duty to our nation,” Illinois Republican Rep. Adam Kinzinger said. “It is a stain on our history. It is a dishonor to all those who have sacrificed and died in service of our democracy. When we present our full findings, we will recommend changes to laws and policies to guard against another January 6th. The reason that’s imperative is that the forces Donald Trump ignited that day have not gone away.”
Associated Press contributed to this report