January 6 Committee Details Trump's Alleged Role In Bringing Mob To Capitol
By Bill Galluccio
July 12, 2022
The House select committee investigating the riot at the U.S. Capitol on January 6, 2021, provided new details about how former President Donald Trump refused to accept the results of the presidential election and how he attempted to overturn the results. In addition, the committee accused Trump of stoking anger in his supporters and helping bring a violent mob to the U.S. Capitol during a joint session of Congress to certify the results of the election.
Committee Chairman Rep. Bennie Thompson said that Trump refused to accept the results of the election and convinced his supporters that the election was stolen.
"He seized on the anger he had already stoked among his most loyal supporters, and as they approach the line, he didn't wave them off, he urged them on," Thompson said.
"Donald Trump summoned a mob to Washington, DC, and ultimately spurred that mob to wage a violent attack on our democracy," he added.
Committee member Rep. Stephanie Murphy said that several days after the Electoral College met to certify Biden's win, Trump urged his supporters to attend the Stop the Steal rally on January 6, 2021. Murphy read a tweet in which Trump wrote, "Be there, will be wild."
"It's clear the President intended the assembled crowd on January 6 to serve his goal. And as you have already seen and as you will see again today, some of those who are coming had specific plans. The President's goal it was to stay in power for a second term despite losing the election. The assembled crowd was one of the tools to achieve that goal," Murphy continued.
The day before Trump sent that tweet, he met with a team of outside advisors at the White House to discuss ways he could remain in office.
"As we will see, however, they brought to the White House a draft Executive Order they had prepared for President Trump to further his ends," Raskin added. "Specifically, they proposed the immediate mass seizure of state election machines by the United States military. The meeting ended after midnight with apparent rejection of the idea."
The committee also aired several clips of Trump supporters, including several prominent online bloggers and radio hosts, talking about the rally and saying they were ready to answer Trump's call.
"This is the most important call to action on domestic soil since Paul Revere and his ride in 1776," Alex Jones said.
Another person called for "occupying the entire area" and "if necessary, storming right into the Capitol."
Donell Harvin, the former chief of homeland security for Washington, D.C., told the committee that Trump's tweet caused several right-wing groups to begin aligning.
"These nonaligned groups were aligning,"Harvin said.
"All the red flags went up at that point. When you have armed militia collaborating with white supremacy groups collaborating with conspiracy theory groups online, all towards the common goal, you started seeing what we call in terrorism a blended ideology," Harvin added.
In the days leading up to January 6, Trump planned to urge his supporters to march on Capitol. The committee showed a draft tweet that said, "I will be making a Big Speech at 10AM on January 6th at the Ellipse (South of the White House). Please arrive early, massive crowds expected. March to the Capitol after. Stop the Steal!!"
The committee said that tweet shows that the crowd marching from the Ellipse following Trump's speech was not a spontaneous act but was planned by Trump and his advisors.
"The evidence confirms that this was not a spontaneous call to action, but rather was a deliberate strategy decided upon in advance by the President," Murphy said.
Raskin then said that several of Trump's closest confidants met with members of the Proud Boys and the Oath Keepers in the weeks leading up to the rally on January 6.
"In the weeks leading up to the attack, leaders in both The Proud Boys and The Oath Keepers worked with Trump allies. One such ally was Lt. General Michael Flynn, Trump's former national security adviser, and one of the participants in the unhinged meeting at the White House on Dec. 18," Raskin said.
"Another central figure with ties to this network of extremist groups was Roger Stone, a political consultant and longtime confidant of President Trump," he added.
The committee also heard live testimony from Jason Van Tatenhove, a former spokesperson for the Oath Keepers. Tatenhove warned that the “ever-radicalizing organization” was becoming a "dangerous militia."
"I think we saw a glimpse of what the vision of the Oath Keepers is on January 6th, It doesn't necessarily include the rule of law. It doesn't necessarily include it includes violence. It includes trying to to get their way through lies, through deceit, through intimidation, and through the perpetration of violence, the swaying of people who may not know better through lies and rhetoric and propaganda that can get swept up in these moments. And I'll admit, I was swept up at one point as well to but I don't know if that answers the question," he said.
Tatenhove told the committe the country was lucky there wasn't more bloodshed on January 6.
"I think we've gotten exceedingly lucky that more bloodshed did not happen because the potentials been there from the start," he said. "And we got very lucky that the loss of life was, and as tragic as it is, that we saw on Jan. 6, the potential was so much more."
“I do fear for this next election cycle because who knows what that might bring," he added.
Stephen Ayres, who was charged for participating in the Capitol riot, also testified to the committee. Ayres, who is not a member of an outside group, said he showed up because he believed that the election was stolen.
He told the committee that he decided to leave the Capitol after Trump tweeted out a video urging the rioters to go home. That video was posted several hours after the protestors stormed the building.
"We literally left right after that come out," Ayres said. "To me, if he would have done that earlier in the day ... maybe we wouldn't have been in that bad of a situation."