Inside the Jan 6 committee’s huge new trove of evidence
Here’s a look at some of the most extraordinary and important evidence in the select committee’s files.
“He makes his own tweets”
Investigators on Jan. 6 looked into the circumstances of Trump’s Dec. 19, 2020, tweet urging supporters to come to Washington to protest Congress’ electoral vote count. “Will be wild,” Trump wrote, a message that experts and security officials saw as rocket fuel for extremists.
The committee’s evidence includes a January 22, 2021, text exchange between Trump adviser Katrina Pierson and his longtime social media guru Dan Scavino, in which Scavino makes it clear: No one told Trump to be the author of the tweet. Scavino dismissed the idea that advocates involved in the “Stop the Steal” efforts had anything to do with Trump’s decision to post the tweet. And in what appears to be a nod to his fatherhood, Scavino wrote, “He does his own tweets.”
In an earlier exchange, just hours after Congress concluded certification of Biden’s election, Scavino told Pierson, “We’re dealing a lot now, but we’ll prevail.”
Scavino was an elusive witness for the select committee, and the House voted to scorn him for refusing to cooperate, but the Justice Department declined to prosecute him.
“Around the Capitol”
Two days after the Jan. 6 attack, Trump adviser Steve Bannon told his spokesman he didn’t necessarily think the fight to prevent a Biden administration was over.
In an interview with Bannon spokeswoman Alexandra Preate, the select committee read a text exchange Preate had with Bannon on January 8, 2021.
“We need to turn up the heat,” Bannon wrote to Preate.
When Preate asked when Trump was leaving town before Biden’s inauguration, Bannon replied, “He won’t be staying in the White House past the 20th. But who said we don’t have a million people the next day? »
“I would surround the Capitol in total silence,” Bannon added.
New call logs
The select committee has released Trump’s full White House call logs from January 2, 3 and 5, 2021 – each reflecting Trump’s intense focus on staying in power.
The January 2 call log reports Trump’s hour-long call with Georgian Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger, during which Trump urged him to “find” enough votes to return the results to him. elections. The newspapers put that call into context: Immediately afterwards, Trump had a Zoom meeting with attorney Rudy Giuliani, a phone call with chief of staff Mark Meadows, and a 22-minute call with Bannon.
On January 3, Trump’s call logs reflect a flurry of contact with senior Justice Department officials as he considered elevating Jeffrey Clark to acting attorney general – a figure he viewed as sympathetic to his attempt to stay in power. Trump spoke to Rep. Scott Perry (R-Pa.) that afternoon, just before call logs reflected that Clark had been elevated, however briefly, to the DOJ’s top job. But the movement did not hold. A massive resignation threat from DOJ executives prompted Trump to walk away from the plan.
“A Dangerous Idea”
Sen. Mike Lee (R-Utah) strategized with Trump lawyer Cleta Mitchell about his efforts to help the campaign promote the idea that the 2020 election was marred by fraud and irregularities . But Lee repeatedly pressed Mitchell on the “slippery slope” he said his arguments involved.
“Jan. 6 is a dangerous idea,” Lee said, in an exchange of messages with Mitchell that she provided to the select committee. “Not just for the republic itself, but also for the president.”
Lee lamented that no court or state authority had backed Trump’s efforts, so he didn’t see Congress as an appropriate backstop.
“I kind of thought you and I agreed that we would need something like a judgment from a court of competent jurisdiction or a ruling from a state legislature,” Lee wrote.
“That was when I thought we would have a day in court,” Mitchell replied.
The two discussed a strategy to have GOP-friendly senators hold election-related public hearings. Lee initially said he saw it as a way to end the Jan. 6 challenges — giving Trump and his supporters a venue to vent their frustrations without presenting real electoral challenges. But Mitchell said she saw the hearings as a prelude to the Jan. 6 challenges.
“We have to make a record,” she said, adding that she had discussed strategy with Meadows.
Lee noted that the issues could be handled by Sen. Lindsey Graham’s Judiciary Committee or Sen. Ron Johnson’s Homeland Security Committee. But Mitchell said she considers Johnson a “loose cannon”.
“We all look like domestic terrorists now”
Trump aide Hope Hicks texted Ivanka Trump’s chief of staff, Julie Radford, on the afternoon of Jan. 6, denouncing Trump’s actions and lamenting that their careers are likely doomed. failure.
“All of us who didn’t have a planned job will be perpetually unemployed. I am so angry and upset,” Hicks wrote. “We all look like domestic terrorists now.”
“Oh yeah, I’ve been crying for an hour,” Radford replied.
“It’s not dramatic but it looks like we’re all screwed,” Hicks continued. “Alyssa looks like a genius.”
Hicks’ post was an apparent reference to Alyssa Farah, a former White House aide to Trump who left the administration a few weeks before Jan. 6.
Returning to Trump, Hicks expressed outrage at his attack on Vice President Mike Pence amid the violence. “Wtf is wrong with him? ” she wrote.
Evidence from the select committee includes a version of Trump’s Jan. 6 rally speech that shows the extent to which he strayed from the written text and improvised some of his most incendiary lines.
“More likely a disaster”
A group of Trump-aligned lawyers, including John Eastman, William Olson and Kris Kobach, spent the days leading up to Christmas 2020 debating whether to take legal action against Mike Pence, an effort to force his hand and convince a judge to declare that Pence had the power to reject Biden’s electoral votes.
That lawsuit would ultimately be filed by Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-Texas) and some of Trump’s GOP allies like Arizona GOP Chairman Kelli Ward in Texas-based federal court. But initially, Trump’s lawyers feared filing the lawsuit in DC — a more natural venue — would face near-certain defeat or worse: a ruling that Pence was required to count electoral votes for Biden. . Their initial instinct, when attorney Larry Joseph sent a draft of the complaint to the group on December 22, 2020, was that he hadn’t filed it yet.
“I apologize for being so blunt as we are all operating under pressure but strategically although this complaint may be a home run but more likely a disaster as it could completely undo the January 6 strategy if it resulted in a court ruling in the district in which Congress will meet that Pence is compelled [by the Electoral Count Act],” Olson wrote.
Olson estimated the chance of success in DC federal courts at 10%. But Eastman went further.
“I put all the chances of winning in one or the other [D.C. federal district or appeals courts] closer to zero, and the risk of getting a court ruling that Pence does not have the power to reject Biden-certified ballots is very high,” Eastman replied. “And a danger that SCOTUS will also refuse to take. The best we can hope for, then, is a dismissal as non-justiciable.
Gohmert’s lawsuit was filed Dec. 27 in the Eastern District of Texas and was dismissed by a judge and an appeals court panel.
Trump wanted to walk to the Capitol
The select committee also released a diary entry produced by Kayleigh McEnany, Trump’s White House press secretary, from January 6, describing some of the chaos and interactions she observed that day. .
“POTUS wanted to walk to the capital [sic]. Physically walk,” she wrote. “He said ride the beast well. Meadows said he wasn’t sure enough.
She described efforts to create tweets with Trump in response to violence on Capitol Hill, a call from Lindsey Graham worried about reports that the National Guard had been delayed, and noted that Trump was watching TV while Biden was speaking. remarks on the attack.
“Biden calls it literally speaking as potus shooting,” she wrote.
McEnany wrote that in preparing Trump’s video address, they made sure Trump told the rioters to “go home.” “An important part of the message,” she wrote.