House Jan. 6 committee looks at Trump’s 187 minutes at White House

The House committee investigating the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol is holding a primetime hearing Thursday night, this time zeroing in on the 187 minutes between when rioters descended on the Capitol that day and former President Donald Trump’s first public statement condemning the attack. 

“For 187 minutes on Jan. 6, this man of unbridled, destructive energy could not be moved — not by his aides, not by his allies, not by the violent chants of rioters or the desperate pleas of those facing down the riot,” committee chair Rep. Bennie Thompson said in his opening statement. “And more tellingly, Donald Trump ignored and disregarded the desperate pleas of his own family, including Ivanka and Don Jr.”

Thompson also noted that the hearing will show what was going on at the Capitol “minute by minute.” focus on Trump’s actions between 1:10 p.m. ET, when his speech at the Ellipse ended, and 4:17 p.m. ET. 

Matthew Pottinger, a former National Security Council official, and Sarah Matthews, a former deputy White House press secretary, are testifying Thursday. They both resigned in the immediate aftermath of the attack.

Former National Security Council member Matthew Pottinger (L) and former Deputy White House Press Secretary Sarah Matthews are sworn in during a hearing by the House Select Committee to investigate the January 6th attack on the US Capitol in the Cannon House Office Building in Washington, DC, on July 21, 2022.

SAUL LOEB/POOL/AFP via Getty Images

Thursday’s hearing is the eighth public hearing this summer to show the findings of their yearlong investigation. There could be another hearing after the committee issues a report about their findings. 

Thompson is chairing Thursday’s hearing remotely, since he tested positive for COVID-19 earlier this week.

The committee will also present additional information about Trump returning to the White House against his wishes after the Ellipse speech ended, a committee aide said]. The aide would not disclose whether the committee has interviewed Anthony Ornato, deputy chief of staff for operations, or Secret Service agent Robert Engel, who were both mentioned by White House aide Cassidy Hutchinson when she testified to the committee that Trump had demanded to be taken to the Capitol during the riot.

A source close to the Secret Service told CBS News after Hutchinson’s testimony that Engel and the driver of a Secret Service vehicle on Jan. 6 are prepared to testify under oath that neither man was physically attacked or assaulted by Trump and that the former president never lunged for the steering wheel of the vehicle, as Hutchinson claimed.

Hutchinson testified that she had called Ornato to make sure there was no plan to take Trump to the Capitol on Jan. 6.

A committee aide said Thursday’s hearing will lay out who was talking to Trump, what those people were urging him to do and when he was made aware of what was going on. These details will be provided during testimony from individuals who spoke to the former president and individuals in the west wing who were aware of what he and his inner circle were doing. The testimony will be in the form of both video and audio recordings as well as from live witnesses.

The hearing will also cover how law enforcement turned the tide against the rioters around 4 p.m., and the committee will go over what happened in the White House for the remainder of the day, the creation of the Rose Garden video, the president’s tweets he sent later that day and the fallout the day after the attack.

“One of the main points we’re going to make here is that President Trump had the power to call off the mob here. He was maybe the sole person who could call off the mob and he chose not to,” a committee aide said.

Committee chair Rep. Bennie Thompson said Tuesday he had tested positive for COVID-19 and would not be attending Thursday’s hearing. Aides said Wednesday that he would be chairing the hearing remotely. 

Reps. Elanie Luria and Adam Kinzinger are leading the presentation. 

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