187 Minutes: It's Your January 6 Hearings, Day 8 LIVEBLOG!
The number of the day is 187. That's how many minutes it took for Trump to tell his goons to go home after the Capitol had been breached on January 6, 2021. During that time, he was doing what he did for four straight years in the White House — watching television and tweeting.
\u201cWhat was he doing while the Capitol was under siege? See for yourself. Donald Trump is a disgrace to America.\u201d— Adam Kinzinger\ud83c\uddfa\ud83c\udde6\ud83c\uddfa\ud83c\uddf8\u270c\ufe0f (@Adam Kinzinger\ud83c\uddfa\ud83c\udde6\ud83c\uddfa\ud83c\uddf8\u270c\ufe0f) 1658409040
Tonight's witnesses will be Trump's deputy national security advisor Matthew Pottinger and former deputy press secretary Sarah Matthews, both of whom resigned on the day of the Capitol Riot. In her taped deposition, portions of which were aired in prior hearings, Matthews described chaos at the White House as aides urged the president to make a statement condemning the violence and urging his supporters to go home. Instead, the president watched television, even remarking that perhaps Pence "deserved" to be hung.
Let's go out on a limb and assume that tonight's testimony is going to be NOT GREAT, DON.
7:55 Ahoy, crew members! We're here, waiting for this thing to start.
Tonight's events will be led by Reps. Adam Kinzinger and Elaine Luria, so here's some pics of them lookin' dreamy.
And not for nothing, but WT-everloving-F is going on with the Secret Service? The New York Timessays agents including Steven Engel, Trump's lead agent, and the guy who drove the car on the day of the riot, deleted the texts on January 27, 2021, after it was very clear there would be an inquiry into attempted violent coup? And the DHS Inspector General has known this for a year? And now there's a criminal inquiry? This will get messy.
8:05 Let's roll, beginning with a statement from Chair Bennie Thompson, who is quarantining with covid and appearing by video. As per usual, he's reading Donald Trump for filth, calls him a "man of unbridled destructive energy." Not fake news!
Thompson says that the malevolent couch potato "could not be moved to rise from dining room table to walk few steps down the White House hallway to the briefing room where cameras were waiting" for him to tell "a mob he knew was heavily armed, violent, and angry" to go home. Instead he watched TV for more than two hours.
"There needs to be accountability," Chair Thompson demands.
8:10 Now's it's time for Vice Chair Liz Cheney to call Trump a degenerate traitor. She says that "the dam has begun to break" and witnesses are starting to cooperate, so the committee will investigate during August and come back for more live hearings in September. Bring it!
8:15 Cheney is going back over all the ways Trump tried to do coups, including the fake electors scheme, the 65 bullshit lawsuits, and the attempt to weaponize the Justice Department. But when none of that worked, he unleashed a violent mob.
Trump didn't order the military to help and ignored his family, lawyers, and staff begging him to call off the mob.
Over to Rep. Luria, who is talking about what a real president would do when the seat of government was under attack. Spoiler Alert: Not what Trump did.
8:20 Cut to a clip of Trump at 1:10pm ordering the crowd to walk down to the Capitol with him. At that moment, the Proud Boys had already breached the barriers at Congress.
It wasn't until 4:17pm when Trump was finally persuaded to tell the violent mob to disperse, telling them "go home, we love you."
8:25 And now Rep. Adam Kinzinger, one of the two Republicans on the committee, is going to point out all the Republicans who said in real time that Trump was to blame, starting with Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, who refused to participate in the inquiry, and Gen. Mark Milley.
"President Trump did not fail to act during 187 minutes ... he chose not to act," Kinzinger says.
Witnesses Matthew Pottinger and Sarah Matthews are sworn in.
8:27 LOLLLL, Pottinger is praising Trump's foreign policy, particularly with regard to China, which was his particular area. Sure, buddy, "trade wars are good and easy to win."
Matthews says that she worked on the campaign with Kaleigh McEnany and came over to work in the press office with her.
Wonkers, these are not our people.
8:30 Luria says that Trump's people are armed loons who threaten witnesses, and so the next White House security official will have his face and voice obscured.
"Why were we alarmed? The president wanted to lead tens of thousands of his supporters to the Capitol. That was enough of a reason," he says.
Luria promises that we're going to get confirmation that the president lost his shit in the limo when the driver refused to take Trump to the Capitol. So much for the Secret Service's effort to smear Cassidy Hutchinson and call her a liar.
Ret. Sgt. Mark Robinson from the DC Police testifies that they knew there were armed individuals in the crowd and in the trees, and yet Trump still wanted to go to the Capitol, even after he'd returned to the White House.
8:37 And speaking of the Secret Service, Luria says that "certain Secret Service Witnesses have now retained private counsel."
HUH. Wonder if they'll become less recalcitrant now that they've got their own lawyers. On the other hand, since the inquiry into the deleted texts has now become criminal, there might be other reasons these guys are lawyering up.
Luria says that Trump sat in the Oval Office watching Fox for 2.5 hours after he'd been told of the riot. There's no record in the presidential diary, no photos, no entries in the White House call log. Luria says, they do know what happened during that time. But more importantly, they know what didn't happen.
Trump never called for a National Guard response, never called the Attorney General, never called for a response by the FBI or Secret Service or Capitol Police.
8:42 Instead of trying to quell the riot, Trump was calling senators to pressure them not to certify the results of the election. But weirdly enough, those calls didn't appear in the White House call log.
Look, Luria could make this a lot clearer. The president doesn't scratch his nose without generating a presidential record. Like the missing Secret Service texts, if there's no record, it's because someone destroyed it on purpose.
8:45 Ayyyyy, it's Patsy Baloney.
White House Counsel Pat Cipollone says he and everyone else in the White House told Trump he had to call off the mob, to no avail for three hours.
8:50 So, everyone at the White House was running around with their hair on fire, and Trump was happily watching TV as the crowd screamed to "Hang Mike Pence." Despite the fact that he could have walked about a minute to the briefing room and done it live at any time.
Cassidy Hutchinson testified that Meadows deflected exhortations from Pat Cipollone and Eric Herschmann for Trump to put out a statement, saying "You heard him Pat, he thinks Mike deserves it. He doesn't think they're doing anything wrong."
So they all pinned their hopes on Ivanka, because the leader of the free world needed to be talked into defending the country by his adult daughter. Who worked in the White House. Because what even is democracy, LOL.
8:52 OTOH, Gen. Keith Kellogg worried that putting Trump live on camera could make it worse, because the president was fucking crazy (slight paraphrase) and you couldn't count on him not to urge the crowd on to further violence.
8:55 Testimony from comms staff
COMMITTEE: You said there should be a presidential statement?
STAFF: Hell yes!
STAFF: AYFKMRN? People were breaking into the Capitol.
COMMITTEE: Trump go for it?
9:00 Cut to absolutely chilling footage from Capitol police as they evacuated the building and tried to evade the mob.
Meanwhile at the House GOP ...
Seems like all the competent comms people have left the building or gotten better paying jobs on TV.
9:03 Anonymous witness says that there were communications with people in the Vice President's detail who were screaming and asking people to say goodbye to their families, i.e. they thought the crowd was going to kill them.
They're playing video of interviews with members of the crowd, including Oath Keeper Jessica Watkins, who is now charged with seditious conspiracy, in full body armor, at the moment Pence said he wasn't going to do what Trump wanted and illegally overturn the election.
And then came the tweet attacking Pence, after which Pottinger decided he was going to resign.
9:10 As we watch heartfelt footage of White House staff saying how upset they were about the tweet, the House GOP is attacking Sarah Matthews.
These geniuses deleted it when they remembered that Matthews currently works for the House GOP.
9:12 Luria points out that Trump was calling senators like Tuberville and Hawley to get them to overturn the vote, even as they were being evacuated from the Capitol.
Here's Senator Hawley saluting the mob.
And here he is running for his life from that same mob.
And now we are in ten minute recess.
9:20 While we're waiting for the committee to resume, let's highlight the fact that the Secret Service went out of their way to trash Cassidy Hutchinson for testifying that she'd heard Tony Ornato, Trump's Secret Service guy who got promoted to deputy chief of staff at the White House, discussing Trump's aggressive behavior toward his driver on January 6. The Secret Service would testify to defend its sacred honor against this vile slander, they declared indignantly.
Two weeks later, they haven't produced a single person willing to contradict her under oath. And by amazing coincidence, all their texts from that day are gone.
9:21 And if you're not already three sheets to the wind — unlike your Wonkette, who is working here — our pals at Above the Law have a fun drinking game going.
9:25 Okay, we're back. Adam Kinzinger is ready to FUCK SHIT UP, invites the audience to imagine what they would have done in Trump's shoes. Even after that first tweet attacking Pence, Trump did nothing but send two tweets. One saying "Stay peaceful," and the other saying "Remain peaceful."
Meanwhile, Don Jr. and Sean Hannity wer panic-texting Mark Meadows to get Trump to call off the mob.
"They will try to fuck his entire legacy on this if it gets worse," whined Deej.
9:30 LIZ CHENEY: Anyone at the White House who didn't want the mob to leave the Capitol?
ADAM SCHIFF: What about the president? What about Trump?
CIPOLLONE: Sorry, can't tell you. Executive privilege.
Dog Gif GIFGiphy
9:35 Cut to footage from the House where members were trapped in the chamber and being instructed to put on gas masks because there was tear gas on the rotunda.
Sarah Matthews says she told Kayleigh McEnany that Trump had to put out a statement after the Pence tweet. Matthews said that McEnany admitted Trump wouldn't condemn the violence, was only convinced to tweet "Stay peaceful" by Ivanka. And the crowd understood perfectly well that this was not a call to retreat.
Cut to audio of the Oath Keepers, who heard the tweet urging the protesters not to harm the Capitol Police, laughing that Trump hadn't told them not to harm the congressmen, and promising that Trump would not be leaving office.
9:40 Matthews said that there was dispute among the comms team, some of whom thought it would be "handing the media a win" to condemn the violence.
"Do you think it looks like we're effing winning?" she said, gesturing toward the scenes of violence on the TV.
Oh, hai, Kevin McCarthy! Kinzinger is talking about the leader of his own caucus's efforts to get Jared and Ivanka to prevail upon Poppy Crime Boss to get the crowd to disperse.
9:45 Audio of Rep. Jamie Herrera Butler relaying a conversation between McCarthy and Trump that day,
"Well, Kevin, these aren't my people. They're Antifa," Trump said, adding when McCarthy told him that his office had been overrun and it wasn't Antifa, "Well, Kevin, I guess they're just more upset about the election theft than you are."
McCarthy then called the big guns.
That's right. He called Jared. Who was in the shower. And appears to be in there still, giving testimony. Raise your hand if your'e suprised that guy showers in a suit.
9:50 Luria points out that by the time Trump actually put out his message telling the mob to leave, it was clear the coup had not succeeded.
Oh, boy, we're going to get the outtakes from the Rose Garden video, where Trump rejected the written speech prepared for him
"We had an election that was stolen from us, it was a landslide election, and everyone knows it, especially the other side" he said.
Not exactly peaceful.
9:52 Herschmann describes everyone as emotionally drained at the White House after the video, even tearing up a little bit.
Meanwhile at the Capitol, there was still hand-to-hand combat going on to secure the building.
And Mitch McConnell and Chuck Schumer and Nancy Pelosi were moving to get the electoral certification back on track, as the army and law enforcement swung into action.
The fucking nerve of the White House staff whining that it had been a hard day convincing the president not to attack the seat of government. Whew, time for a drink, boys!
9:56 Sarah Matthews said she was disgusted by the "You're very special, we love you" speech.
"As a spokesperson for him, I knew I would have to defend that ... I knew I would be resigning that evening."
Mad respect for her courage today, but she defended a lot of heinous shit before January 6, 2021. Just sayin'.
10:00 Rep. Kinzinger is back to call Trump an asshole some more.
"Go home with love & in peace. Remember this day forever," he tweeted at 6:01 that night.
"Mike Pence let me down," Trump whined to a valet on his way up to dinner.
10:05 Even after the attack, Giuliani called Rep. Jim Jordan, and Senators Tuberville, Hawley, Cruz, and Lee to get members of congress to further delay the certification. Which these fuckers, particularly Hawley, did.
Even as Mitch McConnell stood at the podium and said Trump was responsible for the attack and was a "foreseeable consequence of growing crescendo" of election lies from Trump and his allies.
They all stayed up until 3am to certify the election. Although everyone from the White House was "drained" and went to bed. HAHA F U.
10:10 Jason Miller testifies that Trump wanted to promise a "peaceful transition" in a tweet from Dan Scavino's account. Miller said the whole "peaceful" ship had sailed, so they settled on "orderly transition" of power to the Biden administration.
Lots of people immediately resigned, but Pat Cipollone and Labor Secretary Eugene (yes, that) Scalia said they decided not to resign because there had to be a grown up in the White House in case Trump tried some other desperate, crazy shit to hold on to power.
"Potus is very emotional and in a bad place," Mark Meadows texted Gen. Milley.
LOL, remember when Hillary didn't have a presidential temperament?
10:15 KINZINGER: You're a nat-sec dude. Would you say this whole insurrection thing was good for America's international standing?
POTTINGER: Hell. No. It emboldened our enemies by feeding a narrative that democracy is crap and the US is in decline. Russia? Iran? China? They love to turn on the TV and see chaos in America. Plus it freaked the shit out of our allies.
KINZINGER: Yeah, we're trying to fix that right now.
10:20 Rep. Luria said that Trump lay on the floor and stomped his feet for half the day on January 7, and only agreed to address the nation because he was afraid he'd be 25th Amendment-ed out of power by the Cabinet. He was apparently pissed at saying "the election's over" and condemning the violence, and had to be coaxed by Ivanka to say anything at all.
10:24 The part of the stalwart white Republican man, the one true
Scotsman patriot who gives his fellow Gippers space to differentiate themselves from Trump, will be played this evening by Matthew Pottinger. Not sure why else he's here, TBQH.
"We take that oath before God," says Pottinger, praising America and its perfect, flawless form of government.
This part of the hearing is ... not for Your Wonkette.
10:25 Luria plays secretly recorded audio of Kevin McCarthy supporting a resolution in support of the 25th Amendment and calling out Trump as personally responsible for the riot.
That was before Our Kev remembered that he's a craven hack who wants to be the next House Speaker and will need Trump to fend off a challenge from Marjorie Taylor Greene and the wacko caucus.
10:28 Some very ugly texts between Trump campaign officials saying he couldn't condemn the violence, even the killing of Capitol Police, because it would be an admission of guilt.
10:32 Kinzinger is giving a heartfelt closing speech calling Trump's conduct "a supreme violation of his own oath of office and a complete dereliction of his duty to our nation, a stain on our history, a dishonor to all those who sacrificed and died in service to our democracy."
He warns that the dark forces, the weirdos, the conspiracy theorists, the violent mobs haven't gone away — they're still here threatening the country. Kinzinger calls out his fellow Republicans, warning against elevating "party tribalism or the cheap thrill of scoring political points."
10:35 Luria said that Trump parked on his keister watching TV as the Capitol was under attack isn't a story of "inaction" but a story of "violent action to usurp the peaceful transition of power."
Luria, Kinzinger and Pottinger are all veterans or active duty military, and they're leaning hard into it tonight, contrasting the patriotism of the armed services with the cowardice of the former Commander in Chief.
10:47 Chairman Thompson gives a closing speech via video, and Vice Chair Cheney follows, commending Matthews, Pottinger, and Cassidy Hutchinson. Cheney highlights the fact that many young women have testified here, knowing that they would be attacked "by 50-, 60- and 70-year-old men who hide themselves behind executive privilege."
Acknowledging that the Committee has been attacked as partisan, she notes that the evidence presented was "a series of confessions by Donald Trump's appointees, people who have worked for him for years, his own family"
"Would the evidence be different if Leader McCarthy had not withdrawn" from participating in the committee, she asks? "Do you really think Bill Barr is so delicate?"
Referencing Trump's 2016 campaign boast that he "could shoot someone in the middle of 5th Ave not lose a vote," Cheney says that Trump preyed upon his supporters' patriotism, "confident he could convince his voters of the lie that he'd won."
She then plays audio of Bannon on halloween 2020 previewing the strategy for Trump to declare himself winner based on the predicted "Red Mirage" as same-day votes strongly favored Trump.
"We cannot abandon the truth and remain a free nation," she warns, concluding, "We have much work left to do , and we will see you all in September."
10:50 Wow, that last part was chilling. Of course Aaron Rupar's got it for us here. (Hit up his Substack!)
\u201cCheney: "Donald Trump made an intentional choice to violate his oath of office."\u201d— Aaron Rupar (@Aaron Rupar) 1658456794
Okay, good night, good people. Hang in there.
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Liz Dye lives in Baltimore with her wonderful husband and a houseful of teenagers. When she isn't being mad about a thing on the internet, she's hiding in plain sight in the carpool line. She's the one wearing yoga pants glaring at her phone.