Over the course of seven hearings that began last month, the January 6 committee—which is not a prosecutorial body but probably should be—has shown beyond a shadow of a doubt that donald trump set the wheels in motion for a violent attack on the Capitol, in a brazen attempt to overturn the results of the 2020 election and steal a second term in office. Thus far, those hearings have included new granular details of things we already knew—like that Trump and his cronies pressured state officials to throw out the election results—and stunning revelations about things we didn’t—like that the president of the United States. allegedly knowingly sent armed supporters to the Capitol and attempted to physically assault a Secret Service agent when he was told he couldn’t join the mob. So, how does the committee wrap up its final scheduled prime-time broadcast, taking place Thursday at 8 pm? Apparently, by showing that Trump absolutely loved watching the violence unfold and could not get enough of it.
Incredibly, according to Washington Post, one way the panel will demonstrate this is through outtakes it obtained of Trump attempting—at the urging of his advisers—to record a message the day after the attack condemning the horrific event. Obviously, if the then president had any sort of conscience, this would not have been difficult. A one-take job, if you will. But as the post reports, despite Trump’s team urging him to denounce the violence, demand that the people who’d stormed the Capitol be brought to justice, and declare that Joe Biden had won the election fair and square, he could barely bring himself to do it. Instead, it reportedly took an hour for his team to come up with something usable, as Trump “resisted holding the rioters to account, trying to call them patriots, and refused to say the election was over,” according to people familiar with the matter . “The president displayed extreme difficulty in completing his remarks on him,” Representative jamie raskin told CNN this week. “It’s extremely revealing how exactly he went about making those statements, and we’re going to let everybody see parts of that.”
Agent Adam Schiff, another member of the panel told CNN on Wednesday that the outtakes “will be significant in terms of what the president was willing to say and what he wasn’t willing to say.” The clips, he said, will show “all of those who are urging him to say something to do something to stop the violence. You’ll hear the terrible lack of a response from the president, and you’ll hear more about how he was ultimately prevailed upon to say something and what he was willing to say and what he wasn’t.”
Elsewhere, the committee reportedly plans to show the public that as the violence unfolded, Trump not only did nothing to stop it despite pleading from his staff and own children but was in fact glued to the TV, loving what he was seeing. As former White House press secretary Stephanie Grisham revealed earlier this year, the president “gleefully” watched the violence and chaos unfold:
While Team Trump is no doubt already in spin-mode, that account tracks with that of Senator Ben Sasse, who said in an interview on January 8, 2021, that senior White House officials had told him that as the violence took place, “Trump was walking around the White House confused about why other people on his team weren’t as excited as he was , as you had rioters pushing against Capitol police, trying to get into the building. That was happening. He was delighted.”
In other evidence of presidential inaction, the committee is expected to hone in on Trump waiting until 4:17 pm to tell his supporters to leave—in a video address in which he told them, “We love you. You’re very special.” Later, he tweeted this historically crazy series of words, which, while included “go home,” make it extremely clear he was thrilled about what had just taken place and believed it was justified: “These are the things and events that happen when a sacred landslide election victory is so unceremoniously & viciously stripped away from great patriots who have been badly & unfairly treated for so long,” he wrote. “Go home with love & in peace. Remember this day forever!”
“You might have earlier on said, ‘Was he incompetent? Was he someone who freezes in a moment when they can’t react to something? Or was it exactly what he wanted to have happened?’” Representative Elaine Luria told the post this week. “And after all of this, I’m convinced that this is exactly what he wanted to have happen.”
On Thursday morning, Representative Adam Kinzinger, who will help lead Thursday’s hearing, tweeted a preview of his argument: “Donald Trump is a disgrace to America.”
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