During Thursday’s hearing, the January 6 House committee aired video evidence showing how Donald Trump repeatedly made false claims about voter fraud that directly contradicted facts presented to him by top advisers. “These actions, taken directly by the president himself, made it clear what his intentions were: to prevent the orderly transfer of power,” said Congressmember Elaine Luria. California Congressmember Adam Schiff also presented several Secret Service messages showing prior knowledge of the potential for violence on January 6. “By the morning of January 6, it was clear that the Secret Service anticipated violence,” said Schiff, with one agent claiming in a chat group that it felt “like the calm before the storm.”
AMY GOODMAN: Thursday’s House January 6th hearing also featured more unseen video testimony, introduced by Republican Congressmember Adam Kinzinger.
REP. ADAM KINZINGER: On December 11th, Trump’s allies lost a lawsuit in the U.S. Supreme Court that he regarded as his last chance at success in the courts. A newly obtained Secret Service message from that day shows how angry President Trump was about the outcome: quote, “Just fyi. POTUS is pissed — breaking news — Supreme Court denied his law suit. He is livid now…” Cassidy Hutchinson, an aide to Chief of Staff Mark Meadows, was present for that conversation and described it in this way.
CASSIDY HUTCHINSON: This is the day that the Supreme Court had rejected that case. Mr. Meadows and I were in the White House residence at a Christmas reception. And as we were walking back from the Christmas reception that evening, the president was walking out of the Oval Office, and we crossed paths in the Rose Garden colonnade. The president was fired up about the Supreme Court decision. And so, I was standing next to Mr. Meadows, but I had stepped back, so I was probably two, three feet catty-corner from or diagonal from him. …
The president just raging about the decision and how it’s wrong, and why didn’t we make more calls, and just this typical anger outburst at this decision. … And the president said he had, I think — so, he had said something to the effect of, “I don’t want people to know we lost, Mark. This is embarrassing. Figure it out. We need to figure it out. I don’t want people to know that we lost.”
AMY GOODMAN: That was former White House aide Cassidy Hutchinson. Coming up, we air more of Thursday’s January 6th hearing. Stay with us.
AMY GOODMAN: “Problem With It” by Plains. This is Democracy Now!, democracynow.org. I’m Amy Goodman.
During Thursday’s House January 6th hearing, video was aired showing Donald Trump repeatedly made false claims about voter fraud about the 2020 election that directly contradicted facts presented to him by his top officials, including Attorney General William Barr and Richard Donoghue, the acting United States deputy attorney general. This is Democratic Congressmember Elaine Luria of Virginia.
REP. ELAINE LURIA: Donald Trump was the driver behind each part of this plan. He was personally and directly involved. Of course, a key element of the plan was continuing to convince tens of millions of Americans that he did not in fact lose. Again, he did this even though his own campaign advisers and his Justice Department officials told him his claims of fraud were wrong.
In this video, you’ll see that even when top law enforcement officials told the president his election fraud claims were false, he still repeated the claims in the days and weeks that followed, sometimes even the very next day.
WILLIAM BARR: I specifically raised the Dominion voting machines, which I found to be among the most disturbing allegations, disturbing in the sense that I saw absolutely zero basis for the allegations. I told them that it was — that it was crazy stuff, and they were wasting their time on that, and it was doing a grave disservice to the country.
TITLES: Nine days after that meeting…
PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP: We have a company that’s very suspect. Its name is Dominion. With the turn of a dial or the change of a chip, you could press a button for Trump, and the vote goes to Biden. What kind of a system is this?
RICHARD DONOGHUE: We definitely talked about Antrim County again. That was sort of done at that point, because the hand recount had been done and all that. But we cited back to that to say, you know, this is an example of what people are telling you and what’s being filed in some of these court filings that are just not supported by the evidence. And this is the problem. The problem is people keep telling you these things, and they turn out not to be true.
TITLES: Six days after that meeting…
PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP: In addition, there is the highly troubling matter of Dominion Voting Systems. In one Michigan county alone, 6,000 votes were switched from Trump to Biden. And the same systems are used in the majority of states in our country.
WILLIAM BARR: I went into this and would, you know, tell him how crazy some of these allegations were and how ridiculous some of them were. And I’m talking about some of the ones like, you know, more votes — more absentee votes were cast in Pennsylvania than there were absentee ballots requested. You know, stuff like that was just easy to blow up. There was never — there was never an indication of interest in what the actual facts were.
TITLES: One day after that meeting…
PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP: There were more votes than there were voters. Think of that. You had more votes than you had voters. That’s an easy one to figure. And it’s by the thousands.
WILLIAM BARR: Then he raised the big vote dump, as he called it, in Detroit. And that — you know, he said people saw boxes coming into the counting station at all hours of the morning. … And I said, “Mr. President, there are 630 precincts in Detroit. And unlike elsewhere in the state, they centralize the counting process, so they’re not counted in each precinct. They’re moved to counting stations. And so, the normal process would involve boxes coming in at all different hours.”
TITLES: One day after that meeting…
PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP: This is Michigan. At 6:31 in the morning, a vote dump of 149,772 votes came in, unexpectedly.
RICHARD DONOGHUE: With regard to Georgia, we looked at the tape. We interviewed the witnesses. There is no suitcase. The president kept fixating on this suitcase that supposedly had fraudulent ballots and that this suitcase was rolled out from under the table. And I said, “No, sir. There is no suitcase. You can watch that video over and over. There is no suitcase. There is a wheeled bin where they carry the ballots, and that’s just how they move ballots around that facility. There’s nothing suspicious about that at all.”
TITLES: Ten days after that meeting…
PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP: Election officials pulled boxes — Democrats — and suitcases of ballots out from under a table. You all saw it on television. Totally fraudulent.
REP. ELAINE LURIA: This happened over and over again, and our committee’s report will document it, purposeful lies made in public, directly at odds with what Donald Trump knew from unassailable sources, the Justice Department’s own investigations and his own campaign. Donald Trump maliciously repeated this nonsense to a wide audience over and over again. His intent was to deceive.
President Trump’s plan also involved trying to coerce government officials to change the election outcome in the states he lost. He personally reached out to numerous state officials and pressured them to take unlawful steps to alter the election results in those states. These actions, taken directly by the president himself, made it clear what his intentions were: to prevent the orderly transfer of power.
We all recall, for example, President Trump’s tape-recorded call with Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger. At the time this call occurred, President Trump had already been told repeatedly by the U.S. Justice Department, by his campaign and by his advisers that his allegations of fraud in Georgia were false.
PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP: So, look, all I want to do is this: I just want to find 11,780 votes, which is one more than we have, because we won the state. … Look, we need only 11,000 votes. We have far more than that as it stands now. We’ll have more and more. … So, what are we going to do here, folks? I only need 11,000 votes. Fellas, I need 11,000 votes. Give me a break.
AMY GOODMAN: That was President Trump on a call with Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger. That call is now at the center of a criminal probe in Georgia.
During Thursday’s House January 6th hearing, Democratic Congressmember Adam Schiff revealed the Secret Service and other agencies had prior knowledge of potential violence on January 6th.
REP. ADAM SCHIFF: Days before January 6th, the president’s senior advisers at the Department of Justice and FBI, for example, received an intelligence summary that included material indicating that certain people traveling to Washington were making plans to attack the Capitol. This summary noted online “Calls to occupy federal buildings,” rhetoric about “invading the capitol building,” and plans to “arm themselves and to engage in political violence at the event.”
Other agencies were also hearing predictions suggesting possible violence at the Capitol. On a call with President Trump’s White House national security staff in early January 2021, Deputy Secretary of Defense David Norquist had warned about the potential that the Capitol would be the target of the attack. Here’s General Mark Milley, who was also present for this call, describing Deputy Secretary Norquist’s warning.
GEN. MARK MILLEY: So, during these calls, I — I only remember in hindsight, because he was almost like clairvoyant. Norquist says during one of these calls, “The greatest threat is a direct assault on the Capitol.” I’ll never forget it.
REP. ADAM SCHIFF: This email, for example, was an alert that the Secret Service received on December 24th with the heading, “Armed and Ready, Mr. President.” According to the intelligence, multiple users online were targeting members of Congress, instructing others to march into the chambers on January 6th and “make sure they know who to fear.”
In this report, received on December 26th, the Secret Service field office relayed a tip that had been received by the FBI. According to the source of the tip, the Proud Boys planned to march armed into D.C. “They think that they will have a large enough group to march into DC armed,” the source reported, “and will outnumber the police so they can’t be stopped.” The source went on to say, “Their plan is to literally kill people. Please please take this tip seriously and investigate further.” The source also made clear that the Proud Boys had “detailed their plans on multiple websites,” like TheDonald.win.
Let’s pause here. The Secret Service had advance information, more than 10 days beforehand, regarding the Proud Boys’ planning for January 6th. We know now, of course, that the Proud Boys and others did lead the assault on our Capitol building.
On December 31st, agents circulated intelligence reports that “President Trump supporters have proposed a movement to occupy Capitol Hill.” In particular, they flagged spikes in violent hashtags like #WeAreTheStorm, #1776Rebel and #OccupyCapitols.
On January 5th, a Secret Service open source unit flagged a social media account on TheDonald.win that threatened to bring a sniper rifle to a rally on January 6th. The user also posted a picture of a handgun and rifle with the caption, “Sunday Gun Day Providing Overwatch January 6th Will be Wild!”
Later, on the evening of January 5th, the Secret Service learned during an FBI briefing that right-wing groups were establishing armed QRFs, or quick reaction forces, readying to deploy for January 6th. Groups like the Oath Keepers were “Standing by at the ready should POTUS request assistance” by invoking the Insurrection Act, agents were informed.
AMY GOODMAN: Democratic Congressmember Adam Schiff. Coming up, more excerpts of the January 6th hearing. Stay with us.
AMY GOODMAN: “Albert Ayler (His Life Was Too Short)” by Alexander Hawkins and Tomeka Reid. Composer and cellist Tomeka Reid has been named as one of the MacArthur Fellows of 2022.