Destroyed documents. Suggestions to pardon violent rioters. Silent talks between cabinet officials over whether then-US President Donald Trump should be removed from office.

Interview transcripts released in recent days — more than 100 so far — provide further insight into the January 6, 2021 uprising and the weeks leading up to it, as Trump attempted to reverse his defeat in the presidential election.

A nine-member committee in the U.S. House of Representatives has conducted more than 1,000 interviews, and lawmakers are gradually releasing hundreds of transcripts after they final report last week. The panel will be disbanded Tuesday when the new Republican-led House is sworn in.

While some witnesses were more candid than others, the interviews collectively tell the full story of Trump’s unprecedented plans, the bloody assault on Capitol Hill, and the fears lawmakers and the former president’s own aides had when he attempted to turn democracy on its head and the popular will.

Some highlights from the interview transcripts released so far:

The White House aide tells everything

Previously little-known White House aide Cassidy Hutchinson drew national attention when she testified at a surprise hearing this summer. She detailed Trump’s words and actions surrounding the January 6 attack: his anger after security agents thwarted his attempts to go to the Capitol that day and how he knew some of his supporters were armed.

The committee has released four of its closed-door interviews to date, revealing new details about what it said it observed during her time as an aide to the then White House chief of staff. Mark Meadows. Among other revelations, Hutchinson told the committee she had seen Meadows burn documents in his office fireplace “about a dozen times” after the 2020 election.

She said she did not know what the documents were or whether they were items that should have been legally retained. A spokesperson for Meadows declined to comment.

Hutchinson also spoke at length about her moral struggles as she decided how much to reveal. She even researched Watergate figures who had similarly testified about working in the White House of former President Richard Nixon.

“My character and my integrity mean more to me than anything,” Hutchinson said, returning to committee after three previous interviews in June with a new attorney.

Apologies for everyone?

After the uprising, Trump came up with the idea of ​​a blanket pardon for everyone Attendees. But then-White House Counsel Pat Cipollone discouraged the idea, according to testimony from Johnny McEntee, an aide who had served as director of the president’s Human Resources Office.

McEntee was interviewed by the panel in March.

Trump later asked that pardons be limited to only those who entered the Capitol but did not participate in the violence. But that idea also met with some resistance, McEntee recalls. He said Trump seemed convinced by the advice and said he didn’t know the idea would ever come up again.

Separately, McEntee said so Representative Matt Gaetz, a Republican from Florida, told him he was seeking a pre-emptive clemency from Trump as he faced a federal investigation into child sex trafficking. Gaetz has not received such a pardon and has not faced any charges in connection with the investigation.

Hutchinson testified that at the end of Trump’s term, Meadows’ office was so flooded with clemency requests that some turned to Trump’s son-in-law Jared Kushner to help facilitate them.

The 25th Amendment

The panel interviewed several of Trump’s cabinet secretaries about discussions about invoking Section 4 of the 25th Amendment – the forceful removal of Trump by his own cabinet. While some acknowledged that it had been discussed, it seems they did not consider the scenario likely.

Former Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin says he spoke casually with then-Secretary of State Mike Pompeo about the idea after the uprising.

“It came up very briefly in our conversation,” Mnuchin testified in July. “We both believed the best outcome was a normal transfer of power, which worked, and neither of us seriously considered the 25th Amendment.”

Army General Mark Miley, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, told the committee he witnessed a brief conversation between the two cabinet secretaries at the White House and heard the phrase “25th Amendment.” His transcript has not yet been released, but investigators quoted Milley to Pompeo and Mnuchin when questioned.

Pompeo told the committee he had no recollection of the conversation. “I would have seen anyone talking about the potential of invoking the 25th Amendment as absolutely ridiculous,” he said.

Former Vice President Mike Pence later rejected the idea in a letter to then-Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, a Democrat from California, saying the mechanism should be reserved for when a president is medically or mentally disabled.

Marc Short, Pence’s former chief of staff, told the panel he thought the speech was “a political game.” The process would have taken weeks to play out, he said, and Democrat Joe Biden would be inaugurated on January 20.

Trump family testifies

The commission interviewed two of the former president’s children, Donald Trump Jr. and Ivanka Trump, about their conversations with their father during the January 6 attack and in the days before and after.

Trump Jr. did not answer many of the committee’s questions, often saying he could not remember events or conversations. He did explain why he texted Meadows on the afternoon of Jan. 6, as the attack unfolded, to say his dad should condemn this shit immediately and that Trump’s tweets weren’t strong enough.

“My dad doesn’t text,” Trump Jr. said.

Ivanka Trump, who was in the White House with her father on January 6, was also vague in many of her answers. She spoke to the committee about working with her father to write his tweets that day, encouraging him to make a strong statement as the rioters broke into the Capitol.

And she testified that she heard Trump’s side of a “heated” phone call with Pence that morning when her father tried encourage Pence to object to the congressional certification that day. Pence refused to do this.

She also testified that she received a phone call and text from Republican Senator Susan Collins of Maine, who was in the Capitol while it was under siege. Collins told her that “the president needs to put out a very strong tweet telling people to go home and stop the violence now.”

“Give me five dead voters”

Trump attorney Christina Bobb testified that the Republican senator Lindsay Graham of South Carolina, a top Trump ally, asked some of the former president’s advisers for evidence of fraud so he could “defend” it post-election.

Trump falsely claimed there was widespread fraud, despite rulings from courts and election officials in all 50 states claiming otherwise.

Graham told lawyers he would be happy to support the case.

“Don’t tell me everything because it’s too overwhelming,” quotes Bobb Graham. “Just give me five dead voters; give me, you know, an example of illegal voting. Just give me a very small snapshot that I can take and become a champion.

He didn’t do anything with the information he got, Bobb said. Graham voted on January 6 to certify Biden’s victory in the presidential election.

Frustration of the National Guard

The mob that stormed the Capitol would have received a much harsher response from law enforcement if it had been composed mostly of African Americans, retired Major General William Walker, who led the D.C. National Guard at the time, testified. hiker is now the House sergeant at arms.

“I am African American. Child of the 1960s, Walker testified. “I think it would have been a very different reaction if it were African Americans trying to break through the Capitol. As a career law enforcement officer, part-time soldier… the law enforcement response would have been different.

The National Guard did not arrive at the Capitol for several hours and left police officers overwhelmed as Pentagon officials said they were arranging the necessary approvals. More than 100 officers were injured, many seriously, when Trump supporters beat and ran over them to get in.

Walker expressed deep frustration at the delays and said he was even considering breaking the chain of command and allowing the troops to move in. Lawyers strongly advised him against doing so, he said.

He said he didn’t think the Pentagon raid was due to the insurgents being predominantly white.

“I don’t think race was part of the military’s decision paralysis,” he said in his April interview, adding, “I think they just didn’t want to do it.”

Hard line group leaders

Proud Boys leader Enrique Tarrio asserted his Fifth Amendment right to self-incrimination in response to questions from some investigators, with his attorney sometimes saying his client was not part of the hardline group, whose associates now face rare sedition charges.

But Tarrio himself told investigators that he had assumed the title of chairman.

Tarrio, who had been released from prison on the eve of the uprising, was not present at the attack. But prosecutors claim he commanded the Proud boys who attacked Congress and cheered them from afar. The Proud Boys were some of the first rioters to break through the Capitol perimeter.

He told the panel that the first degree of membership in the Proud Boys is “that you are a western chauvinist” and that you “refuse to apologize for creating the modern world”.

Tarrio met Stewart Rhodes, the founder of the hardline group Oath Keepers, in a garage on the night of January 5, prior to the attack. “I still don’t like Stewart Rhodes,” Tarrio said.

Rhodes, who was also interviewed by the panel, had been convicted in November of incendiary conspiracy for what prosecutors said was a plot for an armed insurrection to stop the transfer of presidential power. They said Rhodes rallied his followers to fight to defend Trump and discussed the prospect of a “bloody” civil war.

In his February testimony to the panel, Rhodes declined to answer questions about his involvement on January 6 and collecting weapons. He said he feels like a political prisoner.

“I honestly feel like a Jew in Germany,” Rhodes told the committee.





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