Trump incited Jan 6 mob: panel
US lawmakers reveal new testimony from aides
Published: Jul 13, 2022 08:54 PM
US lawmakers on Tuesday accused Donald Trump of inciting a mob of followers to attack the US Capitol on January 6, 2021, in a last-ditch bid to remain in power fueled by a chaotic meeting with some of his most ardent supporters.

The House of Representatives committee also produced evidence that aides and outside agitators knew before the riot that Trump would urge thousands of his supporters to march on the Capitol that day.

The panel's seven Democrats and two Republicans have used the hearings to build a case that Trump's efforts to overturn his defeat in the 2020 election constitute illegal conduct, far beyond normal politics.

As the three-hour hearing ended, Republican Representative Liz Cheney said Trump had tried to phone a potential committee witness, raising the possibility he might have illegally tried to influence witness testimony. 

In video testimony shown during the hearing, witnesses described a loud late-night six-hour meeting on December 18, 2020, where Trump disregarded White House staffers who urged him to concede the November 2020 election to Democrat Joe Biden.

Instead, Trump sided with outside advisers who urged him to keep pressing his baseless claims of election fraud.

Committee members said Trump ultimately was responsible for the chaos that followed.

"President Trump is a 76-year-old man. He is not an impressionable child ... He is responsible for his own actions and his own choices," said Cheney.

Committee members said Trump incited the riot through his refusal to admit he lost the election and through comments like his December 19, 2020, Twitter post, shortly after the meeting, for supporters to flock to Washington for a "big protest," saying, "Be there, will be wild."

Trump, a Republican who has hinted he will seek the White House again in 2024, denies wrongdoing and has falsely asserted that he lost only because of widespread fraud that benefited Biden, a Democrat.

The committee presented evidence that it said showed Trump's call for his supporters to march on the Capitol was not spontaneous but had been planned in advance.

The panel showed an unsent Twitter message about the rally, with a stamp showing Trump had seen it: "Please arrive early, massive crowds expected. March to the Capitol after. Stop the Steal!"

"It felt as if a mob was being organized and they were gathering together their weaponry and their logic and their reasoning behind why they were ­prepared to fight," the Twitter employee said, his voice disguised.