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Jan. 6 committee shows White House aide described Trump west wing as ‘unhinged’

Jan. 6 committee shows White House aide described Trump west wing as ‘unhinged’

Jan. 6 committee notifies DOJ that Trump tried tampering with one of its witnesses, Cheney says

US Representative Jamie Raskin, with Representative Liz Cheney (L), speaks during a hearing on “the January 6th Investigation,” on Capitol Hill on July 12, 2022, in Washington, DC.

Saul Loeb | AFP | Getty Images

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The committee has notified the Department of Justice that former Trump contacted one of its witnesses who hasn’t publicly testified yet.

“After our last hearing. President Trump tried to call a witness in our investigation. A witness you have not yet seen in these hearings,” Rep. Liz Cheney, the vice chair of the committee, said on Tuesday.

“That person declined to answer or respond to President Trump’s call and instead alerted their lawyer to the call. Their lawyer alerted us. And this committee has supplied that information to the Department of Justice,” she added.

A spokesman for Trump did not respond to requests for comment.

— Brian Schwartz

Oath Keepers chief wanted deck of cards for targets — Hillary Clinton as ‘Queen of Hearts’

Jason Van Tatenhove, who served as national spokesman for the Oath Keepers and as a close aide to Oath Keepers founder Stewart Rhodes, appears before a full committee hearing on “the January 6th Investigation,” on Capitol Hill on July 12, 2022, in Washington, DC.

Saul Loeb | AFP | Getty Images

Oath Keepers chief Stewart Rhodes wanted to produce a deck of cards inspired by ones that had been used by the U.S. military in the Middle East as a “‘Who’s Who’ as kind of the key players on the other side that they wanted to take out,'” a former spokesman for the far-right militia group testified.

“Stewart was very intrigued by that notion, and influenced by it, I think,” ex-spokesman Jason Van Tatenhove told the committee.

“He wanted me to create a deck of cards that would include different politicians, judges, including up to Hillary Clinton as The Queen of Hearts,” Van Tatenhove said. “This was a project that I refused to do.”

Van Tatenhove’s disclosure came after he was asked by Rep. Jamie Raskin, D-Md., if he ever heard Rhodes discuss committing violence against elected political leaders.

“Yeah,” he answered.

“That went back to the very beginning of my tenure,” Van Tatenhove then said, describing the deck of cards of “one of the first assignments that he brought to me.”

– Dan Mangan

Ex-Trump campaign manager Parscale said Trump’s ‘rhetoric’ killed Capitol rioter

Trump 2020 campaign manager Brad Parscale addresses the crowd before U.S. President Donald Trump rallies with supporters in Manchester, New Hampshire, U.S. August 15, 2019.

Jonathan Ernst | Reuters

Former Trump campaign manager Brad Parscale wrote in the aftermath of the Jan. 6 riot that he felt “guilty” for helping Trump win the presidency, and blamed him directly for a death that occurred during the attack on the Capitol.

“This is about trump pushing for uncertainty in our country,” Parscale said in texts to Katrina Pierson, a former Trump campaign official who was reportedly involved in organizing Trump’s pre-riot rally.

Text from former Campaign Manager Brad Parscale during a January 6th investigation hearing on July 12th, 2022.

“A sitting president asking for civil war,” Parscale wrote. “This week I feel guilty for helping him win.”

Pierson replied: “You did what you felt was right at the time and therefore it was right.”

Parscale responded, “Yeah. But a woman is dead,” adding with apparent shock, “Yeah. If I was trump and knew my rhetoric killed someone.”

Text from former Campaign Manager Brad Parscale during a January 6th investigation hearing on July 12th, 2022.

Courtesy: January 6th Select Committee

Pierson told him, “It wasn’t the rhetoric.”

But Parscale shot back: “Katrina. Yes it was.”

Kevin Breuninger

Jan. 6 rally organizers knew beforehand that Trump would call for march to the Capitol, evidence shows

Michael J. Lindell, the My Pillow Guy, speaks on stage during an event hosted by former U.S. President Donald Trump at the county fairgrounds in Delaware, Ohio, U.S., April 23, 2022. 

Gaelen Morse | Reuters

Pro-Trump figures involved in the events of Jan. 6 appeared to know in advance that Trump would call on his supporters to march to the Capitol following a rally outside the White House, evidence shows.

The committee showed a text from Kylie Kremer, who organized the Jan. 6 rally in D.C., telling pro-Trump MyPillow CEO Mike Lindell on Jan. 4 that Trump “is going to have us march” to the Capitol and that he is “just going to call for it unexpectedly.”

The panel also showed a picture of an undated draft of a tweet in which Trump would tell his supporters to “arrive early” to the Jan. 6 rally and that they would “march to the Capitol after.” The tweet was not sent.

Another screenshot showed a Jan. 5 text from “Stop the Steal” organizer Ali Alexander, who wrote, “Tomorrow: Ellipse then US capitol. Trump is supposed to order us to capitol at the end of his speech but we will see.”

Kevin Breuninger

Cipollone: ‘I don’t think I don’t think any of these people were providing the President with good advice’

Pat Cipollone, former White House counsel to President Donald Trump, walks through a hallway during a break from a meeting with the Select Committee to Investigate the January 6th Attack on the United States Capitol, in O’Neill House Office Building in Washington, July 8, 2022.

Sarah Silbiger | Reuters

Cipollone described his displeasure at learning that a group of leading election fraud conspiracy theorists was meeting with Trump in the Oval Office, without any White House staff being present, on Dec. 18, 2020.

“I opened the doors and walked in, I saw Gen. [Michael] Flynn, Sidney Powell sitting there,” Cipollone said in his videotaped testimony. “I was not happy to see the people who were in the Oval Office.”

In addition to those two, Cipollone saw former Overstock.com CEO Patrick Byrne at the meeting, whom he did not recognize. The session soon disintegrated into participants shouting at and insulting each other as Cipollone and other staff challenged Powell and the others to produce evidence of election fraud, attendees testified.

“I don’t think any of these people were providing the president with good advice, so I didn’t understand how they had gotten in,” Cipollone said.

— Dan Mangan

‘The west wing is UNHINGED,’ Hutchinson texts during White House clash over election

An evidence document is shown on a screen during a full committee hearing on “the January 6th Investigation,” on Capitol Hill on July 12, 2022, in Washington, DC.

Saul Loeb | AFP | Getty Images

A top aide to then-White House chief of staff Mark Meadows wrote that things had become unhinged as Trump’s allies clashed with administration officials in a mid-December meeting on his 2020 election loss.

Sidney Powell, Rudy Giuliani and Michael Flynn advocated for Trump to take drastic actions to try to overturn his loss to Biden.

They met fierce resistance from Cipollone, White House lawyer Eric Herschmann and others in an hourslong meeting on Dec. 18, 2020, that featured bitter argument, screaming and insults, according to witnesses.

Hutchinson texted another White House aide, Tony Ornato, “the west wing is UNHINGED.”

Kevin Breuninger

Trump considered naming Sidney Powell as a “special counsel” to investigate alleged election crimes

A video featuring Sidney Powell, President Trump’s Campaign Attorney, is played during the fifth hearing by the House Select Committee to Investigate the January 6th Attack on the U.S. Capitol in the Cannon House Office Building on June 23, 2022 in Washington, DC.

Alex Wong | Getty Images

Trump had an executive order drawn up that would have directed the Pentagon to seize voting machines and installed Trump lawyer Sidney Powell as a special counsel to investigate election-related crimes.

“As you can see here, this proposed order directs the Secretary of Defense to cease voting machines, quote, effective immediately, but it goes even further than that,” said Rep. Jamie Raskin, D-MD, who showed a copy of the Dec. 16, 2020 proposed order. “Under the order, President Trump would appoint a special counsel with the power to seize machines and then charge people with crimes with all resources necessary to carry out her duties.”

Raskin said Powell “spent the post election period making outlandish claims about Venezuelan and Chinese interference in the election.”

– John Rosevear

Eugene Scalia, son of late Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia, told Donald Trump the 2020 election was over

Eugene Scalia, U.S. secretary of labor, speaks during a White House Coronavirus Task Force briefing at the Department of Education in Washington, D.C., U.S., on Wednesday, July 8, 2020.

Joshua Roberts | Bloomberg | Getty Images

Former Labor Secretary Eugene Scalia, who is also the son of the late Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia, said he told Trump the election was over.

The committee played testimony on Tuesday of Scalia telling committee investigators that he called Trump in mid-December, and attempted to encourage him to concede that Joe Biden was the duly elected president.

“I put a call to the president, we spoke on the 14th, in which I conveyed to him that I thought that it was time for him to acknowledge that President Biden had prevailed in the election,” Scalia said.

Trump would go on to continue to make false claims about the election being stolen, including on Jan. 6, 2021, in the buildup to Trump’s supporters rioting at the Capitol.

– Brian Schwartz

Cipollone: ‘I agree’ that there was no evidence of election fraud

Former White House counsel during a January 6th Committee Interview.

Courtesy: January 6th Congressional Select Committee

In the first video clip to be shown from his long-sought deposition last week, Cipollone said he agreed that there was no evidence of widespread election fraud that could have overturned the 2020 election results.

The clip shows Cipollone being asked by an investigator if he agrees with the conclusion drawn by other ex-Trump officials, including former Attorney General William Barr, that “there is no evidence of election fraud sufficient to undermine the outcome in a particular state.”

“Yes, I agree with that,” Cipollone replied.

In another clip, Cipollone said he thought that Trump should concede the election.

He noted that Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., had said on the Senate floor in mid-December that the election process was done. “That would be in line with my thinking on these things,” Cipollone told the committee.

Kevin Breuninger

‘President Trump is a 76-year-old man. He is not an impressionable child,’ Cheney snaps

US Representative Liz Cheney speaks at the opening of a hearing on “the January 6th Investigation,” on Capitol Hill on July 12, 2022, in Washington, DC.

Saul Loeb | AFP | Getty Images

Cheney scoffed at what she said was a “new strategy” to blame Trump’s lawyers and others for pushing false claims of election fraud in the 2020 contest, instead of holding him accountable for that narrative.

“The strategy is to blame people his advisors called ‘the crazies’ for what Donald Trump did,” Cheney said. “This new strategy is to try to blame only John Eastman or Sidney Powell or Congressman Scott Perry or others and not President Trump.”

Cheney said it was “nonsense.”

“President Trump is a 76-year-old man. He is not an impressionable child,” she said.

Former US President Donald Trump speaks at a rally endorsing Republican candidates Adam Laxalt and Joe Lombardo (not pictured) July 8, 2022, in Las Vegas. 

Ronda Churchill | AFP | Getty Images

“Just like everyone else in this country, he is responsible for his own actions, and his own choices,” Cheney said.

– Dan Mangan

Cipollone’s testimony ‘met our expectations,’ Cheney says

Rep. Liz Cheney (R-WY), Vice Chairwoman of the Select Committee to Investigate the January 6th Attack on the U.S. Capitol, delivers remarks during the seventh hearing on the January 6th investigation in the Cannon House Office Building on July 12, 2022 in Washington, DC.

Kevin Dietsch | Getty Images

Select committee Vice Chair Liz Cheney, R-Wyo., said that former White House counsel’s closed-door testimony last week “met our expectations.”

Cipollone, a sought-after witness who testified under subpoena for hours on Friday, is expected to feature prominently in the hearing.

Cipollone’s actions before and during Jan. 6 have been referenced by numerous witnesses, including ex-White House aide Cassidy Hutchinson.

Kevin Breuninger

Trump spurred mob to ‘wage a violent attack on our democracy,’ Thompson says

Missouri Democratic congressional candidate Cori Bush casts her ballot on August 4, 2020 at Gambrinus Hall in St Louis, Missouri.

Michael B. Thomas | Getty Images

Select committee Chairman Bennie Thompson, D-Miss., said that today’s hearing will demonstrate how Trump “summoned a mob” to Washington, D.C., and “ultimately spurred that mob to wage a violent attack on our democracy.”

Thompson kicked off the hearing by explaining some basic principles of American elections: Differences in opinion must be settled at the ballot box, and force, harassment and intimidation are unacceptable.

Trump having lost the 2020 election, was required to say, “‘We did our best, but we came up short,'” Thompson said. “He went the opposite way.”

Kevin Breuninger

Trump fumes at committee ahead of hearing

Former US President Donald Trump speaks at a rally endorsing Republican candidates Adam Laxalt and Joe Lombardo (not pictured) July 8, 2022, in Las Vegas. 

Ronda Churchill | AFP | Getty Images

Trump raged at the select committee in a series of posts on his social media platform Tuesday morning, calling the investigators “lunatics” and attacking one of its star witnesses as a “female scam artist.”

The former president, who now posts on Truth Social after being permanently banned from Twitter in the wake of the Capitol riot last year, once again spread false claims that the 2020 election was rigged against him through widespread fraud. Those false fraud claims spurred many of Trump’s supporters to the Capitol on Jan. 6.

Trump also claimed that the testimony of key witness Cassidy Hutchinson has been “largely debunked” — though Rep. Jamie Raskin, D-Md., told NBC News that recent testimony from ex-White House counsel Pat Cipollone did not contradict Hutchinson.

Trump challenged Hutchinson’s testimony that a White House aide told her that Trump lunged at a Secret Service agent after being told his security would not drive him to the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6.

In between salvos against the select committee, Trump posted his congratulations to retired pro golfer Jack Nicklaus on receiving an award in Scotland.

Kevin Breuninger

Former Oath Keepers spokesman to appear as a witness

Jason Van Tatenhove, a member of the Oath Keepers, puts on camouflage face paint during a tactical training session in western Montana, U.S. April 30, 2016.

Jim Uruqart | Reuters

To shed light on the far-right extremist organizations that plotted to attack the Capitol on Jan. 6, the committee will bring in a former spokesman for one of those groups to appear as a witness, NBC News reported.

The panel will hear testimony from Jason Van Tatenhove, who worked as a spokesman for the Oath Keepers until 2017, a source familiar with the hearing plans told NBC on Sunday.

Van Tatenhove already spoke with the panel behind closed doors back in March. He was not involved with the Capitol riot, but he was associated with the Oath Keepers for multiple years and has spoken out about the “serious danger that such violent extremist groups pose,” his lawyer has said.

Kevin Breuninger

Committee to show how Qanon, Proud Boys and Oath Keepers are tied to Jan. 6

The Q-Anon conspiracy theorists hold signs during the protest at the State Capitol in Salem, Oregon, United States on May 2, 2020.

John Rudoff | Anadolu Agency | Getty Images

The hearing will plumb the dark corners of the internet and examine fringe right-wing movements, including Qanon, linked to an “extremist coalition” involved in the storming of the Capitol, a committee aide told reporters.

The committee will look at the Proud Boys, a far-right street fighting group said to have led the Jan. 6 invasion and planned out the attack. Enrique Tarrio, the former leader of the group, and some other members have been charged with seditious conspiracy in relation to the Capitol riot.

The panel will also look at the Oath Keepers, which the aide described as “a group of violent militia extremists who promote a wide range of conspiracy theories and seek to act as a private paramilitary force in assistance of an authoritarian strongman.”

Enrique Tarrio, Chairman of the Proud Boys, and Stewart Rhodes, founder of the Oath Keepers, attend a meeting in a garage in Washington, U.S. in a still image taken from video January 5, 2021, the day before the January 6 riot.

Saboteur Media | via Reuters

That group’s leader, Stewart Rhodes, has also been charged with seditious conspiracy.

The hearing will also look at Qanon, the outlandish set of internet-born conspiracy theories framing Trump as a hero fighting a shadow war against a powerful cabal of deep-state cannibals and pedophiles, the aide said.

The aide said that some of the groups linked to the Capitol riot “had ties to Trump associates,” including Republican operative Roger Stone and former Trump national security advisor Michael Flynn.

Kevin Breuninger

Trump ‘called in additional support’ before Jan. 6, panelist says before hearing on violent extremists

U.S. President Donald Trump speaks to supporters from The Ellipse near the White House on January 6, 2021, in Washington, DC.

Brendan Smialowski | AFP | Getty Images

As he ramped up the pressure on various groups to overturn the 2020 election results, Trump sought the assistance of violent extremists and his allies in Congress, according to a committee member who will be co-leading the hearing.

“The focus of this next hearing will be on the domestic violent extremists, as well as members of Congress, people that the president called in to assist him in this pressure campaign,” said Rep. Stephanie Murphy, D-Fla., on Sunday on MSNBC’s “Meet The Press.”

“And this pressure campaign is a follow-on to the previous hearings where talked about how the president pressured the vice president, pressured the Department of Justice, pressured state election and electors to just call the race in his favor,” Murphy said.

With those options failing to reverse Biden’s wins in any state, Trump “in the waning days leading up to January 6th called in additional support,” Murphy said.

Rep. Jamie Raskin, D-Md., said Sunday that Trump’s attention turned toward Jan. 6 as “lots of doors were closing on him, if not all the way at least part of the way.”

Kevin Breuninger

Cipollone testimony ‘corroborated almost everything that we’ve learned,’ Raskin says

Cipollone’s closed-door testimony last week “has corroborated almost everything that we’ve learned from the prior hearings,” Rep. Jamie Raskin, D-Md., told NBC News.

U.S. Rep. Jamie Raskin (D-MD) listens during a meeting of the House Rules Committee at the U.S. Capitol June 7, 2022 in Washington, DC.

Alex Wong | Getty Images

Raskin told NBC that Cipollone did not contradict last month’s bombshell testimony from Hutchinson, who aired incendiary details about how the Capitol riot played out inside Trump’s White House.

“I certainly did not hear him contradict Cassidy Hutchinson,” said Raskin, who is co-leading Tuesday’s hearing alongside Rep. Stephanie Murphy, D-Fla. “He had the opportunity to say whatever he wanted to say, so I didn’t see any contradiction there.”

Raskin also noted that, while the committee is expected to wrap up its public hearing series this month, the investigation remains ongoing.

“One thing I’ve learned over the course of the Select Committee is that we never say ‘finally the research and investigation are over.’ Because we are continuing to learn astounding new things on a daily basis,” he said.

Kevin Breuninger

Desperate Trump ‘summoned the mob’ to D.C. ahead of Jan. 6, committee aide says

U.S. President Donald Trump gestures as he speaks during a rally to contest the certification of the 2020 U.S. presidential election results by the U.S. Congress, in Washington, U.S, January 6, 2021.

Jim Bourg | Reuters

The select committee will show how Trump “grew more desperate” in the weeks before Jan. 6 and “summoned the mob to Washington,” an aide to the panel told reporters Monday in a conference call previewing the hearing.

“We’ll give the American public a more complete understanding of the final phase of President Trump and his supporters’ use of radical measures to prevent the peaceful transfer of power and overturn the 2020 election,” the aide said.

The hearing will also offer more details about a key moment that Vice Chair Liz Cheney, R-Wyo., touched upon briefly last month: a Dec. 19, 2020, tweet from Trump inviting his supporters to come to D.C. on Jan. 6, promising that it “will be wild!”

President Donald Trump is seen on a screen speaking to supporters during a rally to contest the certification of the 2020 U.S. presidential election results by the U.S. Congress, in Washington, January 6, 2021.

Shannon Stapleton | Reuters

That tweet came just over an hour after a meeting in which Rudy Giuliani, Sidney Powell, Michael Flynn, and other Trump allies considered taking drastic actions to reverse Trump’s loss, such as seizing voting machines or appointing a special counsel to investigate the race, the aide said.

Trump’s tweet beckoning his fans to D.C. marked “a pivotal moment that spurred a chain of events,” the aide said, “including a pre-planning” by the Proud Boys, the group said to have led the Capitol invasion.

Kevin Breuninger

‘A lot’ of Pat Cipollone’s testimony will be used in Tuesday’s hearing, committee says

Pat Cipollone, former White House counsel, during a break while appearing before the Select Committee to Investigate the January 6th Attack on the US Capitol in Washington, D.C., US on Friday, July 8, 2022.

Ting Shen | Bloomberg | Getty Images

Cipollone’s hourslong interview before the investigators on Friday will help shape today’s hearing, multiple committee members confirmed.

“I imagine that you will be hearing things from Mr. Cipollone, but also from others that were in the White House,” said Rep. Stephanie Murphy, D-Fla., on MSNBC’s “Meet The Press” on Sunday morning.

“We’re gonna get to use a lot of Mr. Cipollone’s testimony to corroborate other things we’ve learned along the way,” said Rep. Jamie Raskin, D-Md., in another television appearance Sunday.

“He was the White House counsel at the time. He was aware of every major move, I think, that Donald Trump was making to try to overthrow the 2020 election and essentially seize the presidency, and so I considered his testimony valuable,” Raskin said of Cipollone.

Numerous witnesses who spoke in prior public hearings testified about Cipollone’s efforts to push back on the plans by Trump and his allies to reverse the election.

In bombshell testimony last month, for instance, former White House aide Cassidy Hutchinson testified that Cipollone warned staff not to let Trump go to the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, where lawmakers had convened to confirm Biden’s electoral victory.

“We’re going to get charged with every crime imaginable” if Trump followed through on those plans, Hutchinson recalled Cipollone saying, because “It would look like we were obstructing justice.”

Kevin Breuninger

Committee won’t release witness list due to safety concerns

Jason Van Tatenhove, a member of the Oath Keepers, practices archery at his home in northern Montana, U.S. September 25, 2016.

Jim Uruqart | Reuters

The committee declined to reveal the names of witnesses who will appear in Tuesday’s hearing, citing security concerns.

“We’re not planning to announce any witness names ahead of tomorrow,” a committee aide told reporters Monday afternoon in a conference call previewing the hearing.

That decision is due to the “same concerns we’ve had for some of our witnesses’ security and potential for harassment,” the aide said.

But NBC News and other outlets have nevertheless reported two witnesses expected to appear in the hearing: former Oath Keepers spokesman Jason Van Tatenhove, and Jan. 6 defendant Stephen Ayres, who pleaded guilty last month to charges stemming from him entering the Capitol.

Kevin Breuninger

Jan. 6 committee shows White House aide described Trump west wing as ‘unhinged’ – CNBC