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Ten things we’ve learned from the Jan. 6 hearings

·9 min read

The Jan. 6 committee has broadcast more than a dozen hours of hearings in its effort to show that former President Trump played a central role in the effort to keep him in power.

In kicking off with a prime-time hearing, the committee offered a wide-ranging look at the months leading up to Jan. 6, noting that Trump was told there was no voter fraud, yet pushed ahead with various plots to remain in office, only to largely stand by as his supporters attacked the Capitol.

But subsequent hearings have offered up numerous other revelations.

Here are 10 things we’ve learned from the Jan. 6 hearings.

Trump ignored the advice of aides in prematurely claiming victory

Trump had already spent weeks forecasting that if he suffered a loss on election night it could only be due to fraud in the election.

He jumped into action on election night to claim victory, even as campaign aides warned him against doing so and as projected wins for President Biden in swing states such as Arizona made it almost impossible for him to win the race.

“My recommendation was to say that votes are still being counted. It’s too early to tell, too early to call the race,” Trump campaign manager Bill Stepien told Trump the night of the election, according to video from his deposition with the committee’s investigators.

“I don’t recall the particular words. He thought I was wrong. He told me so and, you know, that they were going to, he was going to go in a different direction.”

“I remember saying that … we should not go and declare victory until we had a better sense of the numbers,” Trump campaign spokesman Jason Miller also advised Trump.

A suite of other aides also stepped forward to say the campaign was unable to find any evidence of widespread voter fraud, despite Trump’s claims.

Some in Trump’s orbit, including Ivanka, “accepted” there was no voter fraud

Trump’s daughter Ivanka Trump was shown saying she knew her father had lost the election and believed Attorney General William Barr’s conclusion that there was no widespread voter fraud.

“I respect Attorney General Barr, so I accepted what he was saying,” she said of Barr’s assertion there was no widespread election fraud.

Trump campaign lawyer Alex Cannon said he had a “15 second” conversation with Vice President Mike Pence in which he relayed that the campaign was unable to substantiate Trump’s election fraud claims.

“He asked me if we were finding anything. And I said that I didn’t believe we were finding it or I was not personally finding anything sufficient to alter the results of the election. And he — he thanked me. That was our interaction,” Cannon said.

Giuliani acknowledged lack of “evidence”

Other Trump associates would keep forwarding Trump’s baseless claims of election fraud, even after Barr dismissed the idea as “bullshit” and informed the president he could find such no such evidence.

As the battle moved to the states, Arizona Speaker of the House Rusty Bowers (R) said Rudy Giuliani and other Trump campaign lawyers repeatedly failed to provide the evidence they said they had of widespread voting fraud, with the former mayor eventually acknowledging an underlying issue.

“[Giuliani] said, ‘We’ve got lots of theories. We just don’t have the evidence,’ ” Bowers said. “And I don’t know if that was a gaffe or maybe he didn’t think through what he said.”

Legal architect acknowledged basis to unwind election was bankrupt

Trump campaign attorney John Eastman, who crafted a memo encouraging Pence to buck his ceremonial duty to certify the election results, also evidently had doubts about the legality of the plan.

“So during that meeting on the fourth, I think I raised the problem that both of Mr. Eastman’s proposals would violate several provisions of the Electoral Count Act. Mr. Eastman acknowledged that that was the case, that even what he viewed as the more politically palatable option would violate several provisions,” Pence counsel Greg Jacob told the committee, noting Trump may have been present in that meeting.

Eastman was willing to do so, Jacob said, “because in his view the Electoral Act was unconstitutional” and thought the courts “simply wouldn’t get involved.”

The committee shared a never-before-seen October draft document prepared for Trump that Eastman redlined that refuted his own legal argument that the vice president has the power to single-handedly reject electoral votes.

“Nowhere does [the Constitution] suggest that the President of the Senate gets to make the determination on his own,” Eastman noted.

At other points leading up to and after the attack he acknowledged how his plan would be a “relatively minor violation” and said he wouldn’t approve of Vice President Harris making such a move.

The Trump team saw a benefit to working with outsiders

Trump weighed installing Jeffrey Clark, a Justice Department lawyer specializing in environmental law, as attorney general because he was willing to send a letter to Georgia and other states asking that they stall certification of their election results so that the Justice Department could investigate baseless claims of voter fraud.

Giuliani said part of why they landed on Clark was because, “somebody should be put in charge of the Justice Department who isn’t frightened of what’s going to be done to their reputation, because Justice Department was filled with people like that.”

Trump knew there were weapons in the crowd on Jan. 6

Cassidy Hutchinson, a special assistant to Trump chief of staff Mark Meadows, said White House officials knew as early as 10 a.m. on Jan. 6 that Trump supporters had knives, guns, bear spray, body armor and spears attached to the ends of flagpoles.

Texts show Trump was evidently furious the magnetometers, or mags for short, were evidently limiting his crowd size as many protesters with weapons elected to watch the speech from outside the screened area, so their arms wouldn’t be confiscated.

“He felt the mags were at fault for not letting everybody in. But another leading reason and likely the primary reason is because he wanted it full and he was angry that we weren’t letting people through the mags with weapons,” Hutchinson said.

“‘They’re not here to hurt me. Take the effing mags away. Let my people in. They can march to the Capitol from here. Let the people in. Take the effing mags away,’ ” Hutchinson recalled Trump saying.

He would then use his speech to encourage his supporters to march to the Capitol.

White House lawyers worried about legal exposure of Trump’s speech, march plans

White House counsel Pat Cipollone told Hutchinson a few days before the attack he was worried if Trump marched to the Capitol it could appear he was trying to incite a riot, obstruct justice, or defraud the electoral count.

“Please make sure we don’t go up to the Capitol, Cassidy,” Hutchinson said, relaying Cipollone’s message to her that morning. “We’re going to get charged with every crime imaginable if we make that movement happen.”

He and others in the White House counsel’s office had also raised concerns about the language used in Trump’s speech for the morning of the sixth.

“In my conversations with Mr. [Eric] Herschmann, he had relayed that we would be foolish to include language that had been included at the President’s request,” she said, which repeatedly would use the word “fight” and urged marching to the Capitol.

“Both Mr. Herschmann and White House counsel’s office were urging the speechwriters to not include that language for legal concerns, and also for the optics of what it could portray the president wanting to do that day.”

Trump thought Pence ‘deserved it,’ didn’t want to take action on Jan. 6

Hutchinson said Cipollone burst into Meadows’s office shortly after rioters entered the Capitol, determined to get some kind of response from Trump.

“He doesn’t want to do anything, Pat,” Meadows said in response.

“Mark, something needs to be done or people are going to die and the blood is going to be on your effing hands,” Cipollone responded.

He approached Meadows again minutes later amid the news of rioters chatting “hang Mike Pence,” telling the chief of staff they needed to do more.

“You heard him, Pat. He thinks Mike deserves it. He doesn’t think they’re doing anything wrong,” Meadows responded.

Numerous lawmakers and Trump associates asked for pardons in connection with Jan. 6 

Taped testimony from Hutchinson named Republican Reps. Matt Gaetz (Fla.), Mo Brooks (Ala.), Louie Gohmert (Texas), Andy Biggs (Ariz.) and Scott Perry (Pa.) as seeking pardons.

She also said that Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Ga.) contacted the White House counsel’s office seeking a pardon.

Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio) “talked about congressional pardons, but he never asked me for one,” Hutchinson said, noting that he was largely inquiring about whether the White House was going to grant the lawmaker pardons.

A letter from Brooks to the White House references the ask.

“I recommend that President give general (all purpose) pardons to the following groups of people,” the email adds. “Every Congressman and Senator who voted to reject the electoral vote submission of Arizona and Pennsylvania.”

Eastman also asked Giuliani about a potential pardon.

“I’ve decided that I should be on the pardon list if that is still in the works,” the email read.

Giuliani himself was seeking a pardon, as was Meadows, according to Hutchinson.

When questioned by Rep. Liz Cheney (R-Wyo.), Hutchinson affirmed that Giuliani himself and Meadows asked for pardons relating to their involvement in Jan. 6.

Meadows denied the assertion through a spokesman.

“Meadows never sought a pardon and never planned to,” the spokesman said.

Witnesses received messages apparently seeking to influence their testimony

The committee displayed various intimidating messages sent to those testifying before the committee, including one where a witness was told they would stay in good graces in Trump World if they “protect[ed] who I need to protect” and stayed on the “right team.” They were also reminded “Trump does read transcripts.”

Another received a call the night before their deposition.

“He wants me to let you know he’s thinking about you. He knows you’re loyal and you’re going to do the right thing when you go in for your deposition,” the committee said a witness was told.

Reports have since indicated Hutchinson was one of the recipients of the messages.

For the latest news, weather, sports, and streaming video, head to The Hill.