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"It felt as if a mob was being organized": Jan. 6 committee lays out Trump's role related to mobilizing extremists

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Jan. 6 panel says Trump tweet incited Capitol attack
Jan. 6 committee says Trump tweet incited Capitol attack 03:18

The House Jan. 6 committee on Tuesday laid out evidence that former President Donald Trump egged on extremists who supported him ahead of Jan. 6 – with one of his former supporters who has pleaded guilty to being at the Capitol that day testifying "the president got everybody riled up, told everyone to head on down, so we basically were just following what he said."

Tuesday's hearing, the seventh and penultimate hearing this summer, began with a tweet Trump sent at 1:42 a.m. on Dec. 19, 2020, which said, "Big protest in D.C. on January 6th. Be there, will be wild!"

Committee member Rep. Jamie Raskin said that post "electrified" Trump's extremist supporters to come to the Capitol on Jan. 6. "Many members of this crowd could be led to storm the Capitol, confront the vice president and Congress and overturn the election results," Raskin said. 

A Twitter employee who testified anonymously in a previous interview, said that after that tweet, "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." 

Two sources familiar with the Jan. 6 committee's plans confirmed to CBS News that the panel will hold its next hearing Thursday, July 21, in prime time. That hearing is expected to focus on what Trump was doing during the Capitol attack. At the close of the hearing, committee vice chair Rep. Liz Cheney said Trump had tried to contact a witness who has not yet publicly testified. 

Capitol Riot Investigation
Stephen Ayres, who pleaded guilty last in June 2022 to disorderly and disruptive conduct in a restricted building, left, and Jason Van Tatenhove, an ally of Oath Keepers leader Stewart Rhodes, right, arrive to testify as the House select committee investigating the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol holds a hearing at the Capitol in Washington, Tuesday, July 12, 2022. Jacquelyn Martin / AP

Jason Van Tatenhove, the former media director for the Oath Keepers, and Stephen Ayres, an Ohio man who pleaded guilty to a charge of disorderly conduct related to the Capitol riot, testified Tuesday. Tatenhove described the Oath Keepers as a "militia," and said "I think we saw a glimpse of what the vision of what the Oath Keepers is on Jan. 6."

Ayres, who described himself as "hard core" into social media, said "I felt like I needed to be down here" after Trump's comments to come to the rally.  Ayres told the committee that when he entered the Capitol, he believed at that time the election was stolen, and if Trump himself hadn't pushed those claims, "I may not have come down here." 

In the hours that led up to the Dec. 19 tweet, Trump met with a group of outside allies and advisers at the White House on Dec. 18, 2020, including Rudy Giuliani, Sidney Powell, Michael Flynn and Overstock.com CEO Patrick Byrne. White House aides and advisers arrived later and were alarmed by the allies Trump had invited to the White House. Sidney Powell testified, "I bet Pat Cipollone set a new land speed record" to get to the Oval Office, referring to the White House counsel.

"I was not happy to see the people in the Oval," Cipollone, the former White House counsel, testified. "The Overstock person — I didn't know who this guy was." 

Raskin said the meeting was described as "heated" and "profane" by some of the participants and even devolved into "challenges to physically fight."

In his testimony, Giuliani recalled his own comments to the White House aides, saying that he had said, "'You guys are not tough enough.' Or maybe, I'd put it another way: 'you're a bunch of p****ies.' Excuse the expression. But I'm also sure those words were used."

The committee showed a text from Cassidy Hutchinson, who was an aide to Trump White House chief of staff Mark Meadows, that read, "the west wing is UNHINGED."

The committee also showed testimony from a Twitter employee, whose voice was disguised to protect their identity. The Twitter employee said references to "stand back and stand by," the comments that Trump told the Proud Boys at a Sept. 2020 debate, spiked after Trump's Dec. 19 tweet. 

"After this tweet on Dec. 19 again, it became clear, not only were these individuals ready and willing, but the leader of their cause was asking them to join him in his cause and in fighting for his cause in D.C. on Jan. 6 as well," the employee said.

Further, the Twitter staffer said that Trump "was speaking directly to extremist organizations and giving them directives. We had not seen that sort of direct communication before and that concerned me."

"I believe that Twitter relished the knowledge that they were also the favorite and most used service of the former president and enjoyed having that sort of power within the social media ecosystem," the ex-Twitter employee said, adding that if Trump were "any other user on Twitter, he would have been permanently suspended a very long time ago."

 

Jan. 6 committee hearing focuses on "unhinged" Trump White House

Jan. 6 committee hearing focuses on "unhinged" Trump White House 13:01

The House Jan. 6 committee held its seventh public hearing Tuesday. A former member of the Oath Keepers and a Capitol rioter testified before the panel. Scott MacFarlane, Major Garrett and Robert Costa joined John Dickerson to discuss.  

 

Thompson says committee has started sharing information with Justice Department

The House Jan. 6 committee has started sharing information with the Justice Department "about who we have interviewed and that kind of thing pursuant to what they requested," committee chair Rep. Bennie Thompson said Tuesday night. 

Thompson said the Justice Department had requested only to come and look at transcripts, not for the transcripts themselves, and that the committee would assess other requests. 

Thompson answered "we don't" when asked if the committee knows the call from Trump constituted intimidation since the witness never answered. "We just said we referred to Justice," Thompson said.

Thompson said not to expect this witness to be unveiled. 

The committee plans to release a report on their findings in the fall.

By Zak Hudak
 

Jan. 6 committee to hold next meeting on Thursday, July 21, sources say

Two sources familiar with the Jan. 6 committee's plans confirmed to CBS News that the panel will hold its next hearing Thursday, July 21, in prime time.

Rebecca Kaplan and Ellis Kim  

 

Thompson says former Overstock CEO will sit for interview with committee

Rep. Bennie Thompson, the committee chair, told reporters Tuesday that Overstock CEO Patrick Byrne will sit for a transcribed interview with the Jan. 6 committee on Friday.

"We're looking forward to that," Thompson said. "He was one of the people in the White House late that night talking about the Stop the Steal rally and other things."

Thompson also told reporters that Trump White House counsel Pat Cipollone gave "consistent" testimony. Thompson wouldn't say whether the committee asked him about specific incidents Cassidy Hutchinson had testified about, but said Cipollone's testimony "did not conflict" with hers.

Thompson said the committee is still "talking" to the Secret Service about possible appearances from Tony Ornato and Bobby Engel, who were mentioned as being in the presidential vehicle in Cassidy Hutchinson's testimony. Thompson said there's nothing firm yet.

By Ellis Kim
 

Cheney says Trump himself attempted to contact witness to investigation

In closing remarks, Cheney revealed Trump himself attempted to call a witness to the select committee's investigation, and the panel turned over the information to the Department of Justice.

"After our last hearing, President Trump tried to call a witness in our investigation, a witness you have not yet seen in these hearings," Cheney said. "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 continued: "Let me say one more time; We will take any effort to influence testimony very seriously."

"Today, you saw how President Trump summoned a mob to Washington for Jan. 6 and then knowing that that mob was armed, directed that mob to the United States Capitol," she said. "Every one of these elements of the planning for Jan. 6 is an independently serious matter. They are all ultimately focused on overturning the election. And they all have one other thing in common: Donald Trump participated in each substantially and personally, he oversaw or directed the activity of those involved."

Cheney said in its next hearing, the committee will provide a minute-by-minute breakdown of Jan. 6, and the American people will see how Trump refused for multiple to intervene to stop the violence at the Capitol. Instead, it was Pence who asked for assistance .

The Wyoming Republican previewed comments from Cipollone that will be featured in the next hearing, in which he discusses why he pushed Trump to issue a statement urging the rioters to leave the Capitol.

"I felt it was my obligation to continue to push for that, and others felt that it was their obligation as well," he told investigators. 

By Melissa Quinn
 

Raskin: "American carnage. That's Donald Trump's true legacy."

Raskin said no one mobilized on Trump's invitation to attempt to usurp the election faster than these extremists. 

"On January 6, Trump knew the crowd was angry," Raskin said. "He knew the crowd was armed. He sent them to the Capitol anyway."

The nation's founders might be shocked to learn a president might embrace political violence and send an armed mob to attack the will of the people, but the founders were wise and warned against people like Trump, Raskin said. 

"In the very first Federalist Paper, Alexander Hamilton observed that history teaches that opportunistic politicians who desire to rule at all costs will begin first as domogoges, pandering to the angry and malignant passions of the crowd, but then end up as tyrants, trampling the freedoms and the rights of the people," Raskin said. 

Raskin noted that more than 150 police officers were injured on Jan. 6. Raskin pointed to one such member, Army veteran Aquilino Gonell.

"Nothing he has ever seen in combat in Iraq, he has said, prepared him for the insurrection, where he was savagely beaten, punched, pushed, kicked, shoved, stomped, and sprayed with chemical irritants, along with other officers, by members of a mob carrying hammers, knives, batons and police shields taken by force, and wielding the American flag against police officers as a dangerous weapon," Raskin said. 

Last month, Gonell's team of doctors have told him the permanent injuries he has suffered to his shoulder and foot make it impossible for him to continue as a police officer. 

"He must leave policing for good, and figure out the rest of his life," Raskin said. 

Raskin wondered if Trump could even relate to what motivates such a patriot like him. 

"In his inaugural address, Trump introduced one commanding image: American carnage," Raskin said. "Although that turn of phrase explained little about our country before he took office, it turned out to be an excellent prophecy on what his rage would come to visit on our people. .. American carnage. That's Donald Trump's true legacy."

By Kathryn Watson
 

Ayres says he was "hanging on every word" Trump was saying

Ayres said the video posted by Trump early in the evening of Jan. 6 that urged his supporters to leave the Capitol was what sparked him to return to his hotel.

"As soon as that came out, everybody started talking about it and it seemed like it started to disperse the crowd," he said. "It definitely dispersed a lot of the crowd."

"That was the key moment when you decided to leave, when President Trump told people to go home?" Raskin asked.

Since pleading guilty for his participation in the assault, Ayres said he's lost his job and sold his house, but he said he was lucky many of the charges brought against him were dismissed. 

"It changed my life, not for the good, definitely not for the better," he said.

Ayres said Trump's continued false assertions the election was stolen makes him mad.

"I was hanging on every word he was saying. Everything he was putting out, I was following it," he said. 'If I was doing it, hundreds or thousands or millions of other people are doing it, or maybe even still doing it."

He warned the country could end up "being down the same path" after the next election.

By Melissa Quinn
 

Changes Trump made to his Jan. 6 speech involved lines about Pence

There were multiple drafts of Trump's Jan. 6 speech, the committee discovered, according to documents it received from the National Archives and testimony. And Rep. Stefanie Murphy, who was one of the committee presenters Tuesday, said the select committee understands how Trump's speech that day "devolved into a call to action and a call to fight."

On the morning of Jan. 6, Trump spoke with chief speechwriter Stephen Miller for over 25 minutes, and inserted into the draft for the first time a line about Vice President Pence, to pressure him to overthrow the election results: "'We will see whether [Pence] enters history as a truly great and courageous leader. All he has to do is refer the illegally submitted electoral votes back to the states that were given false and fraudulent information where they want to recertify."

Miller testified before the committee that Eric Herschmann advised him not to discuss the matter publicly, and subsequently, Murphy said, the speechwriters removed the line about Pence.

But later that morning, after Trump's heated phone call with Pence while he was in the Oval Office, the president instructed the speechwriters, "REINSERT THE MIKE PENCE LINES. Confirm receipt."

Ivanka Trump's chief of staff told the committee that before the speech, Trump was still upset and "worked up."

When Trump delivered the speech, he mentioned his vice president a few times:

"If Mike Pence does the right thing, we win the election," he told his supporters on Jan. 6, 2021. He added, "States want to revote. The states got defrauded. They were given false information. They voted on it. Now they want to recertify. They want it back. All Vice President Pence has to do is send it back to the states to recertify and we become president, and you are the happiest people."

He called out the vice president again, saying, "Mike Pence, I hope you're going to stand up for the good of our Constitution and for the good of our country. And if you're not, I'm going to be very disappointed in you. I will tell you right now. I'm not hearing good stories."

 

Former Oath Keepers national media director says there was a "spark that would have started a Civil War" on Jan. 6

Former Oath Keepers national media director Jason Van Tatenhove, while lamenting the loss of life as a result of Jan. 6, said it could have been much worse.

"There was a gallows set up in front of the Capitol," Van Tatenhove said. "This was the spark that would have started a Civil War, and no one would have won there. … All I can do is thank the gods that things did not go any worse that day."

Van Tatenhove said the Oath Keepers have always had a push for military training, and there were even courses in that community that included explosives training. 

"I think we've gotten exceedingly lucky that more bloodshed did not happen because the potential has been there from the start," Van Tatenhove said. 

He said he fears the next election cycle, if Trump is elected again. He said he doesn't want that to happen. 

By Kathryn Watson
 

Assault participant recalled going to the Capitol because Trump told them to march

Stephen Ayres, who entered the Capitol on Jan. 6 and has pleaded guilty to one charge stemming from the attack, described himself as a "family man" who decided to travel to Washington after Trump called for his supporters to attend the rally.

"He basically put out 'come to Stop the Steal rally,' and I felt like I needed to be down here," Ayres said. He described himself as "hard core" into social media and a follower of the former president on a variety of platforms.

Ayres told the committee that when he entered the Capitol, he believed at that time the election was stolen.

"I was very upset, as were many of his supporters. That's basically what got me to come down here," he said.

Ayres said he no longer believes the election was stolen and deleted his social media accounts after the Capitol assault.

Asked whether it would have made a difference to him to know that Trump had no evidence there was widespread voter fraud, Ayres said it "definitely" would have.

"I may not have come down here," he said.

Ayres said he did not plan to go to the Capitol but decided to march down because "the president got everybody riled up, told everyone to head on down, so we basically were just following what he said."

During the walk to the Capitol, Ayres recalled hearing about a "big reveal" and still held out hope the results of the election would be overturned by Pence.

Ayres also said he and the president's supporters believed Trump would join them at the Capitol

"I think everybody thought he was going to be coming down," he said. "I believed it."

Ayres recalled deciding to leave the Capitol building after Trump issued a tweet the evening of Jan. 6 and likely would have left earlier if the former president would have called on his supporters to do so. 

By Melissa Quinn
 

Former Oath Keepers national media director: "I think we saw a glimpse of what the vision of what the Oath Keepers is on Jan. 6"

 Jason Van Tatenhove, the former national media director for the Oath Keepers, testified about how he was radicalized by the Oath Keepers after he began working for them several years ago, and how "dangerous" they are. 

"I can tell you that they may not like to call themselves a militia, but they are," Van Tatenhove testified.

That radicalization "started with my beginning of my time with them, and continued over a period of time," built on the foundation of its leader Stewart Rhodes.

"The Oath Keepers are a dangerous militia that is in large part fed by the eager and drive of Stewart Rhodes," Van Tatenhove testified, calling the Oath Keepers "a very dangerous organization." 

"I think we saw a glimpse of what the vision of what the Oath Keepers is on Jan. 6," Van Tatenhove testified. "It doesn't necessarily include the rule of law. It includes violence. It includes trying to get their way through lies, through deceit, through intimidation, and through the perpetration of violence." 

By Kathryn Watson
 

Ex-Trump campaign manager expressed dismay about a "sitting president asking for civil war"

In a series of text messages obtained and displayed by the committee, Brad Parscale, who had been Trump's campaign manager until July 2020, expressed regret the evening of Jan. 6 for working on the re-election bid.

"This is about trump pushing for uncertainty in our country. A sitting president asking for civil war. This week I feel guilty for helping him win," he said in a series of three messages to Pierson.

"You did what you felt right at the time and therefore it was right," she replied. 

"Yeah. But a woman is dead," Parscale said.

"You do realize this was going to happen," Pierson wrote.

"Yeah. If I was trump and knew my rhetoric killed someone," Parscale said in response. 

"It wasn't the rhetoric," Pierson disagreed.

"Katrina. Yes it was," Parscale replied.

Murphy said the message delivered by Trump to his supporters during his speech at the Ellipse was "built on a foundation of lies."

".He lied to his supporters that the election was stolen, he stoked their anger, he called for them to fight for him, he directed them to the U.S. Capitol, he told them he would join them, and his supporters believed him, and many headed towards the Capitol," she said.

By Melissa Quinn
 

Twitter witness said they knew if Twitter did nothing to intervene, "people were going to die"

The unidentified Twitter employee also testified that for months, they had been trying to raise concerns that if they made no intervention to stop stolen election rhetoric, "people were going to die."

The witness sent a Slack message ahead of Jan. 6 along the lines of, "When people are shooting each other tomorrow I will try and rest in the knowledge that we tried," the witness recalled.

"I don't know that I slept that night to be honest to you," the witness testified. 

"I was on pins and needles," they added. "...For months I had been begging and anticipating and attempting to raise the reality that if nothing -- if we made no intervention into what I saw occurring, people were going to die. And on January 5th, I realized no intervention was coming. As hard as I had tried to create one or implement one, there was nothing and we were, we were at the whims and the mercy of a violent crowd that was locked and loaded." 

But Republicans were concerned about what could happen Jan. 6, too, including Republican Rep. Debbie Lesko, who led some of the efforts to reject the election results. In a newly released conversation with Republican members on Jan. 5, 2021, she said she asked leadership to come up with a safety plan for members of Congress. 

"I also ask leadership to come up with a safety plan for members," Lesko said at the time. 

She said she was very concerned because thousands of people were coming, including "quite honestly, Trump supporters who actually believe that we are going to overturn the election. And when that doesn't happen, "they are going to go nuts," she said on the call. 

By Kathryn Watson
 

Ex-White House aides detail Jan. 5 Oval Office meeting

In a Jan. 5 meeting at the Oval Office, Trump convened his aides to discuss the rally on the Ellipse the following day, a scene that was described to the committee by several members of his staff.

Sarah Matthews, former deputy press secretary, said aides were assembled along the wall of the Oval Office while social media director Dan Scavino sat on the couch as Trump dictated a tweet he wanted posted, after which the former president began talking about the rally planned the following day for the Ellipse.

"He was in a very good mood, and I say that because he had not been in a good mood for weeks leading up to that, and it seemed like he was in a fantastic mood that evening," she said.

Judd Deere, a former White House deputy press secretary, recalled Trump asking whether members of Congress "would be with him tomorrow," which Deere said he believed to mean "not voting to certify the election."

Matthews then said Trump sought ideas for how "we could make the RINOs do the right thing," though initially one replied.

Shealeah Craighead, White House photographer, said Trump was talking about going to the Capitol and the best route to get there.

While Deere encouraged Trump to focus on his policy accomplishments, he told the committee that the former president quickly pivoted to the rally and how energized the crowd was. 

"They were fired up, they were angry, they felt like the election's been stolen, that the election was rigged," Deere told the panel of Trump's characterizations of the crowd.

He said Trump also referenced hearing the crowd through an open door to the Oval Office on Jan. 5.

By Melissa Quinn
 

Committee shares draft of unsent Trump tweet that called on supporters to march to Capitol

The House committee obtained an undated draft of a tweet from the National Archives in which Trump would have called on his supporters to march to the U.S. Capitol after his speech. 

The draft tweet read: "I will be making a Big Speech at 10AM on January 6th at the Ellipse (South of the White House). Please arrive early, massive crowds expected. Mach to the Capitol after. Stop the Steal!! 

The draft included a stamp that said, "PRESIDENT HAS SEEN."

"Although this tweet was never sent, rally organizers were discussing and preparing for the march to the Capitol in the days leading up to January 6," Rep. Stephanie Murphy said. 

Murphy also shared a Jan. 4, 2021, text message from rally organizer Kylie Kremer to Mike Lindell, the CEO of MyPillow, saying that there would be another stage at the Supreme Court after the Ellipse event. 

"POTUS is going to have us march there/the Capitol. It cannot get out about the second stage because people will try and set up another and sabotage it. It can also not get out about the march because I will be in trouble with the National Park Service and all the agencies, but POTUS is going to just call for it unexpectedly."

In another text shared by the committee, Stop the Steal organizer Ali Alexander said the event would start at the Ellipse then move to the U.S. Capitol. "Trump is supposed to order us to capitol at end of his speech but we will see," the text said. 

During his speech, Trump did call on his supporters to march to the Capitol. 

"The evidence confirms this was not a spontaneous call to action, but rather was a deliberate strategy decided upon in advance by the president," Murphy said. 

By Caitlin Yilek
 

Cipollone says he suggested Pence should be given Presidential Medal of Freedom for allowing certification of 2020 election results

 Former White House counsel Pat Cipollone disapproved of the idea from Trump personal attorney John Eastman to hold up the certification of the election results using Vice President Mike Pence. 

Pence did the right thing by allowing for the certification of the 2020 election results, and had no other choice, Cipollone said in recorded testimony.

"I thought that the vice president did not have the authority to do what was being suggested under a proper reading of the law," Cipollone said. "I conveyed that. I think I actually told somebody in the vice president's — 'Just blame me. I'm not a politician.' I just said, 'I'm a lawyer, this is my legal opinion.'"

"I think the vice president did the right thing," Cipollone continued. "He did the courageous thing. I have a great deal of respect for Vice President Pence. I've worked with him very closely. … I think he did a great service to this country and I think I suggested to somebody that he should be given the Presidential Medal of Freedom for his actions."

By Kathryn Watson
 

Murphy says Trump campaign aide Katrina Pierson was worried about Stone, Jones speaking at Ellipse rally

Murphy detailed how even Trump campaign aides were concerned about the lineup of speakers at the Jan. 6 rally at the Ellipse. Katrina Pierson, former Trump campaign spokesperson, grew "apprehensive" after learning activists like Roger Stone, Alex Jones and Ali Alexander would be speaking, she said.

"I don't understand how Caroline is wrapped up in this, though. It's weird to me," Kylie Kremer, an organizer of the rally, texted Pierson on Dec. 30, according to an exchange obtained by the panel, likely referring to Trump fundraiser Caroline Wren. 

"POTUS," Pierson replied.

"But just let the crazies be crazies. You can't do anything about them," Kremer said.

"And he likes the crazies, so she had to try and work with everyone," Pierson said back.

Pierson told the committee she was talking about Trump, saying the former president "loved people who viciously defended him in public." 

Pierson's concern about the lineup of speakers continued to grow, Murphy said, highlighting a Jan. 2 text to Meadows in which she asked him to call her about the "Jan 6th event."

"Things have gotten crazy and I desperately need some direction. Please," she texted to Meadows.

Phone records obtained by the committee show Meadows and her spoke that day, and Pierson told the committee she told the chief of staff there were many entities who were "very suspect" coming in to participate in the event and gave him an overview of what was occurring.

"I did briefly go over some of the concerns that I had raised to everybody with Alex Jones or Ali Alexander and some of the rhetoric that they were doing," she said, and likely told Meadows about "trouble" they caused at other events. 

The committee also displayed an email Pierson sent to fellow rally organizers: "POTUS expectations are to have something intimate at the ellipse, and call on everyone to march to the capitol."

By Melissa Quinn
 

"All the red flags went up" as extremist groups communicated and strategized, D.C. intel chief says

Raskin continued the hearing by outlining communications between extremist groups ahead of Jan. 6. 

"President Trump's tweet drew tens of thousands of Americans to Washington to form the angry crowd that would transformed January the 6th into a violent mob," Raskin said. 

Raskin played recorded testimony from Donnell Harvin, the then-chief of Homeland Security and Intelligence for D.C., who expressed how he saw Trump's tweet unite violent groups on the far-right. Harvin testified that "these non-aligned groups were aligning." 

"All the red flags went up at that point, when you have armed militia collaborating with white supremacy groups, collaborating with conspiracy theory groups online, all with a common goal" across multiple platforms," Harvin testfied. 

That's a "very, very bad sign," Harvin said.

Members of extremist groups were discussing things like what they were planning on bringing and wearing. 

"That's like preoperational intelligence right? And that is something that is clearly alarming," Harvin testified. 

Raskin said the Proud Boys and Oath Keepers "immediately" responded to Trump's call.  

"Trump's December 19 tweet motivated these two extremist groups, which have historically not worked together, to coordinate their activities," Raskin said. 

Just hours after that tweet, Kelly Meggs, the head of the Florida Oath Keepers declared an alliance between the Oath Keepers, the Proud Boys and the Florida Three Percenters, another militia group. Phone records obtained by the Select Committee show Meggs and the Proud Boys leader Enrique Tarrio, and soon after that, they got to work, Raskin said. 

Messages between members show "strategic and tactical planning" for Jan. 6, including maps pinpointing the location of the police, Raskin said. 

One such ally those two groups worked with was former national security adviser Mike Flynn, Raskin said, adding that Flynn had connections to the Oath Keepers. Flynn was present at the aforementioned Dec. 18, 2020 White House meeting. 

Longtime Trump confidante Roger Stone also had ties to those groups, Raskin noted. Trump issued clemency for both Stone and Flynn between the election and Jan. 6, Raskin said. 

Friends of Stone had a "significant presence" at events in Washington, Raskin said.

Encrypted chats show Meggs, now indicted, spoke directly with Stone about security on Jan. 6. Stone was guarded by two Oath Keepers who have since been indicted for seditious conspiracy, Raskin noted. 

The Proud Boys were also part of the friends of Stone network, Raskin said, claiming Stone has taken the "fraternity creed" required for the first level of the group.

By Kathryn Watson
 

Ex-Twitter employee says company "relished" being Trump's favorite platform

A former employee at Twitter who testified before the committee remotely explained the effect of Trump's comment during the September 2020 presidential debate about the far-right group the Proud Boys, in which he said they should "stand back and stand by."

The employee, who was unidentified and whose voice was distorted, said the company considered adopting a more stringent content moderation policy after the debate, but ultimately decided not to.

The former president, the Twitter worker said, "was speaking directly to extremist organizations and giving them directives. We had not seen that sort of direct communication before and that concerned me."

"I believe that Twitter relished in the knowledge that they were also the favorite and most used service of the former president and enjoyed having that sort of power within the social media ecosystem," the ex-Twitter employee said, adding that if Trump were "any other user on Twitter, he would have been permanently suspended a very long time ago."

Discussing the Dec. 19 tweet, the anonymous former employee said it seemed as though a mob were being organized and "gathering together their weaponry" to prepare to fight.

"After this tweet on Dec. 19 again, it became clear, not only were these individuals ready and willing, but the leader of their cause was asking them to join him in his cause and in fighting for his cause in D.C. on Jan. 6 as well," the employee said.

Raskin also showed social posts indicating the former president's supporters were "ready to answer Trump's call."

"Is the 6th D-Day? Is that why Trump wants everyone there?" one post read.

"Trump just told us all to come armed. F**king A, this is happening," said another.

"It 'will be wild' means needs volunteers for the firing squad," a third read.

Highlighting the importance of the Dec. 19 tweet, Jim Watkins, owner of 8chan, an online messaging board, told the panel he decided to go to D.C. on Jan. 6 when Trump announced he would be having a rally. 

Raskin said on the website "TheDonald.win" after the Dec. 19 tweet, one user wrote "bring handcuffs and wait near the tunnels."

Another said "body armor, knuckles, shields, bats, pepper spray, whatever it takes."

"JOIN YOUR LOCAL PROUD BOYS CHAPTER AS WELL," wrote another. 

By Melissa Quinn
 

Trump supporters mobilized after Dec. 19 tweet calling for "wild" protest

Shortly after Trump's fiery Oval Office meeting, he called on his supporters to attend a big protest in Washington, D.C., on Jan. 6, 2021. 

The committee played several clips of far-right figures promoting the "wild" protest, including conspiracy theorist Alex Jones, who said on Dec. 19, 2020: "He is now calling on we, the people, to take action and show our numbers." 

Salty Cracker, who the committee described as a pro-Trump YouTuber, said in another clip that there would be a "red wedding" happening on Jan. 6, referencing a mass slaughter. Another clip of a pro-Trump YouTuber referenced the storming of the Capitol.

The committee also said that Cindy Chafian, who was organizing a Women for America First rally for a couple days after the inauguration, sought to change the permit date for the event to Jan. 6 hours after Trump's tweet. 

"This rescheduling created the rally where Trump would eventually speak," Raskin said. 

"Stop the Steal" leader Ali Alexander registered the website wildprotest.com, which included details about the event, Raskin said.

By Caitlin Yilek
 

Cassidy Hutchinson described Dec. 18 meeting as "UNHINGED"

In one text obtained by the committee sent by Cassidy Hutchinson, a close aide to Meadows, to Tony Ornato, the former deputy chief of staff for operations, Hutchinson wrote "the west wing is UNHINGED."

She also took a photo of Meadows after the meeting ended after midnight Dec. 19, which she said showed the chief of staff escorting Giuliani off the White House grounds to "make sure he didn't wander back into the mansion."

Raskin said there are accounts indicating that Trump granted Powell a security clearance and appointed her to an "ill-defined" special counsel position.

Powell told the committee that the president asked Cipollone whether he had the authority to name her as special counsel and grant her a security clearance, to which Cipollone said Trump could do.

"And then the president said, 'OK, I'm naming her that and I'm giving her a security clearance,'" Powell said, recalling that Cipollone and Herschmann replied, "You can name her whatever you want to name her, and no one's going to pay any attention to it.'"

Raskin, though, said there is "ambiguity" about Trump's actions during the Dec. 18 meeting.

"In my view, she hadn't been appointed to anything and ultimately wasn't appointed to anything because there had to be other steps taken," Cipollone told the committee of Powell, according to a clip from his interview. "So that was my view when I left the meeting." 

Asked by Raskin whether Powell was still seeking an appointment or claiming she had been tapped after Dec. 18, Cipollone said it was "probably both."

"I think she may have been of the view that she had been appointed and was seeking to, you know, get that done, and that she should be appointed," Cipollone said.

By Melissa Quinn
 

Witnesses describe explosive Dec. 18 meeting at the White House

Jan 6. committee presents video evidence on "heated and profane" Dec. 18 meeting at the White House 12:12

The committee interviewed six of the participants in an impromptu meeting of Trump's outside advisers, White House officials and the president in the Oval Office on Dec. 18, 2020. The committee on Tuesday played clips from those interviews, including from Rudy Giuliani and Sidney Powell, who said the group met privately with Trump before White House staffers learned they were there.

"I bet Pat Cipollone set a new land speed record" to get to the Oval Office, Powell testified.

Cipollone in his recorded testimony said he was "not happy to see the people in the Oval," which included people as random as the former CEO of Overstock.com.

Former White House aide Derek Lyons, asked in a recorded interview if the meeting was tense, responded: "Oh, yeah, it was not a casual meeting … I mean, at times, there were people shouting at each other, throwing insults at each other." 

Powell said Cipollone and former White House attorney Eric Herschmann and others in the room "showed nothing but contempt and disdain of the president." 

Cipollone testified that he didn't receive clear or detailed responses when he asked for evidence that the election was stolen. Cipollone said Powell and others displayed a "general disregard" for backing up what they were saying. 

Powell said she would have "had all of them fired that night and had them escorted out of the building" if she were president, referring to Cipollone and the White House aides.

Herschmann said he challenged Powell's contention that "the judges are corrupt." 

"And I was like, every one? Every single case that you've done in the country, you guys lost. Every one of them is corrupt? Even the ones we appointed?" he testified.

In his testimony, Giuliani characterized his comments as telling the White House aides, "'you guys are not tough enough.' Or maybe, I'd put it another way, you're a bunch of p---ies. Excuse the expression. But I'm also sure those words were used."

By Kathryn Watson
 

Trump campaign adviser: "Understatement" to say voter fraud evidence was "thin"

Raskin stressed that members of Trump's outside legal team, led by Rudy Giuliani, knew there was scant evidence to support claims the election was rife with fraud and stolen from the former president.

In an email from Bernard Kerik, Giuliani's lead investigator, to Meadows on Dec. 28 that was obtained by the committee, Kerik wrote, "We can do all the investigations we want later, but if the president plans on winning, it's the legislators that have to be moved, and this will do just that."

Kerik's lawyer then told the select committee in a November letter that "it was impossible for Mr. Kerik and his team to determine conclusively whether there was widespread fraud or whether that widespread fraud would have altered the outcome of the election."

"In other words, even Rudy Giuiani's own legal team knew before Jan. 6 that they hadn't collected enough actual evidence to support any of their stolen election claims," Raskin said.

Other Trump campaign officials also knew there was little evidence to support the baseless claims of voter fraud, according to the committee.

Jason Miller, a senior adviser with the Trump campaign, told the committee in a taped deposition he was presented with "very, very general documents" about allegations of fraud.

"But it was, to say that it was thin is probably an understatement," he told investigators, according to a clip played by Raskin.

Justin Clark, Trump's deputy campaign manager, also told the panel it was "fair" to say he never came to learn or understand that Giuliani produced evidence of election fraud.

"Even an agreed upon lack of evidence could not stop President Trump, Mark Meadows and their allies from trying to overturn the results of a free and fair election," Raskin said.

By Melissa Quinn
 

Cipollone on plan to name Sidney Powell special counsel: "I was vehemently opposed"

On Dec. 16, 2020, two days after the Electoral College met, Trump's outside advisers drafted an executive order proposing the secretary of defense immediately seize voting machines and analyze them. Under the proposed order, Trump would also appoint a special counsel with the power to seize machines and charge people with crimes. The plan was to appoint Sidney Powell as special counsel. 

Powell was one of the key figures pushing conspiracy theories that the election had been stolen. 

"I don't think Sidney Powell would say that I thought it was a good idea to appoint her special counsel," Cipollone, Trump's White House counsel, told committee investigators. "I was vehemently opposed. I didn't think she should have been appointed to anything." 

By Caitlin Yilek
 

Ivanka Trump and others knew Trump's time in office was coming to a close

During her deposition, Ivanka Trump was asked about Dec. 14, when electors met and cast votes consistent with the popular votes in each state. She was asked if that day was important to her and influenced her realization that there would be an end of the Trump administration. 

"I think so, I think it was my sentiment, probably prior as well," Ivanka Trump responded in her taped testimony.

Former White House deputy press secretary Judd Deere, in previously recorded video testimony, also said he told Trump once the Electoral College had met, that his legal options were exhausted.

"I told him that my personal viewpoint was that the Electoral College had met, which is the system that our country is set under to elect a president and vice president, and I believed at that point that the means for him to pursue litigation was probably closed," Deere said. 

"He disagreed," Deere added. 

Former Attorney General William Barr, in previously recorded video testimony, remembered asking Trump aide Dan Scavino at one point after the election how long Trump would carry on with claims of a stolen election. Then-White House chief of staff Mark Meadows caught up to Barr and said, "'Look, I think that he's becoming more realistic and knows that there's a limit on how far he can take this,'" Barr recalled him saying. Trump son-in-law and aide Jared Kushner chimed in, "Yeah, we're working on this, we're working on it," Barr recalled Kushner saying. 

By Kathryn Watson
 

Raskin says all efforts to overturn the election "would converge and explode on January the 6th"

Rep. Jamie Raskin made the case that Donald Trump "was still trying to find a way to hang onto" the presidency after the election.

On Dec. 18, 2020, Trump's outside advisers paid him a visit that would "quickly become the stuff of legend," a meeting that would later be called "unhinged," Raskin said. 

Trump's lawyers and allies had theories about mass election fraud, "but no evidence to support it." So they brought a draft executive order that would direct the seizure of voting machines in states, Raskin said. The meeting apparently ended rejecting that idea. 

So Trump decided to call for a large crowd. "Never before in American history had a president called for a crowd to come contest the counting of electoral votes by Congress," Raskin said. 

"As we'll see, Donald Trump's 1:42 am tweet electrified and galvanized his supporters, especially the dangerous extremists in the Oath Keepers, the Proud Boys and other racist and white nationalist groups spoiling for a fight against the government," Raskin said. 

There were three rings working to fight the election results, Raskin said. Within the inner ring, Trump continued to work to overturn the election through Pence. In the middle ring, members of domestic violence extremist groups strategized to storm, invade and occupy the Capitol. Finally, in the outer ring, there assembled a large and angry crowd, which Trump considered both the touch stone and measure of his political power, Raskin said. 

"With the proper incitement by political leaders and the proper instigation from the extremists, many members of this crowd could be led to storm the Capitol, confront the vice president and Congress, and try to overturn the 2020 election results. All of these efforts would converge and explode on January the 6th," Raskin said. 

By Kathryn Watson
 

Murphy: Trump's Dec. 19 tweet was meant to help keep him in power

Rep. Stephanie Murphy said the committee will lay out how Trump's Dec. 19 tweet was intended to help keep him in power despite his election loss. 

"It's clear the president intended the assembled crowd on  January 6 to serve his goal. And as you've already seen, as you'll see again today, some of those who are coming had specific plans. The President's goal was to stay in power for a second term despite losing the election. The assembled round was one of the tools to achieve that goal," Murphy said in her opening statement. 

"You'll hear about meetings in which the president entertained extreme measures designed to help him stay in power, like the seizure of voting machines. We will show some of the coordination that occurred between the White House and members of Congress as it relates to January 6, and some of these members of Congress would later seek pardons," she continued. 

By Caitlin Yilek
 

Cheney says Pat Cipollone's testimony "met our expectations"

Rep. Liz Cheney, the committee's Republican vice chair, said in opening remarks that taped testimony from former White House counsel Pat Cipollone, who appeared before investigators Friday, "met our expectations."

During Tuesday's hearing, Cheney said the committee will play segments of Cipollone's testimony and show how Trump "summoned a mob" to Washington and used his baseless claims about the election to incite his supporters to breach the Capitol while Congress was counting state electoral votes.

The Wyoming Republican said that over the course of its public hearings, there has been a change in how witnesses and lawyers close to Trump have approached the committee.

"There appears to be a general recognition that the committee has established key facts, including that everyone close to President Trump — his Justice Department officials, his White House advisers, his White House counsel, his campaign — all told him the 2020 election was not stolen," she said. "This appears to have changed the strategy for defending Donald Trump."

Cheney said the argument from people in the former president's orbit has now shifted to claim Trump was "manipulated" by advisers from outside his administration, "persuaded" to ignore his close aides and was "incapable of telling right from wrong."

"This new strategy is to try to blame only John Eastman or Sidney Powell or Congressman Scott Perry or others and not President Trump," she said. "In this version, the president was 'poorly served' by these outside advisers. The strategy is to blame people his advisers called 'the crazies' for what Donald Trump did. This of course is nonsense."

Trump, Cheney continued, "is a 76-year-old man. He is not an impressionable child."

The congresswoman said Trump had access to troves of information showing the election was not stolen and was repeatedly told as much. She encouraged viewers to focus on two points: that Trump's legal team, led by Rudy Giuliani, knew they lacked evidence of widespread voter fraud but continued with their plan to overturn the election results on Jan. 6; and how millions of Americans were persuaded to believe what Trump's own administration advisers did not.

By Melissa Quinn
 

Thompson says people have the right to protest election results "but you can't turn violent"

Committee chair Rep. Bennie Thompson opened the hearing by reiterating a phrase that distills his philosophy on elections: "We settle our differences at the ballot box." 

"Sometimes, my choice prevails. Sometimes, yours does. But it's that simple," Thompson said. 

Whatever happens in any given November, violence isn't the answer, Thompson said. 

"You can protest," Thompson said. "You can organize. You can get ready for the next election to try to make sure your side has a better chance the next time. … But you can't turn violent." 

But that wasn't the case for many Trump supporters, egged on by Trump, Thompson said. Tuesday's hearing will tell the stories of those who turned violent.

By Kathryn Watson
 

Jason van Tatenhove and Stephen Ayres arrive

Jason van Tatenhove, who sources told CBS News will be one of the witnesses on Tuesday, arrived at the committee room through one of the back doors, staff said. 

 Stephen Ayres, who a source said will also be a witness on Tuesday, has also entered via the basement.

 

House select committee investigating Jan. 6 holds seventh public hearing

 The House select committee examining the Jan. 6 assault on the U.S. Capitol will meet on Tuesday for its seventh public hearing. The meeting will focus on the role of violent extremists at the Capitol riot and whether they had any connections to the Trump White House. Congressional Correspondent Nikole Killion has a preview of the high stakes hearing.

 

Hearing will highlight Trump's Dec. 19 tweet

Committee aides said Monday night that Tuesday's hearing will focus on how Trump viewed the Electoral College count on Dec. 14, and how he viewed the certification on Jan. 6.

The hearing will specifically highlight a tweet sent by Trump on Dec. 19, where he encouraged his supporters to go to the Capitol, committee aides said. He sent the tweet after a Dec. 18 meeting with Rudy Giuliani, Sidney Powell, Michael Flynn and others where they talked about seized voting machines, committee aides said. 

"That was a pivotal moment that spurred a chain of events," a committee aide said, including planning within the Proud Boys. "They immediately started answering his call by zeroing in on that date that the President mentioned in that tweet, which was Jan. 6, as the final opportunity to come and support President Trump." 

Committee aides said they will provide details on what motivated people to come to D.C. on Jan. 6.

The committee will highlight links between Trump associates and those violent extremists, specifically Roger Stone and Flynn. Committee aides also said they will look at White House staff and close advisers who, they say, had information indicating there would be violence on Jan. 6 and, as a result, would not authorize Trump's requested trip to the Capitol, but that he wanted it to happen and encouraged the crowds to go there. 

And finally, committee aides said the hearing will look at the specific involvement of some members of Congress in the days leading up to Jan. 6, and, in particular, their pressure campaign on Vice President Mike Pence, though they would not specify which members they will discuss.

Committee aides declined to discuss the offers by Oath Keepers founder Stewart Rhodes and former Trump adviser Steve Bannon to testify, except to say that they outlined what they wanted from Bannon in his original subpoena from September and they are still interested in getting those materials.

By Rebecca Kaplan
 

Raskin says hearing will deal with "fundamental importance" of Dec. 18 White House meeting

On "Face the Naiton" on Sunday, Raskin would not disclose who will appear before the committee for Tuesday's hearing, but said viewers will learn the "fundamental importance" of a meeting at the White House on Dec. 18, 2020, that included a number of outside advisers — among them Sidney Powell, Rudy Giuliani and former national security adviser Michael Flynn — who pushed the baseless theories the election was rigged. That meeting, he said, has been described as "the craziest" of Trump's presidency.

"The group of lawyers, of outside lawyers, who've been denominated 'Team Crazy' by people in and around the White House, came in to try to urge several new courses of action, including the seizure of voting machines around the country," he said.

By Melissa Quinn
 

Pat Cipollone testifies before committee for over 8 hours

Trump White House counsel Pat Cipollone testified before the committee for more than eight hours. Raskin said Cipollone gave "valuable" information to the committee.

"We are going to get to use a lot of Mr. Cipollone's testimony to corroborate other things we have learned along the way," Raskin said. "He was the White House counsel at the time. He was aware of every major move I think Donald Trump was making to try to overthrow the 2020 election and essentially seize the presidency."

By Caroline Linton
 

Cassidy Hutchinson testifies in last-minute hearing

New revelations from sixth public Jan. 6 committee hearing 02:44

The committee had called a last-minute hearing last week to hear bombshell testimony from Cassidy Hutchinson, a former top aide to White House chief of staff Mark Meadows. Hutchinson testified that Trump was told the crowd at the Ellipse had guns and other weapons, and that the former president wanted to join them on the way to the Capitol — even lunging at Secret Service to get the steering wheel, she said she heard. 

Hutchinson testified that Meadows told her in the days leading up to Jan. 6 that, "There's a lot going on Cass, but I don't know, things might get real, real bad on Jan. 6." 

Hutchinson also testified about how angry Trump was after then-Attorney General Bill Barr told the Associated Press in an interview after the 2020 election that there was no evidence of widespread voter fraud that would change its outcome.

Entering the dining room at the White House, Hutchinson observed a valet changing the tablecloth. The valet motioned toward the fireplace mantle and television, she said. 

"I first noticed there was ketchup dripping down the wall and there was a shattered porcelain plate on the floor," she told the committee. "The valet had articulated that the president was extremely angry at the attorney general's AP interview and had thrown his lunch against the wall."

Hutchinson then grabbed a towel to assist and recalled the valet told her about Trump, "he's really ticked off about this. I would stay clear of him for right now."

Hutchinson's testimony came in the middle of a two-week recess, and was unexpectedly called just days after the committee said there would not be any more hearings until July. Committee chair Rep. Bennie Thompson said that Tuesday's hearing was called because the information Hutchinson had was "quite urgent."   

Read more here

By Caroline Linton
 

House Jan. 6 committee zeroes in on former Justice Department official Jeffrey Clark

Pardons, pressure and probes: Inside Day 5 of the Jan. 6 committee's public hearings 12:55

In the June 23 public hearing, the committee focused on the efforts of Trump and former Justice Department official Jeffrey Clark to pressure the department to help overturn the 2020 election results.  

Trump wanted to fire acting Attorney General Jeff Rosen — who had just taken over in December 2020, after Attorney General Bill Barr's resignation became official — and to replace him with Clark, an environmental lawyer who had never prosecuted a criminal case. Rep. Adam Kinzinger, who led the questioning, said Clark's only qualification was that "he would do whatever the president wanted him to do."

Installing Clark and the pressure campaign on the Justice Department amounted to "essentially a political coup," committee chair Rep. Bennie Thompson said. 

In video testimony, former White House lawyer Eric Herschmann said of Clark that "best I can tell, the only thing you know about environmental and elections challenges is they both start with 'E.'" 

Read more here.   

By Caroline Linton
 

House Jan. 6 committee focuses on "fake electors" and threats to public servants amid Trump pressure campaign

Arizona House Speaker Rusty Bowers describes Trump plan to replace electors 24:29

At the June 21 public hearing, the committee detailed the threats made to state lawmakers and election officials and workers in Arizona and Georgia, as Trump and his allies tried to get them to overturn the election results in their states. 

The committee sought to bring to light the severity of the threat to democracy in the days and weeks after the election, given the enormous and persistent pressure by the president and by Rudy Giuliani on officials and ordinary Americans to promote the "big lie" that Trump had won the election. The ability of these Americans to withstand that pressure came at a great personal cost.

"Our democracy held because courageous people like you heard today put their oath to the constitution above their loyalty to one man," Committee member Rep. Adam Schiff said. "The system held but barely and the question remains, will it hold again?"

The hearing laid out the plan hatched by Trump and his allies in Arizona to replace the bona fide Biden electors with phony ones. The fake electors gathered in Arizona, which Arizona House Speaker Rusty Bowers referred to as a "tragic parody." Bowers refused to have any involvement in the fake electors plan being pushed by Giuliani. 

Read more here

By Caroline Linton
 

Pence aides detail Trump effort to overturn election results at Jan. 6 committee hearing

January 6 committee focuses on pressure campaign on former Vice President Pence to overturn election results 02:10

The committee turned its attention to Trump's campaign to pressure former Vice President Mike Pence to reject electoral votes at the June 16 hearing, including testimony from close Pence aides who said the president's efforts to overturn the 2020 election were nonsensical and "un-American."  

"Mike Pence said no. He resisted the pressure. He knew it was illegal, he knew it was wrong," Committee Chairman Bennie Thompson said to open the third day of hearings examining the Capitol attack. "We are fortunate for Mr. Pence's courage on January 6. Our democracy came dangerously close to catastrophe."

Two Pence advisers appeared in person at Thursday's hearing: Greg Jacob, Pence's former counsel, and J. Michael Luttig, a highly respected conservative jurist and retired federal judge who advised Pence in the aftermath of the 2020 election. The committee also showed taped footage of interviews with Pence chief of staff Marc Short and other aides.

The testimony made clear that Pence and his closest aides repeatedly told Trump and his allies that a theory pushed by conservative lawyer John Eastman, who argued the vice president should single-handedly reject or replace slates of electors, had no basis in the Constitution or federal law. 

Read more here

By Caroline Linton
 

House Jan. 6 committee zeroes in on Trump's false election claims in public hearing

Key takeaways from second day of Jan. 6 committee hearings 06:07

The House Jan. 6 committee focused its second public hearing on those closest to Trump who said they told him it was too premature to declare victory on election night in 2020 — and how Trump used his premature declaration of victory to push baseless claims that the election was stolen.

The committee showed video testimony from top officials in the Trump administration who said former Vice President Mike Pence and White House were aware there was no evidence to support Trump's claims of voter fraud.

Former Attorney General William Barr said in recorded video testimony that he knew early claims that Trump had won the election were "bogus" and "silly."

"The department, in fact, when we received specific and credible allegations of fraud, made an effort to look into these to satisfy ourselves that they were without merit," Barr said in recorded testimony that was shown.

Read more here.   

By Caroline Linton
 

On Day 1 of hearings, Capitol Police officer described "carnage" and "chaos" of assault

One of two witnesses to testify in-person during the prime-time hearing on June 9, the committee's first of the month, was Capitol Police officer Caroline Edwards, who suffered a traumatic brain injury on Jan. 6. Edwards described Capitol Hill as a "war scene" on the day of the attack.

"It was something like I had seen out of the movies," Edwards said. "I could not believe my eyes. There were officers on the ground. They were bleeding. They were throwing up. I saw friends with blood all over their faces. I was slipping in people's blood. I was catching people as they fell. It was carnage. It was chaos." 

Watch her testimony in the video below.

Capitol Police officer describes "carnage" and "chaos" during Jan 6. attack 13:07


By Caroline Linton
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