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Pivotal moments from the select committee Jan. 6 transcripts

Former President Donald Trump's tax returns, Jan. 6 committee interview transcripts released 05:46

The House committee investigating the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the U.S. Capitol released several batches of transcripts from interviews with key staff and allies of former President Donald Trump. 

The transcripts were released as the committee wound down its work at the end of the 117th Congress before Republicans take control of the House on Tuesday. The interviews, conducted over the past year and a half, were part of the investigation into the Jan. 6 attack and Trump's role in the day's events. 

In its last public hearing, held on Dec. 19, the committee voted to refer to the Justice Department possible criminal charges against Trump and attorney John Eastman

Here are some key details from the transcripts that were released:

John Eastman takes the 5th

John Eastman
FILE: Law professor John Eastman testifies on Capitol Hill on March 16, 2017. Susan Walsh / AP

Eastman, who wrote the controversial memo that proposed that former Vice President Mike Pence had the authority to delay or even reject the certifications of state electors, exercised his Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination on almost every major question. 

When Eastman was asked why he had written in the two-page memo that seven states had transmitted dual slates of electors despite indicating to The New York Times that there were no certifications of alternate electors, he took the Fifth. He also took the Fifth when asked if he disagreed with former Attorney General Bill Barr's comment that Trump's election claims were "bulls***," and when asked about comments he allegedly made on Jan. 6. 

Eastman also pleaded the Fifth when asked if he had recommendations to prevent a recurrence of Jan. 6, 2021.

Hope Hicks says "we all look like domestic terrorists now"

Hope Hicks
FILE: Hope Hicks at the White House on May 19, 2020. Alex Wong / Getty Images

Text messages from Trump's communications director Hope Hicks, one of his most loyal aides, were released by the select committee on Monday. 

In one exchange with Julie Radford, Ivanka Trump's chief of staff, Hicks wrote, "In one day he ended every future opportunity that doesn't include speaking engagements at the local proud boys chapter. And all of us that didn't have jobs lined up will be perpetually unemployed. I'm so mad and upset. We all look like domestic terrorists now."

Radford responded, "Oh yes, I've been crying for an hour." 

Hicks then wrote that "this made us all unemployable. Like untouchable. God I'm so f****** mad."

Text messages
Text message exchange between Hope Hicks and Julie Radford, released by the House Jan. 6 select committee.

Ginni Thomas: "I regret the tone and content" of texts with Meadows

Ginni Thomas
FILE: Conservative activist Virginia "Ginni" Thomas, walks during a break in a voluntary interview with the House panel investigating the Jan. 6 insurrection, on Sept. 29, 2022. Manuel Balce Ceneta / AP

Virginia Thomas, the wife of Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas, attended the rally at the Ellipse on Jan. 6, 2021, before the Capitol was breached. She also exchanged texts with Trump chief of staff Mark Meadows encouraging him to pursue every effort to overturn the election. She expressed the belief that the election had been stolen, writing in one text to Meadows reported by CBS News and the Washington Post, "The majority knows Biden and the Left is attempting the greatest Heist of our History."

Committee vice chair Rep. Liz Cheney, R-Wyo., asked her if she regretted sending the texts, or just that the texts became public.

"I regret the tone and content of these texts," Thomas said. "And other than that, it was an emotional time, and I was texting with a friend who I had known a long time.  So I really find my language imprudent and my choices of sending the context of these emails unfortunate."

Kellyanne Conway texted Melania Trump on Jan. 6 because Trump has a "fear" of her

Kellyanne Conway
FILE: Kellyanne Conway, a White House senior adviser to former President Donald Trump, speaks during an event at the America First Policy Institute on January 28, 2022. Anna Moneymaker / Getty Images

Trump 2016 campaign manager and former top adviser Kellyanne Conway resigned in the summer of 2020 but remained close to the Trump family. Conway told the committee that she was trying to get through to Trump on Jan. 6, contacting Hicks and Trump aide Nick Luna, among others. Conway said she also texted Melania Trump. 

"I texted her, please — something to the effect of, you know, please talk to him, because I know he listens to her," Conway said. "He reserves — he listens to many of us, but he reserves fear for one person, Melania Trump."

Conway said the first lady didn't answer because she didn't have her phone that day.

Stephanie Grisham: Trump would never go to the Capitol because he is "afraid of people"

Stephanie Grisham
FILE: Stephanie Grisham listens as President Trump speaks to reporters on the South Lawn of the White House on Nov. 8, 2019. Andrew Harnik / AP

Melania Trump's former chief of staff Stephanie Grisham, who also served as a White House aide, told the committee that Melania Trump lost her "independent streak" in the final weeks of the administration.

Grisham also said that Trump and former chief of staff Mark Meadows tried to fire the usher at the White House after Election Day because he was preparing for the transition, when President-elect Joe Biden would move into the residence. 

At another point, Grisham said that Trump would not have walked to the Capitol on Jan. 6 because he is "afraid of people."

Cassidy Hutchinson: "They will ruin my life" 

Cassidy Hutchinson
FILE: Cassidy Hutchinson, aide to former White House chief of staff Mark Meadows, testifies during a House Jan. 6 select committee hearing on June 28, 2022.  Tom Williams/CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Images

Cassidy Hutchinson, an aide to Meadows, gave blockbuster public testimony to the House Jan. 6 committee on June 28 last year. In September, she was interviewed again by the committee about the period leading up to her public testimony. She recounted that she couldn't afford a lawyer and was worried about finding a pro bono attorney, 

"I wanted to be able to do this on my own, and I didn't want to feel like I was using an attorney in Trump world where I'd potentially have to be responding to their interests as well," Hutchinson said.

Hutchinson struggled to find an attorney and sought help from people she knew from her work at the White House, including former White House attorney Eric Herschmann.

Eventually, she received a call from Stefan Passantino, a former Trump White House ethics lawyer who represented Hutchinson for her first two interviews with the committee, and did not tell her who was paying for his services. In a February meeting, Hutchinson testified that Passantino told her they would "downplay" her role at the White House and on Jan. 6 when she was interviewed by the select committee.. 

Hutchinson said she was uncomfortable with the arrangement but felt she had no other choice, telling the committee that she said to her mother, "I am completely indebted to these people ... they will ruin my life, Mom, if I do anything they don't want me to." 

Hutchinson said Passantino told her to keep her answers "short" and said that saying "I don't recall" is an "entirely acceptable" response because "they don't know that you recall some of these things." She told the committee that testifying with him as her lawyer was "felt like (she) had Trump looking over (her) shoulder." 

"I knew in some fashion it would get back to him if I said anything that he would find disloyal. And the prospect of that genuinely scared me. You know, I'd seen this world ruin people's lives or try to ruin people's careers. I'd seen how vicious they can be," Hutchinson said. 

She also told the committee that Passantino also mentioned job opportunities and worked to connect her with other people on getting a job, saying, "We're gonna get you taken care of. We want to keep you in the family." 

Passantino said in a statement to CBS News that he represented Hutchinson "honorably, ethically, and fully consistent with her sole interests as she communicated them to me." 

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