Jan. 6 committee holds eighth hearing

By Maureen Chowdhury, Clare Foran, Elise Hammond and Melissa Macaya, CNN

Updated 11:34 a.m. ET, July 22, 2022
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12:20 a.m. ET, July 22, 2022

Key moments from tonight's Jan. 6 committee hearing

From CNN staff

Video released by the House select committee shows former President Donald Trump recording a video statement at the White House on January 7, 2021.
Video released by the House select committee shows former President Donald Trump recording a video statement at the White House on January 7, 2021. (House Select Committee/AP)

The House select committee investigating the Jan. 6 insurrection has wrapped its hearing, outlining what happened in the three-plus hours after former President Donald Trump finished his speech at the Ellipse, telling his supporters to march to the Capitol.

In a prime-time hearing on Thursday, the committee presented new evidence showing Trump's failure to act during the riot, heard live testimony from two former Trump aides who resigned over the attacks and showed clips from former White House counsel Pat Cipollone’s closed-door deposition earlier this month.

Committee member Rep. Elaine Luria, a Democrat from Virginia, said that Trump was taken back to the White House after his speech. She said “within 15 minutes of leaving the stage,” a White House aide told Trump the Capitol was under attack. She said witnesses told the committee that the then-President went to a dining room off the Oval Office where he watched Fox News for two and a half hours. 

Several witnesses with first-hand knowledge of what was happening inside the White House on Jan. 6 told the committee that Trump did not place a single call to any of his law enforcement or national security officials as the Capitol attack was unfolding, according to previously unseen video testimony played during Thursday's hearing.

Sarah Matthews, a former Trump deputy press secretary, testified that Trump could have made a statement to Americans and stopped the violence “almost instantly” if he wanted to. She also testified that Trump was resisting sending a message of peace to rioters.

Here are the key moments from the hearing:

  • Calls for action: The former White House counsel told the committee that he was joined by a number of top Trump advisers in pushing the former President to issue a strong condemnation of the attack. The group included Ivanka Trump and former chief of staff Mark Meadows, Cipollone said in a clip of his closed-door testimony earlier this month. Cipollone also implied Trump was alone in his opposition to taking further action to convince rioters at the US Capitol to disperse and go home. 
  • Trump’s outtakes: The committee played outtakes from footage of Trump’s video message to rioters on Jan. 6, 2021, showing that Trump wanted to claim that the vast majority of his supporters who had stormed the US Capitol were acting "peacefully." Ultimately, these remarks were not the remarks the President delivered in the Rose Garden, Rep. Luria said, referring to the video Trump eventually sent out telling his supporters, "We love you." The committee showed more outtakes from footage of Trump having difficulty working through efforts to tape a message to his supporters on Jan. 7, 2021, the day after the Capitol riot. Trump struggled to condemn the violence at the Capitol, and refused to say “the election is over,” according to the outtakes. The clips were part of a production of a speech where Trump refused to say the election results had not been settled and attempted to call the rioters patriots. 
  • Details on Pence’s frantic evacuation from the Senate: Former Vice President Mike Pence's security detail was so concerned for safety inside the Capitol as rioters broke into the building, that they "were starting to fear for their own lives," one committee witness said. The moments were so tense, "there were calls to say goodbye to family members," an unidentified national security professional told the committee in a recorded interview. The committee also revealed, for the first time, Secret Service radio traffic as agents assessed the Senate stairwell where Pence would be evacuated, while rioters were confronting police in a hallway downstairs at the same time. The video played Thursday spliced together the surveillance tapes with the security footage and sound of Pence's detail, bringing into focus how near a miss Pence and his detail experienced.
  • Trump’s tweet about Pence: In her testimony, Matthews said the tweet was effectively a "green light" to rioters storming the Capitol. She went on to say, "I've seen the impact that his words have on his supporters. They truly latch on to every word and every tweet that he says." Matt Pottinger, a former National Security adviser, called the tweet essentially “fuel being poured on the fire" on the day of the insurrection.
  • Trump’s last tweet on Jan. 6: The committee played several taped interviews with White House staffers denouncing Trump’s last tweet on Jan. 6, 2021, when he told rioters he loved them and that they should remember the day forever. “To my mind, it was a day that should be remembered in infamy. That wasn’t the tenor of this tweet,” Greg Jacob, former Vice President Mike Pence's chief counsel, told the committee. Matthews testified that the tweet cemented her decision to resign, calling Jan. 6 2021, “one of the darkest days in our nation's history.”
  • Donald Trump Jr’s testimony: For the first time, the committee played audio of Trump Jr.’s closed-door deposition. In the testimony, the committee asked Trump Jr. about his texts with Trump’s chief of staff Mark Meadows during the insurrection. As CNN has previously reported, Trump Jr. texted Meadows that his dad has “got to condemn this sh*t ASAP,” and that his tweets in the earlier afternoon weren’t enough. Meadows told Trump Jr. that he agreed, and Trump Jr. replied, “this one you go to the mattresses on. They will try to f**k his entire legacy on this if it gets worse.”
  • More hearings to come: Committee members said the panel is receiving an overwhelming amount of evidence and they struggled to fit everything within the time constraints of Thursday’s prime-time hearing and were forced to cut some things. Chairman Rep. Bennie Thompson said in taped remarks at the beginning of the hearing, after testing positive for Covid-19, that the hearings will reconvene in September.

Read takeaways from tonight's hearing here.

11:01 p.m. ET, July 21, 2022

Cheney applauds courage of female witnesses that stepped forward for the committee's hearings

From CNN's Katelyn Polantz

US Rep. Liz Cheney delivers closing remarks on Thursday.
US Rep. Liz Cheney delivers closing remarks on Thursday. (Tasos Katopodis/Getty Images)

Republican Rep. Liz Cheney, Jan. 6 select committee vice chair, applauded the women who have shone a light on the attempts to overturn the election by providing their congressional testimony, as she neared the conclusion of the prime-time hearing Thursday. 

Cheney called the committee's female live witnesses "an inspiration to American women, to American girls."  

Cheney first named Cassidy Hutchinson, a former Trump White House aide and surprise, 26-year-old witness who gave live testimony three weeks ago about what she witnessed in the West Wing and backstage at Trump's rally. 

"She sat here alone, took the oath and testified before millions of Americans," Cheney said.

"She knew all along she would be attacked by President Trump, and by the 50, 60 and 70-year-old men who hide themselves behind executive privilege. But like our witnesses today, she has courage, and she did it anyway." 

Cheney also nodded to four other women who have taken part in the hearings live: Sarah Matthews, a White House official who resigned and told her story as one of the witnesses Thursday; Officer Caroline Edwards, who was injured in the Capitol attack; and Wandrea "Shaye" Moss and Ruby Freeman, a mother-daughter pair who both worked at the Georgia ballot counting then became central to false conspiracy theories and, subsequently, Trump supporters' harassment campaigns. 

"We owe a debt to all those who have and will appear here," Cheney said. 

11:15 p.m. ET, July 21, 2022

Trump campaign aides were dismayed by his refusal to acknowledge Capitol officer's death

From CNN's Gabby Orr

Two of Trump's top campaign aides were dismayed by his refusal to acknowledge the death of Capitol Police Officer Brian Sicknick on Jan. 7, 2021, according to text messages shown by the House Select Committee on Thursday. 

"Shitty not to have even acknowledged the death of the Capitol Police officer," Tim Murtaugh, then the communications director for Trump's campaign texted his deputy Matt Wolking on Jan. 9, 2021.

Wolking responded, "That is enraging to me. Everything he said about supporting law enforcement was a lie." 

Murtaugh claimed that Trump deliberately avoided mentioning Sicknick, who died after succumbing to injuries he sustained during the riot, because "he'd be implicitly faulting the mob" if he did so. 

"And he won't do that, because they're his people. And he would also be close to acknowledging that what he lit at the rally got out of control. No way he acknowledges something that could ultimately be called his fault," Murtaugh added, according to text messages shown by the House panel.  

Sicknick suffered two strokes and died the day after he was confronted by protesters on Capitol Hill on Jan. 6, 2021. His mother slammed Trump in an interview with CNN last month for not once offering his condolences — privately or publicly. 

10:48 p.m. ET, July 21, 2022

Trump's Jan. 7 video message took about an hour to tape

From CNN's Kevin Liptak and Kaitlan Collins

(January 6 Committee Exhibit)
(January 6 Committee Exhibit)

The outtakes shown during Thursday’s hearing of former President Trump’s video on Jan. 7 reflected only a portion of a lengthy taping session in the White House.  

A White House official and a person familiar with the matter said the taping lasted roughly an hour as Trump and his aides, including his daughter Ivanka, made multiple attempts at recording the 3-minute video. 

The taping in the Diplomatic Reception Room stretched across the hour because of Trump’s multiple revisions and his struggles reading from the prompter, one of the people said. 

10:56 p.m. ET, July 21, 2022

"I don't want to say the election's over": Committee shows Trump's outtakes from Jan. 7 video message

From CNN's Zachary Cohen 

Former President Trump struggled to condemn the violence at the US Capitol a day after it took place, and refused to say “the election is over,” according to outtakes from his Jan. 7, 2021, video message played during Thursday’s House Select Committee hearing. 

“I don’t want to say the election’s over, I just want to say 'Congress has certified the results' without saying the election’s over, okay?” Trump says in one of the outtakes after reading the line and stopping. 

“If you broke the law … can’t say that,” Trump says in another outtake while reading the remarks as written, appearing to take issue with how forcefully he was condemning the rioters and also having trouble with the diction of the text itself during certain portions of the remarks.  

At various points, Trump grew frustrated by his own inability to read the statement as written, slapping the podium. 

Ivanka Trump can be heard in the background, off-camera giving her father advice and direction in some of the outtakes.

CNN reported Wednesday that the committee planned to show footage of Trump having difficulty working through efforts to tape a message to his supporters on Jan. 7, 2021. 

Watch Trump's outtakes here:

11:17 p.m. ET, July 21, 2022

Trump's conduct on Jan. 6 is a "stain on our history," GOP Rep. Kinzinger says

(Patrick Semansky/AP)
(Patrick Semansky/AP)

Republican Rep. Adam Kinzinger, a Jan. 6 select committee member, said former President Trump's conduct on Jan. 6, 2021, "is a stain on our history" and was a "complete dereliction of his duty to our nation."

"Whatever your politics, whatever you think about the outcome of the election, we as Americans must all agree on this. Donald Trump's conduct on Jan. 6 was a supreme violation of his oath of office and a complete dereliction of his duty to our nation. It is a stain on our history. It is a dishonor to all those who have sacrificed and died in service of our democracy," Kinzinger said during his closing statements.

Kinzinger added that when the committee presents the findings from its investigation it will "recommend changes to laws and policies to guard against another Jan. 6," warning that the forces Trump "ignited" are still a present threat.

"The reason that's imperative is that the forces Donald Trump ignited that day have not gone away. The militant, intolerant ideologies, the militias, the alienation and the disaffection, the weird fantasies and disinformation — they're all still out there, ready to go. That's the elephant in the room. But if Jan. 6 has reminded us of anything, I pray it has reminded us of this — laws are just words on paper," he said.

"They mean nothing without public servants dedicated to the rule of law and who are held accountable by a public that believes oaths matter more than party tribalism or the cheap thrill of scoring political points. We, the people, must demand more of our politicians and ourselves. Oaths matter. Character matters. Truth matters. If we do not renew our faith and commitment to these principles, this great experiment of ours, our shining beacon on a hill, will not endure," he continued.

Watch here:

10:51 p.m. ET, July 21, 2022

Jan. 6 fed perception that "emboldened our enemies," Trump's former deputy national security adviser says

From CNN's Jeremy Herb

Matthew Pottinger testifies on Thursday.
Matthew Pottinger testifies on Thursday. (Patrick Semansky/AP)

Matthew Pottinger, the Trump administration deputy national security adviser who resigned in protest after Jan. 6, 2021, told the House select committee Thursday that the events of January 6 emboldened America’s enemies.

“Our national security was harmed in a different way by the sixth of January and that is, I think it emboldened our enemies by helping give them ammunition to feed a narrative that our system of government doesn't work, that the United States is in decline,” Pottinger said. “China, the Putin regime in Russia, Tehran, they're fond of pushing those kinds of narratives — and by the way, they're wrong.”

Pottinger added that he was concerned US adversaries would be tempted to test US resolve, noting that in late December Trump sent a warning to Iran after an Iranian-backed attack on the US embassy in Baghdad. 

Pottinger also testified about how the events off Jan. 6 alarmed US allies who were concerned about what it meant for American democracy.

“I heard from a lot of friends in Europe, in Asia, allies, close friends and supporters of the United States that they were concerned about the health of our democracy,” he said. “And so I think it's incumbent upon us to put their minds at ease to put our own hearts at ease, by investigating what happened on the sixth and making sure that it never happens again.”

10:40 p.m. ET, July 21, 2022

Trump's Labor Secretary formally requested a Cabinet meeting on the heels of the Capitol attack

From CNN's Katelyn Polantz


Then-Secretary of Labor Eugene Scalia wrote a memo to President Trump after the Capitol riot asking if the Cabinet could convene — a more formal entreaty than was previously known to have existed, and a hint at how Trump's appointees attempted to confront him after the violence. 

On the morning of Jan.7, 2021, "The most constructive thing I could think of was to seek a meeting of the Cabinet," Scalia said in a taped interview the House select committee played. "I thought that trying to work within the administration to steady the ship was likely to have greater value than resigning, after which point I would have been powerless to really affect things within the administration."

His memo to Trump was titled "Request for Cabinet Meeting," the committee showed. 

The documents said: "I believe it is important to know that while President, you will no longer publicly question the election results — after Wednesday, no one can deny this is harmful."

"A Cabinet meeting is also an opportunity for us to discuss how the Cabinet and senior White House advisers, acting within our respective roles, can assist as you make the remaining important decisions of your Administration," Scalia's memo also said. 

Scalia also put in writing that he believed "private citizens" had "served [Trump] poorly with their advice," according to the document.

Former White House counsel Pat Cipollone also told the committee about the Cabinet meeting discussion, and Mark Milley, the then-joint chiefs of staff chairman, spoke in his own interview about Cabinet members' concern with Trump's well-being. 

Scalia did not appear to raise the possibility the Cabinet could consider removing Trump from the presidency using the 25th Amendment, though that had been raised by members of Congress at the time. 

Still, a formal Cabinet meeting and the Cabinet making demands of Trump were serious steps within the executive branch.

10:14 p.m. ET, July 21, 2022

Jan. 6 "was one of the darkest days in our nation's history," former deputy press secretary says

(January 6 Committee Exhibit)
(January 6 Committee Exhibit)

Sarah Matthews, a former Trump deputy press secretary, called Jan. 6, 2021, "one of the darkest days in our nation's history" during her testimony at the House select committees eighth public hearing this summer.

Matthews said because of Trump's response to the insurrection earlier in the day, she had already decided to resign, but a tweet by then-President Trump at 6:01 p.m. ET further cemented that decision.

Trump said in the tweet: "These are the things and events that happen when a sacred landslide election victory is so unceremoniously & viciously stripped away from great patriots who have been badly & unfairly treated for so long. Go home with love & in peace. Remember this day forever."

"I thought that Jan. 6, 2021, was one of the darkest days in our nation's history and President Trump was treating it as a celebratory occasion with that tweet and so it just further cemented my decision to resign," Matthews testified.