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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9:13 p.m. ET, July 21, 2022

Cipollone describes how he and others pushed for stronger condemnation of riot

From CNN's Katelyn Polantz

Recorded comments from former White House counsel Pat Cipollone are played on a screen during Thursday's hearing.
Recorded comments from former White House counsel Pat Cipollone are played on a screen during Thursday's hearing. (Al Drago/Pool/Reuters)

Former White House counsel Pat Cipollone told the House select committee that on Jan. 6 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 Mark Meadows, he said.  

“I think I was pretty clear there needed to be an immediate and forceful response, statement, that people need to leave the Capitol now,” he said. 

A committee investigator then asked him: "So your advice was tell people to leave the Capitol, and that took over two hours when there were subsequent statements made, tweets put forth, that in your view were insufficient. Did you continue ... up until 4:17 continue, you and others, to push for a stronger statement?" 

"Yes," Cipollone responded. 

"Were you joined in that effort by Ivanka Trump?" 

"Yes," Cipollone said again—before the investigator could even finish the question. 

He confirmed with a series of sharp “yeses” that White House adviser Eric Herschmann, another White House counsel's office attorney Pat Philbin and White House chief of staff Mark Meadows were echoing him as well. 

Cipollone declined to describe his direct conversations with Trump. Then he described “generically” saying people should be told to leave the Capitol, and fast. 

But Cipollone said he spoke to Meadows, "expressing my opinion very forcefully, that this needs to be done," he said, according to the video. 

Watch moment here:

8:55 p.m. ET, July 21, 2022

Sarah Matthews is testifying. Here's what to know about the former Trump White House aide.

From CNN's Evan Perez and Zachary Cohen

Sarah Matthews appears before the House select committee on Thursday.
Sarah Matthews appears before the House select committee on Thursday. (J. Scott Applewhite/AP)

Former Trump White House aide Sarah Matthews is now testifying. She previously served as deputy White House press secretary until resigning shortly after Jan. 6, 2021.

When she resigned, CNN previously reported Matthews said she was honored to serve in Trump's administration but "was deeply disturbed by what I saw." She said at the time, "Our nation needs a peaceful transfer of power."

After another former Trump White House aide, Cassidy Hutchinson, publicly testified before the committee last week, Matthews tweeted, "Anyone downplaying Cassidy Hutchinson's role or her access in the West Wing either doesn't understand how the Trump (White House) worked or is attempting to discredit her because they're scared of how damning this testimony is."

Thursday's hearing will mark the panel's second prime-time session, and committee members have said it will examine Trump's inaction for 187 minutes while the US Capitol riot was unfolding.

8:53 p.m. ET, July 21, 2022

Trump made no calls to law enforcement or military leaders during Jan. 6 riot, committee says

From CNN's Zachary Cohen and Clare Foran

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

Democratic Rep. Elaine Luria from Virginia, a member of the panel, stated: "We have confirmed in numerous interviews with senior law enforcement and military leaders, Vice President Pence's staff and DC government officials — none of them, not one, heard from President Trump that day. He did not call to issue orders. He did not call to offer assistance."

Former officials who were with Trump as he watched the riot unfold on television, including then-White House counsel Pat Cipollone and Trump’s body man Nick Luna, told the committee they had no knowledge of the former President making a single call to the heads of various agencies who could have responded to the violence, including the Secretary of Defense or Attorney General. 

Keith Kellogg, Pence’s national security adviser who was also with Trump that day, testified that he never heard the former President ask for the National Guard or a law enforcement response. 

Kellogg also reaffirmed that he would have been aware if Trump had made such an ask. 

Chairman of the Joint Chiefs Gen. Mark Milley told the House Select Committee that he was astonished by the fact that he never heard from Trump as the Capitol attack was unfolding – suggesting his failure to act amounted to an abdication of his duties as commander in chief, according to previously unseen video from his close-door deposition.

“You know, you’re the Commander in Chief. You’ve got an assault going on on the Capitol of the United States of America and there’s nothing? No call? Nothing? Zero?” he said in the clip.

9:05 p.m. ET, July 21, 2022

The committee is playing clips from Pat Cipollone's deposition. Here's what to know about him.

From CNN's Sam Woodward and Pamela Brown

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

Former Trump White House counsel Pat Cipollone testified before the committee in a closed-door interview under a subpoena at the beginning of July.

Clips of the eight-hour testimony were played at the House select committee's prime-time hearing on Thursday. Some video from the testimony was already shown at the committee's seventh hearing last week that focused on how the violent mob came together and the role of extremist groups.

Here are some of the key things he has said in the pieces of the deposition played at the previous hearing:

  • He did not think there was sufficient evidence of election fraud: In his testimony, Cipollone said he agreed with former Attorney General Bill Barr, who concluded there was insufficient evidence of election fraud. He recounted former chief of staff Mark Meadows saying in Nov. 2020 that then-President Trump should have conceded, to which he said he agreed.
  • He was verbally attacked during the Dec. 18, 2020 meeting at the White House. Cipollone told the committee he walked into the Dec.18 meeting attended by Trump, former Trump campaign lawyer Sidney Powell, former national security adviser Michael Flynn and former Overstock CEO Patrick Byrne. The meeting, which lasted six hours, was described as “unhinged” by former Trump White House aide Cassidy Hutchinson after hearing screaming coming from the West Wing. Ideas circulated about overturning the election including Flynn's suggestion to invoke martial law and inspection of voting machines. “I don’t think any of these people were providing the President with good advice,” Cipollone told the committee.
  • He thought it was a “terrible idea” for the President to follow a plan to seize election machines: proposal for the federal government to seize election machines was "a terrible idea," Cipollone told the committee. "That's not how we do things in the United States. There's no legal authority to do that," Cipollone said.
8:49 p.m. ET, July 21, 2022

Trump knew the Capitol was under attack 15 minutes after finishing his Jan. 6 speech, committee says

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

After the Secret Service refused to take then-President Donald Trump to the Capitol with his supporters on Jan. 6, 2021, he went back to the White House, Democratic Rep. Elaine Luria said. The committee's eighth hearing this summer is focusing on what Trump was doing for more than three hours after finishing his speech at the Ellipse.

The committee showed a photo of Trump inside the Oval Office with his coat on, after returning from the rally. A White House employee told Trump "as soon as he returned to the Oval" about the riot at the Capitol, Luria said.

"Within 15 minutes of leaving the stage, President Trump knew that the Capitol was besieged and under attack," she said.

At 1:25 p.m. ET Trump went to the private dining room off the Oval Office, Luria said, adding he stayed there until 4 p.m. ET.

She said witnesses told the committee that then-President sat at his "usual spot" at the head of the table facing the television on the wall.

"We know from the employee that the TV was turned to Fox News all afternoon," she said. Luria said other witnesses also confirmed that Trump was in the dining room with the TV on for more than two and a half hours.

9:01 p.m. ET, July 21, 2022

Trump spent bulk of Jan. 6 in Oval dining room, watching Fox News

From CNN's Gabby Orr

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

Within 15 minutes of ending his remarks at the "Stop the Steal" rally on Jan. 6, then-President Trump was made aware that his supporters had stormed the US Capitol, members of the House Select Committee probing the riot revealed in a hearing Thursday. 

According to a timeline provided by lawmakers on the panel, Trump entered his private dining room just off the Oval Office at 1:25 p.m. ET that afternoon, roughly 20 minutes after hundreds of his supporters first breached the building and 15 minutes after he left the stage.  

"From 1:25 until after 4:00, the President stayed in his dining room," the committee said, noting that he was watching Fox News on a television located in the room nearly the entire time, according to witness testimony. 

Through interviews with former aides familiar his Trump's movements that day, the committee was able to confirm that Trump was watching television the entire time he was in the executive dining room attached to the Oval Office. The committee displayed White House call logs and the presidential daily diary from Jan. 6, which do not show any incoming or outgoing calls from 11:06 a.m. ET to 6:54 p.m. ET, nor has the committee uncovered any official photos of Trump during the period that the Capitol was under attack.  

The chief White House photographer told the House panel that she was specifically told, "no photographs" during those hours after she expressed an interest in documenting the historic events unfolding that day. 

CNN has previously reported that Trump spent hours upon end in his private dining room during much of his presidency. Often labeled as "executive time" on his public schedule, he would routinely eat meals alone – or with senior aides – in the smaller dining room off the Oval while watching cable news or previously taped recordings of his favorite Fox News shows. 

8:49 p.m. ET, July 21, 2022

Trump "didn’t want anything done" as his supporters stormed the Capitol

From CNN's Hannah Rabinowitz

Eric Herschmann, a lawyer who worked in the Trump White House, told Pat Cipollone, the White House counsel for Donald Trump, that Trump “didn’t want anything done” as his supporters stormed the Capitol on Jan. 6, the select committee said Thursday.

According to the committee, the Pentagon called the White House to coordinate a response as the attack at the Capitol unfolded. Herschmann and Cipollone discussed the call, according to new testimony from a former White House employee with national security responsibilities. 

“The President didn’t want anything done,” Herschmann told Cipollone, according to the testimony. Cipollone took the call from the Pentagon himself, Representative Elaine Luria said.

The committee presented similar testimony from Cassidy Hutchinson, who was an aide to former White House chief of staff Mark Meadows. Hutchinson testified that she witnessed Cipollone rush to Meadows’ office on January 6 and demand a meeting with Trump. 

“Mark looked up at him and said, 'he doesn't want to do anything, Pat,'" Hutchinson testified.

8:42 p.m. ET, July 21, 2022

Trump White House told official photographer "no photographs" during riot

From CNN's Marshall Cohen

Rep. Elaine Luria, a Virginia Democrat co-leading Thursday’s hearing, said that the chief photographer in the Trump White House was instructed not to take photographs for several hours on Jan. 6.

“The chief White House photographer wanted to take pictures because it was, in her words, ‘very important for his archives and for history,’” Luria said. “But she was told, quote, ‘no photographs.’”

As a result, there are not any photographs of then-President Donald Trump during what Luria called the “critical period” between Trump’s return to the Oval Office at 1:21 p.m. ET and when he recorded a videotaped message in the Rose Garden after 4 p.m. ET.

At previous hearings, the committee has aired clips of a deposition that the chief photographer, Shealah Craighead, gave to the panel. But they haven’t yet played any of Craighead’s clips yet on Thursday. 

9:05 p.m. ET, July 21, 2022

Committee shows additional testimony about Trump's motorcade altercation on Jan. 6

From CNN's Hannah Rabinowitz

Rep. Elaine Luria, a Democrat from Virginia, said that the House select committee has information from two additional sources that partially corroborate Cassidy Hutchinson’s testimony that former President Trump lunged at his Secret Service detail when he was not permitted to travel to the Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021.

The Secret Service said soon after her testimony that it will make the agents involved in the scene available to testify under oath, and that they will say that the incident itself did not occur.

The story became the focal point for Trump allies attempting to discredit Hutchinson’s powerful testimony. The committee had not previously released evidence corroborating the anecdote from other witnesses.

One witness is a “former White House employee with national security responsibilities,” Luria said.

The individual told the committee that Tony Ornato, then-White House deputy chief of staff and a current member of the Secret Service, told him the same story that Hutchinson testified Ornato had told her – that Trump was “irate” when Robert Engel, the Secret Service agent in charge on Jan. 6, 2021, would not take him to the Capitol.  

DC Police Sergeant Mark Robinson.
DC Police Sergeant Mark Robinson. (January 6 Committee Exhibit)

The second witness is retired DC Police Sergeant Mark Robinson. Robinson was in Trump’s motorcade that day, and was told by the Secret Service agent responsible for the motorcade that Trump had a “heated” discussion with his detail about going to the Capitol.

Robinson told the committee that he had been in “over one hundred” motorcades with Trump, and that he had never heard of that type of exchange before January 6. 

He also told the committee that when the motorcade returned to the White House, the motorcade was put on “standby” for more than 45 minutes in case Trump went to the Capitol. 

The committee will hear more testimony under oath about the interaction in the coming weeks, Luria said.