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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9:01 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. 

9:22 p.m. ET, July 21, 2022

Committee says national security official confirmed White House was aware of weapons in crowd on Jan. 6

From CNN's Jeremy Herb

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

The House Jan. 6 committee says a national security official who worked in the Trump administration testified since the panel’s last hearing that the White House was aware of reports of weapons in the crowd on the morning of Jan. 6, 2021.

Rep. Elaine Luria, a Democrat from Virginia, said that the official was a “security professional working in the White House complex on January 6,” who told the panel the White House “was aware of multiple reports of weapons in the crowd that morning.”

The committee did not identify the official and masked their identity in video clips that were played, because of concerns of “retribution,” Luria said.

The official was asked about the idea of the President walking to the Capitol on Jan. 6 after his speech.

“To be completely honest, we were all in a state of shock,” the official said. “We all knew what that implicated and what that meant, that this was no longer a rally, that this was going to move to something else if he physically walked to the Capitol. I don’t know if you want to use the word — insurrection, coup, whatever — we all knew that this would move from a normal democratic, you know, public event into something else.”

Asked what was driving the concerns, the official added: “The President wanted to lead tens of thousands of people to the Capitol. I think that was enough grounds for us to be alarmed.” 

The committee has previously presented evidence of weapons in the crowd the morning of Jan. 6, 2021, as former White House aide Cassidy Hutchinson testified she overhead Trump telling then-White House chief of staff Mark Meadows saying he did not care if his supporters were armed.

"I overheard the President say something to the effect of 'I don't F-ing care that they have weapons,” Hutchinson said. “They're not here to hurt me. Take the F-ing mags away. Let my people in, they can march to the Capitol from here. Let the people in, take the F-ing mags away."

Watch moment here.

8:38 p.m. ET, July 21, 2022

Trump's former deputy national security adviser is testifying

From CNN's Jeremy Herb and Marshall Cohen

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

Matthew Pottinger, who served on former President Trump's National Security Council before resigning in the immediate aftermath of Jan. 6, 2021, is now testifying at the House select committee's eighth public hearing.

Pottinger told the committee that he was at the White House for most of the day on Jan. 6, 2021.

The committee's vice chairwoman, Republican Rep. Liz Cheney of Wyoming, described Pottinger like this during one of the committee's previous hearings: "A former Marine intelligence officer who served in the White House for four years, including — including as deputy national security adviser, was in the vicinity of the Oval Office at various points throughout the day."

The committee previously played a video clip from Pottinger's interview in which he described the moment he knew it was the moment to resign.

"One of my staff brought me a printout of a tweet by the President, and the tweet said something to the effect that Mike Pence, the vice president, didn't have the courage to do what he — what should have been done. I — I read that tweet and made a decision at that moment to resign. That's where I knew that I was leaving that day once I read that tweet," he said in the interview.

The committee is using the hearing to show, minute-by-minute, how Trump failed to make any effort to tell the rioters to leave the Capitol or to try to help lawmakers and then-Vice President Mike Pence on Jan. 6, 2021. Like past hearings, the committee is likely to rely on witness testimony of those who were around Trump or nearby in the West Wing, in order to tell the narrative of what happened through the words of Trump's inner circle.

8:28 p.m. ET, July 21, 2022

Rep. Luria: Trump watched attack as staff "begged him to do what is expected of any American president"

From CNN's Clare Foran

US Rep. Elaine Luria speaks during Thursday's hearing.
US Rep. Elaine Luria speaks during Thursday's hearing. (Saul Loeb/AFP/Getty Images)

Democratic Rep. Elaine Luria, a Virginia Democrat and member of the committee, previewed what the panel will outline during tonight's hearing, including saying that former President Trump watched on television while his supporters attacked the Capitol amid pleas from senior staff, advisers, and family members.

"What you will learn is that President Trump sat in his dining room and watched the attack on television while his senior-most staff, closest advisers, and family members begged him to do what is expected of any American president," she said.

Read more here.

8:24 p.m. ET, July 21, 2022

The panel is detailing the 187 minutes of Trump's inaction on Jan. 6. Here are key things that happened. 

From CNN's Jeremy Herb and Marshall Cohen

Former President Donald Trump speaks during a rally on January 6, 2021.
Former President Donald Trump speaks during a rally on January 6, 2021. (Evan Vucci/AP)

Democratic Rep. Elaine Luria of Virginia is detailing what happened during the little more than three hours that the panel has argued then-President Donald Trump was derelict in his duties on Jan. 6, 2021.

The 187 minutes began at 1:10 p.m. ET, in the final moments of Trump’s speech at the Ellipse, when he told his supporters to go to the Capitol.

“So we're going to walk down Pennsylvania Avenue — I love Pennsylvania Avenue — and we're going to the Capitol. And we're going to try and give — the Democrats are hopeless, they're never voting for anything, not even one vote. But we're going to try and give our Republicans — the weak ones, because the strong ones don't need any of our help — we're going to try and give them the kind of pride and boldness that they need to take back our country. So let's walk down Pennsylvania Avenue," Trump said.

After leaving the stage at the Ellipse, Trump got into his motorcade and angrily tried to convince his drivers to take him to the Capitol, according to testimony from Trump White House aide Cassidy Hutchinson. The agents refused, telling him that the scene was too dangerous and unstable.

Trump then watched TV news coverage of the chaos unfolding at the Capitol, according to a book by Washington Post reporters Bob Woodward and Robert Costa, and according to then-White House press secretary Stephanie Grisham, who said Trump was "gleefully" watching the news.

Trump posted three tweets during this critical timeframe. The first tweet criticized Pence for refusing to overturn the election. The second and third tweets told the rioters to "stay peaceful" and to "respect the law" — but notably, Trump did not instruct his supporters to leave the Capitol.

During the 187 minutes, a wide array of Republican lawmakers, former Trump officials and conservative media personalities texted Meadows, saying Trump needed to intervene, CNN has previously reported. 

And the 187 minutes ended at 4:17 p.m. ET, when Trump tweeted out a video telling his supporters to leave the Capitol. He also heaped praise on the rioters and repeated his debunked lies about the election, which had spurred the riot in the first place.

“I know your pain. I know you’re hurt. We had an election that was stolen from us. It was a landslide election, and everyone knows it, especially the other side, but you have to go home now. We have to have peace. We have to have law and order. We have to respect our great people in law and order. We don’t want anybody hurt. It’s a very tough period of time. There’s never been a time like this where such a thing happened, where they could take it away from all of us, from me, from you, from our country. This was a fraudulent election, but we can’t play into the hands of these people. We have to have peace. So, go home. We love you. You’re very special. You’ve seen what happens. You see the way others are treated that are so bad and so evil. I know how you feel. But go home and go home at peace," Trump said in the video.

Why this matters: This timeframe is central to the committee's mission. Republican Rep. Liz Cheney of Wyoming, the committee's GOP vice chair, has repeatedly said that the evidence obtained by the panel about these 187 minutes provides a clear example of Trump's "supreme dereliction of duty" throughout the insurrection.

The panel's Democratic chairman, Rep. Bennie Thompson of Mississippi, said earlier this year, "The President was told, 'You need to say directly to your people to go home, leave the Capitol.' And so, it took over 187 minutes to make that simple statement. Something's wrong with that."

Read more about the 187 minutes here.

8:22 p.m. ET, July 21, 2022

"The dam has begun to break": Cheney says on new evidence coming into the select committee

US Rep. Liz Cheney, the committee's vice chairwoman, speaks at the start of Thursday's hearing.
US Rep. Liz Cheney, the committee's vice chairwoman, speaks at the start of Thursday's hearing. (Jonathan Ernst/Reuters)

Republican Rep. Liz Cheney, the vice chair of the Jan. 6 select committee, said that over the course of the hearings, new evidence has come in.

"In the course of these hearings, we have received new evidence, and new witnesses have bravely stepped forward. Efforts to litigate and overcome immunity and executive privilege claims have been successful and those continue. Doors have opened, new subpoenas have been issued, and the dam has begun to break," Cheney said during her opening remarks.

She added, "We have far more evidence to share with the American people and more to gather. So, our committee will spend August pursuing emerging information on multiple fronts, before convening further hearings this September."