(WASHINGTON) — After more than a year of investigation, the House Jan. 6 committee on Thursday ended what was possibly its last public hearing in historic fashion — voting to subpoena former President Donald Trump.
The hearing featured no live witnesses but did include never-before-seen footage and documents collected by the panel during its two-month hiatus since its last hearing in July.
Videos showed congressional leaders fleeing the Capitol as rioters closed in on the complex, and communication between the Secret Service and other law enforcement agencies revealed the many warnings and tips the agency received about possible violence.
In a dramatic finish, the committee said there’s one more person they — and the American people — need to hear from: Trump himself.
“Our duty today is to our country and our children and our constitution,” vice chair Liz Cheney, R-Wyo., said in her closing statement. “We are obligated to seek answers directly from the man who set this all in motion. And every American is entitled to those answers, so we can act now to protect our republic.”
Here are the key takeaways from Thursday’s hearing:
Committee unanimous in vote to subpoena Trump
Each committee member — seven Democrats and two Republicans — voted “aye” on a resolution offered by Cheney to compel Trump’s cooperation.
The resolution directs chair Bennie Thompson, D-Miss., to issue a subpoena for relevant documents and testimony under oath from Trump in connection with the Jan. 6 attack.
Thompson argued there is precedent for Congress to compel the testimony of a president but recognized it was a “serious and extraordinary action.”
“That’s why we want to take this step in full view of the American people, especially because the subject matter at issue is so important to the American people and the stakes are so high to our future and our democracy,” he said.
Trump responded to the committee’s action for the first time in a post to Truth Social, his conservative social media platform.
“Why didn’t the Unselect Committee ask me to testify months ago?” he wrote while calling the committee a “total BUST.”
“Why did they wait until the very end, the final moments of their last meeting?” he asked again.
Secret Service was concerned leading up to, during the insurrection
New Secret Service communications unearthed by the House committee showed agents were concerned in the days before the insurrection about the threat of violence and during the riot about then-Vice President Mike Pence’s safety.
One tip the agency received before the attack, the committee said, indicated that the Proud Boys, a far-right group, “think[s] that they will have a large enough group to march into DC armed and will outnumber the police so they can’t be stopped.”
“Their plan is to literally kill people. Please please take this tip seriously and investigate further,” the tip showed by the committee read.
On the day of the insurrection, other communications presented showed how agents spotted members of the mob with firearms and other weapons.
“With so many weapons so far, you wonder how many are unknown. Could be sporty after dark,” one agent wrote in a message to a colleague. “No doubt. The people at the Ellipse said they are moving to the Capitol after the POTUS speech,” a second agent responded, referencing the speech Trump was giving before the riot.
As the crowd ransacked the Capitol, committee evidence showed, the agency also grew concerned about the safety for Pence after Trump posted a broadside on Twitter lambasting him for not blocking the certification of the 2020 Electoral College results.
“POTUS just tweeted about Pence, probably not going to be good for Pence,” one agent said in a chat with a colleague. Another colleague responded that the tweet had received over 24,000 likes in under two minutes.
The messages dovetail with videos showing rioters saying Pence “screwed” them and chants of “hang Mike Pence” ringing out around the Capitol.
Former Twitter employee Anika Collier Navaroli, in testimony featured Thursday, said Trump’s tweet helped spark calls for Pence’s “execution.”
New footage shows Pelosi, congressional leaders reacting to the attack
Videos aired Thursday showed House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and other lawmakers reacting to the events of Jan. 6 in real-time.
Pelosi spoke to or called various officials, including Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam and then-acting Attorney General Jeff Rosen and finally, then-Vice President Mike Pence.
The video was shot by Alexandra Pelosi, a filmmaker and the speaker’s daughter, who had been filming the day’s events as a part of a documentary project.
Pelosi was seen at times engaged in a bipartisan effort, huddling with Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer and House Minority Whip Steve Scalise, often in discussion about how to move forward to certify the 2020 election results in a timely manner.
“We’ve got … to finish the proceedings or else they will have a complete victory,” Pelosi is heard saying as she is leaving the Capitol complex while rioters gather outside. “There has to be some way we can maintain the sense that people have, that there’s some security or some confidence that the government can function. And that we can elect the president of the United States.”
At one point, after being informed that individuals still on the House floor were putting on tear gas masks in anticipation of a breach, Pelosi said: “Can you believe this?”
The committee also played new footage of Pelosi speaking with Pence as Trump supporters were in the middle of storming the Capitol.
“We’re trying to figure out how we can get this job done today,” she said, noting the “overriding wish is to do it at the Capitol.
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