Capitol Riot

Trump Watched TV as Rioters Besieged the Capitol

The former president ignored pleas from aides and relatives to stop the mob, House committee members say

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As the Capitol was being attacked by rioters, former President Donald Trump remained a the dining room off the Oval Office, watching a television turned to Fox News, but took no action to stop the attack, Rep. Elaine Luria said during Thursday’s prime time hearing.

Trump stayed in the dining room from 1:25 p.m. the afternoon of Jan. 6, 2021, until 4 p.m., according to Luria, a Democrat from Virginia and a member of the House committee investigating the riot.

Former White House counsel Pat Cipollone and others said in videotaped testimony that they knew of no phone calls to the secretary of defense, attorney general, the Department of Homeland Security, the National Guard, the FBI or anyone else who could act to bring the mob under control. 

As the Pentagon called the White House, a witness who is remaining anonymous informed the committee that one White House lawyer, Eric Hershmann, told Cipollone that Trump did not want anything done.

No official record of the president exists from that time, Luria said, either of telephone calls or of photographs. The presidential photograph, who wanted to memorialize the day, was told Trump did not want any, Luria said. 

Luria said that Trump was advised by almost everyone around him on the day of the riot to direct the mob to disperse from the Capitol.

“But the former president chose not to do what all those people begged,” Luria said.

She then played a video Trump recorded in which he reminded the insurrectionists that “We love you.”

“President Trump refused to act because of his selfish desire to stay in power," she said.

This is a live update. For more Jan. 6 hearings coverage, click here.

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