What Trump Did when the Capitol Was Targeted after the Speech
In the impeachment trial, fresh facts emerged of what President Donald J. Trump did from roughly 1 to 6 p.m. The day of the assault on the Capitol. Yet there are also questions left unanswered.
Former President Donald J. Trump's impeachment trial primarily centered on his conduct leading up to the Jan. 6 violent assault on the Capitol. But that day, between the end of Mr. Trump's speech at the Ellipse asking his supporters to march to the Capitol and a final tweet telling his followers to remember the day forever, there was a crucial duration of almost five hours, which remains vital to his state of mind.
During the trial, facts emerged of what Mr. Trump was doing during those hours, including fresh information of two phone calls to lawmakers that prosecutors said the president was specifically alerted to the Capitol Hill turmoil. Prosecutors said the new information was direct evidence of Mr. Trump's willingness to provoke the mob and his inability to stop the abuse, even though he realized that Vice President Mike Pence's life was at risk.
"Kentucky Senator Mitch McConnell, the Republican leader who voted to acquit Mr. Trump on Saturday but offered a sweeping endorsement of the case of the prosecutors, backed them up: "There is no doubt, zero, that President Trump is technically and morally responsible for provoking the events of the day. There's no doubt about it.'
Nevertheless, several critical questions remain unanswered about the behavior and mood of the president from approximately 1 to 6 p.m. Oh. Jan. 6. So far, here's what is known:
Mr. Trump finished his incendiary speech at 1:11 p.m. on the Ellipse. He repeatedly told the crowd that the election had been stolen from him and encouraged his supporters to march to the Capitol in a last-ditch attempt to avoid certifying the victory of President-elect Joseph R. Biden Jr. Twice, Mr. Trump said that he'd go with them. And he had told advisors days before the march that he wanted to join his supporters, but aides told him that people in the crowd were armed and that he could not be covered by the Secret Service.
Mr. Trump's motorcade started to head back to the White House six minutes later. At 1:19 p.m., he arrived there. As the crowd made their way up Pennsylvania Avenue and began swarming around the Capitol. The news coverage on television showed the crowd as it marched closer to the gate.
Mr. Trump went to the Oval Office at some point and watched the television reports of an extremely tense situation.
In a phone call with the Army Secretary, Ryan D. McCarthy, Mayor Muriel Bowser of Washington made a formal request for assistance at 1:34 p.m. At 1:49 p.m., Mr. Trump posted a video of his incendiary rally speech while the Capitol Police asked Pentagon officials for support from the National Guard.
It was during this time that he was publicly called by some of Mr. Trump's allies to do something. Former New Jersey Governor Chris Christie told ABC News that Mr. Trump wanted something to say to stop the rioting.
Mr. Pence, who had defied the president by saying that he intended to certify the victory of Mr. Biden, was hurried off the Senate floor at 2:12 p.m., the same moment that the crowd violated the building itself. The Senate session was recessed a minute later. "At 2:15 p.m., two minutes after that, groups of rioters began chanting, "Hang Mike Pence! ”
Mr. Trump tweeted a broadside at Mr. Pence nine minutes later, at 2:24 p.m., for going forward to certify the victory of Mr. Biden: "Mike Pence did not have the courage to do what should have been done to protect our country and our Constitution, giving States the opportunity to certify a corrected set of facts, not the fraudulent or inaccurate ones they were previously asked to certify." The USA is calling for the facts! ”
A call was placed from the White House to Senator Mike Lee, Republican of Utah, at 2:26 p.m., after Mr. Pence had been whisked away, according to call logs that the senator issued during the impeachment hearings.
The call was made by the president, but he was really searching for Senator Tommy Tuberville, the Alabama Republican. Mr. Lee gave Mr. Tuberville the phone, who told reporters that he had informed Mr. Trump that Mr. Pence had just been escorted out of the Senate chamber as the crowd got closer.
"I was saying, 'Mr. "President, they've just taken out the vice president, I gotta go," Mr. Tuberville told Politico.
This was a substantial new piece of data. It was used by House investigators to argue that Mr. Trump was evidently aware that the vice president was at risk and that he had a callous disregard for the safety of Mr. Pence. Mr. Trump's defense team had insisted on Friday that Mr. Trump was unaware of any danger facing Mr. Pence.
Advisers were trying to get Mr. Trump to do something back at the White House, but he rebuffed calls to intercede, including those from people hoping to see the deployment of the National Guard. The president, some consultants said, was delighted that the vote to certify the victory of Mr. Biden had been postponed and that people were fighting for him.
"He watched television happily, happily, as the chaos unfolded, according to public reports, "Mr. McConnell said on Saturday. He continued to push his scheme to reverse the election. Even after it was clear to any rational observer that Vice President Pence was in serious danger, the president sent another tweet targeting his own vice president, even as the crowd bearing Trump banners was beating cops and breaching perimeters.
South Carolina Senator Lindsey Graham, a loyal Republican ally of the president's, told The Washington Post that he called Mr. Trump's eldest daughter, Ivanka Trump, to try to get her to reason with her father. Ms. Trump was also called by Mark Meadows, the White House chief of staff, to see if she could speak to her father. She appeared in the Oval Office a short time later, asking Mr. Trump to make a statement.
Pat A. Cipollone, the White House lawyer, pounded at Mr. Trump to realize that he had potential legal exposure to what was happening.
Mr. Trump finally tweeted at 2:38 p.m., "Please support our Capitol Police and Law Enforcement. They are really on our country's side. Keep tranquil! ”
"A short time later, at 3:13 p.m., Mr. Trump added a note, "I'm asking everyone in the U.S. to do it. Capitol in order to remain calm. Oh, no abuse! Note, WE are the Law & Order Party, upholding the law and respecting our great men and women in Blue. Oh, thank you! ”
When she sent out her own, Ms. Trump quoted her father's tweet, urging 'American Patriots' to follow the law. As she received blowback on Twitter for appearing to praise the rioters as "patriots," she quickly removed it and replaced it.
Representative Kevin McCarthy of California, the House Republican leader and another ally of Mr. Trump, told Norah O'Donnell of CBS News at about 3:30 p.m. that he had spoken with Mr. Trump that afternoon while the Capitol was under siege.
Mr. McCarthy said, "I told him he needed to talk to the nation." "Right then, I told him what was happening."
According to a Republican congresswoman, Washington State Representative Jaime Herrera Beutler, the call was heated, who said Mr. McCarthy told her that Mr. Trump had sided with the crowd as the Capitol attack occurred, implying that he had made a decision not to stop the violence.
In a statement on Friday night that was admitted into evidence at Saturday's trial, Ms. Herrera Beutler said that during the call, Mr. McCarthy had a screaming match with Mr. Trump.
Mr. McCarthy had told Mr. Trump that they were breaking into his own office walls. "Well, Kevin, I guess these people are more upset than you are about the election," Mr. Trump said, according to a CNN story confirmed by the congresswoman.
To whom do you think you are speaking? "At one point, Mr. McCarthy fired back, CNN said, using an expletive.
The abuse escalated, meanwhile. Mr. Trump posted a video on Twitter at 4:17 p.m. of him clearly speaking to the camera in the Rose Garden. 'I know your suffering,' said Mr. Trump. "You are hurt, I know. We had an election stolen from us, a landslide election, and everybody knows about it, particularly the other side. But now you've got to go home.
He said, "We need to be at peace." We're meant to have law and order. In law and order, we have to honor our great people. We don't want to hurt anyone.'
Violence followed. Well before the announcement by the Capitol Police at 8 p.m. "At 6:01 p.m., Mr. Trump put out a final tweet that the building had been secured: "These are the things and events that occur when a precious landslide election win is so unceremoniously & viciously taken away from great patriots who have been treated poorly & unfairly for so long. With love & in harmony, go home. Remember forever, this day! ”