Trump pushes capital coda to vote for 2020

WASHINGTON (AP) – In a way never seen before in America – a defeated President, Donald Trump, with a crowd of supporters at the Capitol on January 6, 2021, some armed, contests the election results.

Trump intended to go there that day. His aides were planning for this time, imagining the president giving a speech outside the building or even entering the House chamber while Congress certifies the 2020 election results for Democrat Joe Biden. among the objections.

Trump’s lawyer, Rudy Giuliani, told a young White House aide four days ago, “He’s going to look powerful.”

But White House lawyers thought it was a “terrible” idea. Lawyer Pat Cipollone warned that Trump could be charged with “every crime imaginable” if he tried to interfere with certification to join the crowd on Capitol Hill.

In the end, Trump never made it to the Capitol on January 6. Their security refused to accept them as rioters, some with weapons, laid siege to the building.

Enraged, and trapped in the White House, Trump watched the revolt on television.

The January 6 hearing is providing dramatic new insight into Trump’s intentions as he told loyalists he would join him in a march down Pennsylvania Avenue to “fight like hell” for his presidency. This account is largely drawn from the testimony of former White House aide Cassidy Hutchinson. His closeness with the president and his memories from his inner circle suggest that Trump’s demands were not the brutal wishes of an impulsive commander-in-chief, but part of his last-ditch plan to prevent Biden’s victory.

Trump and his aides quickly disputed Hutchinson’s account, and the former president insulted him with derisive remarks and nicknames days after his interview.

This coming week, the committee is set to focus on Trump’s own actions and the extremist sworn-in and Proud Boys who allegedly led the Capitol attack.

Here’s a look at what is known about Trump’s plan to join the crowd on January 6:

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January. 2

It was Saturday night. Giuliani was meeting with Trump’s chief of staff Mark Meadows and others at the White House.

The White House and Meadows made some 18 calls to Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger that day before Trump finally got election officials on the phone.

Trump was disputing the election results in Georgia, in which he lost little. He was demanding that Raffensperger “get 11,780 votes”, enough to balance Biden’s victory. Engineer turned civil servant refused.

When Giuliani left the White House that night, he went out with Meadows’ young aide, Hutchinson, a senior adviser.

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“Cas, are you excited for the sixth?” Giuliani asked, as Hutchinson recalled in testimony before the January 6 committee. “It’s going to be a good day.”

Hutchinson had heard discussions about January 6th and the rally was being planned outside the White House as Congress prepared to certify the election results. She had also heard, when Giuliani was around, mention of two extremist groups, the Oath Keepers and the Proud Boys.

He looked at Giuliani and asked him to explain.

“We’re going to the Capitol,” Giuliani told him. “That would be great. The president is going there. He’s going to look powerful.”

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January. 3

On Sunday, Cipollone privately expressed concerns to Hutchinson about the president’s planned visit to the Capitol.

Cipollone told him there were “serious legal concerns” if Trump went ahead because Congress was ratifying the election. He urged her to address the concerns to her boss Meadows.

“We need to make sure that doesn’t happen,” Cipollone said, according to Hutchinson’s testimony. “It would be a terrible idea for us legally. We have serious legal concerns if we move to the Capitol that day.

That Sunday was a busy day at the White House.

The leaders of Trump’s Justice Department were threatening to resign if the president replaced the acting attorney general, Jeffrey Rosen, with a lower-rank civil division chief, Jeffrey Clark, to pursue an election challenge.

And that same day, the US Capitol Police issued a special incident assessment, noting that the Proud Boys and other groups were planning to be in Washington on January 6.

Police assessment indicated that “unlike the protests after the last election, pro-Trump supporters are not necessarily counter-protesters … but Congress itself on the 6th.”

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January. 5

According to Hutchinson on the eve of Tuesday, January 6, Trump asked Meadows to get in touch with two of the president’s aides – Roger Stone and Michael Flynn.

According to the committee, Stone attended rallies for Trump in Washington and was photographed with several members of the oath-keepers, who were reportedly serving as his security detail. Both Stone and Flynn invoked their Fifth Amendment rights instead of testifying before the committee.

The big “Stop the Steel” rally was planned for the morning of January 6 near the White House. Meadows spoke with both Stone and Flynn that evening, Hutchinson said. Stone has disputed his account.

Meadows also sought to join Giuliani and others who had set up a “war room” at the Willard Hotel near the White House, she testified.

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“I made it clear to Mr Meadows that I did not believe it was a good idea for him to go to the Willard Hotel that night,” she said.

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January. 6: Rally

On the morning of the rally on Wednesday, January 6, Cipollone once again requested Hutchinson to ensure that Trump did not go to the Capitol.

“Please,” he said, “make sure we don’t go to the Capitol, Cassidy,” she recalled. “If we carry out that movement we’re going to be charged for every crime.”

Hutchinson’s desk in the White House was just down the hall of the Oval Office, which was in one corner, and his boss Meadows’ office in the other. But that day she was backstage with the president as she surveyed a crowd of supporters outside the White House.

Trump was furious.

The crowd was not as full as Trump wanted. Supporters stood outside security checks, unwilling to have their weapons confiscated by the Secret Service to join the main rally area.

Trump ordered his security to be rid of metal detectors known as magnetometers, emphasizing that armed supporters pose no threat to him.

Police radio bursting with information; a man in the trees with a rifle or a handcuff at his waist; Three men walk along AR-15 at 14th Street and Independence Avenue.

Trump disputes Hutchinson’s account. “I didn’t want guns,” he said in an interview with Newsmax, which aired two days after the hearing.

But what Hutchinson heard was communicated to the committee.

“They’re not here to hurt me,” Trump told his staff, Hutchinson recalled. “Let them in. Let my men in. They can march to the Capitol after the rally is over. …. Take the influential mags away. Then they can march to the Capitol.”

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January. 6: Speech

The president took the stage at a “Stop the Steel” rally, complaining about the election result and the need to prevent Biden from becoming president.

“We’re going to walk downstairs, and I’ll be with you,” Trump told thousands of supporters in the grassy ellipse.

Trump said, “We’re going down to the Capitol. You’ll never take our country back with weakness, you’ve got to show strength.”

Many people were already peeling towards the Capitol, and Trump encouraged the crowd to leave.

“I know everyone here will soon be heading towards the Capitol building to hear your voice in peace and patriotism,” he said. “Let’s go down Pennsylvania Avenue.”

White House security logs revealed by the January 6 committee show Trump’s ongoing scramble to get into the Capitol as well.

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An entry in the National Security Council chat said, “Milaid has confirmed that it intends to walk.”

“They are begging him to reconsider,” reads another.

The next entry discussed the “current route” for taking Trump’s convoy from 15th Street, F Street, 6th Street, Pennsylvania Avenue to the Capitol.

“So this is happening,” reads another entry.

Hutchinson was still in the tent backstage at the rally when she received a call from House Republican leader Kevin McCarthy of California.

McCarthy ran, she said, looking frustrated and angry. “You told me all this week that you weren’t coming here. Why would you lie to me?” He asked Hutchinson, a former House aide.

“I’m not lying. I wasn’t lying to you, sir,” he replied. And McCarthy said, “Well, they said it on stage, Cassidy. Find out. Don’t come here.”

The mob was breaking down the security fence around the Capitol.

“Capital Police is reporting multiple violations,” the security log reads. “Capital is now calling on all available people to respond.”

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January. 6: Behind the Wheels

Trump climbed into the presidential SUV, which was scheduled to be taken to the Capitol, Hutchinson recalled.

The Secret Service now disputes his account, as does Trump. But Hutchinson testified under oath that he was later told by deputy chief of staff for White House operations Anthony Ornato that Trump was angry.

“The president said something to the effect of, ‘I’m the influential president, take me to the Capitol now,'” she recalled.

When the driver, Bobby Engel, replied, “Sir, we have to go back to the West Wing,” Trump grabbed the steering wheel, and latched onto the driver’s “clavix,” she said.

Trump never made it to the Capitol. His convoy went back to the White House.

In a Newsmax interview, Trump dismissed the idea that he tried to “commander” the car on his way to the Capitol, “completely false.” He expressed surprise at the “incredible size” of the crowd – one of the largest, he said, he has ever attracted. But he did not dispute his desire to visit the Capitol that day.

“I wanted to leave so badly,” he said during an April interview with The Washington Post.

During the hearing, security logs clarified how close Trump had come to creating that unseen image—a defeated president standing with a crowd as an armed rebellion lay siege to the Capitol.

“Looks like he’s just coming home,” the security log said.

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