The House select committee probing the January 6 insurrection is signaling that it has penetrated Donald Trump’s wall of obstruction about what was going on inside the White House and his own family while he refused to stop the mob attack on the US Capitol a year ago this week.
Revelations delivered on Sunday by the top two lawmakers on the committee hint at the truth about the violence he incited to further his coup attempt, which turned into the worst assault on American democracy in modern times. Committee chairman Bennie Thompson, a Democrat from Mississippi, said on CNN’s “State of the Union” that the panel has “significant testimony” that shows the White House was told to “do something” as the crowd of Trump supporters fired up by his election fantasies smashed their way into the Capitol. Vice Chair Liz Cheney, a Wyoming Republican, told ABC News of “firsthand testimony” that Trump’s daughter Ivanka, then a West Wing adviser, twice asked him to intervene in a melee in which police officers were beaten by his crowd.
Thursday’s anniversary will revisit the horrors of the attack, before which Trump had told his supporters to “fight like hell” in support of his conspiracy to steal power from Joe Biden in violation of the will of the people expressed in a democratic election.
And now the comments from committee leadership shed fresh light on the motivation behind the ex-President’s quest to keep secret documentary evidence of his role on January 6, which has reached all the way to the US Supreme Court. They also explain the refusal of several of Trump’s closest aides and acolytes to talk to the committee about what exactly he was doing in the Oval Office. It is increasingly clear that those appearances might force them to choose between telling the truth under oath and crossing their old boss, who still dominates the GOP. Two such Trump allies — his former political guru Steve Bannon and ex-White House chief of staff Mark Meadows — have already received criminal contempt referrals to the Justice Department from the committee and the full House. Bannon faces trial in July.