Donald Trump’s defenders can finally drop the idea that he just happened to extemporaneously order the mob that he knew was armed to march to the Capitol in the course of his speech on January 6, 2021.
On Tuesday, the House January 6th Committee revealed new evidence that activists coordinating activities for the day were well aware of Trump’s desires in advance. And at least one of them knew that the planning was supposed to be kept secret because of all the trouble it would cause.
Here is the evidence that the committee presented of the deliberate planning:
- “I will be making a Big Speech at 10AM on January 6th at the Ellipse (South of the White House). Please arrive early, massive crowds expected. March to the Capitol after. Stop the Steal!!” Trump wrote in an undated draft tweet.
- After speaking with White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows on January 2, Trump campaign aide Katrina Pierson emailed fellow rally organizers: “POTUS expectations are to have something intimate at the ellipse, and call on everyone to march to the capitol.” (You can see this at the 2:43 mark of the hearing.)
- An email message from rally organizer Kylie Jane Kremer to MyPillow founder Mike Lindell on January 4 said: “It can also not get out about the march because I will be in trouble with the national park service and all the agencies but POTUS is going to just call for it ‘unexpectedly.’”
- Stop the Steal organizer Ali Alexander texted a conservative journalist on January 5: “Tomorrow: Ellipse then US capitol. Trump is supposed to order us to the capitol at the end of his speech but we will see.”
As all of this suggested he would, Trump then called on his supporters to march to the Capitol during the course of his speech. Several times, in fact. He said:
Now, it is up to Congress to confront this egregious assault on our democracy. And after this, we’re going to walk down, and I’ll be there with you, we’re going to walk down, we’re going to walk down. Anyone you want, but I think right here, we’re going to walk down to the Capitol, and we’re going to cheer on our brave senators and congressmen and women, and we’re probably not going to be cheering so much for some of them. Because you’ll never take back our country with weakness. You have to show strength and you have to be strong. We have come to demand that Congress do the right thing and only count the electors who have been lawfully slated, lawfully slated. I know that everyone here will soon be marching over to the Capitol building to peacefully and patriotically make your voices heard.
Ultimately, Trump did not go to the Capitol himself because, as the evidence provided by the committee previously demonstrated, his Secret Service prohibited him from doing so. According to the prior testimony, this action on the part of the Secret Service resulted in a major conflict between the president and his staff.
Additionally, the committee provided evidence that Steve Bannon also appeared to have knowledge of what was going to happen on January 6.
The committee revealed that Trump spoke to Bannon twice on January 5. The committee played a clip from Bannon’s podcast recorded after he had spoken with the president in their first phone call that morning.
Fresh off his conversation with the president, Bannon told his listeners:
All hell is going to break loose tomorrow It’s all converging. And now we’re on, as they say, the point of attack. Right. The point of attack tomorrow. I’ll tell you this. It’s not going to happen like you think it’s going to happen. It’s going to be quite extraordinarily different. And all I can say is strap in.
“The point of attack tomorrow.”
“It’s not going to happen like you think it’s going to happen.”
At every step of the way, they knew what they were doing.