As startling evidence about the unrest on Capitol Hill continues to emerge from the Jan. 6 committee hearings, the panel announced Thursday that it has scheduled additional sessions through July.
During the first six hearings, the committee heard from witnesses, including Bill Barr and Jason Miller, about the role President Donald Trump and his associates played before, during and after the attack on Capitol Hill. Meanwhile, the former president has bristled at the proceedings and criticized former Vice President Mike Pence for not having the “courage” to overturn the election.
With each hearing spanning hours, it’s easy to miss the latest buzz. We’ve got you covered with the eight biggest bombshells from audiences to date.
Rudy Giuliani might have been drunk when he told Trump to declare victory
It was the defining moment of election night in 2020: With millions of votes still uncounted, and even Fox News calling some swing states critical of Biden, Trump nonetheless declared he had won re-election.
The statement rallied the former president’s base, but others close to Trump, including campaign manager Bill Stepien, knew the claim was premature and told him so.
Trump campaign strategist Jason Miller said in a recorded statement that his boss ignored his election night advice to wait for more votes to be counted before taking the victory lap.
So what compelled Trump to brag about an early and misguided victory? Miller claimed that it was a drunken Rudy Giuliani who pressured the president to do so.
Miller said that Giuliani told the president to simply reject the results and Trump listened. What followed plunged the nation into chaos and sparked a months-long crusade of voter fraud that culminated in riots on Capitol Hill.
“The mayor was definitely intoxicated, but I don’t know his level of intoxication when he spoke to the president, for example,” Miller said.
Giuliani erupted after the deposition was played, taking to Twitter to declare his sobriety on election night and his love for his drink of choice, Diet Pepsi.
In the typo-riddled tweet, Giuliani said he was “disgusted and outraged by the right [sic] lie of Jason Miller and Bill Steppien [sic].” “I was upset that they weren’t prepared for the massive hoax (as well as other attorneys around the president) I REFUSED all alcohol that night. My favorite drink…Diet Pepsi.”
In a second tweet, Giuliani added: “Is the false testimony of Miller and Steppien [sic] why yell at them? Are they getting paid to lie?
Giuliani later deleted the tweets.
Matt Gaetz, Mo Brooks and Marjorie Taylor Greene apologized to Trump
Republican Congresswoman Liz Cheney, long a thorn in Trumpworld’s side, teased at Thursday’s hearing that she would release the names of members of Congress who have asked Trump for a presidential pardon.
White House aides testified and named representatives who did just that.
They were: Representative Scott Perry of Pennsylvania; Rep. Matt Gaetz of Florida; Representative Mo Brooks of Alabama; Rep. Louie Gohmert of Texas; Representative Andy Biggs of Arizona; and Representative Marjorie Taylor Greene of Georgia.
Perhaps the wildest of the requests came from Gaetz, who asked Trump to forgive him “from the beginning of time to this day, for anything and everything.” Perhaps Gaetz had in mind the accusations that he paid for sex with a minor.
None of the above ended up receiving the preventive pardon they requested.
Bill Barr Says Trump Was ‘Split From Reality’ After Election
Former Attorney General Bill Barr did not hold back in testifying about how baseless most of Trump’s claims were after his election loss.
While speaking to Trump about allegations of voter fraud related to Dominion’s voting machines, Barr said he became “demoralized” and concluded that Trump had “detached himself from reality if he really believes in these things.”
Barr handed his opportunity over to Trump in video testimony this week. He told the panel that Trump had ignored all the facts after his loss, even in private. This differed from his interactions with the former president in previous years.
“Before the election, it was possible to talk common sense with the president, and even though you sometimes had to engage in a big wrestling match with him, it was possible to keep things on track,” Barr said. “I felt like after the election he didn’t seem to be listening.”
Trump asked Arizona to turn their vote toward him
Arizona House Speaker Rusty Bowers, a Republican, this week confirmed what many had already speculated: Trump personally called after the election and ordered him to find a way to change his status from President Joe Biden to him.
Despite being a Trump supporter, and having stated this week that he would vote for Trump if he were to run again, Bowers turned down the former president’s request.
“I said, look, you’re asking me to do something that goes against my oath,” Bowers testified. Bowers asked the president to provide evidence if he wanted his help. When none was given, he said Giuliani joked with him, “‘We have a lot of theories, we just don’t have the evidence.'”
After Bowers’ rejection, he said the conspirators launched a barrage of hate against him. This culminated in a “disturbing” online smear campaign, megaphone protests at his home and a gunman taunting his family, Bowers testified.
Trump reacted approvingly to chants of ‘Hang Mike Pence’, aide says
Remember when Trump supporters chanted “Hang Mike Pence” during the January 6 uprising?
It turns out those chants were met with Trump’s approval, according to an aide to former chief of staff Mark Meadows, who testified on May 26.
Cassidy Hutchinson, the aide, said Meadows “told colleagues that Mr. Trump had said something like, ‘Maybe Mr. Pence should be hanged.'”
Hutchinson added that Trump “groaned” when he heard his vice president had been taken to safety as his supporters stormed the Capitol.
The alleged comments are an apparent indication that Trump’s relationship with his vice president soured in his final days in office. After Hutchinson’s testimony, an attorney for Meadows called his account of his comments “false,” while a Trump spokesman attacked the committee for “leaks.”
Trump pressured the Justice Department to “just say it was corrupt”
Trump personally lobbied top Justice Department officials to declare voter fraud and let him and Republican members of Congress deal with it.
“Leave the rest to me and the congressional Republicans,” Trump said, reportedly according to former acting deputy attorney general Richard Donoghue, one of the few former Justice Department officials who stood up to Trump in his final days in office.
Trump was so passionate about the DOJ declaring there was systemic voter fraud that he tried to install Jeffrey Lord as Acting Attorney General to use the Justice Department to find the alleged widespread fraud.
Trump was informed that Pence was in trouble before he tweeted inflammatory language against his vice president
White House aide Ben Williamson testified that he accompanied White House chief of staff Mark Meadows to brief Trump that there was violence on Capitol Hill. Williamson even texted Meadows that Trump might want to issue a statement or tweet encouraging protesters to respect Capitol Police.
Minutes later, at 2:24 p.m., Trump tweeted: “Mike Pence did not have the courage to do what should have been done to protect our Country and our Constitution.”
Mother and daughter poll workers received death threats after Giuliani falsely accused them of fraud
The crusade by Trump and his associates to nullify the 2020 election quickly unraveled. Wild claims of fraud and accusations against innocent citizens seared every battleground state he lost.
While he kept Trump in every news cycle, these conspiracies took a personal toll on Georgia poll workers Shaye Moss and her mother, Ruby Freeman, testified this week.
Giuliani accused the two of taking out bags with fake votes and passing around a suspicious USB drive while counting the ballots. The accusation quickly spread through the right-wing media.
It turned out that “flash drive,” which Giuliani later suggested might have been great, was actually a ginger mint. However, the damage was done. Trump supporters made women’s lives miserable, they said, with lunatics sending death threats and forming a mob at a loved one’s home.
The duo fought back tears as they recalled the horrors. Moss said the stress of it all caused her to gain 60 pounds, stop working and stop dating.
“I don’t do anything anymore,” Moss said. “I guess everything I do is second. It has affected my life in a major way. In every sense. All for lies.
Election lies were a huge cash grab for Trump
Who knew lying about an election could be so profitable. Trump raised $250 million thanks to election lies after losing to Biden, according to testimony from Amanda Wick, the panel’s senior investigative adviser.
The shockingly high number, for a then-lame duck politician, was released on June 13, when Wick explained how Trump and his team did it.
Between Election Day and Jan. 6, 2021, the Trump campaign sent “millions” of fundraising emails to supporters, claiming a “left-wing mob” was undermining the election, Wick said.
The emails told followers to defend themselves with their wallets, Wick said. It turns out that Trump supporters did just that, in addition to using physical force on January 6.