Trump privately raised Jan. 6 Capitol appearance with Secret Service agent, select panel hears

The testimony shows how much Trump wanted to be on Capitol Hill with his supporters as Congress voted to certify the loss of his Electoral College to Joe Biden. And he expressed his desire to join the protesters even as the violence unfolded.

A Trump spokesperson did not respond to a request for comment.

At around 12:45 p.m. during Trump’s Jan. 6 speech, law enforcement officials headed for the Republican National Committee headquarters because a pipe bomb had been found there. This building a few steps from the Capitol building. Around the same time, according to a Washington Post timeline, Trump supporters clashed with police and began moving into restricted grounds around the Capitol.

Around 1:10 p.m., Trump indicated in his speech that he would be going to the Capitol.

“We’re going to the Capitol,” he said. “We’re going to try to give them the kind of pride and boldness they need to take back our country.”

When Secret Service agents heard the remarks, they contacted law enforcement partners about the feasibility of transporting the president to Capitol Hill, as the Post first reported. Engel objected to this decision, saying it would have been unworkable.

Engel’s testimony contrasts sharply with a claim by former Rep. Mark Meadows (RN.C.), then Trump’s chief of staff. In his book “The Chief’s Chief,” Meadows wrote that Trump told him right after the speech that he was “speaking metaphorically” when he said he wanted to go to the Capitol.

Trump “knew as well as anyone that we couldn’t put together a trip like this on such short notice,” Meadows wrote, as reported by The Guardian.

Meadows declined to answer questions from committee investigators. Lawmakers voted, largely along party lines, to send him back to the Justice Department for contempt of congressional charges. But the DOJ recently revealed it won’t be prosecuting him.

The Secret Service, meanwhile, fully cooperated with the Jan. 6 congressional investigation, according to Guglielmi. He added that Secret Service personnel appeared before the restricted panel without having to be subpoenaed.

The January 6 select committee is preparing to begin releasing its findings this week. His first hearing, which airs Thursday at 8 p.m., will feature a Capitol police officer who was injured in the attack and a documentary filmmaker who recorded far-right extremists before and during the violence. Further hearings are scheduled for this month and the committee is negotiating with potential witnesses about appearances.


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