Trump’s January 6 rally tweet was a ‘call to arms’ – committee – Reuters

WASHINGTON, USA – Members of right-wing militias and other supporters of Donald Trump staged the January 6, 2021, assault on the US Capitol after a tweet by the former president that was seen as a “call to arms,” lawmakers said Tuesday.

Representative Liz Cheney, vice chair of the House committee investigating the attack on Congress, said Trump, 76, had recently tried to contact a committee witness.

The witness, who has not been identified, did not take Trump’s call and alerted his attorney, Cheney said, adding that the committee had “provided this information to the Department of Justice.”

In its seventh televised public hearing, the House committee of seven Democrats and two Republicans considered the impact of a tweet Trump sent on December 19, 2020, urging his supporters to descend on Washington on January 6 for a rally he promised would be “wild.”

The tweet was sent just over an hour after Trump met at the White House with his lawyer Rudy Giuliani, former general Mike Flynn and Sidney Powell, another lawyer, for a strategy meeting that an aide called of “unbalanced”.

Committee member Jamie Raskin said Trump’s tweet “at 1:42 a.m. electrified and galvanized his supporters, especially the dangerous extremists the Oath Keepers, the Proud Boys and other racist and white nationalist groups spoiling a struggle against the government”.

Members of the Proud Boys and Oath Keepers stormed Congress on January 6 along with thousands of other Trump loyalists in an attempt to block certification of Democrat Joe Biden’s victory in the presidential election, which, according to Trump, was tainted with fraud.

Representative Stephanie Murphy, another member of the committee, said the tweet “served as a call to action, and in some cases a call to arms, for many of President Trump’s most loyal supporters.”

The committee said two of Trump’s closest supporters, Flynn and political consultant Roger Stone, had ties to the Oath Keepers.

“Deliberate Strategy”
The committee also said the march to the Capitol was planned in advance but Trump decided not to announce it until after his speech to supporters on the morning of Jan. 6 near the White House.

“Evidence confirms that this was not a spontaneous call to action, but rather a deliberate strategy decided upon in advance by the president,” Murphy said.

Cassidy Hutchinson, an aide to Trump’s chief of staff Mark Meadows, said in an earlier hearing that the president intended to go to the Capitol himself but was prevented from doing so by Secret Service agents. .

The committee is trying to determine whether Trump or his associates played a role in planning or encouraging the violent insurgency and has subpoenaed numerous advisers and aides to the former president.

It released the first video clips of last week’s closed-door testimony from former White House attorney Pat Cipollone on Tuesday.

In his testimony, Cipollone said he agreed there was no evidence of significant voter fraud and that Trump should have caved to Biden.

The committee also heard from two witnesses, Jason Van Tatenhove, a former spokesman for the Oath Keepers, and Stephen Ayres, an Ohio man who joined the crowd storming the Capitol.

Van Tatenhove said the Oath Keepers were a “dangerous organization” that believed their allegiance to Trump would give them “legitimacy” as a paramilitary group.

Ayres told the committee that he came to Washington because “the president pissed everyone off,” but he no longer believed his claims that the election was “stolen.”

More than 850 arrests
More than 850 people have been arrested in connection with the attack on Congress.

Five members of the Proud Boys were charged in June with seditious conspiracy and 11 members of the Oath Keepers face the same charges, facing up to 20 years in prison.

The assault on the Capitol left at least five dead and 140 police officers injured.

Trump was impeached for a historic second time by the House of Representatives after the riot – he was charged with inciting insurrection – but was acquitted by the Senate.

In a statement Tuesday on the Truth Social platform, Trump, who hinted he would run for the White House again in 2024, denounced the committee as “Political Hacks and Thugs.”

“Have you seen them before? ” He asked. “Yes, these are basically the same lunatics who drove the country ‘crazy’ with their lies and made-up stories.”



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