In its seventh public hearing, the House Select Committee investigating the Jan. 6 insurrection at the U.S. Capitol made the case that former President Donald Trump issued a "call to arms" to far-right extremist groups in a desperate attempt to hold on to power after losing the 2020 presidential election — despite multiple advisers urging him to drop his false claims of election fraud and concede to Democrat Joe Biden.

In Dec. 2020, days after the Electoral College declared Biden the winner of the election, Trump met with a number of outside advisers to discuss seizing voting machines, a meeting that a number of White House aides testified was "unhinged" and devolved into a "heated and profane clash" between the group and Trump's own White House advisers that stretched into the early morning hours.

The next day, on Dec. 19, Trump sent a tweet urging his supporters to come down to Washington on Jan. 6 for a "big protest."

“Be there, will be wild!” Trump urged; Florida Rep. Stephanie Murphy, one of the two members of the panel who led Tuesday's session, said the tweet "served as a call to action and in some cases as call to arms for many of President Trump's most loyal supporters."

"Donald Trump's 1:42am tweet electrified and galvanized his supporters — especially the dangerous extremists, the Oath Keepers, the Proud Boys and other racist, white nationalist groups spoiling for a fight against the government," said Maryland Rep. Jamie Raskin, the other member who shepherded Tuesday's proceedings.

One witness, Stephen Ayres, who pleaded guilty last month to disorderly and disruptive conduct in a restricted building for entering the Capitol on Jan. 6, testified about the sway the now-former president had over the crowd.

“We basically were just following what he said,” Ayres said, adding: “I was hanging on every word he was saying.”

Here are takeaways from the Jan. 6 panel's hearing:

Trump advisers, officials urged him to drop election fight after electoral college results in December

Rep. Murphy outlined how some of former president Donald Trump’s closest advisers told him that he should concede and drop his fight to overturn the 2020 election results on Dec. 14, when state electors met to certify their election results and affirmed that Joe Biden had won.

Biden, who won 306 electors to Trump’s 232, was affirmed as the winner and acknowledged as such by then-Senate majority leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky. 

Rep. Murphy played a clip of McConnell saying at the time: “The electoral college has spoken. So today, I want to congratulate president-elect Joe Biden.”

Murphy also played an interview with close Trump adviser Eugene Scalia, who told the committee he spoke to Trump on Dec. 14.

“I conveyed to him that I thought that it was time for him to acknowledge that President Biden had prevailed in the election,” he said in a video deposition. “I told him that I did believe, yes, that once those legal processes were run, if fraud had not been established … then, unfortunately, I believe that what had to be done was to concede the outcome.”

Rep. Raskin cited emails from Rudy Giuliani's legal team which said that there was no evidence to back up their claims of widespread voter fraud.

"Even Rudy Giuliani's own legal team admitted that they did not have any real evidence of fraud sufficient to change the election results," the Maryland Democrat said.

Raskin cited a Dec. 2020 email from Bernard Kerik, the former commissioner of the New York Police Department and a close ally of Giuliani, to former White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows, which read, in part: "We can do all the investigations we want later, but if the president plans on winning, it’s the legislators that have to be moved, and this will do just that."

In November of last year, an attorney for Kerik to the Select Committee said that "it was impossible for Mr. Kerik and his team to determine conclusively whether there was widespread fraud or whether that widespread fraud would have altered the outcome of the elections."

Other officials told the panel that they never saw evidence to substantiate claims perpetuated by Giuliani.

Jason Miller, a former Trump adviser, called the evidence "very general." 

"There were some very, very general documents," Miller said, adding: "Say for example, here are the handful of dead people ins several different states. Here are explanations on a couple of the legal challenges, as far as saying that the rules were changed in an unconstitutional manner."

"To say that it was thin is probably an understatement," he added.

Justin Clark, Trump's former deputy campaign manager, answered affirmatively when a panel investigator asked if it was fair to say that he never saw evidence from Giuliani.

The former president’s legal counsel, Pat Cipollone, agreed in his interview taped with the committee last week.

“Did I believe he should concede the election at a point in time? Yes, I did,” Cipollone said, noting he agreed with Sen. McConnell’s statement at the time.

Murphy also played a clip of former attorney general Bill Barr, who also emphasized that Dec. 14 should have been the end of the fight, and Trump's daughter Ivanka Trump, who said it was her "sentiment" that date was the end of the road.

Former White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnaney also said that "upon the conclusion of litigation was when I began to plan for life beyond the administration."

Committee describes ‘heated and profane clash’ between Trump allies, WH advisers on Dec. 18

Much of Tuesday's proceedings centered around a "heated" Dec. 18 meeting between a group of allies of former President Donald Trump and several White House advisers 

“That night, a group showed up at the White House, including Sidney Powell, retired Lieutenant General Michael Flynn, and former CEO Patrick Byrne,” Rep. Raskin said of the meeting. “After gaining access to the building from a junior White House staffer, the group made their way to the Oval Office. They were able to speak with the president by himself for some time until White House officials learned of the meeting. 

“What ensued was a heated and profane clash between this group and President Trump's White House advisors who traded personal insults, accusations of disloyalty to the president, and even challenges to physically fight,” he added. 

The committee played testimony from numerous witnesses who described the tense meeting, where the group of non-White House Trump allies were “looking for avenues that would enable, would result in President Trump remaining President Trump for a second term,” per former staff secretary Derek Lyons. 

The meeting came after numerous Trump advisers, including White House counsel Pat Cipollone, had told the president there was no evidence of voter fraud that would overturn the results of the election. 

“I don't think any of these people were providing the president with good advice,” Cipollone said of the Dec. 18 meeting, where the president asked if he could name Sidney Powell special counsel to investigate voter fraud. Cipollone testified that he and other White House lawyers repeatedly asked, “where is the evidence?”, but did not get good answers.

The hours-long meeting did not end until after midnight, and participants described to the committee how it frequently devolved into shouting and insult trading between the two sides. 

Cassidy Hutchinson, a former aide to then-White House chief of staff Mark Meadows, described the meeting in a text message as “unhinged.”

Lyons told the committee in recorded testimony: I mean, at times, there were people shouting at each other, hurling insults at each other. It wasn't just sort of people sitting around on the couch like chit-chatting.”

'That's not how we do things in the United States': Ignoring advisers, Trump and his allies sought to seize voting machines

Former Attorney General Bill Barr told the House Jan. 6 committee that he promptly shut down President Donald Trump’s suggestion that the Justice Department seize state voting machines. 

“My recollection is the president said something like, ‘Well, we could get to the bottom, or some people say we could get to the bottom of this if the department seizes the machines,” Barr said in earlier testimony, of which video was shown during Tuesday’s hearing. “ … And I said: ‘Absolutely not. There's no probable cause. And I'm not going to seize any machines.’ And that was that.”

Barr told Trump on Dec. 1 that Justice Department investigations found no evidence of election fraud that would have changed the outcome of the presidential election. The former attorney general said allegations of rigged voting machines were “complete nonsense” and “crazy stuff.”

Former White House counsel Pat Cipollone told the committee last week that he agreed with Barr’s assessment. 

Despite those opinions, some Trump outside advisers drafted an executive order Dec. 14, two days after the Electoral College vote, that would have directed the defense secretary to cease voting machines and would have appointed conservative lawyer Sidney Powell, who had been promoting wild claims about foreign election interference, as a special counsel to investigate election fraud, the committee said. The panel showed an image of the draft order during Tuesday’s hearing.

Cipollone said he was “vehemently opposed” to Powell leading such an investigation.

“I didn't think she should have been appointed to anything,” he said.

Cipollone also called the seizure of voting machines a “terrible idea.”

“That's not how we do things in the United States,” he said. “There's no legal authority to do that. And there is a way to contest the elections. That happens all the time.”

'Be there, will be wild!': Panel says Trump's Dec. 19, 2020, tweet was 'call to action'

The day after the contentious Dec. 18, 2020, meeting, then-President Trump posted to Twitter about a report compiled by adviser Peter Navarro — which contained numerous bogus claims of election fraud — saying that it was “statistically impossible” for him to have lost the election and advertising a “big protest in D.C. on January 6th.”

“Be there, will be wild!” Trump wrote on Dec. 19, 2020.

Rep. Murphy said the tweet "served as a call to action and in some cases as call to arms for many of President Trump's most loyal supporters."

Rep. Raskin said that “Trump’s supporters responded immediately,” scrambling to make plans for Jan. 6 — including group “Women for America First” asking to change their protest permit from Jan. 22 and 23, days after Joe Biden’s inauguration, to Jan. 6, and “Stop the Steal” leader Ali Alexander registering a web domain called “," which Raskin said “provided comprehensive information about numerous, newly organized protest events in Washington,” including speakers and transportation information.

They then played a montage of prominent far-right media personalities promoting the Jan. 6 riot.

"It’s Saturday, Dec. 19th, the year is 2020, and one of the most historic events in American history has just taken place,” Alex Jones said. “President Trump, in the early morning hours today, tweeted that he wants the American people to march on Washington, D.C., on Jan. 6th, 2021,”.

“He is now calling on ‘We the People’ to take action and show our numbers,” Jones said, adding: ”This is the most important call to action on domestic soil since Paul Revere and his ride in 1776.”

One streamer named “Salty Cracker” said that viewers “better understand something,” adding: “Red wave, b****. There’s gonna be a red wedding [reference to a particularly violent episode of HBO series “Game of Thrones”] going down Jan. 6th.”

Raskin went on to read social media posts responding to Trump’s alleged call to action, including one which said “'Is the 6th D-Day? Is that why Trump wants everyone there?”

Another said “Trump just told us all to come armed. F****** A, this is happening.”

One posted on pro-Trump website “" wrote “Bring handcuffs and wait near the tunnels,” and another told protesters to come armed with “body armor, knuckles, shields, bats, pepper spray, whatever it takes.”


Former Twitter employee describes feeling Trump was ‘speaking directly to extremist organizations’ on platform

A former Twitter employee – whose identity was kept anonymous by the House committee investigating the Jan. 6 insurrection on Capitol Hill – testified feeling growing dread that former President Donald Trump was using the social media platform to galvanize dangerous extremists. 


“​​My concern was that the former president for seemingly the first time was speaking directly to extremist organizations in giving them directives,” the employee said, referring specifically to Trump’s comments at a Sept. 2020 presidential debate where he told the far-right group the Proud Boys to “stand back and stand by.”

When asked if Trump received special treatment from the organization because of his position, the employee said: “If the former President Donald Trump were any other user on Twitter, he would have been permanently suspended a very long time ago.” 

“I believe that Twitter relished in the knowledge that they were also the favorite and most-used service of the former president and enjoyed having that sort of power within the social media ecosystem,” the former employee told the committee. 

The employee went on to say that up until Dec. 19 – when the former president told supporters on Twitter to “be there” for a “wild” protest in Washington on Jan. 6 – any planning from far-right groups was “vague” and “nonspecific.” 

That changed after Trump’s tweet, the employee said. 

“It felt as if a mob was being organized and they were gathering together their weaponry and their logic in their reasoning behind why they were prepared to fight,” they said, adding that after the Dec. 19 tweet was sent out, “it became clear not only were these individuals ready and willing, but the leader of their cause was asking them to join him in this cause and in fighting for this cause in D.C. on January 6.

“I very much believe that Donald Trump posting this tweet on December 19 was essentially staking a flag in D.C. on January 6 for his supporters to come and rally,” they added.

The panel later played more testimony from the former Twitter employee, who detailed their "desperate efforts to get Twitter to do something” about Trump’s rhetoric in the lead-up to Jan. 6, said Murphy, who said the anonymous individual was employed on the social media site’s platform and content moderation team from 2020 through 2021. 

“The night of January 5, I believe I Slacked [a reference to common workplace communication tool] a message to someone that said something along the lines of: ‘when people are shooting each other tomorrow I will try and rest in the knowledge that we tried,’” the individual, whose identity has been hidden for their safety, told the committee in recorded testimony.    

“I don't know that I slept that night, to be honest with you. I was on pins and needles because again for months I had been begging, anticipating and attempting to raise the reality that if nothing, if we did no intervention and to what I saw occurring people were going to die,” the employee said. “And on January 5, I realized no intervention was coming. 

“Even as hard as I had tried to create one or implement one, there was nothing and we were at the whims and the mercy of a violent crowd that was locked and loaded,” the employee added. 

Then-President Trump tweeted nearly two dozen times in the day before the insurrection, often praising Republicans who supported his efforts to overturn the election or encouraging vice president Mike Pence to unilaterally do so. 

One tweet, aimed at a pro-Trump rally that could be hear from the White House, read: “Washington is being inundated with people who don't want to see an election victory stolen by emboldened Radical Left Democrats. Our Country has had enough, they won't take it anymore! We hear you (and love you) from the Oval Office. MAKE AMERICA GREAT AGAIN!”

Panel links Flynn, Stone directly to extremist groups

The committee has begun drawing a direct line between leaders of violent extremist groups and members of Trump’s inner circle, saying the the Proud Boys and Oath Keepers worked with allies of the then-president in the weeks leading up to the Jan. 6, 2021, insurrection at the Capitol.

The committee showed photos of Michael Flynn, the retired Army lieutenant general and former Trump national security adviser, with Oath Keepers leader Stewart Rhodes and member Roberto Minuta on Dec. 12.

Flynn was among the participants at a contentious Dec. 18 Oval Office meeting in which he floated ideas for overturning the presidential election results, the committee says.

The panel also said Roger Stone, a longtime Trump confidant, communicated with both the Proud Boys and Oath Keepers regularly in the weeks before Jan. 6. Rep. Raskin said the Oath Keepers and Proud Boys started an encrypted chat room called “Friends of Stone” in which they discussed various pro-Trump events in November and December 2020 and Jan. 6.

Stone appeared alongside Rhodes at a rally, and encrypted texts show Stone spoke directly with with Kelly Meggs, leader of the Florida Oath Keepers, about providing security for him on Jan. 5 and 6, Raskin said.

Photos show Stone was guarded Jan. 6 by two Oath Keepers who have since been indicted for seditious conspiracy. 

Raskin said Stone’s ties to the Proud Boys go back “many years,” and he showed video of Stone taking the group’s “fraternity creed,” in which he says, “I am a Western chauvinist, and I refuse to apologize for creating the modern world.”

Raskin said the committee’s investigation “on these critical issues” is ongoing.

“We have only shown a small fraction of what we have found,” he said.


Trump added in comments attacking Pence to Jan. 6 speech, ad-libbed incitement to march to Capitol


President Trump had lines targeting Mike Pence written back in to his Jan. 6 speech after one of his top advisers removed them, shortly after Pence told him by phone that he would not do anything to help overturn the election results. 

Rep. Stephanie Murphy on Tuesday outlined how Trump’s speech evolved after that phone call.

First, he ordered a line about Pence added in, challenging him to send election results back to states. Then he improvised several other references to Pence and calls for his supporters to “fight” for his presidency. 

“And we will see whether Mike Pence enters history as a truly great and courageous leader,” the added line read. “All he has to do is refer the illegally-submitted electoral votes back to the states that were given false and fraudulent information….” 

And Trump added in the following lines as he spoke:

  • “You’ll never take back our country with weakness. You have to show strength and you have to be strong.”
  • “I hope Mike has the courage to do what he had to do.”
  • “We fight like hell. And if you don’t fight like hell, we’re not going to have a country anymore.”
  • “So let’s walk down Pennsylvania Avenue.” 

Murphy said Trump also only used the word “peacefully” once, though staff had written it throughout the speech.

“He stoked their anger. He called for them to fight for him. He directed them to the U.S. Capitol. He told them he would join them. And his supporters believed him and many headed towards the Capitol,” Murphy said. “As a result, people died. People were injured. Many of his supporters’ lives will never be the same.”

Man who pleaded guilty in Capitol riot says he ‘may not have come down’ to D.C. on Jan. 6 without calls from Trump

Last month, Stephen Ayres pleaded guilty to one federal charge of disorderly conduct inside a restricted building for entering the Capitol building with the mob on the afternoon of Jan 6. 

On Tuesday, Ayres told the House committee investigating the violence how he was influenced by Donald Trump’s statements on social media claiming the election was stolen, and had himself posted on Facebook and called for supporters of former President Trump to descend on Washington, D.C. 

“For me personally, I was pretty hardcore into the social media – Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, I followed, President Trump on all the websites,” Ayres told the committee on Tuesday. “He basically put out, you know, come to Stop the Steal rally and I felt like I needed to be down here.”

When asked if Ayres believed, when he traveled to Washington in early 2021, whether the election was stolen, he responded: “At that time? Yeah. You know, everything that I was seeing online – I definitely believed that. That's exactly what was the case.” 

In the year-plus since the insurrection, Ayres said he had deleted most social media accounts and began to do his own research. After seeing numerous lawsuits from the Trump White House be dismissed, Ayres said, he realized “there'd be no way to keep something like that quiet.” 

Ayres repeatedly said he and his friends felt called to the Capitol by the president himself, and all believed Trump would march alongside them to the building, as he said in his speech earlier that day. 

“Would it have made a difference to you to know that President Trump himself had no evidence of widespread fraud?” Rep. Liz Cheney, R-Wyo., asked Ayers on Tuesday. 

“Oh, definitely. You know, who knows? I may not have come down here, then,” he answered. 

Ayres said he left the Capitol after Trump tweeted a video telling his supporters “it’s time to go home now,” telling the committee: “You know, to me, if he would have done that earlier in the day [...] maybe we wouldn't be in this bad of a situation or something.” 

When asked how he feels that the former president still maintains the 2020 election was stolen, Ayers said:  “It makes me mad because I was hanging on every word he was saying […] I mean, if I was doing it, hundreds of thousands or millions of other people were doing it or maybe even still doing it.” 

“You got people still following [Trump] who knows what, the next election could come out, you know, they could end up being down the same path we are right now,” he added.

Ex-Oath Keepers spokesman: ‘Dangerous’ group could have sparked a civil war

A former Oath Keepers spokesman provided some insight into the extremist far-right organization. 

“I think we saw a glimpse of what the vision of the Oath Keepers is on Jan. 6,” Jason Van Tatenhove testified to the committee. “It doesn't necessarily include the rule of law. It includes violence. It includes trying to get their way through lies, through deceit, through intimidation and through the perpetration of violence.

“The Oath Keepers are a dangerous militia that is in large part fed by the ego and drive of Stewart Rhodes, who at times seemed to see himself as this paramilitary leader.”

A dozen members of the organization have been charged with seditious conspiracy in connection with the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the Capitol.

Jason Van Tatenhove was hired by the Oath Keepers in 2014 as its national media director but has not been actively involved with the group since about 2017, according to NBC News. 

Van Tatenhove was asked about Rhodes’ comments leading up to Jan. 6 that publicly urged Donald Trump to invoke the Insurrection Act, which would have allowed him to call up militias to put down a rebellion against the United States. 

Van Tatenhove said he thinks Rhodes viewed the Insurrection Act as something that legitimized the Oath Keepers.

“I think we need to quit mincing words and just talk about truths, and what it was going to be was an armed revolution,” Van Tatenhove said of Jan. 6. “I mean, people died that day. 

“This could have been the spark that started a new civil war,” he added. 

Van Tatenhove said he thinks the United States was “exceedingly lucky” that more people did not die on Jan. 6, adding he has fears about the next election.

“If a president that's willing to try to instill and encourage, to whip up a civil war amongst his followers using lies and deceit and snake oil — and regardless of the human impact — what else is he going to do if he gets elected again?” he said. “All bets are off at that point. And that's a scary notion.”


Former Trump campaign manager sent texts after Jan. 6 riot saying the president’s rhetoric ‘killed someone’


According to the committee, Trump campaign manager Brad Parscale texted another top campaign aide on the evening of Jan. 6, saying he felt “guilty” for helping the former president win now that his “rhetoric” had “killed someone.” 

Trump supporter Ashli Babbitt was shot and killed by a police officer at the Capitol that day. 

Rep. Murphy said the committee obtained texts that Parscale sent to Katrina Pierson, a top spokeswoman for Trump’s 2016 campaign.

“This is about trump pushing for uncertainty in our country. A sitting president asking for civil war,” Parscale said, adding: “This week I feel guilty for helping him win”

Pierson responded, “You did what you felt right and therefore it was right”

Parscale then texted: “Yeah. But a woman is dead” and “If I was Trump and knew my rhetoric killed someone.”

Pierson replied: “It wasn’t the rhetoric.”

Parscale replied: “Katrina. Yes it was”


Vice Chair Cheney says Trump tried to call a committee witness directly


In her closing statement, House Select Committee vice chair Liz Cheney, R-Wyo., revealed that former President Donald Trump "tried to call a witness in our investigation" following last week's hearing.

Cheney did not reveal the witness' identity, just saying that it's someone "you have not yet seen in these hearings."

"That person declined to answer or respond to President Trump’s call and instead alerted their lawyer to the call," Cheney said. "Their lawyer alerted us and this committee has supplied that information to the Department of Justice."

"Let me say one more time: We will take any effort to influence witness testimony very seriously," Cheney said.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.