January 6 Hearing Reveals How Trump’s Inner Circle Prepared for Violence

The House Select Committee to Investigate January 6th Attack on America’s Capitol held its last public hearing on Thursday. The meeting ended with the House Select Committee to Investigate the January 6th Attack on the United States Capitol holding what may have been its last public hearing. This likely set the stage for a court fight. California Congressmember Zoe Lofgren explained how Trump had devised a plan to declare victory in 2020 regardless of the outcome. “This big lie — President Trump’s effort to convince Americans that he had won the 2020 election — began before the election results even came in. It was intentional, it was premeditated,” Lofgren said. The committee also aired a new video showing Trump’s ally Roger Stone telling Trump supporters to declare victory no matter the outcome. “I really do suspect it will still be up in the air. But when that happens, the key thing to do is to claim victory,” said Stone, whom the committee also linked to right-wing extremist organizations, including the Proud Boys. “We’ll start smashing pumpkins, if you know what I mean.”

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AMY GOODMAN:The House Select Committee to Investigate January 6th Attack on America’s Capitol held its last public hearing Thursday. The meeting ended with the committee voting unanimously to subpoena former President Donald Trump. This likely sets up a court battle. The former president was at the heart of the attack on the Capitol by far-right insurrectionists on January 6th in an attempt to keep Trump in power, according to committee members.

Today, we spend an hour airing excerpts from the hearing. We start with Zoe Lofgren, a Democratic Congresswoman from California, who explains how Trump had devised a plan to declare victory in 2020 no matter what happens.

REP. ZOE LOFGREN:Trump also met with Tom Fitton (an inside activist) to discuss the strategy for election night, just days before the election. This prepared statement was provided by the National Archives to the select committee. As you can see, the draft statement, which was sent on October 31st, declares, “We had an election today — and I won.”

And the Fitton memo specifically indicates a plan that only the votes counted by the Election Day deadline — and there is no Election Day deadline — would matter. Everyone knew that the legality of ballot counting would not be stopped after Election Day. Claiming that the counting on election night must stop, before millions of votes were counted, was, as we now know, a key part of President Trump’s premeditated plan.

Just after 5 p.m. on Election Day, Mr. Fitton stated that he had spoken to the president about the statement. “Sending along again. Just talked to him about the draft below…” Again, this plan to keep — to declare victory was in place before any of the results had been determined.

In the course of our investigation, we also interviewed Brad Parscale, President Trump’s former campaign manager. He said that he knew that Trump had planned to claim victory even if he loses.

Just a few days prior to the election, Steve Bannon (an ex-White House strategist and advisor to President Trump) spoke to a group from China and stated these words.

STEPHEN BANNON: And what Trump’s going to do is just declare victory. Right? He’s going to declare victory. But that doesn’t mean he’s the winner; he’s just going to say he’s the winner. …

The Democrats — more of our people vote early that count. Theirs vote by mail. And so, they’re going to have a natural disadvantage, and Trump’s going to take advantage of it. That’s our strategy. He’s just going to declare himself a winner. So, when you wake up Wednesday morning, it’s going to be a firestorm. …

Also — also, if Trump is — if Trump is losing by 10:00 or 11:00 at night, it’s going to be even crazier. No, because he’s going sit right there and say, “They stole it.”

UNIDENTIFIED: Yeah, agree.

STEPHEN BANNON: “I’m directing the attorney general to shut down all ballot places in all 50 states.” It’s going to be — no, he’s not going out easy. If Trump — if Biden is winning, Trump is going to do some crazy [bleep].

REP. ZOE LOFGREN:As you all know, Mr. Bannon declined to testify in our investigation. He’s been convicted of criminal contempt of Congress, and he’s awaiting sentencing. But the evidence indicates that Mr. Bannon had advance knowledge of Mr. Trump’s intent to declare victory falsely on election night, but also that Mr. Bannon knew about Mr. Trump’s planning for January 6th. Here’s what Bannon said on January 5th.

STEPHEN BANNON:Tomorrow is the day when all hell will break loose. … It’s all converging, and now we’re on, as they say, the point of attack, right? Tomorrow is the day of the attack. … I’ll tell you this: It’s not going to happen like you think it’s going to happen. OK? It’s going to be quite extraordinarily different. All I can do is tell you to buckle in. … You have made this happen, and tomorrow it’s game day. So buckle up. Let’s get ready.

REP. ZOE LOFGREN: Another close associate of Donald Trump apparently knew of Mr. Trump’s intentions, as well. Roger Stone is now a political operative known for his dirty tricks. He was sentenced to three years in prison for lying to Congress and other offences. He’s also a longtime adviser to President Trump and was in communication with President Trump throughout 2020. Roger Stone was pardoned by Mr. Trump on December 23, 2020. …

Right before the election, here’s Roger Stone talking about what President Trump would do after the election.

ROGER STONE: Let’s just hope we’re celebrating. I suspect it’ll be — I really do suspect it will still be up in the air. The key thing is to claim victory when that happens. Possession is nine-tenths according to the law. “No, we won. [Bleep] you. Sorry. Over. We won. You’re wrong. [Bleep] you.”

I said, [bleep] the voting, let’s get right to the violence.

UNIDENTIFIED: That’s what I’m [bleep] saying. There’s no point.

ROGER STONE: We’ll have to start smashing pumpkins if you know what I mean.


REP. ZOE LOFGREN:The committee summoned Mr. Stone to testify, but he invoked the Fifth Amendment right against self incrimination.

INVESTIGATOR:Do you believe that the violence of January 6th was justified

ROGER STONE:On the advice and consent of counsel, I respectfully decline the honor to answer your question on basis of the Fifth Amendment.

INVESTIGATOR:And, Mr. Stone: Did you play any part in the planning for the violence of January 6th?

ROGER STONE:I will once again assert my Fifth Amendment rights to decline to answer any question.

REP. ZOE LOFGREN: Although we don’t yet have all the relevant records of Roger Stone’s communications, even Stone’s own social media posts acknowledge that he spoke with Donald Trump on December 27th as preparations for January 6th were underway.

This post shows how Roger Stone discussed his conversations with President Trump. He wrote, “I also told the president exactly how he can appoint a special counsel with full subpoena power to ensure those who are attempting to steal the 2020 election through voter fraud are charged and convicted and to ensure Donald Trump continues as our president.”

As we all know, the idea of a Special Counsel was not an idle suggestion. It was something President Trump had attempted to do earlier that month.

We know Roger Stone was present at the Willard Hotel January 5th and 6th. Other witness testimony also confirms that President Trump asked Mark Meadows, his chief-of-staff, to speak with Roger Stone as well as General Michael Flynn that evening.

Roger Stone was not only connected to President Trump but also had extensive connections to the Oath Keepers, and the Proud boys who were responsible for violently attacking Capitol. Individuals from both these organizations were charged with the crime seditious conspiracy.

What is a seditious conspiracy? It is a plot to use violence against the United States to resist the lawful authority.

This crime has been committed against multiple Roger Stone associates from the Oath Keepers as well as the Proud Boys. Joshua James and Roger Stone’s close associates pleaded guilty to the crime.

We know that at most seven Oath Keepers have been criminally charged with providing personal security for Roger Stone. They were seen with him on January 6, or in the weeks preceding January 6. Joshua James, the leader and Oath Keeper in Alabama, provided security for Roger Stone on January 5th. This is the photo of the two of them together on January 5th. James entered the Capitol on January 6. He assaulted an officer. He pleaded guilty earlier this year to seditious conspiration and obstruction of Congress.

Kelly and Connie Meggs, a married couple, is another example. Kelly Meggs was the leader for the Florida chapter Oath Keepers. Roger Stone was protected by him and his wife. Both were charged with leading a military-style attack on Oath Keepers that attacked the Capitol on January 6th.

Perhaps even more disturbing is Roger Stone’s close association with Enrique Tarrio, the national chairman of the Proud Boys. Roger Stone’s connection with Enrique Tarrio and the Proud Boys is well documented by video evidence, with phone records the select committee has obtained. Tarrio and other Proud Boys have been charged with multiple offenses in connection with the attack on January 6. During the attack, Tarrio sent a message to other Proud Boys claiming, “We did that.” He also visited the White House on December 12th. Tarrio posted a disturbing video later that day claiming credit for the attack. This video was posted on January 6th. It appears that it was created prior to the attack.

This big lie — President Trump’s effort to convince Americans that he had won the 2020 election — began before the election results even came in. It was deliberate, it was premeditated. It was not based in election results. There was no evidence of fraud or actual problems with the voting machines. It was a plan to convince his supporters he won. The people who knew about the plan would eventually play a significant part in the events of January 6.

AMY GOODMAN:Zoe Lofgren was a Democratic Congressmember from California.