From our US correspondent,
For more than three hours, there was no pilot on board. A total of 187 minutes separates the end of Donald Trump’s speech, when he encouraged tens of thousands of his supporters to “march” toward the Capitol, and the video in which he asked them to leave the building. The Parliamentary Inquiry Committee presented, on Thursday evening, during the eighth public hearing, the details of what the former US president did during this period. Especially what he did not do.
He refused to call up his forces, and did not phone Mike Pence or military officials. And he watched Fox News a lot, while American democracy was stumbling.
The presidential commission condemned “absolute dereliction of duty,” and announced new — unscheduled — hearings in September. before his final report, which may recommend criminal charges against Donald Trump. but sheAttorney General (Justice Minister) Merrick Garland who will have to decide whether there are grounds to indict a former president. Here are the four main meals of the evening.
Donald Trump was going to the Capitol
Three weeks ago, Cassidy Hutchinson, a former assistant to the US president’s chief of staff, made three heartbreaking allegations: Donald Trump was planning to go to the Capitol, he had an altercation with the Secret Service in the presidential car, and he knew, via his security service, that some of his supporters were armed. Thursday evening, two witnesses confirmed the first two points.
A former security official who testified on condition of anonymity asserted, with audio modified, that Donald Trump had to go to the Capitol: “We were in shock. It’s no longer a political rally. The president wanted to lead tens of thousands of people to the Capitol.” I don’t know if the word “coup” or “rebellion” should be used, but we were concerned. »
Washington Police Sgt. Mark Robinson, who was involved in the presidential motorcade security, testified that an agent who was in front of the presidential SUV reported a “very lively discussion” between Donald Trump and the agent in charge of his vehicle. Protection: “The president insisted on going to the Capitol and was angry. »
His entourage begged him to summon his supporters
Donald Trump ended his speech at 1:10 p.m. After 11 minutes he returned to the White House. He was immediately informed that the situation was deteriorating. At 1:24 p.m., he entered the White House dining room adjacent to the Oval Office. This is where he spent most of the next three hours watching Fox News. He asked his former spokeswoman, Kayleigh McEnany, for a list of dozens of Republican-elected people he wanted to contact to delay or block the certification process. The commission does not know if he called them, because the White House call records are blank. Donald Trump has also fired his official photographer.
It is known that his daughter Ivanka and son Don Jr begged him – directly and through Chief of Staff Mark Meadows – to invite his supporters home. He refused, and “poured oil on the fire” first, according to the commission, by tweeting Mike Pence that Mike Pence “lacked guts.” In a video, agents protecting the vice president are seen wondering if the road is open to take off, with rioters and smokers a few meters away. Some officers call their loved ones to say goodbye. According to the commission, Donald Trump has never called Mike Pence, the Pentagon, or his generals. It was the Vice President who called on Chief of Staff Mark Milley to demand that the National Guard be sent.
In his video calling for calm, Donald Trump improvised
His advisers prepared a simple script for him: condemn minority violence and call on the rioters to go home. But in the end, Donald Trump, speaking of a “stolen election”, reassured his supporters that he “understands their pain” and threw on them: “We love you, you are so special.”
“I don’t want to say that the elections are over,” he said the next day.
Under a new threat Isolation Revolting from Mike Pence and his ministers via the 25th Amendment to declare it incompetent, Donald Trump tries to calm things down the next day. He records a new video, promising an orderly transfer of power. He repeats it several times. He began before stopping, explaining to his daughter Ivanka: “The elections are over and Congress has ratified the results. I don’t want to say the elections are over. Eighteen months later, he hasn’t said it clearly yet.”