(WASHINGTON) — Former President Donald Trump did not want to call for the prosecution of Jan. 6 rioters after the Capitol attack, according to a video released Monday by the House select committee investigating the riot.
In a video tweeted by Virginia Democratic Rep. Elaine Luria, a member of the panel who led last week’s hearing, the committee showed what appeared to be a draft of Trump’s Jan. 7, 2021, remarks to the country — with several proposed lines crossed out.
The new video cites previously unreleased witness testimony and a copy of a document titled “Remarks on National Healing” that showed Trump was reluctant to give a speech rebuking his supporters who attacked the Capitol and calling for the Justice Department to prosecute them.
“It took more than 24 hours for President Trump to address the nation again after his Rose Garden video on January 6th in which he affectionately told his followers to go home in peace,” Luria wrote in her message posting the video. “There were more things he was unwilling to say.”
The nearly four-minute video includes clips of depositions from Trump’s daughter Ivanka Trump and son-in-law, Jared Kushner, discussing how the Jan. 7 remarks came together.
“We felt like it was important to further call for de-escalation,” said Kushner, who like Ivanka Trump was a senior White House aide.
Ivanka Trump told the committee that she could identify her father’s handwriting in the copy of the Jan. 7 speech included in the video while Kushner repeatedly said “I don’t know” when asked why the president had crossed out lines that read “legal consequences must be swift and firm” and “you do not represent me, you do not represent our movement.”
Key Trump aide John McEntee told investigators in his own deposition that he was told by other aides to “nudge” the speech along if President Trump asked his opinion on it — which he took as a sign that Trump didn’t want to deliver the remarks as initially written.
In the speech he eventually delivered at the White House on Jan. 7, Trump accused the rioters of defiling “the seat of American democracy” and said, “You do not represent our country.”
Cassidy Hutchinson, a committee witness who worked as a top aide to Trump’s final chief of staff, Mark Meadows, told the committee that Trump’s advisers pushed him to deliver remarks after the riot both to protect his legacy and to address concerns about how senators might respond if his Cabinet tried to remove him from office via the 25th Amendment.
“There was a large concern of the 25th Amendment potentially being invoked, and concerns about what would happen in the Senate,” Hutchinson said in the new video. “So the primary reason that I had heard other than, you know, ‘We did not do enough on the 6th’ … was, ‘Think about what might happen in the final 15 days of your presidency if we don’t do this. There’s already talk about the 25th Amendment. You might need this as cover."”
Representatives for Trump did not immediately respond to a request for comment on Monday’s video from the committee.
He has repeatedly said he did nothing wrong regarding Jan. 6 and has cast the House investigation as politically motivated and one-sided.
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