During its Thursday primetime hearing, the House select committee investigating the January 6, 2021, attack on the U.S. Capitol plans to share video outtakes of former President Donald Trump struggling to condemn the violence that was carried out in his name.
The day after a mob of his loyalists breached the Capitol building, Trump recorded a statement criticizing the attack, which aired later that evening. But the January 6 committee has unaired video evidence that Trump only made the statement reluctantly.
“The President displayed extreme difficulty in completing his remarks,” committee member Rep. Jamie Raskin (D-Maryland) said on CNN Wednesday night.
During the outtakes of the video that the committee plans to show on Thursday evening, Trump struggled to denounce the Capitol mob’s actions, and at one point tried to call them patriots. He also tried to refuse to describe the election results as settled.
The video is “extremely revealing how exactly he went about making those statements, and we’re going to let everybody see parts of that,” Raskin added.
Trump reportedly only made the video due to worries about how his own cabinet would react if he didn’t say something about the attack. Trump was concerned about the possible use of the 25th Amendment, which would have enabled his advisers and former Vice President Mike Pence to deem him incapable of leading and prematurely remove him from office.
Trump’s most loyal advisers urged him to make the video to prevent such an outcome. His final message lasted about three minutes, and included remarks in which he condemned the violence.
In public statements since that time, however, Trump has expressed support for those who attacked the Capitol to disrupt the certification of his presidential election loss. He has even suggested that he may pardon those charged with crimes relating to the attack if he ever becomes president again.
Trump’s reluctance to condemn the violence is in line with his refusal to take immediate action as the January 6 attack was unfolding, committee members have suggested. The video, alongside other evidence the panel plans to show, makes it “very clear that watching this violence was part of the plan,” said committee member Rep. Elaine Luria (D-Virginia) earlier this week.
“He wanted to see it unfold. And it wasn’t until he realized that it was not going to be successful that he finally stood up and said something,” Luria added.
In addition to showcasing the video outtakes, January 6 committee members plan to demonstrate how Trump was responsible for the overall violence at the Capitol that day, and how his inaction after the attack began violated his oath of office. This will be the second primetime hearing held by the committee.