Jan. 6 panel’s new video: Trump’s unspoken words
Tough talk set to be given in speech after riot was crossed out
WASHINGTON — An original script for Donald Trump’s speech the day after the U.S. Capitol insurrection included tough talk ordering the Justice Department to “ensure all lawbreakers are prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law” and stating the rioters “do not represent me.” But those words were crossed out, apparently by Trump, according to exhibits released by House investigators.
Virginia Rep. Elaine Luria, a Democratic member of the House panel investigating the Jan. 6, 2021, attack, tweeted out a short video Monday that included testimony from White House aides discussing Trump’s speech on Jan. 7 and a screenshot of the speech, with notes and with lines to be deleted. In one of the clips, Trump’s daughter, Ivanka Trump, confirms to the panel the document “looks like a copy of a draft of the remarks for that day” and the writing “looks like my father’s handwriting.”
When the committee asked White House aide Jared Kushner, Ivanka’s husband, why Trump crossed out specific lines, he responded, twice: “I don’t know.”
Meanwhile, Marc Short, who was chief of staff to Vice President Mike Pence, testified last week to a federal grand jury in Washington, making him the highest ranking official of the Trump administration so far known to have cooperated with the Justice Department’s widening inquiry into the events leading up to the assault on the Capitol.
Short, who was subpoenaed by federal prosecutors, spent two to three hours in front of the grand jury, according to two people familiar with the matter.
The House select committee released the 3 minute, 40 second video Monday as a follow up to its final summer hearing last week, in which the investigators showed outtakes from Trump’s videotaping of the speech. In the outtakes, Trump becomes frustrated and discusses the wording with the staff present, including Ivanka. At one point, he tells them “I don’t want to say the election is over.”
The committee is releasing the additional material in an effort to push out more evidence after eight hearings laid out findings from more than 1,000 interviews in its yearlong investigation. Members will hold more hearings in the fall.
They are aiming to convey a message about Trump and his actions before, during and after the insurrection — that he repeatedly lied about widespread fraud, even against the advice of his closest aides, and sparked the violent actions of his supporters. And when the rioters broke into the Capitol, he did nothing to stop them.
In her Monday tweet, Luria said, “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. There were more things he was unwilling to say.”
The Jan. 7 speech was seen by his aides as an effort to make up for his inaction the day before when he waited hours to tell the rioters to leave the Capitol — and when he did, in a video filmed in the Rose Garden, he told the rioters that they were “very special.” In the video released by Luria, Trump aide Kushner says he had spoken with other
aides and they were trying to put remarks together for the president. “We felt like it was important to further call for de-escalation,” Kushner testified to the committee.
It’s unclear who wrote the original text.
In the original line “I am outraged and sickened by the violence, lawlessness and mayhem” the word “sickened” is crossed out. So are the later lines, “I want to be very clear you do not represent me. You do not represent our movement.” But he left in, “You do not represent our country.” The
line “you belong in jail” was replaced with “you will pay.”
These lines also deleted: “I am directing the Department of Justice to ensure all lawbreakers are prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law. We must send a clear message — not with mercy but with JUSTICE. Legal consequences must be swift and firm.”
In recent testimony, former White House aide Cassidy Hutchinson said the scramble to get Trump to speak on Jan. 7 was partly because of “large concern” within the White House that
some of his Cabinet officials might try to invoke the 25th Amendment to remove him from office.
The newly released video includes testimony from John McEntee, then the director of the White House presidential personnel office and one of Trump’s closest aides. McEntee says Kushner asked him to “nudge this along” to make sure that Trump delivered the speech. McEntee confirmed Trump was reluctant.