Cheney: Trump Said Pence Deserved the Violent Chants

Landmark House hearing on Jan. 6 riot and efforts to overturn election is underway
By Newser Editors,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 9, 2022 7:05 PM CDT
Updated Jun 9, 2022 8:15 PM CDT
Landmark House Hearing Is Underway
Vice Chair Liz Cheney, R-Wyo., gives her opening remarks as Committee Chairman Rep. Bennie Thompson, D-Miss., left, and Rep. Adam Kinzinger, R-Ill., look on.   (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

(Newser) (This summary is being updated throughout as the hearing proceeds.) A House select panel tasked with investigating the Capitol riot and former President Trump's effort to overturn the election has begun the first of six public hearings. Thursday night's session is being televised on most networks and streamed live via the committee's website and its YouTube channel.

  • William Barr: In his introductory remarks, panel Chairman Bennie Thompson accused Trump of an "attempted coup," and he played a tape of former Attorney General William Barr assessing Trump's claims that the election was stolen. “I told the president it was bull---," Barr said in the videotaped testimony, per the New York Times. "I didn’t want to be a part of it."
  • Liz Cheney: In her opening remarks, the GOP congresswoman said Trump told staffers and aides that demonstrators at the Capitol "were doing what they should be doing" and repeatedly rebuffed requests to condemn the ongoing riot. Cheney, the panel's vice chair, said that Trump, upon being told that protesters wanted to hang Mike Pence, replied that "maybe our protesters have the right idea," per the Daily Beast, and that Pence "deserves it." Cheney also accused Trump of trying to "destroy" the government and placing it in a "moment of maximum danger."
  • Ivanka Trump: The panel played a snippet of the videotaped testimony of the presidential daughter, and, unlike her father, she accepted Barr's assessment that Trump lost, per CNN. When asked, "How did that affect your perception about the election when Attorney General Barr made that statement?" she replied: "It affected my perspective. I respect Attorney General Barr so I accepted what he was saying."

  • Video: Before its first recess, the panel played a dramatic video of the march on the Capitol unfolding, the attacks on police officers, the evacuation of members of Congress, etc. It ended with images of mob violence and audio of Trump on Fox News praising the marchers as peaceful and full of "love."
  • Joint chiefs: Mark Milley, then chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, told the panel in his videotaped testimony that Pence was focused on ending the day's violence as it unfolded, unlike Trump chief of staff Mark Meadows. He quoted Meadows as saying: "We have to kill the narrative that the vice president is making all the decisions. We need to establish the narrative, you know, that the president is still in charge and that things are steady or stable."
  • Big picture: Beforehand, aides on the panel say evidence presented at the hearings will demonstrate that Trump was at the heart of a “coordinated, multistep effort to overturn the results of the 2020 election," an effort that resulted in the Capitol riot on Jan. 6, 2021, reports the New York Times.
(Read more Jan. 6 hearings stories.)

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