This was a hearing that put former President Trump at center stage, a presentation involving every member of the Jan. 6 House select committee that culminated in a vote on issuing a subpoena for documents and testimony before the panel by the former president. The resolution passed unanimously.
Beyond that, though, there were other notable revelations and previously unseen video that emerged from what’s likely to be the committee’s final hearing. Here are some of the highlights from the ninth Jan. 6 hearing:
Pelosi and congressional leaders seeking help on Jan. 6
The committee played video that had never been seen publicly, of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer and other top officials in Congress working the phones, contacting Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam and Vice President Mike Pence. Pelosi implored Northam to activate the Virginia National Guard.
Committee member Rep. Jamie Raskin said they “stepped into the giant leadership void created by the president’s chilling and studied passivity that day.”
On the phone with Pence, who had been relocated to a garage near Capitol loading docks, Pelosi discussed how they’d resume their work to affirm the Electoral College results, even as she could see on television images of the mobs of Trump supporters breaching the Capitol.
“What we are being told very directly is it’s gonna take days for the Capitol to be OK again,” Pelosi told Pence on the phone. Outside the Capitol, there were cries of “hang Mike Pence” and on Twitter, users were calling for his execution, Twitter whistleblower Anika Navaroli told the committee.
Pelosi assessed some of the damage done by rioters that could delay lawmakers’ return to the floor, remarking that some had defecated in the Capitol.
“I don’t think that that’s hard to clean up,” she said, “but I do think it is more from a security standpoint of making sure that everybody is out of the building and how long will that take.”
It could take time to “clean out the poo-poo they are making, literally and figuratively,” Pelosi said.
The footage was shot by Alexandra Pelosi, a documentary filmmaker and Pelosi’s daughter.
Multiple criminal referrals possible
While summing up how much the committee has learned in its 15-month investigation,committee vice chair Liz Cheney said they had “sufficient information” to “consider criminal referrals for multiple individuals, and to recommend a range of legislative proposals to guard against another Jan. 6.”
Cheney named some of the people who the committee has made criminal referrals to the Justice Department, but those referrals are for failing to comply with the committee’s subpoenas. The committee has sent criminal referrals for Trump’s White House chief strategist Steve Bannon, chief of staff Mark Meadows and aides Peter Navarro and Dan Scavino. Bannon and Navarro were both charged, and Bannon has since been found guilty.
She also noted how many of Trump’s allies took the Fifth instead of testifying, and played a video montage showing their refusal to answer the committee’s questions.
Trump authorized the withdrawal of troops from Afghanistan and Somalia
The committee showed testimony about national security concerns arising from a memo Trump had signed that would have ordered the immediate withdrawal of all U.S. troops from Afghanistan and Somalia.
GOP Rep. Adam Kinzinger presented the testimony as an exam[ple of the “unfinished business” Mr. Trump was taking care of in his final weeks in office.
“Keep in mind the order was for an immediate withdrawal,” Kinzinger said. “It would have been catastrophic, yet President Trump signed the order. These are highly consequential actions of a president who knows his term will shortly end.”
The order was drafted by Johnny McEntee, a political aide in the Trump White House who had been his personal aide, known as a “body man” and was later named director of the White House Presidential Personnel Office.
McEntee initially told a senior adviser to the defense secretary that the Pentagon should withdraw the troops. The adviser said Pentagon leadership would not do it without an order from the president and then gave McEntee the language for an order.
“I hereby direct you to withdraw all U.S. military forces from the Federal Republic of Somalia no later than 31 December 2020; and from the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan no later than 15 January 2021,” read the memo, which the committee showed on Thursday.
“McEntee duly types it up, brings it in to the president, the president signs it, and boom, it’s over, faxed over or emailed over, scanned over, and [the acting Defense Secretary’s Chief of Staff] Kash Patel delivers it to me,” Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Gen. Mark Milley said in an interview with the committee.
“It is odd. It is non-standard. It is potentially dangerous,” Milley told the committee. “I personally thought it was not militarily feasible, nor wise.”
In the end, Trump ordered troops to leave Somalia – a move which President Biden has since reversed – and ordered a reduction of troops in Afghanistan. Mr. Biden withdrew U.S. troops from Afghanistan in August 2021.
Trump: “Can you believe I lost to this effing guy?”
Even as he publicly insisted he won and the election was unfairly rigged, privately, the president admitted to some that he had lost. In video played by the committee, former White House aide Alyssa Farah recalled seeing Trump watching TV: “He was looking at the TV, and he said, ‘Can you believe I lost to this effing guy?'”
Cassidy Hutchinson asked chief of staff Mark Meadows of Trump really thinks “that he lost,” and Meadows admitted, “‘A lot of times he’ll tell me that he lost, but he wants to keep fighting it, and he thinks there might be enough to overturn the election, but you know, he pretty much has acknowledged that he’s lost.'”
Milley recalled Trump said at one point, “‘Yeah, we lost, we need to let that issue go to the next guy,” adding, “Meaning President Biden.”
No subpoena for Pence
Jan. 6 select committee chairman Bennie Thompson, asked by reporters whether Pence would be subpoenaed, responded, “No.”
But he nodded his head when they asked if he hoped Trump would appear in person.
Pence had said over the summer that he’d “consider” testifying before the committee if asked.