The Jan. 6 committee has released more evidence showing then-President Donald Trump’s reluctance to harshly condemn the violent mob of his supporters the day after their deadly assault on the US Capitol.
Videotaped depositions published Monday by Rep. Elaine Luria, D-Va., a member of the House select committee investigating the Jan. 6, 2021, Capitol riot, showed Trump’s former advisers — including his daughter Ivanka Trump, son-in-law Jared Kushner and White House counsel Pat Cipollone — discussing plans for his speech to the nation the following day.
Kushner told the committee that they had put together draft remarks for Trump to deliver 24 hours after the insurrection.
“We felt like it was important to further call for de-escalation,” Kushner said in his testimony. Both Kushner and his wife, Ivanka Trump, were senior White House advisers.
“I needed to express very clearly that the people who made the violent acts, went into the Capitol, did what they did, should be prosecuted and should be arrested,” Cipollone said. “And that needed to be stated forcefully.”
A draft of the speech, entitled “Remarks on National Healing,” obtained by the committee, includes several edits made by Trump.
Among the lines crossed out were a reference to how he was “sickened” by the violence and a call by him for the Justice Department to prosecute the rioters.
“I am directing the Department of Justice to ensure all lawbreakers are prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law,” read remarks crossed out by Trump. “We must send a clear message — not with mercy but with JUSTICE. Legal consequences must be swift and firm.”
“I want to be very clear: you do not represent me,” another crossed-out section read. “You do not represent our movement.”
I also edited a line that said, “if you broke the law, you belong in jail” to read, “if you broke the law, you will pay.”
Kushner said he did not know why Trump had crossed out those lines in his prepared remarks.
During last week’s primetime hearing, the committee presented outtakes of a three-minute video that Trump recorded and released on Jan. 7, 2021. They showed him struggling to condemn the rioters, stopping and starting multiple times and complaining that he could not see some of the prepared text.
The outtakes also revealed other things Trump did not want to say.
“This election is now over. Congress has certified the results,” he said before stopping. “I don’t want to say the election is over. I want to say Congress has certified the results without saying the election is over, OK?”