The House committee investigating the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol unveiled testimony from top officials in the Trump administration at its high-profileon Thursday, with lawmakers making the case that former President Donald Trump was at the center of a “conspiracy” to overturn the results of the 2020 election.
The footage offered a preview of the committee’s plans to unveil the findings of its monthslong investigation over the course of several upcoming hearings, drawing upon the mountain of evidence that congressional investigators have obtained from interviews with more than 1,000 witnesses, including some of the key figures in Trump’s attempt to hold onto power.
In one clip played during Thursday’s hearing, former Attorney General William Barr told committee that he told Trump his claims that the election was stolen were “bullsh**” and that he “didn’t want to be a part of it.”
“You can’t live in a world where the incumbent administration stays in power based on its view, unsupported by specific evidence, that there was fraud in the election,” Barr said in a taped interview displayed by committee Chairman Bennie Thompson. Barr resigned as attorney general in late December 2020, shortly after he said publicly that the Justice Department saw no evidence of widespread fraud that would have changed the election results, comments that infuriated Trump.
Jason Miller, a Trump campaign aide, recalled a meeting in the Oval Office after the election in which the campaign’s lead data analyst told Trump “in pretty blunt terms” that he would lose the election. The analyst’s conclusion was based on county-by-county and state-by-state data, Miller told investigators.
Ivanka Trump, the president’s daughter and a senior White House aide, said she had accepted Barr’s analysis that claims of voter fraud were false.
“I respect Attorney General Barr, so I accepted what he was saying,” she said in the recorded testimony.
Alex Cannon, a Trump campaign lawyer, said he told Trump’s chief of staff Mark Meadows that the campaign was not finding anything in key states that would change the election’s results.
He said Meadows responded, “So there’s no ‘there’ there.”
Yet Trump still sought to pressure Vice President Mike Pence to overturn the Electoral College vote, ultimately encouraging his supporters to “walk down” to the U.S. Capitol while the Electoral College vote counting was underway.
“If you don’t fight like hell, you’re not going to have a country anymore,” Trump said on Jan. 6.
In recorded testimony, Pence’s chief of staff, Marc Short, said his boss had more loyalty to the Constitution than Trump.