The latest hearing from the House select committee investigating the January 6, 2021, insurrection fleshed out the links between former President Donald Trump and the far-right extremist groups that were at the vanguard of the violent effort to stop the transition of power and keep him in office, despite his election loss.
The hearing on Tuesday focused on the loose affiliations between Trump, his informal political advisers, and members of far-right militia groups like the Oath Keepers and the Proud Boys.
The committee walked through snippets of witness depositions, court documents, previously unseen emails and other materials, to make the case that Trump coyly courted these militants and saw them as his troops on the ground, to pressure Congress to overturn the 2020 election.
“All of these efforts would converge and explode on January 6,” Rep. Jamie Raskin, a Maryland Democrat and committee member who led parts of Tuesday’s hearing, said during his opening statements.
Here are some takeaways from Tuesday’s hearing.
Panel highlights Trump’s ‘call to arms’ tweet
The panel repeatedly highlighted a Trump tweet from December 2020, which they said was a galvanizing call-to-arms that motivated his supporters to come to Washington and disrupt the transition of power.
The tweet claimed that it was “statistically impossible to have lost the 2020 Election,” and said there would be a “Big protest in D.C. on January 6th.” Trump infamously added, “Be there, will be wild!”
Rep. Stephanie Murphy, a Florida Democrat who led part of the hearing, said that the post was “a call to action, and in some cases as a call to arms, for many of President Trump’s most loyal supporters,” citing comments from many of the rioters and far-right extremists, who said they were inspired by the tweet.
After the tweet, pro-Trump groups rescheduled planned protests for late January and switched the date to January 6, according to the committee. “Stop the Steal” leader Ali Alexander quickly registered the website WildProtest.com and used the site as a clearinghouse for information about the protest.
Right-wing conspiracy theorist Alex Jones promoted Trump’s tweet and urged people to flock to DC. Jim Watkins, the administrator of 8kun, an online forum that is the home of the QAnon conspiracy, told the House panel that he decided to go to Washington on January 6 after Trump’s tweet.
“There is going to be a red wedding going down January 6,” a person identified as Salty Cracker said in another clip, referring to a massacre from the television show “Game of Thrones.”
Details uncovered for the planning behind Trump’s ‘unexpected’ call to march to the Capitol
The committee unveiled evidence Tuesday showing how Trump’s call for his supporters to march to the Capitol on January 6 had been planned in advance.
The committee showed a draft tweet — which Trump did not send — calling for marching to the Capitol. “I will be making a Big Speech at 10AM on January 6th at the Ellipse (South of the White House). Please arrive early, massive crowds expected. March to the Capitol after. Stop the Steal!!” the draft tweet says. The tweet, which the committee obtained from the National Archives, includes a stamp saying “President has seen.”
In addition, the committee showed a text message it obtained from rally organizer Kylie Jane Kremer to right-wing businessman Mike Lindell that said the President would “unexpectedly” tell his supporters to march to another stage outside the Supreme Court building, which is behind the Capitol.
“It can also not get out about the march because I will be in trouble with the national park service and all the agencies but POTUS is going to just call for it ‘unexpectedly,'” Kremer wrote.
Katrina Pierson, who also helped organize the rally, wrote in an email to her fellow organizers on January 2: “POTUS expectations are to have something intimate at the ellipse and call on everyone to march to the capitol.”
Alexander, another organizer, sent a text message on January 5, 2021, that was obtained by the committee: “Tomorrow: Ellipse then US capitol. Trump is supposed to order us to capitol at the end of his speech but we will see.”
CNN’s Melanie Zanona, Annie Grayer, Alex Rogers, Katelyn Polantz, Andrew Millman and Hannah Rabinowitz contributed to this report.