By Ashok Nilakantan
New York, July 22 : The July 21 Thursday prime time virtually proved to be D-Day for former US president Donald Trump after the Congressional committee investigating the January 6 Capitol Hill insurrection provided new damning footage on the mob attack by Oath Keepers and Proud Boys on the citadel of democracy and key witnesses Sara Mathews (press aide) and Mathew Pottinger, deputy National Security Advisor, explained why they quit White House due to the “indefensible action of Trump” not to quell the riotous mob.
The House panel showed never before seen footage of how White House officials rushed to respond to an attack on the US government, as the Commander in Chief Trump chose for hours to do nothing.
The House committee investigating the January 6 riots, documented President Donald J. Trump’s inaction to call off the mob during the 187 minutes after rioters descended on the Capitol, before he issued a public response, New York Times reported of the 8th hearings conclusion of evidence gathered against the former president by the congressional committee probing the Capitol Hill Insurrection on January 6, 2021.
The select committee virtually provided a panoramic account of how, even as the lives of law enforcement officers, members of Congress and his own vice president Mike Pence were threatened, Trump did nothing and could not be moved to act until after it was clear that the riot had failed to disrupt Congress’s session to confirm his election defeat to democrat Joe Biden in the 2020 presidential elections.
Even then, the committee showed in never-before-seen footage from the White House, Trump privately refused to concede — “I don’t want to say the election’s over!” he angrily told aides as he recorded a video message that had been scripted for him the day after the attack — or to condemn the assault on the Capitol as a crime.
Drama unfolded in the 8th hearing as a stellar line up of witnesses assembled before the congressional committee making it hard for the prime-time viewers to dismiss the hearings as part of a partisan witch hunt. With top Trump aides, veterans and military leaders, loyal Republicans and even members of Trump’s own family, Ivanka Trump, daughter — the committee established that the president willfully rejected their efforts to persuade him to mobilize a response to the deadliest attack on the Capitol in two centuries.
“You’re the commander in chief. You’ve got an assault going on on the Capitol of the United States of America, and there’s nothing?” Gen. Mark A. Milley, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, the nation’s highest-ranking military officer, told the panel. “No call? Nothing? Zero?”
Milley’s statement virtually climaxed a year-long hearing against Trump and seemed like it was a closing argument of sorts in the case the panel has built against Trump, one whose central assertion in which the former president was accused of dereliction of duty to keep the oath of a president for failing to do all that he could — or anything at all, for 187 minutes — to call off the assault carried out in his name.
Thursday’s session, led by two military veterans with testimony from another, was also an appeal to patriotism as the panel asserted that Trump’s inaction during the riot was a final, glaring violation of his oath of office, coming at the end of a multi-pronged and unsuccessful effort to overturn his 2020 election loss, New York times said.
White House officials recounted how the president declined to take the few steps down the hallway to the White House briefing room to call off the mob, instead tweeting an attack on Mike Pence as he was fleeing for his life. “I think that in that moment, for him to tweet out the message about Mike Pence, it was him pouring gasoline on the fire and making it much worse,” said Sarah Matthews, a former White House press aide who resigned on January 6 and was one of two witnesses who testified in person on Thursday.
Chairman Bennie Thompson, attending virtually due to Covid-19 infection, said the committee would resume public hearings in September. “As we’ve made clear throughout these hearings, our investigation goes forward,” he said.
“We continue to receive new information every day. We continue to hear from witnesses. We will reconvene in September to continue laying out our findings to the American people.”