Tonight’s prime-time finale by the Jan. 6 committee will be focused on Donald Trump himself and what he was doing — or not doing — while violence raged on Capitol Hill. Violent protesters, loyal to President Donald Trump, stormed the Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021, in Washington. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP-John Minchillo

Tonight’s prime-time finale by the Jan. 6 committee will be focused on Donald Trump himself and what he was doing — or not doing — while violence raged on Capitol Hill. Violent protesters, loyal to President Donald Trump, stormed the Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021, in Washington. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP-John Minchillo

Pence’s security detail wanted to call family members, fearing for their lives Jan. 6

Testimony: Trump did next to nothing as those closest urged president to call off violent mob

The Jan. 6 committee is hearing how members of former vice-president Mike Pence’s security detail were urging colleagues to call their families on their behalf, fearing for their lives amid the violence on Capitol Hill.

A White House security official, testifying under anonymity, described hearing radio traffic from Pence’s detail that made them fear they would be forced to take lethal action.

At the same time, the committee heard, Donald Trump did next to nothing for some three hours, even as those closest to him were urging the president to call off the violent mob.

One thing he did do was send a tweet vilifying Pence — a tweet former deputy national security adviser Matthew Pottinger described as the moment he realized he had to quit the White House.

In recorded testimony, White House counsel Pat Cippolone says senior adviser Marc Herschmann, chief of staff Mark Meadows and Trump’s own daughter Ivanka were urging him to take action.

Former deputy White House press secretary Sarah Matthews, also testifying in person, says she too was among those urging Trump to make a public statement.

Trump, however, rebuffed those pleas during the three hours he spent in his private White House dining room, watching the riot unfold on Fox News.

Committee members spelled out how neither White House call logs nor the presidential itinerary recorded any activity by Trump during the 187 minutes between his fateful speech on the Ellipse and when he finally urged protesters to go home.

Today’s hearing is the second to take place during prime time — a sign that committee members are hoping for maximum exposure as their investigation closes in on the former president.

It won’t be the last, however: chairman Rep. Bennie Thompson confirmed that the hearings would continue in September given the ongoing and rapidly developing investigation.

—James McCarten, The Canadian Press

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