Speed Reads

'holed up in a basement'

ABC's Jon Karl tells Colbert he thinks the Jan. 6 committee will want to see Pence's secret White House photos

While the rioters were still ransacking the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, trying to prevent the peaceful transfer of power from Donald Trump to President Biden, Trump's former chief of staff John Kelly told ABC News' Jonathan Karl "he wanted the 25th amendment to be invoked, immediately," Karl told Stephen Colbert on Monday's Late Show, and Trump's Cabinet "should meet right now and they should get him out now."

In March, Karl interviewed Trump at Mar a Lago for his new book, Betrayal: The Final Act of the Trump Show, and while Trump "looked fine, he looked fit," Karl told Colbert, "he was utterly delusional, especially in talking about the events of Jan. 6." He played an audio clip. "Can you imagine?" Karl said. "I'm asking him about a riot, I'm asking about one of the darkest days in American history, and he's talking about how many people came out to see him."

Colbert wanted to know more about Karl's fight with former Vice President Mike Pence. 

Pence had an official White House photographer with him during the insurrection, Karl said, and he has viewed the images, which show Pence sheltering from the rioters "in a loading dock in an underground parking garage beneath the Capitol complex" for about five hours. "I mean, this is the vice president of the United States, and he's like holed up in a basement," Karl said. Pence "refused to let me publish the photographs — but I have a suspicion that the Jan. 6 committee is going to want to see those photos," he told Colbert, and since they are government property, there's a good chance they'd get their wish. 

Earlier in the interview, Karl explained "it was absolutely heartbreaking" watching the rioters "trying to stop what makes American democracy democracy. And by the way, they almost succeeded," he said. Researching the book, "I came to realize that we were far closer to losing it all than I even realized at the time — and I was freaked out, like we all were, at the time."

Karl also recounted the "amazing" story of how the Republican National Committee used "a series of threats" or "warnings" to stop Trump from leaving the GOP and starting his own party, Essentially, "they said that if he did it, it would cost him tens of millions of dollars," Karl said. Trump folded in four to five days.