Jan. 6 committee says several GOP lawmakers sought pardons from Trump after Capitol attack

Rep. Bennie Thompson (D-Miss.) and Rep. Liz Cheney (R-Wyo).
(Image credit: Drew Angerer/Getty Images)

The House Jan. 6 committee's public hearing on Thursday night contained several revelations, including that former Attorney General William Barr told former President Donald Trump his claims of the 2020 election being stolen were "bulls--t," and that in the wake of the Capitol attack, Rep. Scott Perry (R-Penn.) and several other GOP lawmakers sought pardons from Trump for their actions leading up to the riot.

The assault on the Capitol was the "culmination of an attempted coup," the committee's chairman, Rep. Bennie Thompson (D-Miss.), said at the start of the hearing. The panel's vice chair, Rep. Liz Cheney (R-Wyo.), explained how several upcoming hearings will detail how Trump oversaw a "sophisticated, seven-part plan to overturn the presidential election," declaring that he "summoned the mob, assembled the mob, and lit the flame of this attack."

Cheney said the committee heard testimony that Trump knew members of the mob at the Capitol were chanting "Hang Mike Pence," and he responded, "maybe our supporters have the right idea," and Pence "deserves it." Several clips from recorded interviews were also played, including a snippet of the testimony delivered by Jason Miller, a former Trump campaign spokesman. Miller stated that an internal data expert spoke to Trump in the Oval Office after the election and "delivered to the president in pretty blunt terms that he was going to lose."

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The hearings will show that Trump ignored courts, the Justice Department, the Department of Homeland Security, and Republican state officials who told him there was no fraud, Cheney said. "President Trump invested millions of dollars in campaign funds purposely spreading false information and running ads he knew were false," Cheney added, which in turn convinced "millions of Americans the election was corrupt and he was the true president. As you will see, this misinformation campaign provoked the violence on Jan. 6."

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