The House Select Committee investigating the Jan. 6 insurrection at the U.S. Capitol has reason to believe there’s video evidence which would prove that former President Donald Trump didn’t want his supporters to vacate the premises and instead expected them to remain until he had been declared the winner of the 2020 election.
The committee has requested from the National Archives all of the video recordings Trump made as the rioting grew more intense, because in some of them Trump didn’t tell the rioters to disperse, but only expressed his love and support for them.
Based on reporting in a new book from ABC News White House correspondent Jon Karl, we know that several versions of Trump’s video message were recorded.
In the book, Betrayal: The Final Act of the Trump Show, Karl writes, according to ABC News:
The former president liked what he saw, boasted about the size of the crowd and argued with aides who wanted him to tell his supporters to stop rioting, according to Karl’s sources.
Two hours after the riot started, Trump finally acquiesced to recording a video statement. In the message posted to Twitter, he asked his supporters to go home but also praised them. “We love you. You are special,” Trump said in the video.
An aide present for the recording said, “Trump had to tape the message several times before they thought he got it right.”
In earlier versions he neglected to tell his supporters to leave the Capitol, according to Karl.
And that, Ryan Goodman of Just Security notes, is why the Select Committee wants to see every version of the video Trump recorded:
That would indeed be evidence of Trump’s guilt. It would prove his intent and that he didn’t want the violence to stop until he got what he wanted; until he could remain as head of state.
Trump filed suit to block the committee from getting any videos. Why would he want to keep that information hidden if he didn’t do anything wrong, as he repeatedly suggests? Because he knows it will prove his culpability and likely send him to prison for decades.