onald Trump watched the January 6 US Capitol attack on TV and refused to call it off despite desperate pleas from aides and even his own family, a congressional inquiry has heard.
Mr Trump refused to condemn the insurrection attempt, instead “pouring gasoline on the fire” by tweeting his false claims of a stolen election, the House committee investigating the event heard Thursday.
“President Trump didn’t fail to act,” said Republican Adam Kinzinger. “He chose not to act.”
The primetime hearing was told the former US President watched the violence on TV and did not place a single call to law enforcement or national security staff.
The eighth House of Representatives select committee hearing aimed to show President Trump’s actions “minute-by-minute”.
The panel, which includes two Republicans, is aiming to build a case that Mr Trump acted illegally in his bid to overturn the 2020 Presidential result.
It heard how he declared, “I don’t want to say the election is over”, in an unaired outtake of an address that was to be given to the nation.
Mr Trump, who is said to be considering a return bid for the presidency in 2024, dismissed the committee as a “kangaroo court” and said the panel and witnesses had told “many lies and misrepresentations”.
Liz Cheney, the panel’s Republican vice chair, said: “Donald Trump made a purposeful choice to violate his oath of office.”
While the riot was raging, Mr Trump was “giving the green light” by publicly condemning Vice President Mike Pence’s refusal to go along with his plan to stop the certification of Joe Biden’s victory, a former White House aide told the committee.
Two aides resigned on the spot as a result.
Previously unheard recordings of Secret Service radio transmissions revealed agents at the Capitol tried to whisk Mr Pence to safety amid the mayhem and even asked for messages to be relayed telling their own families goodbye.
The panel also revealed a text from the president’s son, Donald Trump, Jr, to his father’s chief of staff Mark Meadows urging the president to call off the mob.
The panel showed video of Mr Trump refusing to deliver a speech the next day declaring the election was over, despite his daughter, Ivanka Trump, heard off camera, encouraging him to read the script.
While the committee cannot make criminal charges, the Justice Department is monitoring its work.
So far, more than 840 people have been charged with federal crimes related to the Capitol riot.
No former president has ever been federally prosecuted by the Justice Department.