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"I'll call the damn Secretary of Defense"

There has to be a bit of drama.

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"I'll call the damn Secretary of Defense"

There has to be a bit of drama. The special committee on the storming of the Capitol met for more than two hours this Thursday afternoon. Now, in the Cannon Caucus Room, Bennie Thompson summons all nine members of the investigative committee. Yes is heard nine times. Donald Trump is thus subpoenaed to testify before the committee to answer questions about January 6, 2021.

"He must answer for his actions," says Thompson, a Democrat who chairs the committee. "He must answer to the police officers who are putting their lives and bodies at risk to defend our democracy." That Trump before lawmakers will appear – neither Thompson nor his colleagues expect that. The decision to summon the ex-president can be understood symbolically. After all, he prevents the argument that MPs didn't want to hear Trump.

During what may be the last meeting of the committee, which has been in session since June, the focus is on Trump's efforts to "overturn" the result of the 2020 presidential election he lost. There are new testimonies and video footage previously unknown to the public.

The witnesses who can be seen on the huge screen are mainly Republicans: former Trump employees from the White House, from his campaign team, government employees. It's not about politics or a party, but "about the truth, plain and simple," says Thompson. It is important to shed light on Trump's "state of mind", his "multi-part plan" to turn the election result around.

Liz Cheney, Republican and deputy chair of the committee, describes how Trump, against the advice of his campaign, declared himself the winner on election night and spread lies about alleged widespread voter fraud. "President Trump knew from incorruptible sources that his allegations of voter fraud were false," Cheney said.

Trump had declared long before the November 2020 election that he could not lose this election at all - unless through fraud. According to this script he acted. His “victory speech” from election night (“We had an election today – and I won”) had already been written on October 31, 2020. Adviser Steve Bannon also said days before the election that Trump would declare himself the winner. Recordings by a Danish filmmaker show these scenes on Thursday afternoon in the committee room.

Some of the material presented by the committee is already known, such as testimonies from an employee of Trump's chief of staff. The connections between Trump's people and the extreme right-wing militias "Proud Boys" and "Oathkeepers" are also not surprising.

All the more fascinating is the hitherto unknown dramatic video footage showing top US politicians during the siege of the Capitol by the pro-Trump mob. For example, Nancy Pelosi, Speaker of the House of Representatives, shows how corridors lead out of the Capitol. "We have to complete the process or they will have a complete victory," Pelosi said in this scene with a view to the certification of the election result, i.e. Joe Biden's victory.

Pelosi is later seen at a secret, protected location. While Trump passively followed the violent events on and in the Capitol via Fox News in the dining room of the White House, leading Democrats tried to restore order around the Capitol.

Pelosi used the phone to call then-Virginia Governor Ralph Northam ("Hi Governor, this is Nancy"). She asked him to second security forces. Pelosi watched the CNN coverage at the same time, exclaiming to Northam, clearly shaken: "Oh my God. They just smash windows, they do all sorts of things...they said someone got shot. It's just awful. And all at the instigation of the President of the United States.”

When an unidentified person told Pelosi that everyone in the chamber had put on tear gas masks "to prepare for a break-in," she was taken aback. Pelosi turned to fellow faction member Jim Clyburn: "Do you believe that?"

There was also corresponding contact with the – Republican – governor of Maryland during these dramatic hours. Pelosi and Chuck Schumer, then Senate Minority Leader, were on the phone with Acting Attorney General Jeffrey Rosen. "Yes, why don't you get the President to tell you to leave the Capitol, Attorney General?" Schumer snapped at the Trump Secretary. A "public statement" that the pro-Trump mob should leave the Capitol is needed, Schumer said. In vain for hours. Hours later, at 6:01 p.m., Trump should ask his fans to leave. He tweeted: "No one will forget this day." That's fair to say.

"I'm going to call the damn secretary of defense," Schumer told Pelosi. Shortly thereafter, Schumer can be seen requesting personnel from Acting Secretary of Defense Christopher Miller, letting him know, "We have some senators who are still in hiding."

In another phone call, Pelosi described the horrors of the storm. The insurgents left "poop" in the Capitol, "literally and figuratively."

During these hours, Pelosi and Schumer also personally consulted with Mitch McConnell, then Republican Senate Majority Leader, as the video shows. Because of the corona pandemic, almost everyone wore masks. The video reveals spooky scenes. A dark day in American history.

Pelosi can be seen again in a phone call – with Vice President Mike Pence, who was also evacuated and was staying in a secret room in the Capitol. Police officials said the House and Senate could reconvene in about an hour, Pence da Pelosi said by phone around 6 p.m. In short: The process of election certification (which Trump wanted to prevent) can be continued.

"That's good news," said Schumer, still evacuated. "Thank you, Mr. Vice President," Pelosi seconded, "That's good news."

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