Dramatic details and key takeaways from the latest Jan. 6 hearing

·8 min read

The House panel investigating the Jan. 6, 2021, attack convened on Tuesday for its latest hearing to further examine former President Donald Trump's efforts to overturn his 2020 election loss and ties his orbit had to far-right militia groups.

The committee released new evidence of how far Trump and his allies wanted to go to keep him in the White House -- and how groups like the Proud Boys and Oath Keepers interpreted his calls for a "wild" rally on Jan. 6, the day Congress certified Joe Biden's electoral victory.

Tuesday's hearing centered mostly on testimony from former Trump administration staffers and allies, including former White House counsel Pat Cipollone and Sidney Powell, an outside attorney advising Trump.

PHOTO: A video of former White House Counsel Pat Cipollone is played during the seventh public hearing by the House Select Committee to investigate the January 6th attack on the US Capitol, in Washington, July 12, 2022. (Doug Mills/Pool via Reuters)
PHOTO: A video of former White House Counsel Pat Cipollone is played during the seventh public hearing by the House Select Committee to investigate the January 6th attack on the US Capitol, in Washington, July 12, 2022. (Doug Mills/Pool via Reuters)

The committee also heard from Stephen Ayres of Warren, Ohio, who recently admitted to illegally entering the Capitol during the riot; and Jason Van Tatenhove, a former spokesman for the Oath Keepers militia group, whose members took part in the attack.

Here are key takeaways from the hearing.

Cheney: Trump is not an 'impressionable child'

Rep. Liz Cheney, a Wyoming Republican and vice chair of the committee, criticized Trump and his allies for their approach in attempting to discredit the findings of the committee's year-long investigation.

"Now the argument seems to be that President Trump was manipulated by others outside the administration," Cheney said. She noted that fingers are being pointed at advisers like John Eastman or Powell as people who wielded significant influence over the president at the time.

"This, of course, is nonsense," Cheney said. "President Trump is a 76-year-old man. He is not an impressionable child."

Cheney said the committee demonstrated that Trump had access to more detailed and specific information than almost anyone else in the nation showing that the 2020 election was not actually stolen.

"Donald Trump cannot escape responsibility by being willfully blind," she said.

Pat Cipollone makes his debut, describes chaotic Oval Office meeting

The committee for weeks has described Cipollone, the former White House counsel, as a critical witness in Trump's inner circle leading up to and following the Jan. 6 attack. Cipollone finally sat for a deposition last week, and clips of his testimony were aired for the first time in Tuesday's hearing.

MORE: Trump White House counsel Cipollone testifies before Jan. 6 committee

PHOTO: A video showing Pat Cipollone, the former White House counsel, speaking during an interview with the Jan. 6 Committee during a hearing at the Capitol in Washington, July 12, 2022. (J. Scott Applewhite/AP)
PHOTO: A video showing Pat Cipollone, the former White House counsel, speaking during an interview with the Jan. 6 Committee during a hearing at the Capitol in Washington, July 12, 2022. (J. Scott Applewhite/AP)

Speaking with investigators, Cipollone commented on what Rep. Jamie Raskin, D-Md., called a "heated and profane clash" in the Oval Office meeting on Dec. 18, 2020, when White House officials learned that election deniers including Powell, former Overstock.com CEO Patrick Byrne and retired Lt. Gen. Mike Flynn were meeting with Trump.

Cipollone said the group showed a "general disregard for backing what you actually say with facts." Cipollone also recalled telling Powell that a proposal that the federal government could seize election voting machines was "a terrible idea for the country."

Former White House chief of staff Mark Meadows' former aide Cassidy Hutchinson, who delivered bombshell testimony before the committee last month, texted after the December 2020 meeting that "the West Wing is UNHINGED."

PHOTO: An evidence document with the message from Cassidy Hutchinson reads 'The West wing is UNHINGED' is shown on a screen during a full committee hearing on 'the January 6th Investigation,' on Capitol Hill ,  July 12, 2022. (Saul Loeb/AFP via Getty Images)
PHOTO: An evidence document with the message from Cassidy Hutchinson reads 'The West wing is UNHINGED' is shown on a screen during a full committee hearing on 'the January 6th Investigation,' on Capitol Hill , July 12, 2022. (Saul Loeb/AFP via Getty Images)

Panel highlights Trump's 'Be there' tweet encouraging supporters to come to D.C.

After the contentious Oval Office meeting, Trump sent out a Twitter post at nearly 2 a.m. on Dec. 19, 2020, to his millions of followers that read: "Big protest in D.C. on January 6th. Be there, will be wild!"

Rep. Stephanie Murphy, D-Fla., said at the hearing that the post "served as a call to action, and in some cases as a call to arms, for many of President Trump's most loyal supporters."

PHOTO: Former U.S President Donald Trump's tweet is shown on the screen during a public hearing of the U.S. House Select Committee to investigate the January 6 Attack on the U.S. Capitol, on Capitol Hill, July 12, 2022. (Elizabeth Frantz/Reuters)
PHOTO: Former U.S President Donald Trump's tweet is shown on the screen during a public hearing of the U.S. House Select Committee to investigate the January 6 Attack on the U.S. Capitol, on Capitol Hill, July 12, 2022. (Elizabeth Frantz/Reuters)

The committee then aired the reaction to Trump's tweet from his supporters and right-wing media personalities. Infowars host and conspiracy theorist Alex Jones said it was "the most important call to action on domestic soil since Paul Revere and his ride in 1776."

In another clip at the hearing, a pro-Trump YouTuber reacted to Trump's post by saying a "red wedding" was going to happen on Jan. 6 -- making a popular culture reference to an episode of "Game of Thrones" in which a massacre takes place.

Later in the hearing, a Capitol rioter testified to the influence of Trump's social media posts. Ayres, who recently admitted to participating in the insurrection, said he left once Trump told rioters to go home on Jan. 6.

Extremist groups had ties to Trump allies, but no new evidence of direct connections to Trump

The panel initially billed Tuesday's hearing as one that would underscore ties between far-right extremist groups and those in Trump's orbit, though it did not break significant new ground on that front.

The committee did note that both Roger Stone, a Republican operative close with Trump, and Flynn had ties to the Oath Keepers and used members for security on various occasions. The committee also showed Stone reciting the Proud Boys' "fraternity creed."

The committee leaned on Van Tatenhove to explain the Oath Keepers' perceived motivations during the insurrection and how aggressively the group might have fought to prevent Congress from certifying the 2020 election results.

PHOTO: Jason Van Tatenhove, who served as national spokesman for the Oath Keepers and as a close aide to Oath Keepers founder Stewart Rhodes, testifies before the Jan. 6 Committee on Capitol Hill, July 12, 2022. (Kevin Dietsch/Getty Images)
PHOTO: Jason Van Tatenhove, who served as national spokesman for the Oath Keepers and as a close aide to Oath Keepers founder Stewart Rhodes, testifies before the Jan. 6 Committee on Capitol Hill, July 12, 2022. (Kevin Dietsch/Getty Images)

"The best illustration for what the Oath Keepers are happened Jan. 6 when we saw that stacked military formation going up the stairs of our Capitol," Van Tatenhove said, adding that the group is a "very dangerous organization."

Still, the committee did not lay out any evidence that Trump himself had contacts with far-right groups or was aware of what they were planning before Jan. 6.

The march on the Capitol was planned

The committee laid out evidence indicating that Trump's call for his supporters to march from the Ellipse on Jan. 6 to the Capitol was deliberate and had been discussed prior to the actual insurrection.

Murphy showed a text message sent from Ali Alexander, an organizer of the rally that preceded the riot, to a "conservative journalist."

"Ellipse then US capitol. Trump is supposed to order us to capitol at the end of his speech but we will see," Alexander texted the journalist, according to the committee.

"President Trump did follow-through on his plan, using his Jan. 6 speech to tell his supporters to march to the Capitol on Jan. 6. The evidence confirms that this was not a spontaneous call to action but rather was a deliberate strategy decided upon in advance by the president," Murphy concluded.

PHOTO: A video of then-President Donald Trump speaking is displayed as the House select committee investigating the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol, Washington, June 23, 2022. (J. Scott Applewhite/AP)
PHOTO: A video of then-President Donald Trump speaking is displayed as the House select committee investigating the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol, Washington, June 23, 2022. (J. Scott Applewhite/AP)

Hutchinson previously testified that Trump was aware that some of his supporters were armed that day and pushed for the easing of security around his speech at the Ellipse, saying, "They're not here to hurt me." (Trump has called Hutchinson a "phony.")

MORE: New questions after Cassidy Hutchinson's Jan. 6 committee testimony

Trump and Bannon spoke on Jan. 5

Trump spoke with former top aide Steve Bannon at least twice the day before the Jan. 6 riot, the committee said, citing evidence it said obtained from the White House.

Murphy revealed call logs showing the time stamps of the two conversations before playing clips from Bannon's radio show he recorded after the first conversation.

"All hell is going to break loose tomorrow," Bannon said on his podcast after the call with Trump that morning. "It's all converging, and now we're on, as they say, the point of attack, right, the point of attack tomorrow."

"I'll tell you this, it's not going to happen like you think it's going to happen," he added. "It's going to be quite extraordinarily different. And all I can say is, strap in."

Cheney suggests witness intimidation by Trump

Cheney hinted at one more revelation in the final minutes of the hearing: She said Trump had recently reached out to an unnamed committee witness and the committee referred that communication to the Justice Department.

"After our last hearing, President Trump tried to call a witness in our investigation -- a witness you have not yet seen in these hearings," she said. "Their lawyer alerted us, and this committee has supplied that information to the Department of Justice."

"Let me say one more time, we will take any effort to influence witness testimony very seriously," she added.

PHOTO: Vice Chair Liz Cheney listens as the House select committee investigating the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol holds a hearing at the Capitol in Washington, D.C., July 12, 2022. (J. Scott Applewhite/AP)
PHOTO: Vice Chair Liz Cheney listens as the House select committee investigating the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol holds a hearing at the Capitol in Washington, D.C., July 12, 2022. (J. Scott Applewhite/AP)

That detail comes after the committee said that two witnesses informed the panel that they had heard from people in Trump's orbit. It was later revealed that Hutchinson was one of those witnesses.

Committee members kept details of the latest communication close to the vest -- and a DOJ spokesperson declined to comment further on Cheney's statement -- but the panel warned against outreach from Trump allies to committee witnesses.

"This has been an ongoing pattern, and we're trying to send the message that witness tampering is a crime in the United States of America," Rep. Raskin told ABC News. "People should not be approaching witnesses to try to get them to alter their testimony."

ABC News' Libby Cathey, Katherine Faulders and Alexander Mallin contributed to this report.

Dramatic details and key takeaways from the latest Jan. 6 hearing originally appeared on abcnews.go.com