U.S. news outlets say the congressional committee investigating the attack on the U.S. Capitol on January 6 of last year will hear testimony from two aides to then-President Donald Trump about his reaction to the insurrection as it was unfolding.
Matthew Pottinger, the former president’s deputy national security adviser, and then-deputy press secretary Sarah Matthews will appear before the House of Representatives committee during Thursday’s session. It will focus on the scene in the White House as Trump’s supporters raided the Capitol to try to block lawmakers from certifying Joe Biden’s win in the November 2020 presidential election.
Pottinger and Matthews are expected to testify about frantic, yet unsuccessful efforts among White House staffers, as well as Trump’s daughter Ivanka, a White House adviser, to get him to issue a statement in the first hours of the attack urging his supporters to stand down.
More than three hours passed before Trump finally issued a statement sympathizing with the rioters over his election loss but calling on them to go home.
Both Pottinger and Matthews resigned their posts later that day.
On Tuesday, Representative Bennie Thompson, chairman of the investigative panel, said he has tested positive for COVID-19 but that the hearing would proceed in his absence.
Thursday’s hearing is being held in the evening to take advantage of a bigger nationwide television audience. Republican committee member Adam Kinzinger said Sunday during an interview that the committee has “filled in the blanks” on what Trump was doing as the attack happened, saying the former president did little but “gleefully watch television during this time frame.”
Meanwhile, the Secret Service was expected on Tuesday to hand over to the committee all electronic communications from its agents from the day before the attack and as it unfolded.
The panel subpoenaed the agency after the internal inspector for the Department of Homeland Security, the Secret Service’s parent agency, issued a report saying the Secret Service had deleted agents’ text messages from January 6 and the day before. But the texts have been recovered, and the committee is hoping they will offer new insights about how the security agents dealt with the riot.
Some information for this report came from The Associated Press.