Donald Trump's 187 Minutes of Inaction To Be Key Focus of Jan. 6 Hearing

The House Select Committee investigating the January 6 attack will hold its eighth public hearing on Thursday, with the latest presentation focusing on Donald Trump's inaction during the Capitol riot.

The latest hearing, which will take place from 8 p.m. Eastern Time, will look at the 187 minutes between the former president's speech at the Ellipse and him telling his supporters to end the riot, the majority of which he spent in the White House watching the insurrection unfold.

During this time, Trump is said to have resisted repeated calls from members of his inner circle to urge his supporters to stop the attack—including from his own daughter Ivanka Trump—before eventually issuing a video statement from the Rose Garden telling the rioters to go home.

The panel are hoping to suggest that Trump's inaction for more than three hours while the attack was taking place amounted to a dereliction of duty and a violation of his oath of office.

Donald Trump January 6
US President Donald Trump arrives to speak to supporters from The Ellipse near the White House on January 6, 2021, in Washington, DC. - Thousands of Trump supporters, fueled by his spurious claims of voter fraud, flooded the nation's capital protesting the expected certification of Joe Biden's White House victory by the US Congress. Getty

"This is what he wanted to happen," Rep. Elaine Luria, the Virginia Democrat who will lead Thursday's hearing alongside GOP Illinois congressman Adam Kinzinger, told The Washington Post.

"You might have earlier on said, 'Was he incompetent? Was he someone who freezes in a moment when they can't react to something? Or was it exactly what he wanted to have happened?'

Luria added that watching the insurrection unfold was part of Trump's plan on January 6, and it "wasn't until he realized that it was not going to be successful" that he finally spoke out.

Speaking to CBS's Face the Nation, Kinzinger said Thursday's hearing will "open people's eyes in a big way," regarding Trump's behavior on January 6.

"The reality is, I'll give you this preview, the president didn't do very much but gleefully watch television during this time frame," Kinzinger said.

Two ex-White House officials from the Trump administration are confirmed to give live testimony on Thursday—former deputy press secretary Sarah Matthews and former deputy national security adviser Matthew Pottinger.

Matthews and Pottinger resigned from their roles in the wake of January 6, and have been critical of Trump since.

Both are expected to discuss the tweet Trump sent at 2:24 p.m. on January 6 2021 in which he attacked Mike Pence for not having the "courage to do what should have been done" and stop the 2020 Election results being certified during the former president's purely ceremonial role as presiding officer of the Senate.

Trump is alleged to have sent the tweet 10 minutes after being told that Pence had been removed from the chamber floor for his own safety as the rioters broke into the Capitol.

The House Committee had already detailed how Trump was aware that some of his supporters were armed on January 6, but still wanted them to march to the Capitol after his "fight like hell" speech at the Ellipse.

During the rioting, the mob could be heard chanting "hang Mike Pence" in the building's corridors.

Thursday's hearing is also expected to show further clips of recorded testimony from former White House counsel Pat Cipollone.

Cipollone, seen as one of the key witnesses in the January 6 investigation, frequently pushed back at Trump's attempts to overturn the election and is said to have expressed fears to former White House aide Cassidy Hutchinson that the administration would be "charged with every crime imaginable" if Trump joined his supporters at the Capitol.

According to The Post, the hearing will play testimony from Cipollone detailing how Trump refused to read from prepared remarks while recording his January 6 message at the Rose Garden telling his supporters to go home, and added the line, "We love you. You're very special," himself.

Thursday's hearing is scheduled as the final live presentation of evidence from the panel, though at least one more is expected around the release of its report sometime in the fall.

The panel said more hearings could be announced as the investigation continues, with the committee recently issuing a subpoena to the Secret Service requesting text messages sent on January 5 and 6 that were said to have been deleted.