The House committee investigating the Capitol riot has presented text messages that key allies to former President Donald Trump sent to former White House chief of staff Mark Meadows on January 6, following a riot at the US Capitol.
This came after the House select committee investigating the Capitol insurrection voted to recommend that Meadows be held in contempt of Congress for refusing to testify to investigators.
Speaking during briefing where the recommendation was announced, Rep. Liz Cheney of Wyoming read aloud a text conversation in which Donald Trump Jr. begged Meadows to encourage Trump to take stronger action against the rioters.
“He’s got to condemn this shit ASAP,” Donald Trump Jr. texted Meadows. “The Capitol Police tweet is not enough.” “I’m pushing it hard. I agree,” Meadows responded.
“We need an Oval Office address. He has to leave now. It has gone too far and gotten out of hand,” the former US president’s son responded.
Meadows also received text messages from a number of high-profile Fox News personalities. “Can he make a statement? Ask people to leave the Capitol,” Hannity texted Meadows.
“Mark, president needs to tell people in the Capitol to go home,” Ingraham wrote. “This is hurting all of us. He is destroying his legacy.”
“Please get him on TV. Destroying everything you have accomplished,” Kilmeade said.
In addition, Cheney read through text messages from five different individuals sent to Meadows who appeared to be at the Capitol during the unrest.
“We are under siege here at the Capitol,” one person wrote. “They have breached the Capitol,” a second person texted.
“Mark, protesters are literally storming the Capitol. Breaking windows on doors, rushing in,” a third person texted Meadows. “Is Trump going to say something?”
Those texts, as several members of the committee noted, were already turned over to the panel and are not covered by any claim of privilege which Meadows has continued to assert since reversing his decision to cooperate with the investigation.
The graphic messages illustrated the dismay of the former President’s inner circle as the Capitol riot worsened, and they served as evidence of Trump’s “supreme dereliction of duty,” the committee’s vice chairwoman.
When the events of the certification of the Electoral College eventually happened in the early hours of January 7, Meadows also received a text calling January 6 a “terrible day.”
“Yesterday was a terrible day. We tried everything we could in our objections to the 6 states,” the text read. “I’m sorry nothing worked.”
Meadows is one of several former Trump administration officials who is facing a subpoena from the Jan. 6 committee. Others include former senior advisers to the president Stephen Miller and Jason Miller, former White House Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany, manager of the Trump 2020 reelection campaign Bill Stepien and former National Security Advisor Michael Flynn.
Trump is also among those compelled to bring forward relevant documents, after a judge denied the former president’s request to block the committee from seeing records related to the planning, execution and response to events on Jan. 6.
Trump sued the Jan. 6 committee and the National Archives in October, citing executive privilege and claiming that a demand for records was “nothing less than a vexatious, illegal fishing expedition openly endorsed by Biden and designed to unconstitutionally investigate President Trump and his administration.”
In a ruling last month, a judge asserted that a current president has the right to ignore a former president’s assertion of executive privilege, which Joe Biden did in October by instructing the National Archives to turn over documents related to the investigation.
The messages are also in stark contrast to what the Fox personalities were saying on air: Ingraham, Hannity, and Kilmeade all suggested in the immediate aftermath of the Capitol riot that left-wing activists were responsible for the violence or that America deserved it for subjecting then-President Donald Trump to the Russia investigation.