Outtakes from a filmed address given by Donald Trump the day after the Capitol attack and played on Thursday by the January 6 committee show the then-president insisting: “I don’t want to say the election’s over.”
The never-before-seen footage was played in the ninth dramatic public hearing staged by the House committee, a session which focused on Trump’s refusal to act while the attack on the Capitol took place.
The committee vice-chair, the Wyoming Republican Liz Cheney, said the panel would return for more hearings in September.
The video of Trump trying to record an address was shot on the evening of 7 January, more than 24 hours after he incited a mob to attack the Capitol in an attempt to delay or stop certification of Joe Biden’s election win.
That process was presided over by Trump’s own vice-president, Mike Pence. Thursday’s hearing contained new and shocking evidence that Pence’s Secret Service agents thought he and they might be killed.
The attack failed but it has been linked to nine deaths and nearly 900 people have been charged, some with seditious conspiracy.
Trump continues to pursue his lie that the election was subject to large-scale voter fraud and to suggest he will soon announce a new run for president. He could yet face criminal charges.
In the footage played by the January 6 committee, Trump is seen trying to deliver the address, with errors and complaints and offscreen prompts from his daughter and adviser, Ivanka Trump.
“I would like to begin by addressing the heinous attack yesterday,” Trump begins, before pausing.
He continues: “And to those who broke the law, you will pay. You do not represent our movement, you do not represent our country. And if you broke the law …”
Trump breaks off, wagging a finger and shaking his head.
“I can’t say that,” he says. “I’m not gonna … I already said ‘You will pay’.”
He starts again: “The demonstrators who infiltrated the Capitol have defied the seat of … it’s ‘defiled’, right? So I can’t see it very well. I’ll do this. I’m gonna do this. Let’s go.
“But this election is now over. Congress has certified the results.”
The 45th president stops again.
“I don’t want to say the election’s over. I just want to say Congress has certified the results without saying the election’s over, OK?”
Ivanka Trump is heard delivering prompts and suggestions. Trump resets himself, rapping the lectern with a fist.
He says “I would like to begin by addressing the heinous attacks yesterday” but pauses again, saying: “‘Yesterday’ is a hard word for me.”
Ivanka says: “Just take it out. Say ‘the heinous attack’.”
Trump says: “Ah good, take the word ‘yesterday’ out, because it doesn’t work with ‘the heinous attack on our country’. Say ‘on our country’. Want to say that?”
Restarting, Trump says: “My only goal was to ensure the integrity of the vote.”
He pauses and gestures angrily, then repeats: “My only goal was to ensure the integrity of the vote.”
Frustrated, Trump then hits the lectern again.