Previously unreleased January 6 committee testimony undercuts key claims about Trump's conduct

 March 11, 2024

A former Donald Trump staffer told the January 6th committee that the former president was willing to send 10,000 National Guard troops to Washington D.C. prior to January 6th, but the request was shot down. 

The bombshell testimony from White House deputy chief of staff Anthony Ornato challenges the committee's topline finding that Trump caused, and then did nothing to stop the "insurrection."


The January 6th committee's findings were instrumental in legitimizing the narrative that paved the way for Trump to be prosecuted by the Justice Department over the alleged insurrection.

Some of Trump's allies are already facing jail, including former aide Peter Navarro, who was ordered to report to prison next week after he was convicted of contempt of Congress.

The committee disbanded after releasing its public report in 2022 and staging a series of dramatic televised hearings that laid blame for January 6th at Trump's feet.

The committee's final report said it found "no evidence" that Trump ordered reinforcements. But the committee was told privately that the White House offered Washington D.C.'s mayor "everything that she needed" to control the crowd.

During a January 2022 interview, Ornato said that former chief of staff Mark Meadows discussed sending 10,000 National Guard troops to mayor Muriel Bowser (D), who declined.

"And I remember the number 10,000 coming up of, you know, the President wants to make sure that you have enough. You know, he is willing to ask for 10,000. I remember that number," he said.

Notorious Trump claim revisited

Ornato's previously unreleased testimony was featured in a Republican report on January 6th that was released Monday, which accused Democrats of cherry-picking facts to mislead the public.

The report also challenges the notorious account given by Meadows' assistant Cassidy Hutchinson, the star witness of the January 6th committee's public hearings, of Trump lunging at the steering wheel of his Secret Service car. The driver told the committee he never saw Trump do that.

“I did not see him reach,” the driver said. “He never grabbed the steering wheel. I didn’t see him, you know, lunge to try to get into the front seat at all. You know, what stood out was the irritation in his voice, more than his physical presence.”

The GOP's report found that the committee did not attempt to corroborate Hutchinson's sensational claims until four months after her public testimony, "when it was obvious Republicans would win control of the House."

Republicans have long criticized the committee's work as one-sided after former Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Ca.) rejected the GOP's selections to serve on the panel.

Pelosi instead handpicked Liz Cheney and Adam Kinzinger, both Republicans known for their anti-Trump politics, to represent the opposition.

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