Democratic Rep. Elaine Luria of Virginia is detailing what happened during the little more than three hours that the panel has argued then-President Donald Trump was derelict in his duties on Jan. 6, 2021.
The 187 minutes began at 1:10 p.m. ET, in the final moments of Trump’s speech at the Ellipse, when he told his supporters to go to the Capitol.
“So we’re going to walk down Pennsylvania Avenue — I love Pennsylvania Avenue — and we’re going to the Capitol. And we’re going to try and give — the Democrats are hopeless, they’re never voting for anything, not even one vote. But we’re going to try and give our Republicans — the weak ones, because the strong ones don’t need any of our help — we’re going to try and give them the kind of pride and boldness that they need to take back our country. So let’s walk down Pennsylvania Avenue,” Trump said.
After leaving the stage at the Ellipse, Trump got into his motorcade and angrily tried to convince his drivers to take him to the Capitol, according to testimony from Trump White House aide Cassidy Hutchinson. The agents refused, telling him that the scene was too dangerous and unstable.
Trump then watched TV news coverage of the chaos unfolding at the Capitol, according to a book by Washington Post reporters Bob Woodward and Robert Costa, and according to then-White House press secretary Stephanie Grisham, who said Trump was “gleefully” watching the news.
Trump posted three tweets during this critical timeframe. The first tweet criticized Pence for refusing to overturn the election. The second and third tweets told the rioters to “stay peaceful” and to “respect the law” — but notably, Trump did not instruct his supporters to leave the Capitol.
During the 187 minutes, a wide array of Republican lawmakers, former Trump officials and conservative media personalities texted Meadows, saying Trump needed to intervene, CNN has previously reported.
And the 187 minutes ended at 4:17 p.m. ET, when Trump tweeted out a video telling his supporters to leave the Capitol. He also heaped praise on the rioters and repeated his debunked lies about the election, which had spurred the riot in the first place.
“I know your pain. I know you’re hurt. We had an election that was stolen from us. It was a landslide election, and everyone knows it, especially the other side, but you have to go home now. We have to have peace. We have to have law and order. We have to respect our great people in law and order. We don’t want anybody hurt. It’s a very tough period of time. There’s never been a time like this where such a thing happened, where they could take it away from all of us, from me, from you, from our country. This was a fraudulent election, but we can’t play into the hands of these people. We have to have peace. So, go home. We love you. You’re very special. You’ve seen what happens. You see the way others are treated that are so bad and so evil. I know how you feel. But go home and go home at peace,” Trump said in the video.
Why this matters: This timeframe is central to the committee’s mission. Republican Rep. Liz Cheney of Wyoming, the committee’s GOP vice chair, has repeatedly said that the evidence obtained by the panel about these 187 minutes provides a clear example of Trump’s “supreme dereliction of duty” throughout the insurrection.
The panel’s Democratic chairman, Rep. Bennie Thompson of Mississippi, said earlier this year, “The President was told, ‘You need to say directly to your people to go home, leave the Capitol.’ And so, it took over 187 minutes to make that simple statement. Something’s wrong with that.”