Elaine Luria

Opening Statement at the Eighth Public Hearing of the January 6th Select Committee - July 21, 2022

Elaine Luria
July 21, 2022— Washington, D.C.
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Thank you, Madam Vice Chair.

Article II of our Constitution requires that the President swear a very specific oath every four years.

Every President swears or affirms to "faithfully execute the Office of President of the United States" and, to the best of their ability, "preserve, protect, and defend the Constitution of the United States."

The President also assumes the Constitutional duty to "take care" that our nation’s laws be "faithfully executed," and is the "Commander in Chief" of our military.

Our hearings have shown the many ways in which President Trump tried to stop the peaceful transfer of power in the days leading up to January 6th.

With each step of his plan, he betrayed his oath of office and was derelict in his duty.

Tonight, we will further examine President Trump’s actions on the day of the attack on the Capitol.

Early that afternoon, President Trump instructed tens of thousands of supporters at and near the Ellipse rally, a number of whom he knew were armed with various types of weapons, to march to the Capitol.

After telling the crowd to march multiple times, he promised he would be with them, and finished his remarks at 1:10pm like this:

[Begin Videotape] DONALD TRUMP: We're going to walk down and I'll be there with you. We're going to walk down. [Applause] We're going to walk down anyone you want, but I think right here. We're going to walk down to the Capitol. [Applause] So let's walk down Pennsylvania Avenue. [End Videotape]

By this time, the Vice President was in the Capitol, the Joint Session of Congress to certify Joe Biden’s victory was underway, and the Proud Boys and other rioters had stormed through the first barriers and begun the attack.

Radio communications from law enforcement informed Secret Service and those in the White House Situation Room of these developments in real time.

At the direction of President Trump, thousands more rioters marched from the Ellipse to the Capitol and they joined the attack.

As you will see in great detail tonight, President Trump was being advised, by nearly everyone, to immediately instruct his supporters to leave the Capitol, disperse, and halt the violence.

Virtually everyone told President Trump to condemn the violence in clear and unmistakable terms.

And those on Capitol Hill, and across the nation, begged President Trump to help.

But the former President chose not to do what all of these people begged.

He refused to tell the mob to leave until 4:17, when he tweeted out a video statement filmed in the Rose Garden, ending with this:

[Begin Videotape] DONALD TRUMP: 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 in peace. [End Videotape]

By that time, two pipe bombs had been found at locations near the Capitol, including where the Vice President-elect was conducting a meeting. Hours of hand-to-hand combat had seriously injured scores of law enforcement officers.

The Capitol had been invaded.

The electoral count had been halted as members were evacuated.

Rioters took the floor of the Senate they rifled through desks, and broke into offices, and they nearly caught up to Vice President Pence.

Guns were drawn on the floor of the House and a rioter was shot attempting to infiltrate the chamber.

We know that a number of rioters intended acts of physical violence against specific elected officials.

We know virtually all the rioters were motivated by President Trump’s rhetoric that the election had been stolen, and they felt they needed to take their country back.

This hearing is principally about what happened inside the White House that afternoon from the time when President Trump ended his speech until the moment when he finally told the mob to go home: a span of 187 minutes.

More than 3 hours.

What you will learn is that President Trump sat in his dining room and watched the attack on television, while his senior-most staff, closest advisers, and family members begged him to do what is expected of any American President.

I served proudly for twenty years as an officer in the United States Navy.

Veterans of our armed forces know firsthand the leadership that is required in a time of crisis: urgent and decisive action that puts duty and country first.

But on January 6th, when lives and our democracy hung in the balance, President Trump refused to act because of his selfish desire to stay in power.

I yield to the gentleman from Illinois, Mr. Kinzinger.

PBS NewsHour. " WATCH: Rep. Luria said Trump ‘refused to act’ on Jan. 6 to stay in power | Jan. 6 hearings." YouTube video, 5:13. July 21, 2012. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S5F41nmmi_Y.

"THOMPSON, CHENEY, LURIA, & KINZINGER OPENING STATEMENTS AT SELECT COMMITTEE HEARING." Select Committee to Investigate the January 6th Attack on the United States Capitol press release, July 21, 2022. https://january6th.house.gov/news/press-releases/thompson-cheney-luria-kinzinger-opening-statements-select-committee-hearing.