WASHINGTON – Newly released texts to former Trump White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows show how desperate many Trump allies were to get the president to stop the riots at the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021.
On Monday evening, the U.S. House panel investigating the Jan. 6 Capitol insurrection voted to recommend contempt charges against Meadows. Before then, Meadows turned over several texts to the panel.
Here are the transcripts of the texts read during the hearing by Republican Rep. Liz Cheney of Wyoming, the panel’s vice chairwoman:
Fox News host Laura Ingraham: “Mark, the president needs to tell people in the Capitol to go home. This is hurting all of us. He is destroying his legacy.”
Fox & Friends host Brian Kilmeade: “Please, get him on TV. Destroying everything you have accomplished.”
Fox News host Sean Hannity: “Can he make a statement? Ask people to leave the Capitol.”
Donald Trump Jr.: “We need an Oval address. He has to lead now. It has gone too far and gotten out of hand. He’s got to condemn this s—- ASAP.” -- “I’m pushing it hard. I agree,” Meadows responded.
The night of the Jan. 6 Capitol riots, Ingraham, on her primetime program on Fox News, aired a false conspiracy theory about “antifa” and the riots, despite the text earlier in the day. Many on Fox News have spent months downplaying the riots.
Cheney said the texts show Trump’s “supreme dereliction” as he refused to strongly condemn the violence of his supporters, and also raise questions about whether he sought to obstruct the congressional certification through inaction.
“These texts leave no doubt,” Cheney said. “The White House knew exactly what was happening at the Capitol.”
Cheney also detailed texts that she said were from members of Congress and others in the Capitol.
“Hey, Mark, protestors are literally storming the Capitol,” read one text. “Breaking windows on doors. Rushing in. Is Trump going to say something?”
Another appeared to come from a member in the House chamber. “There’s an armed standoff at the House Chamber door,” the text read, according to the panel.
If Meadows had appeared for his deposition, lawmakers had planned to ask him about Trump’s efforts to overturn the election in the weeks before the insurrection, including his outreach to states and his communications with members of Congress.