Trump could have helped response to Jan. 6 riot — but didn’t: new testimony

Source: Politico | April 17, 2024 | Kyle Cheney

Trump could have helped response to Jan. 6 riot — but didn’t — per new testimony

Two senior leaders of the D.C. guard at the time of the Capitol attack painted a picture of the boost that never came, according to transcripts reviewed by POLITICO.

Donald Trump could have cleared up confusion and hastened the arrival of National Guard troops to quell the Capitol riot if he’d called Pentagon leaders on Jan. 6, 2021, according to recent closed-door congressional testimony by two former leaders of the D.C. guard.

Michael Brooks, the senior enlisted leader of the D.C. guard at the time of the riot, and Brigadier Gen. Aaron Dean, the adjutant general of the D.C. guard at the time, told House Administration Committee staffers that if Trump had reached out that day — which, by all accounts, he did not — he might have helped cut through the chaos amid a tangle of conflicting advice and miscommunication.

“Could the president have picked up the phone, called the secretary of defense, and said, you know, ‘What’s going on here?’ Our law enforcement is getting overrun, make this happen!’” a committee staffer asked Brooks, according to the transcript of a previously unreported March 14 interview reviewed by POLITICO.

“I assume he could expedite an approval through the Secretary of Defense, through the Secretary of the Army,” Brooks replied.

But Trump never called any military leaders on Jan. 6, per testimony from senior administration officials to the Jan. 6 select committee — a fact that the panel emphasized in its final report that concluded Trump was uniquely responsible for the violent Capitol attack by his supporters. Rather, he was observing the riot on TV and calling allies in his quest to subvert the 2020 election, as outlined by committee witnesses and White House records.

Brooks’ exchange with the committee staffer underscored the reality of Trump’s inaction: “And to your knowledge, did that happen on January 6th?” the staffer continued.

“No,” Brooks said.

Dean, similarly, noted that if Trump had placed a call to Pentagon leaders at 2 p.m. — around the time the Capitol was first breached — and said “go,” the guard would have reached the Capitol sooner than it did that day.

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