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Jan. 6 committee shows Trump planned to have supporters march to Capitol

The House select committee investigating the Capitol attack on Jan. 6, 2021, presented evidence during a public hearing on Tuesday of a draft tweet seen by President Trump — but was never sent — calling on rally-goers to march on the U.S. Capitol, indicating the decision was not spontaneous.

Video transcript

STEPHANIE MURPHY: Katrina Pierson sent an email to fellow rally organizers. She wrote, "POTUS expectations are to have something intimate at the ellipse, and call on everyone to march to the capitol." The president's own documents suggest that the president had decided to call on his supporters to go to the Capitol on January 6 but that he chose not to widely announce it until his speech on the Ellipse that morning.

The committee has obtained this draft undated tweet from the National Archives. It includes a stamp, stating President Has Seen. The draft tweet reads, "I will be making a Big Speech at 10 AM on January 6th at the Ellipse, South of the White House. Please arrive early, massive crowds expected. March to the Capitol after. Stop the Steal!!"

Although this tweet was never sent, rally organizers were discussing and preparing for the march to the Capitol in the days leading up to January 6. This is a January 4 text message from a rally organizer to Mike Lindell, the MyPillow CEO. The organizer says, you know, "This stays between us, we are having a second stage at the Supreme Court again after the Ellipse. POTUS is going to have us march there/the Capitol.

It cannot get out about the second stage because people will try and set up another and sabotage it. It can also not get out about the march because I will be in trouble with the national park service and all the agencies but POTUS is going to just call for it, quote, 'unexpectedly.'"

The end of the message indicates that the president's plan to have his followers march to the Capitol was not being broadly discussed. And then on the morning of January 5, Ali Alexander, whose firebrand style concerned Katrina Pierson, sent a similar text to a conservative journalist. Mr. Alexander said, "Tomorrow, Ellipse then US capitol. Trump is supposed to order us to the capitol at the end of his speech but we will see."

President Trump did follow through on his plan, using his January 6 speech to tell his supporters to march to the Capitol on January 6. The evidence confirms that this was not a spontaneous call to action but rather was a deliberate strategy decided upon in advance by the president.