Former President Donald Trump speaks at a rally on July 3, 2021 in Sarasota, Florida. (Eva Marie Uzcategui / Getty Images)
Former President Donald Trump was still trying to find a way to prevent Congress from certifying his electoral defeat hours before the Capitol riot, according to the Guardian, indicating that Trump himself was deeply involved in efforts to overthrow elections up to and including the day of the riot.
On the night of January 5 and the early hours of January 6, Trump reportedly called key allies who were working to help him stay in office, including former White House chief strategist Steve Bannon and lawyers Rudy Giuliani, John Eastman and Boris Epshteyn.
Trump’s election team was staying at the Willard InterContinental Hotel in DC, just one block from the White House. On phone calls to the hotel, Trump and his aides discussed ways to delay certification, according to the Guardian, when it became clear he couldn’t rely on the then vice president, Mike Pence, for using his process oversight role to stop Joe Biden. to become president. “He’s arrogant,” Trump reportedly said of Pence in a conversation with Bannon.
Trump’s lawyers who were at the Willard denied the Guardian that Trump tried to delay certification and reportedly said they were considering trying to stop Biden’s victory after demands from state lawmakers.
But Trump and his electoral team spent the weeks after losing his re-election bid encouraging state officials and lawmakers, especially in states that have moved from Trump to Biden, to find a way to cut back enough of votes to modify the election results. Even after stepping down, Trump encouraged Republican states to audit elections and threatened key challenges for lawmakers who fail to comply.
Even after pro-Trump rioters entered Capitol Hill and stopped certification for several hours, Trump’s team was still working with Republican senators to delay the vote. “I want to discuss with you how they are trying to rush this hearing and how we need you, our Republican friends, to try to just slow it down so that we can get these legislatures to provide you with more information, “Giuliani said in a voicemail message to Senator Tommy Tuberville on the evening of January 6, which was reported by the Mail after Giuliani mistakenly left it to another senator who shared it with the outlet.
The special House committee to investigate the events of January 6 interviewed more than 150 people, committee member Representative Liz Cheney told NBC News last week. The committee assigned a number of officials both inside and outside Trump’s White House, and Bannon was charged with contempt of Congress earlier this month.
As the former president worked overtime trying to keep Biden from taking office, it appears he was neglecting other key parts of his job, according to a new book by the former CIA Inspector General, John Helgerson.
Trump was supposed to receive an intelligence briefing on Jan.6 after taking an unusual break for the holidays, but he did not. He never received another intelligence briefing for the remainder of his presidency, Helgerson wrote.
Want the best of VICE News delivered straight to your inbox? Register here.