In a surprise House committee hearing on January 6, lawmakers played police radio broadcasts to identify weapons – including AR-15s – that former President Donald Trump supporters had with them on January 6, 2021, the day of Trump’s rally and the attack on the US capital.
In Tuesday’s hearing, Rep. Liz Cheney (R-Wyo.) – Vice-Chair of the House Select Committee Investigating the Capitol Attack – played police broadcasts describing people carrying firearms near the Ellipse in Washington, DC, where Trump held his rally that morning of 6 January.
“Three men walk down the street in fatigue with AR-15s … at 14th and Independence,” says a voice in one broadcast.
“White male … stock of an AR-15,” someone in another recording could hear. “Green fatigue … Glock-style pistols in their waistband.”
“Increased threat in the trees … American flag face mask … weapon on right hip,” says a third broadcast.
Cheney noted that among the supporters who chose to go through metal detectors so they could get closer to Trump, weapons and equipment were screened by security, including pepper spray, knives, batons and gas masks. A few thousand more people did not go through metal detectors and watched from the nearby Washington Monument lawn.
The committee also showed a report sent by the Secret Service at 11 a.m. that day warning of a man with a gun near the Ellipse, where Trump was speaking.
In her surprise testimony Tuesday, Cassidy Hutchinson, a top assistant to Trump’s chief of staff Mark Meadows, said Tony Ornato – who oversaw Secret Service movements – said he told Trump there were people armed with weapons she was pulling together. attending on 6 January.
In a video testimony, Hutchinson recalled a meeting with Meadows and Ornato around 10 a.m. on Jan. 6. At that meeting, she said, Ornato described people carrying knives, pistols, rifles, bear spray, body armor, spears and flagpoles. “Mark said, did you talk to the president?” Hutchinson said in her video testimony. “And Tony said yes.”
Later in her video testimony, Hutchinson said that Trump was angry about the crowd size. He wanted more people in the area where he spoke, and he blamed the metal detectors, she said.
“I do not care that they have weapons,” Trump said., by Hutchinson. “They are not here to hurt me … Take the f-ing mags away … Let my people in, they can march to the Capitol from here.”
Last year, Trump told Fox News that “there were no guns at all” in the crowd on January 6th.
An armed crowd of Trump supporters stormed the U.S. Capitol that day as lawmakers rallied to certify the 2020 presidential election, which Joe Biden won. Before the riot, Trump incited the crowd at his nearby rally by falsely claiming the election was stolen. Five people were killed in the ensuing chaos and its aftermath, including a U.S. Capitol police officer.