Between the bipartisan congressional investigation, assorted books and interviews, the public record, and journalists’ research, Americans have learned a great deal about what Donald Trump did before, during, and after the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol. But that doesn’t mean there are no more insights to be learned.
ABC News reported over the weekend:
Special counsel Jack Smith’s team has uncovered previously undisclosed details about former President Donald Trump’s refusal to help stop the violent attack on the U.S. Capitol three years ago as he sat watching TV inside the White House, according to sources familiar with what Smith’s team has learned during its Jan. 6 probe.
ABC News’ report has not been independently verified by MSNBC or NBC News, though if it’s accurate, it advances our understanding of the broader story in a variety of notable ways.
For example, Dan Scavino, a longtime Trump aide who ultimately served as White House deputy chief of staff, reportedly told the special counsel’s office that as conditions at the Capitol grew more violent, the then-president “was just not interested” in doing more to stop it.
ABC also cited unnamed sources in reporting that former Trump aide Nick Luna told federal investigators that the then-president responded, “So what?” when told that then-Vice President Mike Pence had to be rushed to a secure location.
There was also this striking tidbit:
After unsuccessfully trying for up to 20 minutes to persuade Trump to release some sort of calming statement, Scavino and others walked out of the dining room, leaving Trump alone, sources said. That’s when, according to sources, Trump posted a message on his Twitter account saying that Pence “didn’t have the courage to do what should have been done.”
In case there were any lingering doubts about whether Trump was personally responsible for writing the dangerous anti-Pence tweet during the Capitol assault, this appears to help answer the question.
But stepping back, there’s a broader context to keep in mind. Scavino refused to cooperate with the House select committee investigating the attack, but after a judge rejected an executive-privilege claim, he agreed to answer questions from the special counsel’s office.
With this in mind, former Rep. Adam Kinzinger, one of the Republicans on the Jan. 6 committee, told CNN over the weekend that the former president is “in real trouble” if Scavino, in particular, is cooperating with the criminal investigation.
The former Illinois congressman added, “Of all the people I wish we could have had a thorough conversation with, Scavino was chief on my list.”
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