‘We all look like domestic terrorists now’: Five takeaways from Jan. 6 document dump

Hope Hicks
Former White House communications director Hope Hicks leaves a closed-door interview with the House Judiciary Committee during a lunch break, at the Capitol in Washington, Wednesday, June 19, 2019. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais) Pablo Martinez Monsivais/AP

‘We all look like domestic terrorists now’: Five takeaways from Jan. 6 document dump

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The Jan. 6 committee released a tranche of documents related to the events that led up to and followed the Jan. 6 Capitol riot in 2021.

Interviews with key figures — such as former counselor to President Donald Trump Kellyanne Conway and the chairwoman of the Republican National Committee, Ronna McDaniel — shed light on the actions of the former president during the fallout of the riot. Texts between some Trump-connected parties further revealed the internal disputes and concerns they had behind the scenes.

In a Monday statement, Chairman Bennie Thompson (D-MS) and outgoing Rep. Liz Cheney (R-WY) said, “We have made a series of criminal referrals, and our system of Justice is responsible for what comes next. Others have a critical role to play as well, including state bars and others who oversee the lawyers involved in the plots we exposed.”

“We trust that history will continue to illuminate more details of January 6th and its aftermath,” they added.

Sen. Mike Lee (R-UT) warns Trump attorney that Jan. 6 is ‘dangerous idea’

“January 6th is, however, a dangerous idea,” Lee wrote in a Dec. 30, 2020, message to Trump lawyer Cleta Mitchell. “Not just for the republic itself, but also for the president.”

Mitchell had asked Lee about conducting a Senate hearing for states to present their contests to the 2020 election. “The GA judiciary has not even appointed a judge to hear our case. So we can’t get a final decision. We need a day in the court of public opinion. Can we do that please?” she asked.

Lee agreed with her that a record needed to be made, telling her that he would attempt to arrange something.

Mitchell dismissed Lee’s concerns about Jan. 6, telling him she wanted a hearing the day before. When the senator asked if “the January 6th strategy” would be necessary if a hearing were arranged, she told him, “It is part of the strategy. To provide the factual support for rejecting certain troublesome electors. That’s the point.”

Lee then told her, “I don’t think we have any valid basis for objecting to the electors.” He asked her to prove him wrong in some fashion. Mitchell maintained that there is a valid basis.

He further asked her how this would not create a “slippery slope” for all future presidential elections. She claimed the real slippery slope “is letting all the institutions of government allow laws to be broken and ignored, and treating the process as nevertheless legitimate when it is not.”

GOP Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel says Trump believed Pence could reject electors and not certify 2020 results

During a June 1, 2022, interview with the committee, McDaniel said that Trump believed Vice President Mike Pence had the authority to refuse to certify the 2020 presidential election.

“Everything that you’ve seen in the public, I believe he said privately in one way or another that, you know, the vice president had the authority to — I don’t know the correct legal term — but he had the authority to not accept the electors,” she told the committee.

“I mean, he very much believes that the vice president had the authority to not accept the electors, and he has said that to me,” she reiterated.


Gen. Milley details Trump desire to punish military officials who criticized him

Gen. Mark Milley told the committee on Nov. 17, 2021, that the Trump administration at one point sought to punish retired military officers who wrote critical op-eds about the president.

“Now, there was a couple of editorials written by retired flag officers that — you would recognize their names — were very critical of then-President Trump, highly critical of President Trump. And there was actually discussions with me: Bring him back on active duty, court-martial him, you know, make him walk the plank sort of thing, right?” Milley explained.

“I advised them not to do that,” he said. “Because that would further politicize, in my personal view. And I said, please give me a chance to calm the waters a little bit.”

His claim came up during a discussion of former national security adviser Michael Flynn and the “unnerving” statements he had made. Milley was asked whether he is considering attempting to take away Flynn’s retirement benefits from the military. He explained that retirees are indeed subject to the Uniform Code of Military Justice “for the rest of their life” but expressed hesitancy to take such drastic, punitive action.

“Mike Flynn is saying things and doing things that I absolutely fundamentally disagree with on so many levels. Bringing him back on active duty to court-martial him and subject him to crimes based on the Uniform Code of Military Justice is a giant step,” he said.

Kellyanne Conway reveals Trump’s ‘fear’ of Melania and his desire to pardon Steve Bannon

Conway revealed that the president was considering pardoning former White House chief strategist Steve Bannon in the weeks following the Capitol riot, according to her Nov. 28, 2022, interview.

According to Conway, in a Jan. 19, 2021, call, Trump said, “I’m thinking of pardoning Steve, and you’re the only one, you know, who hasn’t said yes.” He then asked her to call Bannon for him, to which she said she didn’t want to.

When the two eventually spoke, she told him, “If [Trump] wants to pardon you, he’s welcome to.” However, Bannon said he didn’t need any pardon.

Also revealed in the interview transcript was that the former president only feared first lady Melania Trump.

Conway said that on Jan. 6, 2021, “I texted her, please — something to the effect of, you know, ‘please talk to him,’ because I know he listens to her. He reserves — he listens to many of us, but he reserves fear for one person, Melania Trump.”

Hope Hicks worries about career prospects after riot: “We all look like domestic terrorists now”

In a text message exchange with Ivanka Trump’s former chief of staff, Julie Radford, during the Jan. 6 riot, former White House communications director Hope Hicks bemoaned that “we all look like domestic terrorists now.”

“In one day he ended every future opportunity that doesn’t include speaking engagements at the local Proud Boys chapter,” she wrote, to Radford’s agreement.

She further expressed concern for many of the administration’s staffers who will be “perpetually unemployed.”


“I’ve been crying for an hour,” Radford told Hicks.

“God, I’m so f***ing mad,” she added.

Hicks then told Radford that former White House Director of Strategic Communications Alyssa Farah Griffin “looks like a genius.” Griffin left the administration shortly before the riot.

© 2023 Washington Examiner

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