Stand up for the facts!

Our only agenda is to publish the truth so you can be an informed participant in democracy.
We need your help.

More Info

I would like to contribute

A video of President Donald Trump recording a statement in the Rose Garden of the White House on Jan. 6 is played at a hearing from the House select committee investigating the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol, July 21, 2022. (AP) A video of President Donald Trump recording a statement in the Rose Garden of the White House on Jan. 6 is played at a hearing from the House select committee investigating the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol, July 21, 2022. (AP)

A video of President Donald Trump recording a statement in the Rose Garden of the White House on Jan. 6 is played at a hearing from the House select committee investigating the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol, July 21, 2022. (AP)

Jon Greenberg
By Jon Greenberg July 22, 2022
Amy Sherman
By Amy Sherman July 22, 2022

If Your Time is short

  • Former President Donald Trump waited three hours before tweeting a video telling his supporters to leave the Capitol and go home.

  • During that time, his closest White House advisers said they never saw Trump call for aid from the Defense Department, the Attorney General, or Homeland Security to stop the attack.

  • Trump called his lawyer Rudy Giuliani and Republican senators during the riot.

As a mob overran the seat of American democracy on Jan. 6, 2021, beating police officers with clubs and bats, and calling for the hanging of Vice President Mike Pence, President Donald Trump watched Fox News and ignored pleas from the most inner of his inner circle to call off the crowd.

"Donald Trump refused to take the urgent advice he received that day," said Rep. Adam Kinzinger, R-Ill., at the hearing held July 21 by the Jan. 6 House select committee. "(Not) from his own family, his own friends, his own staff, and his own advisers. In the midst of an attack when there was no time for politics, the people closest to Trump told him the truth. It was his supporters attacking the Capitol, and he alone could get through to them."

Two former White House staffers testified about the chaos inside the White House that afternoon. Matthew Pottinger, a member of the National Security Council, resigned that day, when Trump’s first tweet after the riot started didn’t call for peace. Instead, Trump attacked Pence for failing "do what should have been done to protect our country and our Constitution."

Pence refused to go along with Trump’s scheme to reject the electoral votes from a handful of states, a move that would deny Joe Biden a legitimate victory in the 2020 presidential election.

The other staffer appearing at the hearing, deputy press secretary Sarah Matthews, told the committee in a deposition, "It felt like he was pouring gasoline on the fire by tweeting that."

The committee detailed how Trump’s daughter and adviser, Ivanka Trump, tried to persuade her father to tell the rioters to stop. As did sympathetic Fox News hosts who always enjoyed an open door to the president; as did the head of the House Republicans and the top White House Counsel.

Here are the key findings from the hearing about Trump’s actions and whereabouts the night before and day of the Jan. 6 insurrection.

Jan. 5, 2021, before the rally

The night before the rally on the Ellipse, Trump stayed up late, tweeting at a torrid pace about a corrupt election. At midnight, he tweeted about 4,000 ballots "found" in Fulton County, Georgia. A few minutes later, he retweeted another post about Georgia. And 10 seconds after that, yet another — "the steal is in the making in Georgia."

Nine tweets and an hour after he began, Trump’s last tweet at 1 a.m. focused on Vice President Mike Pence.

"If Vice President @Mike_Pence comes through for us, we will win the Presidency.," Trump wrote.

He started again around 7 a.m. the next day, again, targeting Pence.

"Do it Mike, this is a time for extreme courage!" Trump tweeted.

On Jan. 6, 2021

11:57 a.m.: Trump begins speaking to his supporters at a rally near the White House.

About noon: A far-right group known as the Proud Boys walk together around the northern perimeter of the Capitol toward the western side.

12:26: Pence arrives at the Capitol.

12:45 p.m.: Before Trump finishes his address, the Proud Boys reach a spot northwest of the Capitol known as the Peace Monument.

12:53 p.m.: First breach of the Capitol Police line, giving the rioters a path to the west Capitol steps.

1:02 p.m.: Vice President Mike Pence tweets a statement that his role is ceremonial.

1:10 p.m.: Trump finishes speaking, saying "If you don’t fight like hell, you’re not going to have a country anymore," and "We are going to walk down Pennsylvania Avenue — I love Pennsylvania Avenue — and we are going to the Capitol."

1:19 p.m.: Trump returns to the White House. 

1:25 p.m.:  Trump sits in his private dining room off the Oval Office and watches cable news coverage of the riot at the Capitol.

1:30 p.m.: The congressional Joint Session is underway, and lawmakers watch as Capitol Police officers begin moving quickly through the halls. On Twitter, they see the riot unfold outside. 

1:49 p.m.: Trump tweets a link to a video replay of the rally on the Ellipse.

1:49 p.m.: A D.C. police commander declares a riot at the Capitol.

1:59 p.m.: The first rioters reach the Capitol’s windows and doors and try to break inside.

Around 2 p.m.: White House Counsel Pat Cipollone said he along with Ivanka Trump, White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows, and others were trying to get Trump to put out a statement.

"I think I was pretty clear there needed to be an immediate and forceful response statement, (a) public statement, that people need to leave the Capitol now," Cipollone said.

2:03 p.m.: Trump calls his personal attorney Rudy Giuliani. The committee played testimony from Cipollone and other top White House officials that at no time did Trump call the secretaries of defense and homeland security, the attorney general or any other agency that could be deployed to put down the riot.

2:13 p.m.: Rioters use lumber and a stolen police shield to break a window and enter the Capitol.

2:16 p.m.: Pence’s Secret Service detail takes Pence from the chamber to his office at the Capitol. In calls to headquarters, they ask colleagues to say goodbye to their families.

2:20 p.m.: House adjourns. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., is escorted by her security team away from the rostrum.

2:24 p.m.: Trump tweets, "Mike Pence didn't have the courage to do what should have been done to protect our country and our Constitution, giving states a chance to certify a corrected set of facts, not the fraudulent or inaccurate ones which they were asked to previously certify. USA demands the truth!" 

2:26 p.m.: Pence refuses to leave the Capitol, as the Secret Service asked him to do. The Secret Service moves Pence and his family to a basement level area. He remains there until the Capitol is secured.

2:28 p.m.: Meadows begins receiving texts from Republican members of Congress, asking him to get Trump to call off the attack and tell his supporters to go home. The texts continue until 3:38 p.m.

"Mark I was just told there is an active shooter on the first floor of the Capitol. Please tell the President to calm the people This isn't the way to solve anything," Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, R-Ga., messages at 2:28 p.m. 

"Hey Mark, The president needs to tell people in the Capitol to go home," Fox News host Laura Ingraham messages at 2:32 p.m.

2:38 p.m.: Trump tweets, "Please support our Capitol Police and law enforcement. They are truly on the side of our country. Stay peaceful!"

About 2:39 p.m.: About a dozen Proud Boys force open the building’s Eastern doors near the Capitol Rotunda.

2:44 p.m.: A shot from a Capitol Police officer kills Ashli Babbitt, who was with a group of rioters, as she crawls through a broken window to enter the Speaker’s Lobby off the House chamber.

2:52 p.m.: First FBI SWAT team arrives at the Capitol.

2:53 p.m.: Donald Trump Jr. texts Meadows, "he’s got to condemn this sh–, ASAP, the Capitol police tweet is not enough." Meadows replied: "I am pushing it hard. I agree."

About 3 p.m. U.S. Army Secretary Ryan McCarthy authorizes National Guard troops. 

3:13 p.m.: Trump tweets, "I am asking for everyone at the U.S. Capitol to remain peaceful. No violence! Remember, WE are the Party of Law & Order — respect the Law and our great men and women in Blue. Thank you!"

3:15 p.m.: On police orders, rioters who had entered the Senate chamber begin to leave.

3:31 p.m. Sean Hannity texts to Meadows: "Can he make a statement. I saw the tweet. Ask people to peacefully leave the Capitol." Meadows responded that he was "on it."

4:05 p.m.: Biden goes on television from his office in Delaware, calling the scene chaos and disorder and that it must end now.

Around 4 p.m.: Law enforcement begins to gain ground against the rioters.

4:17 p.m.: Trump sends out his video message, telling his supporters to go home:

"I know your pain. I know you're hurt. We had an election that was stolen from us. It was a landslide election, and everyone knows it, especially the other side. But you have to go home now. We have to have peace. We have to have law and order. We have to respect our great people in law and order. We don’t want anybody hurt. It’s a very tough period of time. There’s never been a time like this, where such a thing happened. Where they could take it away, from all of us. From me, from you, from our country. This was a fraudulent election, but we can’t play into the hands of these people. We have to have peace. So go home. We love you. You’re very special. You’ve seen what happens. You see the way others are treated that are so bad and so evil. I know how you feel. But go home, and go home in peace."

4:27 p.m.: Rioters outside the Capitol attack the police guarding the Capitol’s West Terrace Archway. Rioters beat downed officers with clubs.

5:40 p.m.: D.C. National Guard troops arrive.

6:00 p.m.: A citywide curfew takes effect.

6:01 p.m.: Trump tweets, "These are the things and events that happen when a sacred landslide election victory is so unceremoniously & viciously stripped away from great patriots who have been badly & unfairly treated for so long. Go home with love & in peace. Remember this day forever!"

7 p.m.: FBI and ATF agents complete their sweep of the Capitol.

8:06 p.m.: Pence gavels the session back in. Out of the 12 senators who first said they would challenge results, six did for Arizona, and seven did for Pennsylvania.

9:02 p.m.: Pelosi gavels in the House session, where 121 Republicans vote against accepting the results from Arizona, and 138 vote against Pennsylvania’s votes.

On Jan. 7, 2021

3:41 a.m.: The Senate Chaplain closes the session with a prayer.

RELATED: All of our fact-checks about Jan. 6

RELATED: What’s next for the Jan. 6 Committee?

RELATED: Bipartisan bill aims to close the legal gaps in the Electoral Count Act Trump used to disrupt Jan. 6

Sign Up For Our Weekly Newsletter

Our Sources

House Select Committee to Investigate the Jan. 6 Attack on the U.S. Capitol, Eighth hearing on findings, July 21, 2022

University of California, Santa Barbara, American Presidency Project: Donald Trump Tweets of January 6, 2021, accessed July 19, 2022

NPR, A timeline of how the Jan. 6 attack unfolded, June 9, 2022

Lawfare, The Proud Boys and Oath Keepers on Jan. 6, Jan. 6, 2022

Washington Post, Bloodshed, Oct. 31, 2021

NPR, Read Trump's Jan. 6 Speech, Feb. 10, 2021

NPR, Transcript: Seventh hearing, July 12, 2022

NPR, Transcript: Third hearing, June 16, 2022

NBC, In Harvard study of Jan. 6 rioters, top motivation is clear: Trump, July 20, 2022

Browse the Truth-O-Meter

More by Jon Greenberg

Jan. 6 hearing details Trump’s inaction as Capitol riot unfolded