Jul 12, 2022 - Politics & Policy

Trump repeatedly advised to concede in fall of 2020, ex-aides testify

Committee Chairman Rep. Bennie Thompson (D-Miss.) and Vice Chair Rep. Liz Cheney (R-Wyo.) lead the seventh hearing held by the Select Committee to Investigate the January 6th Attack on the U.S. Capitol on July 12. Photo: Doug Mills-Pool/Getty Images

Former Trump administration aides and officials testified to the Jan. 6 select committee that they and others in former President Trump's orbit accepted the result of the election between late November and mid-December of 2020.

Why it matters: The testimony, played at the committee's hearing on Tuesday, is meant to underscore how Trump continued in his efforts to overturn the election despite many of his top advisers believing he lost — and telling him as much.

Driving the news: Former White House Counsel Pat Cipollone testified that former White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows indicated around late November and after that Trump would eventually leave office gracefully in discussions about him conceding the election.

  • "I would say that that is a statement and a sentiment that I heard from Mark Meadows ... it wasn't a one time statement," Cipollone said in closed-door testimony before the committee last week.
  • Former Attorney Bill Barr testified that, around that time, Trump's son-in-law and senior adviser Jared Kushner said he and Meadows were "working on" getting Trump to accept the reality.
  • Former Labor Secretary Eugene Scalia testified that in mid-December, he "communicated to the president ... what had to be done was concede."

Several other aides said in closed-door testimony that they believed the election had been lost and had begun planning to leave the White House after the electoral college met on Dec. 14, 2020.

  • "Upon the conclusion of litigation was when I began to plan for life after the administration," former White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany testified.
  • Former White House deputy press secretary Judd Deere testified that he told Trump "the electoral college had met ... and I believed at that point that the means for him to pursue litigation was probably closed."
  • Former White House senior adviser Ivanka Trump testified that Dec. 14 was when she realized the administration would end: "I think it was my sentiment, probably prior as well."

What they're saying: "Donald Trump had access to more detailed and specific information showing that the election was not actually stolen than almost any other American," select committee Vice Chair Liz Cheney (R-Wyo.) said Tuesday.

  • "No rational or sane man in his position could disregard that information and reach the opposite conclusion. And Donald Trump cannot escape responsibility by being willfully blind."

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