McCarthy initially blamed Trump for the attack, but later backtracked
The House committee investigating the January 6 attack on the US Capitol showed never-before-seen footage of staff evacuating Republican minority leader Kevin McCarthy’s office as a violent mob stormed the building.
The video was shown on Thursday evening at the opening of the first public hearings held by the committee, which said it will provide evidence to show that Donald Trump attempted to overturn the 2020 election.
In the days after the attack, Mr McCarthy, the top House Republican, said Donald Trump “bears responsibility” for the attack. “He should have immediately denounced the mob when he saw what was unfolding,” he added.
Mr McCarthy later walked back his comments and has since denounced the work of the January 6 committee.
“I also think everybody across this country has some responsibility,” he said in an interview two weeks after the Capitol attack.
The committee‘s vice chair Liz Cheney said earlier in the hearing that Mr Trump expressed support for his followers who wanted to hang Mike Pence.
As thousands of Donald Trump’s supporters were storming the US Capitol and chants of “hang Mike Pence” rang out from the angry mob, the then president purportedly told advisors that his vice president “deserves it.”
The alleged remarks by Mr Trump were heard by former staff who were present in the room when they were spoken, according to Ms Cheney.
Ms Cheney said the committee would present testimony from more than half a dozen former White House staff of the Trump administration who were present in the West Wing on that day.
“You will hear that president Trump was yelling. He was really angry at advisors that told him he needed to be doing something more,” she said.
“And aware of the rioters chants to hang Mike Pence, the president responded with this sentiment: ‘Maybe our supporters have the right idea.’”
Ms Cheney’s remarks came at the opening of the first public hearings of the House committee investigating the January 6 insurrection and Donald Trump’s attempt to overturn the 2020 election on Thursday evening.
The committee has promised never-before-seen video and a mass of other evidence in its public hearings, and said it will directly link Mr Trump to the attempted insurrection.