January 6 hearing: Trump ‘was calling senators to block Biden instead of calling the crowd’

Donald Trump has spent his time phoning friendly senators and urging them not to certify Joe Biden, rather than calling the crowds storming the US Captiol, a congressional committee has been told.

The president knew within 15 minutes of returning from the Washington Mall where he had delivered a speech urging supporters to “fight like hell” that crowds were invading the building, the Jan. 6 committee said. However, there were no call logs.

The committee showed a never-before-seen photo of Mr Trump inside the Oval Office with his coat on, after he returned from the rally.

A White House employee informed Mr. Trump “as soon as he returned to the Ring” of the riot on Capitol Hill, Democratic Congresswoman Elaine Luria said.

“Less than 15 minutes after leaving the stage, President Trump knew the Capitol was under siege and under attack,” she said.

While many were urging Mr. Trump to act, he instead went to the private dining room in the Oval Office, Ms. Luria said.

She said he stayed there until 4 p.m. He didn’t call the police, he didn’t respond to a call from the Pentagon.

“We know from the employee that the TV was on Fox News all afternoon,” she said.

Ms. Luria said other witnesses also confirmed that Trump was in the dining room with the television on for more than two and a half hours.

She said that while there is now an official record of his afternoon, they know he spent that time calling Republican senators as he continued his attempt to stop Mr Biden from taking its functions.

One of the senators Mr. Trump called was Tommy Tuberville, a Republican from Alabama.

In fact, Mr. Tuberville had to tell Mr. Trump that he couldn’t talk to him, because the vice president was being evacuated, because the crowd that the then president didn’t want to cancel, stormed in. building.