Shortly after, hundreds of rioters in the Capitol began shouting “Hang Mike Pence!” On January 6, 2021, White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows left the dining room adjacent to the Oval Office, walked into his own office and told colleagues that President Donald J. Trump was complaining that the Vice President was going to security.
mr. Meadows, according to a report to the House committee investigating Jan. 6, told colleagues that Mr. Trump had said something to the effect that Mr. Pence might have had to be hanged.
It is not clear what tone Trump would have used. But the reported comment was further proof of how extreme the rift between the president and his vice president had become, and of how Mr. Trump not only failed to take action to call off the rioters, but seemed to identify with their feelings. about Mr Pence — whom he unsuccessfully pressured to block certification of the Electoral College results that day — as a reflection of his own frustration at not being able to undo his loss.
The record of Mr. Trump’s comment was initially provided to the House committee by at least one witness, according to two people briefed on their work, as the panel develops a timeline of what the president was up to during the riot.
Another witness, Cassidy Hutchinson, a former aide to Mr. Meadows who was present in his office when he related Mr. Trump’s comments, was asked about the report by the committee and confirmed, according to people familiar with the work. of the panel. It was not immediately clear how much detailed information Ms Hutchinson provided. She cooperated with the committee in three separate interviews after receiving a subpoena.
Taylor Budowich, a spokesman for Mr Trump, criticized the commission’s work. “The vague ‘leaks’ of this partisan commission, the anonymous testimony and willingness to alter evidence prove that it is just an extension of the Democrats’ smear campaign that has been exposed time and again for being fabricated and dishonest.” ,” he said. “Americans are tired of the Democrats’ lies and the charades, but unfortunately this is all they have to offer.”
Mr Budowich did not comment on the content of the information provided to the committee.
A lawyer for Ms Hutchinson did not respond to a message asking for comment. A lawyer and an assistant to Mr. Meadows did not respond to requests for comment. A spokesperson for the committee declined to comment.
Mr. Pence withstood weeks of pressure from Mr. Trump and some of his allies to use his ceremonial role in overseeing the certification of the electoral votes by Congress on January 6 to mark the victory of Joseph R. Biden Jr. to block or postpone. Despite Mr. Pence and his advisers telling him they did not believe the vice president had that power, Mr. Trump continued to exert pressure privately and publicly that morning.
Mr. Trump denounced Mr. Pence’s reluctance to join the effort at his meeting at the Ellipse, just before the certification of the Electoral College at the Capitol began.
“We want to be so respectful to everyone,” Trump said in a cutting speech in which he attacked several people and institutions for not cooperating with his desires. “And we will have to fight much harder. And Mike Pence will have to do it for us, and if he doesn’t, it will be a sad day for our country. Because you have sworn to uphold our Constitution.”
A short time later, Trump’s supporters marched to the Capitol at his encouragement. Some chanted “Hang Mike Pence!” like a gallows was set up outside the Capitol. Mr. Pence, who had arrived at the Capitol earlier, was taken to safety in an underground garage when the top congressional leadership of both parties was evacuated.
Mr. Trump, who watched television during the riots, spoke in agreement of those chants as he discussed them with Mr. Meadows and possibly other aides, according to testimony heard by the committee.
The panel is seeking a report detailing the events as part of Mr Trump’s quest to remain in office, including how he sparked anger at his loss among his supporters and diverted it against Mr Pence and members of the Congress during what is typically a routine certification process.
The committee also collected testimonies that Mr. Meadows used the fireplace in his office to burn documents, according to two people who were briefed on the panel’s questions. The commission has asked witnesses how Mr Meadows handled documents and files after the election.