The House committee investigating the Jan. 6 Capitol attack turned its focus on Thursday to President Donald Trump’s insidious inaction during the siege, presenting testimony indicating the president watched the violence live on TV but snubbed appeals to intervene.

“President Trump did not fail to act during the 187 minutes between leaving the Ellipse and telling the mob to go home — he chose not to act,” said Rep. Adam Kinzinger (R-Ill.), a member of the panel, referencing the site of Trump’s pre-attack rally.

Kinzinger delivered the line scolding Trump at the outset of the public hearing, the panel’s eighth so far and possibly the last of this summer; more hearings may be coming in September.

One of two Republicans on the nine-member panel, Kinsinger delivered his opening statement after the committee played audio from Gen. Mark Milley, who has served as chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff since the Trump administration.

“You’re the commander-in-chief,” Milley said. “You’ve got an assault going on on the Capitol of the United States of America. Nothing? No call? Zero.”

Kinzinger said Trump’s silence came because the mob, which he whipped in a falsehood-filled speech on the Ellipse, was “accomplishing President Trump’s purpose.”

Rep. Liz Cheney (R-Wyo.) said Trump’s inaction came despite appeals from an army of allies imploring him to halt his supporters’ violent attack.

“Donald Trump’s own White House counsel, his own White House staff, and members of his own family, all implored him to immediately intervene, to condemn the violence,” Cheney said. “For multiple hours, he would not.”

The star witnesses at Thursday’s prime-time hearing were expected to be Sarah Matthews, a former press aide, and Matthew Pottinger, a National Security Administration official. Both quit in protest after the attack.

Testimony also came from White House counsel Pat Cipollone, who met with Trump on Jan. 6.

The panel aimed to show Trump’s inaction after he left his “Stop the Steal” rally, at which he urged his supporters to march to the Capitol, and to “fight like hell” to keep him in power.

Back at the White House, Trump rejected pleas from prominent supporters and even his own family to do something to rein in the mob that overwhelmed police and sought to hunt down perceived enemies including former Vice President Mike Pence.

Only some three hours later, Trump issued a video address from the Rose Garden in which he told the rioters to “go home” but also praised them as “very special.”

“We had an election that was stolen from us. It was a landslide election and everyone knows it, especially the other side,” Trump said, despite losing by 74 votes in the electoral college and 7 million in the popular vote. “This was a fraudulent election, but we can’t play into the hands of these people. We have to have peace.”

Cassidy Hutchinson, a previous bombshell witness, testified that Trump told aides that he didn’t want to end the violence and that the vice president “deserved it” because of his refusal to join the effort to overturn the election results.

The hearing was also expected to show never-before-seen outtakes of a Jan. 7 video that White House aides pleaded for Trump to make as a message of national healing for the country.

The footage was expected to show that Trump struggled to condemn the mob of his supporters who violently breached the Capitol hours earlier. He also refused to say he lost the election to President Biden, a stance he has stubbornly stuck to ever since.

The committee frames the Jan. 6 attack as the culmination of a weeks-long effort by Trump to cling to power despite losing the 2020 election. They have focused on various elements of that scheme, including his pressure campaign on Pence and the effort to bully state officials into rejecting Biden’s victory.

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