Former President Donald Trump reportedly knew the Capitol had been breached when he tweeted a disparaging message about then-Vice President Mike Pence on Jan. 2, 2021, the committee investigating the Capitol invasion told NBC News.
Rep. Pete Aguilar, California Democrat, will argue Mr. Pence was evacuated from the electoral vote-counting session “in the nick of time” as the pro-Trump mob advanced.
He told NBC he analyzed the timing and found that Mr. Pence had to be whisked away by Secret Service shortly after the tweet.
Mr. Trump was upset with Mr. Pence for refusing to block the count that granted now-President Biden his victory and disparaged Mr. Pense in Twitter posts during the riot.
The ex-president “knew that there was violence and he still tweeted the vice president didn’t have the courage to do what was necessary,” Mr. Aguilar said. “We notice right away, you know, within 90 seconds, the vice president is being evacuated right after that Trump tweet.”
Mr. Trump has called the House Jan. 6 committee’s probe of the Capitol riot another Democratic “witch hunt” intended to smear him. He also insists that Democrats stole the 2020 presidential election from him.
Republican lawmakers also have been critical of the committee, which is comprised of Democrats and two anti-Trump Republicans. They also argue that the committee is designed to smear Mr. Trump and the GOP.
Mr. Aguilar spoke ahead of the third hearing of the Jan. 6 committee that is examining the attack on the Capitol and Mr. Trump’s role in the build-up.
Thursday’s hearing will focus on the Pence sequence and show never-before-seen photos of the former vice president in seclusion and making calls to other leaders.
“He was acting like one would expect a leader to act,” Mr. Aguilar said. “But it’s also very clear that he didn’t get checked in on. The president didn’t reach out to the vice president at any point to ask if he was safe.”