Former President Donald J. Trump’s impeachment trial focused largely on his actions that led to the violent attack on Capitol Hill on January 6.
But there was a crucial period that day of almost five hours – between the end of Mr. Trump’s speech at the Ellipse, urging his supporters to march to Capitol Hill, and a final tweet telling his followers to remember the day forever – which remains critical to his state of mind.
Evidence emerged during the trial of what Mr. Trump was doing during those hours, from about 1 p.m. to about 6 p.m., including new details of two phone calls with lawmakers who prosecutors said had clearly alerted the president on the chaos of Capitol Hill.
One was a phone call from the White House to Republican Senator Mike Lee of Utah at 2:26 p.m., according to call logs the senator provided during the impeachment process.
The president had made the call, but he was in fact looking for Senator Tommy Tuberville, Republican of Alabama. Mr Lee gave the phone to Mr Tuberville, who told reporters he informed Mr Trump that Vice President Mike Pence had just been escorted as the crowd approached the Senate Chamber.
“I said, ‘Mr. President, they just released the vice-president, I have to go, ”Mr. Tuberville told Politico.
House prosecutors used the information on that call to argue that Mr. Trump was clearly aware that the vice president was in danger and that he had a senseless disregard for Mr. Pence’s safety. Mr. Trump’s defense team had insisted on Friday that Mr. Trump was not aware of any danger to Mr. Pence.
The other call was between Rep. Kevin McCarthy of California, the Republican House leader, and President Trump, who flared up, according to a Republican MP, Rep. Jaime Herrera Beutler of Washington state.
In a statement Friday night which was admitted into evidence at Saturday’s trial, Ms Herrera Beutler said Mr McCarthy had a shouting match with Mr Trump on the call.
Mr. McCarthy had told Mr. Trump that the windows in his own office were broken into. “Well, Kevin, I guess these people are more upset than you are about the election,” Mr. Trump said, according to a CNN report confirmed by the MP.
“Who do you think you are talking to?” Mr McCarthy fired back at one point, CNN reported, including an expletive.