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Tonight's Jan. 6 hearing to focus on what Trump was doing for 3 hours during the riot

ARI SHAPIRO, HOST:

Why did it take more than three hours during that deadly attack on the Capitol for aides to convince then-President Trump to issue this video statement?

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

DONALD TRUMP: We have to have peace. So go home. We love you. You're very special. You've seen what happens. You see the way others are treated that are so bad and so evil. I know how you feel, but go home, and go home in peace.

SHAPIRO: Tonight, the House select January 6 committee will cap a series of summer hearings by sharing new information about Trump's inaction during the siege. In a preview of the primetime hearing, committee members said they'll document how Trump knew what was happening at the Capitol because he was watching the violence unfold on TV. NPR congressional correspondent Claudia Grisales joins us now. Hey, Claudia.

CLAUDIA GRISALES, BYLINE: Hi, Ari.

SHAPIRO: Trump's timeline on the day of the siege and in the days that followed are one key focus for this panel, partly because they claim he committed crimes along the way. How do the lawmakers plan to show that tonight?

GRISALES: Right. The panel will zero in on this by showing what Trump was and was not doing between the hours of 1:10 p.m. and 4:17 p.m., when he finally shared that video statement urging these rioters to go home, but also telling them that they're very special. Then the panel will also connect that to the anger that followed from the former president that January 6 did not go his way. In an interview with NPR, committee member Pete Aguilar detailed the questions they'll answer.

PETE AGUILAR: How did the former president end his day on the 6th? What did that look like on the 7th? How angry and upset was he that the mob did not help him achieve his means, which was to stop a peaceful transfer of power?

GRISALES: The answers also come back to this central argument by the committee that Trump violated the law through his actions, for example, that he obstructed an official government proceeding - the certification of the presidential election - on the day of the siege.

SHAPIRO: The witnesses who have helped the committee tell this story are mostly Trump aides and allies, people who worked - former Trump aides and allies, I should say. You've confirmed some details about who we will hear from tonight. Tell us more about them.

GRISALES: Right. Sources tell me we'll hear from two former Trump White House officials. That's former deputy national security adviser Matthew Pottinger and onetime deputy White House press secretary Sarah Matthews. We've heard from Matthews before. In the last hearing, we saw her describe in closed-door testimony sounds from a rally on the eve of the attack, flowing into the White House to the point it was shaking the Oval Office. She described how it impacted Trump's mood.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

SARAH MATTHEWS: He had not been in a good mood for weeks leading up to that, and then it seemed like he was in a fantastic mood.

GRISALES: Now, today we're going to hear from Matthews and Pottinger in person - what they heard, what they saw that led to their immediate resignation just hours after the attack.

SHAPIRO: Even if this is the last committee hearing, there's still so much work left for the committee to do and many other probes going on. Tell us what's ahead.

GRISALES: Right. It's a long to-do list. As we speak, the Justice Department is in the midst of their own large-scale criminal probe, and that includes the trial of former Trump adviser Steve Bannon for defying his committee subpoena. A verdict on that is expected soon. This is a committee who's looking at a new line of investigation that's looking into the Secret Service and concerns of deleted text messages right around the time of the attack last year. And as they gather new evidence after today and going forward, that will shape how the committee will wrap up their probe and issue a report, maybe too, by year's end.

SHAPIRO: NPR's Claudia Grisales, covering the work of the January 6 committee. Thank you very much.

GRISALES: Thank you much. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

Claudia Grisales is a congressional reporter assigned to NPR's Washington Desk.

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