Hope Hicks: Trump Said Legacy Dependent On Staying President

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Former President Donald Trump believed his legacy depended on overturning the 2020 election and remaining in office, his former senior adviser Hope Hicks testified to the House committee investigating the Jan. 6, 2021, Capitol attack.

The committee aired Hick’s testimony as part of a final public hearing on Monday to present its report on the insurrection to the public and make criminal referrals to the Justice Department. The recorded testimony was the first time the public heard from Hicks about the Capitol riot.

Rep. Zoe Lofgren (D-Calif.), a committee member, said the panel obtained testimony since its last hearing from new witnesses who said they repeatedly told Trump there was no evidence to support his claims of election fraud. Hicks was one of those witnesses, Lofgren said.

In her testimony, the former Trump adviser said there was no “evidence of fraud on a scale that would have impacted the outcome of the election.” She added that at the time, she “was becoming increasingly concerned that we were damaging his legacy” by spreading disinformation about the election results.

When Hicks expressed her concerns to Trump, she said the president “said something along the lines of, ‘You know, nobody will care about my legacy if I lose, so that won’t matter. The only thing that matters is winning.'”

Rep. Stephanie Murphy (D-Fla.), another committee member, presented a text exchange between Hicks and former White House deputy press secretary Hogan Gidley that occurred during the insurrection.

“Hey. I know you’re seeing this. But he really should tweet something about Being NON-violent,” Gidley texted Hicks at 2:19 pm on Jan. 6, 2021.

“I’m not there,” Hicks responded. “I suggested it several times Monday and Tuesday and he refused.”

A text message between former senior adviser Hope Hicks and former White House deputy press secretary Hogan Gidley reveals concern among Trump allies that the president was encouraging the violence at the Capitol on Jan.  6, 2021. The House Jan.  6 Committee showed the text exchange along with new testimony from Hicks during its final meeting of the year on Monday, Dec.  19, 2022.
A text message between former senior adviser Hope Hicks and former White House deputy press secretary Hogan Gidley reveals concern among Trump allies that the president was encouraging the violence at the Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021. The House Jan. 6 Committee showed the text exchange along with new testimony from Hicks during its final meeting of the year on Monday, Dec. 19, 2022.

House Select Committee to Investigate the Jan. 6 Attack on the United States Capitol

When pressed by the committee, Hicks explained that the “he” mentioned in her text message was not referring to the president, but rather to Trump adviser Eric Herschmann. Hicks said that Herschmann told her he recommended the same directly to Trump, but the president refused to tone down tweets encouraging his violent followers.

The exchange revealed that Trump did not just refuse to condemn the violence on the day of the insurrection; he had similarly done so in the days before. The then-president’s refusals showed that advisers close to him foresaw his followers becoming violent that day.

One of the most notable moments of the Capitol riot was when Trump sent a tweet ― just minutes after Gidley’s concerned message to Hicks ― saying Vice President Mike Pence “didn’t have the courage” to help overturn the election. Pence was in the Capitol at the time to carry out his responsibility of helping certify the election results, and Trump’s tweet and criticism incited his followers to call for violence against the vice president.

Later that evening, Hicks texted colleague Julie Radford with the message: “Attacking the VP? Wtf is wrong with him?”

The committee ended its hearing by making four criminal referrals for Trump: obstructing an official US government proceeding, conspiring to defraud the US, willfully making false statements to the federal government, and inciting an insurrection against the US government.

Read the committee’s introductory materials to its final report here:

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