The House Select Committee investigating the January 6, 2021 insurrection on Wednesday night released its first batch of witness transcripts—and it revealed 34 witnesses who pleaded the Fifth Amendment against self incrimination during all or part of their testimony.
The transcribed testimony consisted of key figures who aided former President Trump in efforts to overturn the 2020 Presidential election, including conservative attorney John Eastman—whom the Committee has criminally referred to the Department of Justice—former DOJ official Jeffrey Clark whom Trump had sought to install as Attorney General, conservative political consultant Roger Stone, and Trump’s initial National Security Adviser Michael Flynn.
Proud Boys’ leader Enrique Tarrio—who’s currently on trial for the crime of seditious conspiracy related to January 6—told Committee investigators what he took Trump’s “Stand back and stand by” signal to the Proud Boys during a September 2020 Presidential debate to mean.
“I took it to be, like ‘Hey, the election’s coming up. Stand by,’” Tarrio said of the comment. “I also believe that he meant it, like, ‘Stand by me as the President,’ like, I’ve never failed—I think he was more telling that to, like, the American people too. Like I haven’t failed you yet, so just stand behind me.”
Committee investigators also seemed focused on who paid for members of the Proud Boys to travel to and stay in DC. Tarrio did not provide the Committee with any information regarding the Proud Boys’ donors or finances.
Nevada’s GOP Chair Michael McDonald, who served as a false elector, pleaded the fifth when asked about a text he wrote on November 4, 2020 that he “was on the phone to President, Mark Meadows, Giuliani and they want full attack mode. We’re gonna have a war room meeting in about an hour in the bosses suite.”
The publication of the Committee’s full report is expected Thursday. The final report will include eight chapters and several appendices, including two appendices focused on Capitol security and the slow mobilization of the National Guard to respond to the rioters who were bent on disrupting the certification of President Biden’s victory over Trump in the 2020 Election.