Jan. 6 committee allegedly suppressed testimony showing Trump admin pushed for National Guard presence: report

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The Jan. 6 congressional committee allegedly falsely claimed it did not have evidence showing former President Donald Trump’s administration requested National Guard assistance, according to a report detailing a “hidden transcript” that was recently released. 

“The former J6 Select Committee apparently withheld Mr. Ornato’s critical witness testimony from the American people because it contradicted their pre-determined narrative. Mr. Ornato’s testimony proves what Mr. Meadows has said all along: President Trump did in fact offer 10,000 National Guard troops to secure the U.S. Capitol, which was turned down,” Georgia Republican Rep. Barry Loudermilk said in a statement on Friday. 

Loudermilk released a transcript of former White House deputy chief of staff Anthony Ornato’s interview with the congressional committee investigating Jan. 6 on Friday, following the Federalist’s Mollie Hemingway, also a Fox News contributor, reporting, “Former Rep. Liz Cheney’s January 6 Committee suppressed evidence” that the Trump administration pushed for 10,000 National Guard members to be on the streets. 

Ornato’s interview was conducted in January 2022, and attended by Cheney, among other members on the committee. In addition to serving as deputy chief of staff under Trump, Ornato served in the Secret Service for decades. 

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Rep. Liz Cheney during her primary election night party in Jackson, Wyoming, on Aug. 16, 2022. (Reuters/David Stubbs)

The committee, which included seven Democrats and two now-former Republican Congress members, Cheney and Adam Kinzinger, concluded that it found “no evidence” that the Trump administration called for 10,000 National Guard members to Washington, D.C., to protect the Capitol. 

Trump has long claimed that he requested the National Guard but that House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., failed to act on the request. Amid and following the congressional committee’s investigation, media outlets such as the Washington Post “debunked” Trump’s comments, repeatedly awarding him “Four Pinocchios.”

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Loudermilk on Friday released a transcript of Ornato’s interview with the committee detailing that he overheard then-White House Chief of staff Mark Meadows asking D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser to request as much protection for D.C. as she needed. 

“When it comes to the National Guard statement about having 10,000 troops or any other number of troops, do you recall any discussion prior to the 6th about whether and how many National Guard troops to deploy on January 6th?” a staffer with the committee asked Ornato. 

Protesters outside of the Capitol

Trump supporters occupy the West Front of the Capitol and the inauguration stands on Jan. 6, 2021. (Bill Clark/CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Images)

“I remember he had – he was on the phone with [Bowser], and we – I had walked in for something, and I was there, and he was on the phone with her and wanted to make sure she had everything that she needed. Because I think it was the concern of anti and pro groups clashing is what I recall. And not anywhere near the Capitol, this was just out on the mall area or at the event; and wanted to know if she needed any more guardsmen,” Ornato responded, according to the transcript reviewed by Fox News Digital. 

Ornato went on to cite the “10,000” guardsmen number, according to the transcript, arguing Trump wanted “to make sure that you have enough.”

“And I remember the number 10,000 coming up of, you know, the President wants to make sure that you have enough. You know, he is willing to ask for 10,000. I remember that number. Now that you said it, it reminded me of it. And that she was all set. She had, I think it was like 350 or so for intersection control and those types of thing not in the law enforcement capacity at the time. And then that’s the only thing I recall with that number 10,000 National Guard guardsmen,” he continued. 

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Trump Mar-a-Lago

Former President Donald Trump arrives for an election-night watch party at Mar-a-Lago on March 5, 2024, in West Palm Beach, Florida. (Win McNamee/Getty Images)

Bowser ultimately asked for just over 300 National Guard members, who she requested would not be armed and only work to assist the local police department. 

Ornato said in his interview with the committee that after Bowser refused additional National Guard members, the White House requested the Defense Department have a “quick reaction force” on hand. 

“The only thing I remember with DOD and the National Guard was even though the mayor didn’t want any more National Guard in D.C., that a request was made to have kind of a, lack of better term, a quick reaction force out at Joint Base Andrews being that it was a military installation,” Ornato said in his interview, according to the transcript. 

“I remember Chief Meadows talking to DOD about that, I believe. I remember Chief Meadows letting me know that, ‘Hey, there was going to be National Guard that’s going to be at Joint Base Andrews in case they’re going to need some more, we’re going to – the Mayor would need any, we’re going to make sure they’re out there.'”

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Cheney’s spokesman Jeremy Adler told Fox News Digital on Sunday morning that the Federalist’s report is “flatly false.” 

“The Federalist report is flatly false. No transcripts were destroyed, and as this letter (which has long been public) describes in detail, the Committee adhered to its obligations to allow the Secret Service to protect sensitive security information for interviews of its agents before preserving that testimony in the archives,” Adler said in a statement. 

“Also, relevant content of the Secret Service transcripts was summarized in multiple places in the report… This is all a continuation of efforts to lie about and cover up Donald Trump’s culpability for January 6th,” he added, providing links to summarized Secret Service transcripts. 

Cheney also took to X this weekend and referred to the report as “BS” while responding to a tweet posted by Mark Levin. 

Levin responded to Cheney on X, saying: “I wrote it, moron. You’re a pathetic disgrace and demagogue. And have exposed yourself for all time. Funny how you avoid public debates with your detractors, including me. Coward. You should consider professional help.”

Meadows was reportedly worried about the crowd size ahead of Jan. 6, including from left-wing protesters, according to the Federalist’s report, which pointed to Ornato’s transcript detailing members of the Trump administration wanted to ensure there were enough troops on the streets. 

“And, again, the crowd sizes were, you know, the organizers were saying, you know, there may be 50,000 here. So that’s where it started, I think, to scare the chief a little bit of how many people were coming in for this event, and wanted to make sure that they would be able to bring in National Guard if needed for this size of this many people inside D.C.,” Ornato said.

When supporters of former President Trump ultimately breached the Capitol, Ornato said in his interview that the White House called on acting Secretary of Defense Christopher Miller to deploy assistance. 

“So then I remember the chief saying, ‘Hey, I’m calling secretary of defense to get that [quick reaction force] in here,'” Ornato said. 

“[T]he constant was, you know, where is the National Guard? Why isn’t – you know, we’ve got to get control of this,” Ornato added.

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Bennie Thompson, Liz Cheney

Committee Vice Chair Liz Cheney speaks during a meeting of the House committee investigating the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol, Dec. 19, 2022. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

“But, you know, [Meadows] understood the urgency, that’s for sure. And he kept, you know, getting Miller on the phone, wanting to know where they were, why aren’t they there yet,” he later added. 

Hemingway detailed in her report that Ornato’s testimony matched what former Trump administration aide Kash Patel said during testimony amid Colorado’s failed efforts to boot Trump from the ballot over claims his 2024 presidential run violates the 14th Amendment. 

“Mayor Bowser wrote a letter herself on approximately Jan. 4.… declining further requests for National Guard services outside of the 346 National Guardsmen already authorized,” Patel said late last year in testimony. 

“The authorization came in beforehand. It was relayed to the appropriate officials in D.C. and the Capitol Police. It was declined, and we acted when their request finally came in on January 6,” he continued.

The judge in the Colorado case determined Patel was not a credible witness. 

Mark Hemingway, senior writer at Real Clear Investigations, also responded to Cheney’s tweet to Levin this weekend, saying Cheney was using “disingenuous circular logic” by citing Patel is not being a credible witness. 

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Last year, a group of Colorado voters brought a lawsuit arguing Trump should be deemed ineligible from holding political office under a Civil War-era insurrection clause and that his name should thus be barred from appearing on the 2024 ballot. The group said Trump’s actions on Jan. 6, 2021, when supporters breached the U.S. Capitol, violated a clause in the 14th Amendment that prevents officers of the United States, members of Congress or state legislatures who “engaged in insurrection or rebellion” against the Constitution from holding political office.

The case was appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court, which unanimously ruled in Trump’s favor, allowing him to remain on the Colorado ballot and squelching other states’ efforts to remove the former president from their ballots. 

Ornato said the Trump White House on Jan. 6 continually asked, “What’s taking so long?” to deploy assistance to the city, but the rollout was allegedly riddled with hangups. 

“Every time [Meadows] would ask, ‘What’s taking so long?’ It would be, like, you know, ‘This isn’t just start the car and we’re there. We have to muster them up, we have to’ – so it was constant excuses coming of – not excuses, but what they were actually doing to get them there,” he said. “So, you know, ‘We only have so many here right now. They’re given an hour to get ready.’ So there’s, like, all these timelines that was being explained to the chief. And he relayed that, like, you know – he’s like, ‘I don’t care, just get them here,’ you know, and ‘Get them to the Capitol, not to the White House.'”

Liz Cheney at Jan. 6 hearing

Liz Cheney took to X this weekend and referred to the report as “BS” while responding to a tweet posted by Mark Levin. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite, File)

The Jan. 6 report detailed that Gen. Mark Milley said Vice President Mike Pence had called acting Secretary Miller at least two times calling for National Guard presence, while Meadows had allegedly called to “kill the narrative that the Vice President is making all the decisions.”

“In contrast, according to General Milley, Chief of Staff Meadows called and said, ‘We have to kill the narrative that the Vice President is making all the decisions. We need to establish the narrative, you know, that the President is still in charge and that things are steady or stable,’ or words to that effect. I immediately interpreted that as politics, politics, politics,’” the report states. 

The report states Trump did not personally make a call. 

Just days before Jan. 6, 2021, an op-ed penned by former defense secretaries, including Liz Cheney’s father Dick Cheney, argued against involving the military in election disputes. Hemingway cited a report in her piece that Liz Cheney “organized” the op-ed and had allegedly “‘secretly orchestrated’ a pressure campaign to prevent the Defense Department from deploying resources on January 6, 2021.”

Trump has meanwhile previously claimed that Cheney “deleted” evidence that his administration wanted a greater presence of National Guard members. 

Donald Trump wearing a red make america great again hat

A new article from The Atlantic warned that House Democrats may vote against certifying former President Trump’s election if the U.S. Supreme Court doesn’t rule whether he is eligible for office before. (Sean Rayford/Getty Images)

“Why did American Disaster Liz Cheney … ILLEGALLY DELETE & DESTROY most of the evidence, and related items, from the January 6th Committee of Political Thugs and Misfits. THIS ACT OF EXTREME SABOTAGE MAKES IT IMPOSSIBLE FOR MY LAWYERS TO PROPERLY PREPARE FOR, AND PRESENT, A PROPER DEFENSE OF THEIR CLIENT, ME. All of the information on Crazy Nancy Pelosi turning down 10,000 soldiers that I offered to to [sic] guard the Capitol Building, and beyond, is gone,” Trump posted on Truth Social on Jan. 1, 2024. 

The committee’s final report determined that Trump “never gave any order to deploy the National Guard.” 

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“President Trump had authority and responsibility to direct deployment of the National Guard in the District of Columbia, but never gave any order to deploy the National Guard on January 6th or on any other day. Nor did he instruct any Federal law enforcement agency to assist. Because the authority to deploy the National Guard had been delegated to the Department of Defense, the Secretary of Defense could, and ultimately did deploy the Guard,” the report states. 

In his Friday statement and transcript release, Loudermilk claimed the committee “hid” Ornato’s testimony. Loudermilk is chairman of the House Administration’s Subcommittee on Oversight, which is looking into the Jan. 6 committee’s handling of the investigation. 

“This is just one example of important information the former Select Committee hid from the public because it contradicted what they wanted the American people to believe. And, this is exactly why my investigation is committed to uncovering all the facts, no matter the outcome,” Loudermilk said in his statement. 

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Fox News Digital reached out to Bowser, Loudermilk and the Trump campaign for additional comment on the matter, but did not immediately receive responses.

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