The ongoing House hearings into the Jan. 6 Capitol insurrection have revealed more evidence of the involvement of some prominent Texans. Todd Gillman, Washington bureau chief for The Dallas Morning News, joined the Texas Standard to share more.
This transcript has been edited lightly for clarity:
Texas Standard: This has been going on now for several weeks. Is there evidence that people are paying a lot of attention to this, and are there details that they should be especially tuned into?
Todd Gillman: Some people certainly are paying very, very close attention ,and a lot of other people who live in a different media ecosystem are entirely tuning out. But, boy, anybody who who would pay attention would learn a lot about what went into the efforts to overturn the lawful election of President Biden and the planning and who was involved, all the way up to the Oval Office, in the January 6th events that turned into a bloody deadly riot at the Capitol.
Let’s talk a little bit about a name I think has come up in this context in the past: Brad Parscale, who was a close adviser to President Trump, certainly an important part of his campaign. What is coming out in these hearings about his role?
Well, one of, I don’t know, a couple of dozen, eye-popping revelations in yesterday’s hearing was a set of text messages the evening of January 6th after police had cleared out the rioters from the Capitol. And Brad, who had been the Trump campaign manager and kind of forced out earlier in the re-election campaign, was texting with Katrina Pierson, who is a Dallas-area Tea Party activist who had risen very high in the Trump circle and was part of the planning of the January 6th rally.
And Brad was saying that what he had seen was “a sitting president asking for civil war.” And he told Katrina “this week, I feel guilty for helping him win,” which is a pretty stunning thing for a former campaign manager to say about the president.
Let’s turn our attention to Sidney Powell, a Dallas attorney in the process of being disbarred from the State Bar of Texas for her attempts to overturn the 2020 election. What is her role in all of this?
Well, just to clarify, the reason the State Bar in Texas is trying to disbar her is not just because she tried, but because all of the lawsuits she brought were frivolous. So she is a key player in all of this narrative in pushing Trump’s wild claims that there was widespread fraud without having any evidence to that effect.
There was an extraordinary meeting on Dec. 18 at the White House at which she and Michael Flynn, the former national security adviser, and others were pitching the president on having the military seize voting machines and also install Sidney Powell as a special prosecutor. This was very alarming to the White House counsel, Pat Cipollone, who said, first of all, there’s no authority, there’s no precedent, there’s absolutely nothing that would allow the military to step in and deal with a national election. And he was super adamantly opposed to having Sidney Powell become a special prosecutor with extraordinary powers. The president insisted, “well, I’m the president, I can do it.” And Cipollone conceded, “yes, you can,” but no paperwork was actually done.
So Sidney Powell’s role in all of this was really very prominent and played a big role – one of the many, many bombshells in yesterday’s testimony. Also, I would say Cipollone went out of his way to declare that Mike Pence, the vice president, was a national hero for resisting the pressure from the president and the mob to overturn the election. And he actually told the the January 6 committee that he thought Vice President Pence deserved the Presidential Medal of Freedom for his actions that day.