Former President Trump reportedly held secret meetings at the White House residence according to an interview former White House Press Secretary Stephanie Grisham gave to the House Select Committee.
Background: At the time of the Jan. 6 Capitol riot Stephanie Grisham was serving as First Lady Melania Trump’s Chief of Staff, Grisham then abruptly resigned in the wake of the riot.
Grisham is a number of Trump administration officials to turn on the former president and has offered to cooperate with the House Select Committee investigating the events of the Jan. 6 Capitol riot. Recently, Grisham sat for an hours-long interview with the panel to discuss events and behavior she saw in the White House in the days leading up to the riot.
What Happened: The former White House press secretary claimed Trump held secret meetings in the White House residence in the days before the protest-turned-riot. Grisham said that only a few aides were made aware of the meetings typically scheduled by former White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows and that former chief usher, Timothy Harleth, would wave them in. Grisham admitted she wasn’t aware who attended the meeting with Trump.
The Guardian previously reported that Trump made several phone calls from the Yellow Oval Room and elsewhere in the White House residence to lieutenants at the Willard hotel in Washington the night before the Capitol attack, telling them to stop Joe Biden’s certification. (per The Guardian)
Trump increasingly retreated to the White House residence to conduct work as his presidency progressed, according to another former Trump administration official, as he felt less watched by West Wing aides than in the Oval Office. (per The Guardian)
Context: The House panel is hoping Grisham’s interview will shed light on the question of Trump’s purported intention to storm the Capitol.
The House Committee is investigating if Trump oversaw a criminal conspiracy to stop Biden’s certification and hopes Grisham’s interview will provide answers.
What Comes Next: Grisham told the panel that Trump’s intentions and if the Secret Service had been told Trump had decided not to march to the Capito should be reflected in the presidential line-by-line, the document that outlines the president’s movements.
The chairman of the select committee, Rep. Bennie Thompson told reporters that the panel is seeking information from the Secret Service about what plans they had for Trump on January 6. The panel is also asking for information on evacuation plans for then-Vice President Mike Pence who was inside the Capitol presiding over electoral proceedings.
On Thursday, the panel also requested Trump’s oldest daughter and former White House senior aide, cooperate with the committee.
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