On the evening of January 5th, as the raucous crowd whipped up by Donald Trump and his lieutenants screamed for revolution, the defeated president told his staff to open the Oval Office door to the Rose Garden so he could hear their love.
All that vocal support and calls to force Congress to overturn the 2020 election turned around what had been a nasty mood for weeks, a staff member told the January 6th Committee, video testimony showed today. "He was in a fantastic mood," she said.
Nothing mattered to Trump except that he was the center of all that adoration and the mob had swallowed his lies and was ready to fight; ready, even to kill. There was talk, other video testimony showed, of a coming bloodbath if Vice President Mike Pence certified the election results.
Among the mob was a mild-mannered Ohio family man, Stephen Ayres, who told the investigating committee that he heeded Trump's call to go to Washington on that day, the day that Trump tweeted "will be wild." He said said he went there because he felt Trump had asked him to. Ayres said he only intended to attend the Stop the Steal rally, but instead was caught up in the fervor of the moment and went with the crowd to the Capitol, which he unlawfully entered after the mob overcame police and broke in.
Ayres, who said before the incident what he enjoyed doing most was his job at a cabinet company and spending time with his kids, has pleaded guilty to disorderly and disruptive conduct in a restricted building. He has lost his job and told the committee he was forced to sell his house. He is due to be sentenced on the misdemeanor charge in September.
Ayres' life has been turned upside down, and now that he realizes he was duped by Trump and the rightwing nutcase media that has been pushing his "Big Lie", he is angry. He urged others who have followed Trump and still believe the election lie to consider the facts, including all those court challenges that were lost, one after the other.
"It makes me mad," said Ayres, "because I was hanging on every word he was saying." Ayres explained that It was as if he had "horse blinders on," unable to see beyond what he was seeing and hearing on the social media he was following.
"The biggest thing to me is, take the blinders off," he told the committee when asked what his advice would be to other Trump followers. "Make sure you step back and see what's going on. Before it's too late."
But Donald Trump could care less about Stephen Ayres or others who believed him, some of whom have been charged, convicted and facing prison sentences; or the one rioter who was killed as she tried to break into the Capitol. They were all suckers, he will tell you, and he thoroughly enjoyed hearing their love that evening as he sat there in the Oval, his door open, listening to the mob.
But like any crime boss who senses danger, he still resorts to bullying and threats.
Committee Vice Chair Rep. Liz Cheney (R-WY) revealed that Trump attempted to personally contact a witness expected to testify, and that the witness' attorney informed the committee of that attempt.
“After our last hearing. President Trump tried to call a witness in our investigation. A witness you have not yet seen in these hearings,” Rep. Liz Cheney, the vice chair of the committee, said as the hearing closed today.
“That person declined to answer or respond to President Trump’s call and instead alerted their lawyer to the call. Their lawyer alerted us. And this committee has supplied that information to the Department of Justice. Let me say one more time: We will take any effort to influence witness testimony very seriously,” the committee vide-chair said.
What will be the outcome? Will Trump pay the price for trying to overturn our democracy for his own gratification?
We will see.