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Here’s everything we’ve learned about January 6 in the last 72 hours (and what comes next)

By Paul LeBlanc, CNN

The farther away we get from January 6, 2021, the more we learn about the circumstances surrounding it.

The past 72 hours in particular have brought a flurry of revelations related to the attack on the US Capitol, including CNN’s exclusive report detailing messages among former President Donald Trump’s inner circle before and after the insurrection.

Here’s everything you need to know, and what to watch for next.

Mark Meadows

CNN obtained 2,319 text messages that Trump’s White House chief of staff Mark Meadows sent and received between Election Day 2020 and President Joe Biden’s inauguration on January 20, 2021.

The texts offer the most vivid picture to date of how Trump’s inner circle, supporters and Republican lawmakers worked behind the scenes to try to overturn the 2020 election results and then how they reacted to the violence that effort unleashed at the US Capitol on January 6, 2021.

The logs, which Meadows selectively provided to the House panel investigating the January 6 attack, show how the former chief of staff was at the nexus of sprawling conspiracy theories that baselessly claimed the election had been stolen.

Here is a sample of some of the messages:

November 22, 2020

Ginni Thomas to Mark Meadows

Trying to understand the Sidney Powell distancing….

Meadows to Ginni Thomas

She doesn’t have anything or at least she won’t share it if she does

Ginni Thomas to Meadows


December 5, 2020

Mark Meadows to Brad Raffensperger

mr Secretary. Can you call the White House switchboard at 202 757 6000. For a call. Your voicemail is full

January 6, 2021

Rep. Barry Loudermilk to Mark Meadows

It’s really bad up here on the hill.

Rep. Barry Loudermilk to Mark Meadows

They have breached the Capitol.

Mark Meadows to Rep. Barry Loudermilk

POTUS is engaging

You can read more of the messages here.

Kevin McCarthy

House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy is also back in the spotlight as he seeks to contain the fallout over damning and contradictory conversations he had with other GOP lawmakers about Trump in the immediate aftermath of January 6.

Here’s how it played out:

  1. Last Thursday, The New York Times reported that McCarthy had told Republican colleagues in the aftermath of the riot that he planned to advise Trump that he should resign.
  2. Later that afternoon, McCarthy denied the reporting from The Times, calling it “totally false and wrong.”
  3. That same evening, The Times reporters produced audio of McCarthy saying exactly what they had quoted him as saying about pushing Trump to resign.

Asked about the contradiction during a trip to the US-Mexico border this week, McCarthy offered a rambling response: “The reporter never asked me that question. The reporter came to me the night before he released the book. And my understanding was he was saying that I asked President Trump to resign. No, I never did. And that’s what I was answering.”

“If you’re asking, now, did I tell my members that we’re gonna ask — ask them if I told any of them that I said President Trump — the answer is no. I’m glad you asked that question, but what’s more important than something that happened 15 months ago on a private conversation with about four other people is what’s happening here right now.”

McCarthy did not address the denial he had given about the reporting, which was confirmed by the audio.

On Tuesday evening, audio clips obtained and reported on by the Times revealed that McCarthy also expressed concern about far-right House Republicans inciting violence against other lawmakers in the aftermath of January 6, 2021.

In that audio, the California Republican repeatedly lamented the inflammatory comments made by some GOP lawmakers following the US Capitol attack — a far different posture than his public efforts to downplay Republicans’ role in January 6.

Marjorie Taylor Greene

Beyond her text to Meadows about invoking martial law, Greene has drawn attention in recent days for the unprecedented hearings that focus on whether she should be disqualified from seeking reelection because of her role in the January 6 insurrection.

Why, you might ask? There is a provision of the 14th Amendment to the US Constitution that bars officeholders who take part in or assist an insurrection from ever holding office again.

On the witness stand Friday, Greene repeated debunked claims that Trump won the 2020 election and even brought up false-flag conspiracy theories that the US Capitol had been attacked by rogue FBI agents or racial justice activists who “dressed up as Trump supporters.”

Her testimony, during an extraordinary all-day hearing in Atlanta, makes Greene the first member of Congress to answer questions under oath about their activities related to January 6.

And, as CNN’s KFile reported, a number of since-deleted videos from Greene’s social media contradict comments she made during the hearing.

For instance, Greene called Anthony Aguero, who CNN’s KFile previously reported had cheered on and justified the Capitol break-in, “a distant friend” and someone whom she had not spent much time with.

But in past deleted videos, saved by CNN from Greene’s time as a political activist, she spoke extensively about her ties to Aguero, repeatedly boasting he was a “dear, dear,” “great, great” and “best” friend.

Those extensive ties include:

  • A trip to the border with Aguero
  • Attending Trump’s El Paso rally together
  • Repeated dinners
  • Visiting Washington, DC, together in February 2019 and taking photos at numerous events

What’s next?

The House select committee investigating the Capitol attack is planning to produce a multimedia presentation and hire a writer as part of its effort to turn its largely secretive work into a compelling narrative, multiple sources previously told CNN.

The online presentation, which would include links to key video evidence, would be in addition to a traditional written report, according to a source familiar with the committee’s work.

The committee plans to hold a series of hearings that could begin as early as May.

This story has been updated with additional information Tuesday.

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