Donald Trump is continuing to freak out over the actions of the House committee investigating the Capitol riot, which probably in itself shows that they’re onto something. In a meltdown posted to his alternative social media platform Truth Social this Thursday, Trump demanded “EQUAL TIME” on national TV networks in response to committee hearings.
“The Fake News Networks are perpetuating lies, falsehoods, and Russia, Russia, Russia type disinformation (same sick people, here we go again!) by allowing the low rated but nevertheless one sided and slanderous Unselect Committee hearings to go endlessly and aimlessly on (and on and on!),” Trump ranted on Thursday. “It is a one sided, highly partisan Witch Hunt, the likes of which has never been seen in Congress before. Therefore, I am hereby demanding EQUAL TIME to spell out the massive Voter Fraud & Dem Security Breach!” Trump added the following in another post: “I DEMAND EQUAL TIME!!!” There’s no indication he’s going to get it no matter how many exclamation points he uses.
The hearing of the January 6 committee scheduled for Thursday was set to include two witnesses, one of whom — Greg Jacob — was on then-VP Mike Pence’s staff at the time of the Capitol violence. In the lead-up to January 6, Jacob pushed back against the possibility of Pence trying some move to block electoral votes Biden won, as Trump and others wanted Pence to do. Laws in place at the time were “already clear that the vice president did not possess the extraordinary powers others urged upon him,” Jacob was set to tell the riot committee Thursday. Jacob was also planning to cast the whole thing in a broader context: “New statutes will make little difference if we do not first inculcate in our citizens and demand in our leaders unfailing fidelity to our Constitution and the rule of law,” a copy of his prepared remarks said.
Jacob has previously directly tied lies about the election — and what Pence could do — to the riot: “Thanks to your bullshit, we are now under siege,” Jacob told now ex-Trump lawyer John Eastman in an email sent on January 6 as the riot unfolded. Pence, of course, ended up refusing to go along with the harebrained schemes in which the then-president and allies of his sought the then-VP’s involvement. Some of the rioters at the Capitol chanted “Hang Mike Pence!” and according to private testimony to the riot committee from ex-Mark Meadows aide Cassidy Hutchinson, Trump “suggested” to Meadows — who was then White House chief of staff — that he was supportive of the chants, as CNN summarizes Hutchinson’s revelations.
Trump has seemingly suggested the same thing in an interview with ABC journalist Jonathan Karl. Asked about the “Hang Mike Pence!” chants, Trump said, in part: “Because it’s common sense, Jon. It’s common sense that you’re supposed to protect. How can you — if you know a vote is fraudulent, right? — how can you pass on a fraudulent vote to Congress? How can you do that?” After that point, Trump brought up various conspiracy theories about the last presidential election: “Now, when I spoke to him, I really talked about all of the fraudulent things that happened during the election,” Trump said, apparently referencing Pence. There remains no evidence Trump would actually have anything meaningful to say in the alternate universe where he did get time on national networks equal to the time provided for hearings of the House riot committee.