Hidden Jan. 6 Transcript Revealed, Undermining House Committee’s Claim
Hidden Jan. 6 Transcript Revealed, Undermining House Committee’s Claim

By Zachary Stieber

A previously hidden transcript of an interview conducted by a U.S. House of Representatives panel that investigated the Jan. 6, 2021, breach of the U.S. Capitol has been revealed, undermining a committee claim.

Anthony Ornato, who was the White House deputy chief of staff during the breach, told the committee that he overheard Mark Meadows, who was then chief of staff, on the phone with Washington Mayor Muriel Bowser. According to the transcript, Mr. Meadows wanted to ensure Ms. Bowser “had everything she needed.”

Mr. Meadows “wanted to know if she needed any more guardsmen,” Mr. Ornato testified. “And I remember the number 10,000 coming up of, ‘The president wants to make sure that you have enough.’ You know, ‘He is willing to ask for 10,000.’ I remember that number. Now that you said it, it reminded me of it.”

Ms. Bowser said that “she was all set,” Mr. Ornato recalled.

Mr. Ornato was speaking on Jan. 28, 2022, to the House Select Committee to Investigate the January 6th Attack on the United States Capitol.

The committee said in its final report that it “found no evidence” supporting the idea that former President Donald Trump ordered 10,000 troops to be ready for Jan. 6.

“The former J6 Select Committee apparently withheld Mr. Ornato’s critical witness testimony from the American people because it contradicted their pre-determined narrative,” Rep. Barry Loudermilk (R-Ga.), who released the transcript, said in a statement.

“Mr. Ornato’s testimony proves what Mr. Meadows has said all along, President Trump did in fact offer 10,000 National Guard troops to secure the U.S. Capitol, which was turned down,” Mr. Loudermilk, the chairman of the House Administration Committee’s Subcommittee on Oversight, added.

Speaking to Fox News, Mr. Meadows previously said, “As many as 10,000 National Guard troops were told to be on the ready by the secretary of defense. That was a direct order from President Trump.”

Later on Fox News, President Trump said that he “definitely gave the number of 10,000 National Guardsmen, and said I think you should have 10,000 of the National Guard ready.”

The former acting secretary of defense, Christopher C. Miller, told Vanity Fair that, in a meeting on Jan. 5, 2021, he told President Trump that the Department of Defense was going to provide any number of Guard personnel that Washington officials requested.

President Trump, according to Mr. Miller, responded: “You’re going to need 10,000 people.” But Mr. Miller told the select committee that he “never … knew of any plans of that nature.”

“There was no direct, there was no order from the president,” he later added.

The committee highlighted Mr. Miller’s testimony in its final report but did not mention Mr. Ornato’s testimony, nor did it include Mr. Miller’s previous quote, Mr. Meadows’s comment, or President Trump’s remarks. It did release a transcript of another interview it conducted with Mr. Ornato, on Nov. 29, 2022.


The Pentagon has said that Ms. Bowser asked for Guard support for the Jan. 6 rally on Dec. 31, 2020.

Mr. Miller and other defense officials approved the activation of 340 Guard members on Jan. 4, 2021, in response to the request.

The next day, Ms. Bowser confirmed to Mr. Miller and other officials that she did not want any additional Guard personnel to help Washington officers with crowd control or other duties.

On Jan. 6, 2021, around 1:30 p.m., Ms. Bowser asked for more forces after demonstrators began moving to the Capitol. Mr. Miller later approved the activation of 1,100 more personnel to help Washington’s officers.

The U.S. Capitol Police, meanwhile, said in the days leading up to the breach that it did not want Pentagon support, but on the day of the breach asked for help and received 150 personnel.

Former Capitol Police Chief Steven Sund has said he spoke about asking for Guard assistance ahead of Jan. 6 but that former House Sergeant-at-Arms Paul Irving turned down the plan. Mr. Irving “stated that he was concerned about the ‘optics’ of having National Guard present and didn’t feel that the intelligence supported it,” Mr. Sund said at a Senate hearing.

“That is categorically false,” Mr. Irving said. “Optics … did not determine our security posture.”

Other Details

Mr. Ornato also testified that White House officials on Jan. 6 kept trying to get Guard personnel deployed through the day of the breach.

While Mr. Miller on Jan. 6 approved additional forces, they took hours to arrive on the scene.

Mr. Meadows “kept getting Miller on the phone, wanting to know where they were, why aren’t they there yet,” Mr. Ornato said.

“Every time he would ask, ‘What’s taking so long?’ It would be, like, ‘This isn’t just start the car and we’re there. We have to muster them up, we have to … we only have so many here right now. They’re given an hour to get ready,’” Mr. Ornato also said. “So, there’s, like, all these timelines that was being explained to the chief. And he relayed that, like, he’s like, ‘I don’t care, just get them here,’ you know, and ‘Get them to the Capitol, not to the White House.’”

Kash Patel, an EpochTV host who was Mr. Miller’s chief of staff, testified in court previously that President Trump authorized 10,000 to 20,000 Guard troops, but the court determined the testimony was not backed by “any evidence in the record.”

“It wasn’t backed by any evidence in the record because the Colorado judge did the same thing Cheney did, and precluded evidence,” Mr. Patel told The Epoch Times. “The evidence is ME, my testimony under oath as a first hand witness, plus the reports the judge excluded such as Bowser’s letter.”

He said officials could not have rejected the Guard unless President Trump had authorized the Guard beforehand.

Mr. Patel has also emphasized that while President Trump could authorize the deployment of troops, he could not order their deployment.

The House select committee was disbanded when Republicans took control of the House in early 2023. The committee had only two Republican members, both of whom were appointed by former House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), and has been criticized for its actions, which have included presenting doctored material.

Former Rep. Liz Cheney (R-Wyo.), one of the two GOP members, denigrated Mr. Loudermilk on social media platform X after the Ornato transcript was released and said that critics should read the committee’s report.

A spokesperson for Ms. Cheney told Fox that the panel “adhered to its obligations to allow the Secret Service to protect sensitive security information for interviews of its agents before preserving that testimony in the archives.” Mr. Ornato was a longtime Secret Service agent. The spokesperson also said that “relevant content of the Secret Service transcripts was summarized in multiple places in the report.”

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