The New York Times has published a heavily redacted transcript of an interview with former President Donald Trump’s White House valet conducted by the House Select Committee to Investigate the January 6th Attack on the U.S. Capitol. The Times received a copy of the transcript from House Republicans. For more than a year, Congressman Barry Loudermilk (R-GA) and his team have desperately searched for a way to undermine the credibility of the January 6th Committee, which disbanded in January 2023. Those efforts have failed.

Loudermilk has falsely claimed the January 6th Committee hid evidence that would somehow absolve Trump of his responsibility for the attack on the Capitol. To set the record straight: the transcript of the valet’s testimony was not hidden by the committee – it was kept by the White House, which has legitimate security concerns. As the Times reports, “some of the committee’s transcripts were subject to confidentiality agreements, and those were sent to the White House and Secret Service for review and redactions before they could be released.” Indeed, at the end of the transcript, the valet explained he had “anxiety” about testifying. The January 6th Committee took these concerns into account, stating in its final report that it was “not revealing the identity of this witness to guard against the risk of retaliation.”

Moreover, nothing in the transcript is exculpatory for Trump. Loudermilk himself concedes that “some testimony in it that may not be favorable to Trump.”

Here are three key takeaways from the transcript.

President Trump warned Vice President Pence it was a “political career killer” if he did not help steal the election.

As highlighted by the Times, the valet testified that he heard a portion of a call between Trump and Vice President Pence on January 6th. “Mike, this is a political career killer if you do this. Do what’s right,” the valet recalled hearing Trump say. This testimony was also cited in the executive summary of the January 6th Committee’s final report.

As documented elsewhere in the committee’s final report, President Trump repeatedly pressured Pence to help him overturn the election’s results during the January 6th joint session of Congress. Trump demanded that Pence either: (1) reject Joe Biden’s electors from seven states (which would have supposedly led to Trump being declared the victor with a majority of the remaining electoral votes), or (2) delay the joint session of Congress for 10 days so that Republican-controlled state legislatures could investigate non-existent fraud. The latter scenario was a bit more involved, but the bottom line is that Trump claimed he would “win” the election if Pence sent “it back to the States to recertify” – that is, certify Trump’s electors instead of Biden’s. (In reality, no state requested that is electors be sent back.)

Pence rejected both of Trump’s demands, correctly maintaining that the U.S. Constitution did not grant him the power to overturn the election’s results or delay the counting of Biden’s certified electoral votes. Regardless, Trump attempted to bully his own Vice President into submission, including during a phone call on the morning of January 6th.

Several witnesses told the January 6th Committee that they heard the call, or at least parts of it. The valet did not hear or recall hearing Trump insult Pence, as other witnesses testified. However, the valet explained he was not present throughout the entire call.

Still, the bottom line is that the valet’s testimony shows Trump did not merely debate the supposed constitutional merits with Pence. Instead, Trump threatened Pence with political consequences. And Trump has followed through on that threat, making Pence persona non grata in the former president’s MAGA movement.

The “stay peaceful” tweet took “forever.”

A committee investigator asked: “Do you remember any discussions about needing to send out a different tweet following the [2:24 pm] tweet that the President issued about Mike Pence?”

The 2:24 pm tweet read: “Mike Pence didn’t have the courage to do what should have been done to protect our Country and our Constitution, giving States a chance to certify a corrected set of facts, not the fraudulent or inaccurate ones which they were asked to previously certify. USA demands the truth!”

The valet responded that, after the 2:24 pm tweet, there was a discussion about posting another tweet telling people to “go home” and “stay peaceful.” It “felt like that was the one they were working on for so long that took forever pretty much,” the valet testified.

The investigator then showed the valet a copy of a tweet posted on Trump’s Twitter account at 3:13 pm. It read: “I am asking for everyone at the U.S. Capitol to remain peaceful. No violence! Remember, WE are the Party of Law & Order—respect the Law and our great men and women in Blue. Thank you!” (Note: Trump did not tell the mob to “go home” in this tweet.)

The valet agreed that this was the tweet that “took forever,” saying: “I’m pretty sure that was the one. I mean, obviously, because it’s, what, almost 2 hours after things started going on.”

The tweet in question also could have been the one posted on Trump’s Twitter account at 2:38 pm. That tweet read: “Please support our Capitol Police and Law Enforcement. They are truly on the side of our Country. Stay peaceful!” (The 2:38 pm more closely matches the language the valet remembered, with the specific phrase “Stay Peaceful!” It was also posted “almost 2 hours” after the attack began at 12:53 pm. However, the valet testified that he did not recall any conversations surrounding this tweet.)

Regardless, the valet’s point remains valid – President Trump was slow to call for peace.

Both the January 6th Select Committee and Special Counsel Jack Smith’s team found that Trump’s advisors had to convince him to use the word “peaceful.” Trump’s confidantes recognized that the 2:24 pm tweet was problematic – as the president had painted a target on Vice President Pence’s back once again. So, Ivanka Trump and Dan Scavino (Trump’s social media guru) encouraged him to use the word “peaceful” – against Trump’s own inclination. This evidence was previously summarized here.

The valet’s testimony corroborates the testimony of other witnesses regarding Trump’s reluctance to issue subsequent tweets. The valet noted that while “everyone was sending out tweets” calling for calm, Trump “was still probably the biggest person that still hasn’t sent out a tweet.”

“I think that’s what they were trying to get at,” the valet said – referring to a “group” that was attempting to convince Trump to issue a tweet calling for peace. “Because I just remember hearing stuff like, why are we still not sending out a tweet,” the valet said.

The valet did not recall hearing anything about deploying the National Guard prior to January 6th.

 The valet testified that Trump “wanted to make” telephone calls to Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff General Mark Milley “about the National Guard” on January 6, 2021. Congressman Loudermilk told the Times that this part of the valet’s testimony “stood out” to him because it was “totally in contrast to what we’ve seen, and I’ve never seen this before.”

However, the valet’s testimony does not help Trump’s or Loudermilk’s case. The valet went on to say that he was not aware of any such call taking place. And General Milley testified to the January 6th Committee that Trump did “[n]othing,” “[z]ero” to marshal the government’s resources during the attack. According to Milley, Trump did not contact him. In contrast, Vice President Pence had “two or three calls” with General Milley and other senior U.S. military officials – demanding that the National Guard be deployed.

Unlike Vice President Pence, Trump was not being hunted by a mob. Trump, the Commander-in-Chief, could have called Milley and others to demand that the National Guard be deployed immediately. The valet’s testimony indicates that Trump knew he could have and should have done so. However, the record remains clear. Even if Trump thought, at some point, to talk to Milley and Pelosi, he failed to act. The valet also testified that Trump wanted to call Vice President Pence. However, Trump never called Pence to check on his safety.

The valet was also asked if he heard anything, prior to January 6th, about Trump wanting 10,000 National Guardsmen in Washington, D.C. “I didn’t hear about National Guard being mentioned until on Jan. 6th when things were happening,” the valet responded.

There is still no evidence that Trump issued any sort of order to deploy the National Guard on January 6th. While the valet’s testimony does not prove or disprove anything on this score, it is certainly curious that the valet did not hear about Trump’s supposed desire to have the National Guard ready.

Other parts of the valet’s testimony are noteworthy as well, including that Trump watched the violence at the Capitol unfold on television. But no part of the valet’s testimony exonerates Trump. Indeed, the one way in which this interview might help the former president is if snippets of testimony are ripped from context to provide further grist for the disinformation mill.