Stephen Miller gives evidence to House Select Committee on whether Trump encouraged march

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Stephen Miller gives evidence to House Select Committee on whether Trump encouraged march

Former White House aide Stephen Miller testified on Thursday to the House Select Committee on January 6 about whether Donald Trump encouraged his supporters to march on Capitol, according to a source familiar with the matter.

The virtual deposition, which lasted for roughly eight hours and was earlier reported by the New York Times, also touched on Miller's role in the former president's schemes to overturn the results of the 2020 election and return him to office, the source said.

Miller was Trump's top domestic policy adviser and chief speechwriter. The appearance made him the latest Trump White House official to speak to the select committee, a day after Trump White House counsels Pat Cipollone and Pat Philbin talked to the panel for the first time.

House investigators asked Miller about the language in Trump's speech at the rally that took place on January 6, a speech that Miller helped draft, the source said.

The select committee focused on the use of the word we throughout Trump's speech, which it believes had the effect of encouraging the crowd to march to the Capitol in order to pressure Congress to stop the certification of Joe Biden's election win, the source said.

Trump repeated the term over the course of his 75 minute speech, including when he told his supporters we are going to walk down Pennsylvania Avenue and we are going to the Capitol. The remarks, House investigators believe, were an attempt by Trump to encourage his supporters to march from the Ellipse to the Capitol on a false pretense, in the hope that they would disrupt Congress from certifying Biden as president.

The decision came in part after the select committee reviewed Trump's private schedule for that day, which showed that there were no plans for the former president to join such a march, and that he was going to be back to the White House, the source said.

In the filing, evidence of bad intention on the part of Trump could bolster the select committee's claim that he conspired to defraud the United States by obstructing a lawful function of the government by deceitful or dishonest means.

Miller contested that characterization and told the select committee that the use of the word "we" in Trump's remarks was not an attempt to incite the crowd to storm the Capitol but was a rhetorical tool used in political speeches for decades, the New York Times reported.

The speaker and several draft versions are in possession of the panel, according to the source. Miller, who testified under a subpoena issued in November, helped draft the speech with two other Trump aides, Vince Haley and Ross Worthington, who have also been subpoenaed.

The committee did not respond immediately to a request for comment on Miller's testimony.

The House investigators asked Miller over the course of the extended deposition about his role in a brazen scheme to pressure lawmakers to send slates of pro-Trump candidates to Congress on January 6 in battleground states that Biden won, the source said.

The committee also asked Miller about the former president's claims about election fraud. Miller told the select committee that the election had been stolen, and raised several instances of the supposed fraud, the source said.

Miller's appearance was at times heated and adversarial, the source said. Miller invoked executive privilege to some questions about his conversations with Trump, and only testified in response to the subpoena and after protracted negotiations involving his lawyer.