Jan. 6 hearing: Lesko worried, Trump giddy over crowds on eve of riot

Rep.Debbie Lesko speaks on the House floor about gun control/CSPAN

By Robert Anglen, Ronald J. Hansen and Richard Ruelaa|Arizona Republic

As Rep. Debbie Lesko worried about the safety of lawmakers on Jan. 5, 2021, former President Donald Trump opened the doors to the Rose Garden and took in the sounds from crowds gathered in his name.

It excited him, a former White House aide told the House Select Committee investigating the Jan. 6, 2021, riot at the U.S. Capitol.

On a day when the hearing broke little new ground for Arizona, the committee on Tuesday excerpted a recording of Lesko raising concerns with members of Congress on Jan. 5 and asking leadership to come up with a safety plan.

“I’m actually very concerned about this,” she said in the audio recorded during a Republican-only meeting of House members.

Lesko raised concerns that the Trump supporters amassing actually believed that Congress would overturn the election. “And when that doesn’t happen – most likely will not happen – they are going to go nuts,” she said.

Lesko shared a similar sentiment with The Arizona Republic hours after the attack. In an interview with The Republic, she said hundreds of thousands of people were going to descend on the nation’s capital.

“I knew this was a powder keg,” Lesko said on Jan. 6, 2021. “There was a lot of disinformation out there that a lot of people really believed that what was going to happen today is that Biden electors were totally going to be overturned and Trump was going to stay in office. So I was trying to explain the process to people.”

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