British filmmaker Alex Holder said CBS News in an interview Thursday night that President Donald Trump viewed the Jan. 6 violence as an “inevitability” and was “jovial” in the hours after the unrest on Capitol Hill.
Holder, whose documentary material was reviewed by the committee on January 6, testified behind closed doors today about what he saw while following Trump and his inner circle in the months leading up to and following the 2020 election.
Following his testimony and the public release of selected footage from his upcoming three-part documentary series set to premiere on Discovery Plus later this summer, Mr. Holder spoke with CBS News — telling host Norah O’Donnell that she predicted the January 6 violence.
“The volume of rhetoric and the kind of belligerence that came out after the election was so significant that, in my opinion, it eventually had to end with something violent,” Holder said. “Even if you look at the way the campaign was going before, the idea that the election would be somewhat irregular was already emerging during that time as well. So for me, January 6 doesn’t just happen.”
The surprise, Holder said, is that the events of January 6 were no worse.
“If you tell 75 million people their choice doesn’t count, and they believe you, you’re their president and they voted for you, and you say their choice doesn’t count, then what else is going on? spend? said Mr Holder.
The Capitol riot, of course, was almost worse. The January 6 committee has heard testimony over the past few weeks about the scope of the multifaceted plot to overturn the legitimate outcome of the 2020 election and keep Trump in power, a plot that puts intense pressure on election officials and the takeover of government buildings.
Trump supporters have threatened violence against several elected officials, including Vice President Mike Pence. This apparently did not worry Trump. Holder said Trump felt that the people who stormed the Capitol on Jan. 6 “were doing what he thought was right.”
Holder was given significant access to the president and recorded interviews with Pence, Trump and other figures including the former president’s daughter Ivanka Trump, though he has said the Trumps had no editorial control over the production of the docuseries.
Holder told O’Donnell that he believes his interviews with Trump will contain important revelations as the nation grapples with the unprecedented situation of a sitting president apparently trying to orchestrate a coup against the government.
The New York Times reported Thursday that while Holder initially believed Trump was not being truthful about his claims that the election had been illegitimately stolen from him, he changed his mind after sitting down with the president.
“After that interview, I remember being shocked at how wrong I was,” Holder told theTimes. “He believed 100 percent that the election had been taken away from him.”