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‘They were angry because they’re smart’: Trump, family speak of Jan 6 in documentary

Former president continues to espouse voter fraud claims, Ivanka appears to back claims prior to riot; producer subpoenaed by House committee probing attack, some footage reviewed

Screen capture from video of the documentary 'Unprecedented,' featuring interviews with then-US president Donald Trump and his inner circle, 2020. (YouTube)
Screen capture from video of the documentary 'Unprecedented,' featuring interviews with then-US president Donald Trump and his inner circle, 2020. (YouTube)

A newly released documentary film probes the mindset of former US president Donald Trump and his family during the period surrounding the January 6, 2021, storming of the Capitol in Washington.

“Unprecedented” includes interviews with Trump himself both before and after the deadly riot, as well as with his close family and inner circle. It was considered so significant that the House committee probing the attack subpoenaed its producer, British filmmaker Alex Holder, and requested to view several of the more than 100 hours of footage he shot.

The three-part documentary is now streaming on Discovery+.

Holder sat with Trump a total of three times, before and after January 6. Trump continued to express his false claim that a rigged election ousted him from office.

“Well, it was a sad day but it was a day where there was great anger in our country,” Trump said according to a Sunday report from the UK’s Guardian newspaper. “The people went to Washington primarily because they were angry with an election that they think was rigged.

“A very small portion, as you know, went down to the Capitol and then a very small portion of them went in. But I will tell you, they were angry from the standpoint of what happened in the election and because they’re smart and they see and they saw what happened. And I believe that was a big part of what happened on January 6.”

Trump’s three children were also interviewed for the documentary, but were unwilling to speak with Holder about the events of January 6. Son Eric asked to “skip” talking about the fateful day, while Don Jr and daughter Ivanka declined to comment.

In this image from video released by the House Select Committee, an exhibit shows Ivanka Trump, former White House senior adviser, during a video interview with the House select committee investigating the Jan. 6 attack on the US Capitol at the hearing, on Capitol Hill in Washington, June 16, 2022. (House Select Committee via AP)

Though the House committee has reviewed other video footage in which Ivanka, who served as an adviser to her father when he was president, declared she accepts the election was free and fair, in the film she is seen casting doubts on the results.

“As the president has said, every single vote needs to be counted and needs to be heard,” Ivanka told Holder about a month before the Capitol riot. “And he campaigned for the voiceless.”

According to a June New York Times report, Ivanka made the remarks on December 10.

Jared Kushner is also interviewed in the documentary, and lauds the former president and his leadership, though he doesn’t comment on January 6.

Holder testified behind closed doors to the committee for about four hours in June.

He later spoke to the New York Times, saying that when he began the project he did not think that Trump really believed the election was stolen from him. But after interviewing him personally, his view changed.

“I remember being struck by how wrong I was,” Holder said at the time. “He one hundred percent believed the election was taken from him.”

Regarding Ivanka’s opinion of the election results, Holder said, “with respect to what she said vis-à-vis what he should do, she was very clear.

“It was consistent with what she and her siblings have said about their father. They love their father, and they admire him immensely, and they sort of give the impression that they would do everything they can to help support him. They definitely gave me that impression, not necessarily just the election, but in general.”

Screen capture from video of British film-maker Alex Holder speaking to the Washington Post about his documentary ‘Unprecedented,’ July 2022. (YouTube)

As the committee continues its work, a hearing Tuesday will focus on the plotting and planning of the insurrection on January 6, 2021, by white nationalist groups such as the Proud Boys, the Oath Keepers, and the Three Percenters.

Investigators are digging deeper into the mounds of evidence collected so far about the role extremist groups played in the deadly insurrection and what the former president was doing as the violence ensued down the street from the White House.

Agencies contributed to this report.

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