The war room of a luxury hotel used by Trump’s Aides Focus of Violence Probe
Washington, United States:
A “war room” installed in a luxury hotel in Washington by advisers to President Donald Trump has become the center of Congressional investigation into the violent January 6 attack on the United States Capitol.
Trump strategist Steve Bannon and legal consultants Rudy Giuliani and John Eastman worked in suites at the Willard InterContinental opposite the White House in the days surrounding the attack, in which Trump supporters stormed Congress to suspend the certification of Democrat Joe Biden’s victory in the presidential election.
They and others are suspected of maintaining communications between the White House and groups involved in the so-called “Stop the Steal” protests, according to a congressional resolution condemning Bannon for contempt last week.
Bannon, who dismissed a subpoena to testify in the Jan. 6 inquiry, was cited for his “role in building and participating in the” stop the theft “public relations effort that prompted the attack.
This included, according to the resolution, “his participation in the events of that day from a” war room “” at the Willard.
Long-standing hub for powerbrokers
First established in 1847, the elegant Willard has long been a hub for high society, political operatives, and visiting dignitaries in the U.S. capital, especially those visiting the White House.
The term “lobbyist” gained ground in Washington, where people hung out in Willard’s lobby in an attempt to influence US presidents and other politicians.
Earlier this year, independent investigator Seth Abramson, on his “Proof” website, documented that dozens of people involved in the attempt to overturn Biden’s November 2020 election victory over Trump were at the hotel before January 6th.
They included Trump supporters like political tactician Roger Stone, former spokesperson Jason Miller, campaign adviser Boris Epshteyn and former New York Police Commissioner Bernard Kerik.
The special House committee investigating the January 6 insurgency is examining whether people close to the White House, potentially including Trump himself, were behind the attack on the Capitol, which interrupted for several hours the joint session intended to confirm Biden as the winner of the elections.
Operation Willard has also received special attention because of the explosive new book, “Peril,” an account of the final weeks of the Trump presidency by Washington Post reporters Bob Woodward and Robert Costa.
They document how Eastman devised an extraordinary legal strategy for Trump to have Vice President Mike Pence block Biden’s confirmation to Congress over alleged electoral fraud.
(No evidence has been provided to support material fraud allegations.)
“Point of attack”
On January 5, Trump told his supporters that Pence had agreed to block Biden’s certification the next day.
But according to Woodward and Costa, in an evening meeting, Pence turned down the pressure.
After that meeting, Trump made at least one call to Operation Willard.
“After it doesn’t go well for Trump, he calls the war room Willard… He’s coordinating this effort to speak on behalf of Pence,” Costa said Monday on MSNBC.
It is not known who Trump spoke to and what was said. The Jan. 6 committee is looking for telephone tapes of communications related to what happened and to interview other people who were at the Willard.
Bannon is a key figure because, according to “Peril,” in December he encouraged Trump to use unsubstantiated allegations of voter fraud to stop certification on Jan.6.
In a Jan. 5 podcast, Bannon predicted the next day would be momentous, successfully blocking Biden’s presidency.
“Everything is converging and now we are about to attack,” he told listeners.
“We are on the verge of victory … Hell is going to break loose tomorrow.”
Operation Willard was not a secret.
“We had a war room at the Willard Hotel that sort of coordinated all of the communications,” Eastman told Denver radio show host Peter Boyles in May.
Abramson is also documenting a key meeting at another nearby hotel, the president’s Trump International, where, the night before the attack, Trump’s sons Giuliani, several senior Republican advisers and officials gathered.
But Woodward told MSNBC on Monday that communications involving the White House and Operation Willard on January 5 were central to what happened the next day.
“Bannon and Trump realized that was the point they needed to detonate, and that’s exactly what they did,” he said.
(Except for the title, this story was not edited by NDTV staff and is posted from a syndicated feed.)