Capitol Riot

Ex-Trump Supporter: I Would Have Left the Capitol Earlier If Trump Asked Us To

Stephen Ayres said he might not have gone down to D.C. at all if he had known the president had no evidence of widespread election fraud

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A former supporter of Donald Trump who illegally entered the Capitol on Jan. 6 told the committee investigating the riot that it was at the former president's behest that he went to D.C. and participated in the events of the day, including going to the U.S. Capitol.

"We didn't actually plan to go down there (to the Capitol)," said Stephen Ayres. "We planned to see the 'Stop the Steal' rally, and that was it. Basically the president got everybody riled up, told 'em to go on down. We were just doing what he said."

Ayres, who told lawmakers on the House committee that he had been an enthusiastic supporter of Trump and followed his social media accounts, said he believed then that the election was stolen because of posts he was seeing on social media accounts like Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, at the time. He said he might not have gone down to D.C. at all if he had known Trump had no evidence of widespread election fraud.

Former spokesman for the Oath Keepers extremist group Jason Van Tatenhove testified Tuesday before the Jan. 6 committee that he believes that without intervention, domestic extremism groups could incite violence in future elections. “We’ve gotten exceedingly lucky that more bloodshed did not happen.”

He also said he left the Capitol as soon as Trump tweeted for his followers to go home, several hours after they had entered the Capitol.

"We literally left right after that came out," Ayres said. "You know, if he would have done that earlier...maybe we wouldn't be in this bad of a situation."

Ayres testified before the committee on Tuesday. He pleaded guilty for illegally entering the Capitol, and his sentencing is scheduled for September.

This is a live update. Click here for complete coverage of the Jan. 6 hearings.

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