Jan. 6 rioter Stephen Ayres testified to the House Select Committee investigating the attack that he entered the Capitol because former President Donald Trump told him to.
Ayres, who was criminally charged for his role in the riot, told the Committee at a public hearing on July 12 that he went to the Capitol because he believed former President Donald Trump’s false claims about the 2020 election.
“I followed President Trump on all of the websites. He basically put out, ‘Come to the Stop the Steal rally’ and I felt like I needed to be down here,” Ayres said.
Ayres, who is from Ohio, said that he initially planned to only attend the morning rally at the Ellipse, but his plans changed when he listened to Trump’s speech.
“The president got everybody riled up and told everybody to head [to the Capitol],” Ayres said.
“He said in his speech that he was going to be there with us. I believed it,” Ayres said.
Ayres said he decided to leave the Capitol when Trump said on Twitter that they should do so.
“We literally left right after that came out,” Ayres said.
“If he would have done that earlier in the day, 1:30 p.m., we wouldn’t be in this, maybe we wouldn’t be in this bad of a situation,” Ayres added.
Ayres lost his job and had to sell his home after the Capitol riot.
After Ayres got arrested, he looked into the lawsuits that had been filed and said that he realized Trump’s claims about the election were false.
Before leaving the hearing, Ayres apologized to the police officers present in the room, including Washington Metropolitan Police Officer Daniel Hodges, former Capitol Police Officer Aquilino Gonell, and Capitol Police Officer Harry Dunn.
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