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Who is Matthew Pottinger?

  • Matthew Pottinger, former national security aide to Trump, testified during the January 6th Committee’s eighth public hearing on Thursday, July 12.

  • He testified alongside former deputy press secretary Sarah Matthews. Both Pottinger and Matthews resigned on January 6th.

  • His testimony focused on the 187 minutes during which Trump did not act to end the deadly violence at the Capitol.

Pottinger's Background

Prior to working in the White House under Trump, Pottinger worked as a correspondent for The Wall Street Journal for five years before enlisting in the Marine Corps, serving in Iraq and Afghanistan.

 

He joined the Trump administration in 2017 as a top adviser on Asia, coordinating meetings between President Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un. Pottinger was appointed as the deputy national security adviser in 2019.

Matthew Pottinger with Donald Trump

Pottinger was the highest-ranking White House official to resign on January 6, 2021. He resigned in response to President Trump posting a tweet attacking Mike Pence as rioters threatened the Vice President’s life. In his testimony during the Committee’s eighth hearing, Pottinger said that he was “disturbed by Trump’s tweet and that it was “the opposite of what we really needed in that moment, which was a de-escalation.” 


“I read that tweet and made a decision at that moment to resign,” Pottinger told the Committee in his video testimony. “That’s where I knew that I was leaving that day once I read that tweet.”

 
Pottinger’s Testimony

Pottinger was in the White House most of the day on January 6 during the Capitol riot. In his testimony, Pottinger described how shortly before returning to the White House from an unrelated meeting on January 6th, an aide handed him a printed sheet showing Trump’s 2:24 p.m. Tweet condemning Vice President Pence for lacking the “courage” to overturn the Electoral College votes. 

 

“I was distrubed and worried to see that the president was attacking Vice President Pence for doing his constitutional duty,” he said to the Committee. “That’s why I’d said earlier that it looked like fuel being poured on the fire.” 

 

Pottinger had previously given recorded testimony to the committee, which has been shown in recent hearings.

 

In his recorded testimony, Pottinger discussed a visit to the Oval Office during the riot around 3 p.m. after he received a call from Charles Kupperman, a previous deputy national security adviser in Trump’s administration, relaying a message that the mayor of Washington was attempting to reach the White House to have the National Guard deployed. 

 

President Trump was not in the Oval Office when Pottinger arrived and he had not called the National Guard. Pottinger then spoke with White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows to inform him that the National Guard had yet to arrive at the Capitol. 

 

The National Guard finally arrived around 5:20 p.m. after Vice President Pence ordered for them to come.