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‘Unhinged’ 2020 Oval Office Meeting Portrayed in Jan. 6 Hearing

Former U.S. President Donald Trump arrives at the White House in Washington, D.C., on Dec. 31, 2020.

Former U.S. President Donald Trump arrives at the White House in Washington, D.C., on Dec. 31, 2020.

Photographer: Ken Cedeno/Polaris

Divisions between White House staff and outside advisers pressing Donald Trump to pursue election-fraud conspiracy claims exploded in an “unhinged” meeting that featured screaming, insults and a challenge to physical combat, according to testimony presented during a hearing Tuesday.

Arguments during the Dec. 18, 2020, meeting in the White House broke out over efforts by Trump advisers Rudy Giuliani, Michael Flynn and Sidney Powell to persuade the former president to issue an executive order for the Defense Department to seize voting machines. There was also discussion of appointing Powell a special counsel to pursue election-fraud claims.