In the newest batch of transcripts released Thursday by the Jan. 6 committee, Donald Trump Jr. doesn’t remember much.
But what he does remember of a pivotal call between then-President Donald Trump and then-Vice President Mike Pence diverges sharply from what other witnesses have described.
Trump called Pence on Jan. 6, 2021 to try to cajole him into overturning the results of the 2020 election. Thanks to witness accounts gathered by the Jan. 6 committee, we’ve gotten the flavor of that conversation.
Julia Radford, former chief of staff to Ivanka Trump, said that Ivanka was in the Oval Office at the time and told her afterwards that “her dad had just had an upsetting conversation with the Vice President.” Trump had called Pence, Radford told the committee investigators in a filmed deposition, “the p-word.”
Ivanka Trump herself told the committee that “it was a different tone than I’d heard him take with the Vice President before,” adding that the conversation was “pretty heated.”
Former Trump attorney Eric Herschmann agreed that the conversation became “heated,” specifically mentioning that the volume of the call rose to the point that those gathered started paying attention.
Former Assistant to the President Nicholas Luna testified that Trump referred to Pence as a “wimp.”
Trump Jr., however, claimed that he didn’t pick up on anything out of the ordinary.
“I certainly don’t think it was excessive from my — from my father,” he says in the deposition transcript when asked about Trump’s body language and volume during the call. “I think he was actually reasonably composed.”
The committee investigator pushes back, saying that other witnesses described the conversation as heated.
“I didn’t see that. I think, you know, my father’s default mode is probably heated,” Trump Jr. replies. “So maybe that’s what I’m used to, so I don’t know that this was anything out [of] the ordinary. And I think anyone who’s probably watched him on TV in the last few years would probably agree with that.”
Much of the rest of Trump Jr.’s deposition is riddled with memory loss. He doesn’t remember any reactions after the Pence call, whether he was paid his fee for his speech on Jan. 6, how he first discovered that the Jan. 6 rally had become violent.
What he does remember, alas, could be a Kendall Roy plotline on HBO’s Succession.
The investigator asks whether Trump Jr. remembers his father leaving Mar-a-Lago earlier than planned, missing the 2020 New Year’s Eve party.
“Do you remember that he wasn’t there for the party that —” the investigator begins.
“I do,” Trump Jr. interjects.
“I do, only because it’s my birthday,” he adds. “So there’s always a tradition of him getting up and sort of embarrassing me in front of a thousand people. So, you know, that’s why I remember it.”
Why did Trump leave Mar-a-Lago early, missing the party and his son’s birthday? Trump Jr. doesn’t recall.