Trump has preferred golfing to watching the hearings. But he’s at least getting the highlights.


When former President Donald J. Trump maintains that relatively few people are watching the public hearings staged by the House select committee, he is counting himself among the uninterested.

Mr. Trump has watched little of the hearings, seven of which have been televised live this year, according to three advisers to the former president.

Other than the first hearing, which aired during prime time, they have been held during the day, when Mr. Trump is golfing. He also does not compulsively watch the hearings later, the aides said — a reversal from his time as president, when he often consumed television shows that aired earlier in the day.

It’s not clear what Mr. Trump will do for Thursday’s hearing, which is taking place in prime time, just like the opening hearing. But because the entire event is focusing on him specifically, he is more likely to tune in.

For the daytime hearings, Mr. Trump has largely caught the highlights on cable news or been filled in on specific pieces of testimony by other people.

Unlike the impeachment hearings in both proceedings against him, which featured some of Mr. Trump’s closest allies in the House Republican caucus as his defenders during arguments, there is no one to defend him in the committee hearings.

Mr. Trump has complained about the lack of allies on the committee, which was the result of House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy walking away when House Speaker Nancy Pelosi rebuffed two of his choices to serve on it.

The decision not to tune in has created room for some of those close to Mr. Trump to further their influence. Some have pointed to the unflattering videotaped testimony delivered by some Trump advisers, which has been played at the hearings.

But the flip side has also been true: People whose testimony has been used in snippets by the committee have had time to brace themselves for fallout, or to prepare some kind of explanation for Mr. Trump, who has been angered or aggravated by several clips the committee has played.

That has included clips of his oldest daughter, Ivanka Trump, that the committee played from its several hours interviewing her behind closed doors. In one, she said that she had been “affected” by former Attorney General William P. Barr disputing Mr. Trump’s claims of widespread fraud. In another, she described the tone that her father used to speak to Vice President Mike Pence during a hostile phone call the morning of Jan. 6, 2021.

“Can you believe that?” Mr. Trump grumbled to advisers after hearing of her testimony. “She shouldn’t have said anything.”

Mr. Trump has also complained about clips featuring some of his lawyers or other former senior advisers. Thursday’s hearing is expected to feature more clips from the former White House counsel, Pat A. Cipollone, who gave a videotaped interview on July 8.

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