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‘He Can’t Believe He Lost to Joe Biden’: Kellyanne Conway’s Newly Released Transcript Details Talk with Trump Right After Election Day

Trump Advisor Kellyanne Conway Speaks To Media At The White House

Kellyanne Conway (L), ex-Counselor to the President, waves to reporters before doing television interviews outside the White House May 1, 2019, in Washington, D.C. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

Inside the Jan. 6th Committee’s 814-page report, the name of former President Donald Trump’s ex-counselor Kellyanne Conway only appears once — and in a footnote.

In that citation, the Committee cited Conway’s deposition as evidence that her former boss knew from the start that he lost to Joe Biden, then invented the excuse of election fraud in order to overturn his defeat.

Released on Monday, Conway’s deposition details that conversation with Trump the day after Election Day at length. She said that she spoke to the then-president over the phone in “probably late morning, maybe even early afternoon” of Nov. 4, 2020.

However, the transcript pages highlighted by the committee appear ambiguous as to whether Trump’s remarks amount to recognition or denial.

“It was brief,” Conway testified, referring to her conversation with the former president. “I think that one is he can’t believe he lost to Joe Biden. And it’s both, knowing Donald Trump as I do, I believe the President was saying it literally and figuratively. Like, how in the world do you lose to a guy who didn’t come out of his basement and who al the Democrats didn’t even want, since they all ran again him? Kamala Harris, Pete Buttigieg, Elizabeth Warren, Tulsi Gabbard, Bernie Sanders, Beto O’Rourke, it’s a long list who did not think Joe Biden was up to the job. So they ran against him.”

According to Conway, however, she also understood Trump’s remark to have been “literal.”

“You know, how did we already — in other words, why are people saying that?” Conway said. “How do we already know? And did remind him. I said, well the race hasn’t been called, just a number of States have.”

Major networks would not officially call the race for Biden until days later on Nov. 7.

As Conway noted, Fox News was the first to project Biden’s victory in Arizona, and she expressed amazement that none of the more Democratic-friendly networks did.

“If those same networks made very clear they did not want Donald Trump to win again and they haven’t called Arizona, I think it answers your question about Arizona,” she said.

Conway claimed that she interpreted Trump’s question in multiple ways.

“When he says, ‘How did we lose to Joe Biden?’ he means how in the world could anybody lose to Joe Biden,” she said. “And he also means, ‘How did we lose? Did we lose? Can we still win?'”

A variation of the comment attributed to Trump has been reported before — but not in a sworn deposition. NBC’s Jonathan Lemire recorded a more colorful version of the statement in his book The Big Lie, which quoted Trump asking how he could “lose to fucking Joe Biden.”

According to the book, Conway took the remark “as a sign that [Trump] understood deep down that he had been defeated, even if he was not ready to say so publicly.”

She denied the transcription and interpretation.

“That is not the way Ms. Conway took it, and he did not use an expletive,” Conway told the committee, addressing herself in the third person.

As to the results in Georgia, however, Conway acknowledged that she may have heard a concession from Trump.

During that exchange, the Committee read Conway reporting from Washington Post journalist Carol Leonnig, who quoted Trump asking of his defeat: “How could that be?” The former president claimed he should have prevailed in the Peach State by a “landslide.”

“You should be, but you’re not,” Conway reportedly responded.

“This is crazy,” Trump reportedly responded, before adding: “I’m calling the Governor. He ruined it.”

Asked whether she remembered that dialogue, Conway said: “It could — that could have been the exchange. I don’t know in detail. It’s two years ago.”

Quoting from her book, Conway criticized what she described as Trump allowing “charlatan after showman after supplicant to come into the Oval Office in front of the Resolute Desk,” but she ducked opportunities to specify whom she meant by that remark.

“I don’t remember some of their names now,” Conway said. “I saw them in there.”

Asked if she meant Michael Flynn, Rudy Giuliani, and Boris Epshteyn, Conway demurred from an answer. Sidney Powell, who previously told the Committee that Trump considered her as a special counsel for the election, appears in the deposition transcript, though not in this context. The name of another prominent election conspiracy theorist — Trump ally and MyPillow salesman Mike Lindell — does not appear at all.

Read the deposition here.

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Law&Crime's managing editor Adam Klasfeld has spent more than a decade on the legal beat. Previously a reporter for Courthouse News, he has appeared as a guest on NewsNation, NBC, MSNBC, CBS's "Inside Edition," BBC, NPR, PBS, Sky News, and other networks. His reporting on the trial of Ghislaine Maxwell was featured on the Starz and Channel 4 documentary "Who Is Ghislaine Maxwell?" He is the host of Law&Crime podcast "Objections: with Adam Klasfeld."