Cassidy Hutchinson testimony set audience record for a daytime Jan. 6 hearing

More than 13 million Americans tuned in this week to watch the bombshell testimonies of a former White House aide, making the committee’s Jan. 6 hearing the second most-watched yet.

Attending Tuesday afternoon’s hearing, which the committee announced just a day in advance, was Cassidy Hutchinson, 25, who served as an assistant to former White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows. Her dramatic statement drew 13,231,000 viewers across all major networks, including ABC, CBS, NBC, CNN and MSNBC, according to figures from Nielsen, a ratings agency. This total surpassed the previous four hearings, which attracted audiences of around 10 to 11 million people. The first hearing on January 6 on June 9 drew about 20 million viewers but was broadcast in prime time.

Though the numbers suggest millions of people are watching the hearings, it’s not yet clear how many Americans will ultimately tune in — the hearings are scheduled to last through July — or what conclusions they’ll reach. In 1954, about 80 million Americans (out of a much smaller US population of about 169 million people) watched the series of hearings that led to the overthrow of Communist-hunting Senator Joseph McCarthy. About 3 in 4 American households watched at least part of the 1973 Watergate hearings, according to Nielsen estimates.

Although a majority of Americans — 58% — say they follow news of the Jan. 6 committee’s work, only 26% follow it very closely, according to a poll released last week by Quinnipiac University. Only 40% of Americans say the January 6 attacks had a major impact on their worldview, a Politico-Morning Consult poll found.

The impact of the hearings continues to grow, a top Democratic pollster said.

“Support for the hearings has grown over time,” Celinda Lake, president of polling firm Lake Research Partners, told reporters at a press briefing Thursday. “And what’s coming out very, very strongly from the hearings isn’t just that [former President] Trump was responsible, but there was a faction of Republicans, the Trump Republicans, who were also responsible. And that it was about overturning the will of the people, overturning the elections. And people take that very, very seriously.”

Lake said that according to her research, 80% of Americans want accountability for those involved in the Jan. 6 violence, including elected officials. The hearings could also affect how Americans vote in the upcoming election, she said.

“There is an evolving narrative. People see it as a crime, but they also see it as a criminal conspiracy,” she said. “They demand accountability, and they are very serious about what they mean by accountability. And we’re seeing those numbers increase quite dramatically over the course of the hearings, even among independents who are traditionally not very observant.”

Arit John, a Times contributor, contributed to this report. Cassidy Hutchinson testimony set audience record for a daytime Jan. 6 hearing

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