The first day of public testimony showed previously unreleased footage of the attack on the Capitol and responses from people on the ground as it unfolded.
WASHINGTON – House investigators are telling the American public in a prime-time hearing that the violent uprising by supporters of President Donald Trump should not be forgotten.
While the basics of the January 6, 2021 attack on the Capitol are known, the committee is trying to tell the story of how it happened and how to prevent it from ever happening again. The televised hearings – including videos of brutally beaten police officers and far-right extremists leading crowds into the Capitol – come as some have sought to downplay the violence.
“We cannot sweep under the rug what happened,” said Rep. Bennie Thompson, the panel’s chair, as he opened the first series of hearings Thursday night. “The American people deserve answers.”
Findings from the committee’s first hearing on January 6:
RELY ON TRUMP
Thompson laid out the committee’s initial findings that Trump was leading a “sprawling, multi-tiered conspiracy to overthrow the presidential election.” The panel’s vice chair, Wyoming Rep. Liz Cheney, called it an “elaborate seven-part plan.”
The committee plans to investigate how Trump fueled his false claims of widespread fraud and how it eventually led to the Capitol violence. They argue that his lies have prompted far-right groups like the Proud Boys and the Oath Keepers to take action.
“Jan. 6 was the culmination of an attempted coup, a brazen attempt,” Thompson said.
The committee conducted more than 1,000 interviews with people connected to the siege and collected more than 140,000 documents. They will use this evidence over the course of this month’s hearings to show how the attack was coordinated by some of the violent mob rioters that broke into the Capitol and disrupted confirmation of President Joe Biden’s victory — and Trump’s efforts to do so all started.
“The attack on our Capitol was not a spontaneous riot,” Cheney said.
TRUMP’S INNER CIRCLE TALKS
The hearing included never-before-seen video testimonies from Trump’s family and close aides, many of whom were interviewed remotely by the committee.
The panel began the hearing by showing his video interview with former Attorney General Bill Barr, who told Trump at the time that his allegations of fraud were unfounded. Barr, who said publicly at the time that the Justice Department had found no fraud, told committee members he told Trump it was all “bull——”.
The panel also showed video testimonies of Trump’s daughter Ivanka Trump, who addressed the committee in April. Ivanka Trump told the panel that Barr’s statement “affected my perspective.”
“I respect Attorney General Barr, so I accepted what he said,” she told the committee.
Another Trump adviser, Jason Miller, told the panel that campaign advisers had told the president “in no uncertain terms” that he had lost the election.
“THIS IS NOT EASY TO SEE”
The committee showed a new, vivid video of the uprising moving through a timeline of violence. It started with rioters ramping up to the Capitol in anger and then showed them breaking through thin police barriers and brutally beating the police.
Using security footage, police body cameras, video of burglars and audio from the police scanner, the video showed rioters using flagpoles, tactical gear and other weapons to hit officers while overpowering them and breaking in. Some of the body camera footage was from the ground, looking up as officers watched as their attackers beat them.
At the same time, it showed what was going on inside — the start of the joint session to confirm Biden’s election victory and eventually some lawmakers, including House GOP leader Kevin McCarthy, fleeing the violence.
And it showed the rioters chanting “Hang Mike Pence,” referring to the vice president who had defied Trump’s orders to try to thwart Biden’s certification, and “Nancy! Nancy!” referring to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif.
MADE FOR TELEVISION
The committee took the unusual step of launching the hearings with a prime-time show – aiming to reach as many viewers as possible.
It’s still unclear how many will tune in, but the panel is producing the hearing in hopes of becoming a must-visit on TV, with never-before-seen video footage of the violent uprising.
The hearing room was also set up on punch, with a giant screen hanging over the lawmakers.
‘WE HAVE BEEN THERE’
Lawmakers trapped together in the house during the riot will attend Thursday’s hearing after a joint dinner. The members, all Democrats, were trapped in an upper gallery of the Chamber when rioters banged on the doors.
Rep. Dean Phillips, D-Minn., said members of the House of Representatives, who were eventually evacuated without harm, were dismayed that an event that exposed the fragility of democracy “could somehow be papered over by tens of millions of people.”
Some GOP lawmakers have tried to downplay the uprising, accusing Democrats of being too focused on trying to thwart the peaceful transfer of power.
“We want to remind people that we were there, we saw what happened. We know how close we have come to the first non-peaceful transfer of power in this country,” Phillips said.
https://www.king5.com/article/news/nation-world/jan-6-takeaways/507-bdc60775-1ec0-402a-af59-cafe79f7c880 Jan. 6 hearing: lawmakers share new footage, blame Trump