The hearing will begin with eyewitness testimony from an officer who was beaten in the riots and a filmmaker who has been following the Proud Boys.
WASHINGTON — With never-before-seen video, new audio and a slew of evidence, the House of Representatives investigating the Jan. 6 attack on the US Capitol will attempt to reveal the “harrowing story” of the deadly violence that erupted that day, and too to provide a jarring backstory as defeated President Donald Trump attempted to overthrow Joe Biden’s election victory.
Thursday’s prime-time hearing will open with eyewitness testimonies from the first cop who was beaten up in the mob riot and a documentary filmmaker following the extremist Proud Boys as they prepared to fight for Trump and the Storm immediately after the election led to the Capitol.
Check back for a live stream of the hearing starting at 8:00 p.m. EDT.
It will also include the committee’s reports of Trump’s aides and family members who were questioned behind closed doors about the deadly siege that Democrats and others say is endangering US democracy.
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“When you hear and understand the wide-ranging conspiracy and effort to corrupt every lever and government agency involved, you know the hairs on the back of your neck should stand up,” said Rep. Elaine Luria, D-Va. , member of the 1/6 committee, in an interview.
The years-long investigation by the 1/6 Panel will begin to show how America’s tradition of peacefully transferring presidential powers was about to derail. It will reconstruct how Trump refused to concede the 2020 election, spread false claims of voter fraud and orchestrated an unprecedented public and private campaign to overthrow Biden’s victory.
Biden said in Los Angeles at the Summit of the Americas that many viewers “will see many details that have transpired for the first time.”
“I think it was a clear, flagrant violation of the Constitution,” he said.
Trump didn’t apologize, dismissing the probe again – even declaring on social media that January 6 “represented the greatest movement in our country’s history.”
The outcome of public hearings over the coming weeks cannot change hearts or minds in politically polarized America. But the committee’s investigation of 1,000 interviews is said to stand as a public record for the story. A final report will account for the most violent attack on the Capitol since the British burned it in 1814 and ensure that such an attack is never repeated.
More than 100 police officers were injured in the riot, many beaten and bloodied, as crowds of pro-Trump rioters, some armed with whistles, bats and bear spray, stormed into the Capitol. At least nine people who were there died during and after the riots, including a woman who was shot dead by police.
Emotions are still open in the Capitol, and security for the hearings will be tight. Law enforcement officials are reporting an increase in violent threats against members of Congress.
With that in mind, the committee will address a divided America ahead of the midterm elections this fall, when voters will decide which party controls Congress. Most television stations will broadcast the hearings live, but not Fox News Channel.
The committee chair, Civil Rights Leader Rep. Bennie Thompson, D-Miss., and Vice Chair Rep. Liz Cheney, R-Wyo., daughter of former Vice President Dick Cheney, will set the tone with opening remarks.
RELATED: Who’s who on the Jan. 6 committee? Complete list of members
The two congressional leaders will outline what the committee learned about events leading up to that brisk January day when Trump sent his supporters into Congress to “fight the hell” for his presidency while lawmakers did the typical grunt work, the results of the past to be confirmed in November.
“People will have to follow two intersecting streams of events — one will be the attempt to overthrow the presidential election, which is a harrowing story in itself,” Rep. Jamie Raskin, D-Md., member of the committee, said in an interview .
“The other will be the sequence of events leading up to a violent mob attack on the Capitol to halt the electoral college vote count and block the peaceful balance of power,” he said.
A witness scheduled Thursday was documentary filmmaker Nick Quested, who filmed the Proud Boys storming the Capitol — along with a crucial meeting between the group’s then-chairman Henry “Enrique” Tarrio and another extremist group, the Oath Keepers, the night before at a nearby parking garage.
Court documents show members of the Proud Boys and Oath Keepers discussed the need to keep Trump in office back in November. The leaders of both groups and some members have since been indicted on rare sedition charges over the military attack.
Along with the testimonies, the panel will reveal multimedia presentations, including previously unreleased videos and audios, and a “mountain of evidence,” said a committee official, who insisted on anonymity to preview the hearing.
From her private appearance before the committee, information is likely to be shared by Trump’s daughter Ivanka Trump, who urged her father to call off the rioters.
In the coming weeks, the panel is expected to detail Trump’s public “Stop the Steal” campaign and the private pressure he put on the Justice Department to reverse his election loss – despite dozens of failed court cases and his own Attorney General, who confirms this is not fraud to an extent that could have tipped the results in his favour.
The panel faced obstacles from the start. Republicans blocked the formation of an independent body to investigate the January 6 attack the way the 9/11 Commission investigated the 2001 terrorist attack.
Instead, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi ushered in Congress’ establishment of the 1/6th panel over objections from Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell. She opposed Republican-appointed lawmakers who voted against confirming the election results Jan. 6, eventually naming seven Democrats and two Republicans.
House GOP Chairman Kevin McCarthy, who was involved in the investigation and has defied the committee’s subpoena for an interview, echoed Trump Thursday. He called the panel a “fraud” and described the investigation as a political “veil” on Democrats’ priorities.
By many measures, the attack was launched shortly after Election Day, when Trump falsely claimed the vote had been rigged and refused to back down after Biden was declared the winner.
The hearings are expected to introduce Americans to a range of characters, some familiar, some elusive, and what they said and did as Trump and his allies attempted to reverse the election result.
The public will learn about the actions of Mark Meadows, the president’s chief of staff, whose more than 2,000 text messages provided the committee with a snapshot of the real-time scramble to keep Trump in office. By John Eastman, the conservative law professor who was the architect of the unsuccessful plan to convince Vice President Mike Pence to stop certification on January 6th. By Justice Department officials who threatened to resign rather than go along with Trump’s proposals.
The Justice Department arrested and charged more than 800 people that day, the largest manhunt in its history.
Associated Press writers Kevin Freking and Michael Balsamo and Alanna Durkin Richer in Boston contributed to this report.
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