ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

Spotlight on Trump supporters' assault on Capitol as Jan. 6 hearings begin

The Democratic-led U.S. House of Representatives Select Committee on Jan. 6 will attempt to reverse Republican efforts to downplay or deny the violence of the day, with five months to go until Nov. 8 midterm elections that will determine which party controls Congress for the next two years.

Supporters of U.S. President Donald Trump gather in Washington
Tear gas is released into a crowd of protesters, with one wielding a Confederate battle flag that reads "Come and Take It," during clashes with Capitol police at a rally to contest the certification of the 2020 U.S. presidential election results by the U.S. Congress, at the U.S. Capitol Building in Washington, on January 6, 2021.
Shannon Stapleton/REUTERS
We are part of The Trust Project.

WASHINGTON — The U.S. Congress's probe of the deadly Jan. 6, 2021, assault on the Capitol by Donald Trump supporters trying to overturn his election defeat enters a new phase this week with hearings meant to refocus attention on the violence and those who planned it.

The Democratic-led U.S. House of Representatives Select Committee on Jan. 6 will attempt to reverse Republican efforts to downplay or deny the violence of the day, with five months to go until Nov. 8 midterm elections that will determine which party controls Congress for the next two years.

More on the insurrection
Testimony to the top House committee from a convicted attendee of the Jan. 6 rally focused on the "inhumane" treatment of Jan. 6 defendants. The committee rejected a resolution on the matter 12-0.
The verdict marks the end of the second major sedition trial against members of the extremist group, who were among the hundreds who attacked the Capitol in 2021.
Gov. Kristi Noem was one of nearly 2,000 people whose Social Security numbers were leaked by the Jan. 6 committee due to their unredacted inclusion in White House visitor logs made public last month.
The verdicts against Stewart Rhodes and four co-defendants came in the highest-profile trial so far to emerge from the deadly Jan. 6, 2021, assault on the U.S. Capitol, with other high-profile trials due to begin next month.
Bannon was convicted by a jury in July on two counts of contempt of Congress for failing to provide documents or testimony. Each of the two counts was punishable by a minimum of one month and a maximum of one year in prison and a fine of up to $100,000.
The House select committee's seven Democratic and two Republican members voted 9-0 in favor of issuing a subpoena for Trump to provide documents and testimony under oath in connection with the Jan. 6 attack.
Virginia "Ginni" Thomas is active in conservative political circles and said she attended a rally held by former President Donald Trump before thousands of his supporters stormed the Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021.
The committee showed videos of top-ranking national security and White House officials saying one by one that Trump did not speak to leaders of the Defense Department, National Guard, FBI, Homeland Security or the Secret Service. Trump also didn’t communicate with Washington, D.C., Mayor Muriel Bowser or Capitol Police.
Cassidy Hutchinson, a top aide to former White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows, described Trump supporters being armed with AR-15-style rifles and other weapons in testimony on Tuesday to the House of Representatives select committee.
Thousands of Trump supporters — many chanting "Hang Mike Pence" — marched on the Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021, as Pence met with lawmakers for what is normally a routine ceremony to certify the election.

"This was a coup organized by the president against the vice president and against the Congress in order to overturn the 2020 presidential election," Representative Jamie Raskin, one of the Democratic members of the nine-member committee, said in a recent interview.

"We're going to tell the whole story of everything that happened. There was a violent insurrection and an attempted coup and we were saved by (then-Vice President) Mike Pence's refusal to go along with that plan," Raskin said.

The panel of seven Democrats and two Republicans has spent much of the past year investigating the events preceding and driving the attack by thousands of Trump loyalists, who stormed the building in a failed bid to prevent Congress from formally certifying his 2020 election loss to President Joe Biden.

ADVERTISEMENT

The committee has not yet said what witnesses it will call at its Thursday evening hearing, a prime time spot intended to capture the attention of as many Americans as possible. Five more hearings are expected in the next two weeks.

The committee said in a statement the hearings would "provide the American people a summary of its findings about the coordinated, multi-step effort to overturn the results of the 2020 presidential election and prevent the transfer of power."

"It will be a combination of exhibits, staff testimony, outside witnesses," the committee's chairperson, Democratic Representative Bennie Thompson, recently told reporters.

Prospects for success are not clear, in a deeply divided country. A Washington Post-ABC News poll last month found that only 40% of Americans believe the committee is conducting a "fair and impartial" investigation of the attack, while 40% say it is not.

Many Americans are simply not paying attention, more worried about inflation, a spate of mass shootings and summer vacations than an attack 18 months ago.

The U.S. Capitol Building is stormed by a pro-Trump mob on Jan. 6, 2021
A mob of supporters of then-U.S. President Donald Trump climb through a window they broke as they storm the U.S. Capitol Building in Washington, on January 6, 2021.
Leah Millis/REUTERS

CLOSED DOORS, SHIFTING NARRATIVE

The panel and its dozens of investigators have conducted more than 1,000 depositions and interviews and collected more than 140,000 documents.

The investigation has focused on efforts by Trump and associates to promote his false election claims, with committee members contending that the fate of American democracy is at stake.

ADVERTISEMENT

"People are going to be absolutely surprised how much was known," Denver Riggleman, a Republican former congressman who worked as an adviser to the committee said on CNN on Sunday. "When you look at the totality of the evidence, it's pretty apparent that at some point President Trump knew what was going on."

Some congressional Republicans condemned Trump in the first days after the attack, but since then almost all of shifted their tone. Members of Congress have refused to cooperate and disputed accounts of the riot, despite thousands of photographs and videos.

Republican Representative Andrew Clyde, who helped barricade the doors of the House chamber against the mob, said the Trump supporters who stormed the building behaved "in an orderly fashion."

The Republican National Committee called the assault "legitimate political discourse."

Four people died the day of the attack, one fatally shot by police and the others of natural causes. More than 100 police officers were injured, and one died the next day. Four officers later died by suicide. The Capitol sustained millions of dollars in damage.

Trump, who is publicly flirting with another White House run in 2024, has denied wrongdoing and accused the committee of engaging in a political attack. He has leveled harsh criticism particularly at Representative Liz Cheney, the panel's Republican vice chairperson, as she runs for re-election.

Representative Adam Kinzinger, the panel's other Republican member, is retiring from Congress.

Every Republican House leader voted to overturn 2020 election results in the hours after the riot. Cheney - the daughter of former Vice President Dick Cheney - was removed from Republican leadership for criticizing Trump.

ADVERTISEMENT

House Republican Leader Kevin McCarthy, who refused to comply with a committee subpoena, called the committee invalid, for reasons including having too few members and lacking a formal Republican "ranking member."

The June sessions will not be the committee's first public hearings. The panel held one last July, at which police officers described being beaten, threatened and taunted with racial insults as they faced the worst attack on the seat of the U.S. government in more than two centuries.

(Reporting by Patricia Zengerle; additional reporting by Richard Cowan; editing by Scott Malone.)

______________________________________________________

This story was written by one of our partner news agencies. Forum Communications Company uses content from agencies such as Reuters, Kaiser Health News, Tribune News Service and others to provide a wider range of news to our readers. Learn more about the news services FCC uses here.

What To Read Next
Officials are expected to release bodycam footage of the traffic stop on Friday.
Documents marked as classified were discovered at Pence's Indiana home last week. Biden and Trump are both facing special counsel investigations by the Justice Department.
The lawsuit tackles a business at Google that is responsible for 80% of its revenue. The Justice Department asked the court to compel Google to break up a key piece of its ad technology business.
Research shows everyone can benefit from weight training