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Emotional and Powerful Eyewitness Testimonies Anchor First Night of Jan 6th Committee Hearings

Emotional and Powerful Eyewitness Testimonies Anchor First Night of Jan 6th Committee Hearings

It’s been almost eighteen months since Trump supporters gathered in Washington at his invitation, then stormed the Capitol for a seven-hour siege that resulted in destruction and death, but ultimately failed in its mission to prevent Joe Biden from being certified as the 46th President of the United States.

In the wake of the violence of the day, Senate Republicans denounced the violence and raged from the same chamber the rioters had breached earlier that day. But they soon regained their collective composure and adapted a platform to rewrite and whitewash the events of January 6th, to the point where they obstructed the formation of an investigative committee comprised of Democrats and Republicans. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi ultimately convened the bipartisan House Select Committee, who have worked steadily to determine exactly what led to the events at the Capitol and who was responsible. There have thus far been 800 arrests in connection with the Capitol Riot, while the person who planted bombs at the RNC and DNC continues to elude investigators.

After thousands of witness interviews, countless hours of footage, and piles of subpoenas, the January 6th House Select Committee showed the American public a whole lot more than they thought they already knew about the insurrection on the Capitol Thursday night during its first of six televised hearings. Held in the Capitol’s largest hearing room short of the Congressional chambers themselves, a large screen showed the vital and often still disturbing footage, much of it never seen by the public.

Chairman Bennie Thompson (D-MS) opened the hearing with a lengthy statement during which he placed the full blame for the insurrection squarely on Trump’s shoulders. “Donald Trump was at the center of the conspiracy…it was the culmination of an attempted coup.” Vice-Chair Liz Cheney (R-WY) continued that narrative as she previewed what the hearings will reveal.

Cheney outlined Trump’s obstinance in refusing to first accept the election results and then on January 6th, he again dug in and refused to ask the crowd to stand down despite pleas from family and staff. Trump sat and watched the riot for hours from the White House Dining Room before begrudgingly recording a message to his followers, who didn’t leave the Capitol for several more hours after that.

Interview footage from former AG Bill Barr and Trump’s daughter Ivanka were used to show how the people around him tried to silence Trump’s continued claims of fraud leading to his loss, but he wouldn’t listen to anyone who didn’t support his claims. Ivanka Trump testified that she believed Barr when he told her there was no election fraud.

Capitol Police Officer Caroline Edwards was one of the very first people to be injured in the attack, and suffered a brain injury during the early moments of the riot. She gave compelling testimony of the “war zone” and the screaming of the crowd that still echoes in her head. Edwards said she can’t even hear the sounds from that day without being overcome with emotion. While she downplayed her actions, Edwards remained in the field even after being injured, attempted to hold off the crowd until she was pepper sprayed like many of her colleagues.

Documentary filmmaker Nick Quested had followed the Proud Boys around Washington in the days leading up to the attack on the Capitol, including from the morning of January 6th. His statement stressed the violence of the crowd and the footage he took proved essential to the Committee, who learned that the Proud Boys didn’t watch Trump’s speech, but rather used that time to do recon around the Capitol to find weak security points.

The broadcast was kept to a tight two hours, but it was packed with new information and footage. The subsequent hearings will provide even more damning testimony that Donald Trump was at the center of the siege.

The next hearing is scheduled for Monday, June 13th, at 10:00 am EST/7:00 AM PST.

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