The House select committee investigating the US January 6 hearings began laying out its initial findings Thursday night in the first in a series of public hearings.
Committee Chairman Bennie Thompson, D-Miss., and Republican Vice-Chair Rep. Liz Cheney of Wyoming said they will present evidence over the next few weeks showing that former President Donald Trump knew he lost the election yet still pushed false information to convince the public the race had been stolen.
Cheney and Thompson called the event a “conspiracy” – and noted how many people were involved. In fact, Cheney said there were Republican members of Congress who sought pardons for their actions on Jan. 6.
Visceral footage revives Jan. 6 horrors
The committee played a compilation of some of the most disturbing footage from the January 6 attack.
They included some never-before-seen material, including birds-eye view footage from the security cameras that showed the enormous pro-Trump mob as it started swarming the Capitol grounds.
The footage also showed how the crowd took its cues directly from Trump, with one rioter reading a Trump tweet on a megaphone for the other rioters to hear. In that tweet, Trump criticized Pence for announcing that he would not overturn the results of the 2020 election while presiding over the joint session of Congress to certify Joe Biden’s win.
Trump did not want the riot to stop
The committee revealed testimony from Trump White House officials who said the former President did not want the US capitol attack to stop, angrily resisted his own advisers who were urging him to call off the rioters and thought his own vice president “deserved” to be hanged.
Vice-chair Liz Cheney described testimony from a witness who said Trump was aware of chants to “Hang Mike Pence” and seemed to approve of them.
“Aware of the rioters’ chants to ‘hang Mike Pence,’ the President responded with this statement: [quote] ‘Maybe our supporters have the right idea.’ Mike Pence deserves it”, she said.
Officer Edwards describes US January 6 hearings
US Capitol Police Officer Caroline Edwards testifies about her experience on Jan. 6 and how she realized the crowd was getting out of control.
Edwards describes how the rioters ripped back the barricades as officers tried desperately to hold them off. She described the bike rack being pushed into her, and “at that point, I blacked out but the back of my head clipped the concrete stairs behind me.”
Thompson asked her about one memory of that day. Edward spoke of it as “a war scene.”
Trump’s team and family turn against him
The committee’s first hearing was bolstered with the shocking video clips showing members of Trump’s White House and campaign – as well as his daughter Ivanka Trump and son-in-law Jared Kushner – speaking about how they didn’t believe Trump’s claims that the election was stolen.
Ivanka Trump said that she respected Barr and “accepted what he was saying” about the election.
In a social media message after the hearing, Trump criticized the committee for not showing “the many positive witnesses and statements” and playing “only negative footage.”
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