(Washington, DC) — The House January 6th Capitol riot hearings began Thursday night on national television. The panel is investigating last year’s attack on the Capitol.
Democratic Representative Bennie Thompson of Mississippi opened the hearing saying the President of the United States tried to stop the transfer of power. He called the rioters “domestic enemies of the Constitution” who tried to stop the formal congressional certification of the 2020 presidential election. Thompson also said Donald Trump lost the election and rejected the former president’s claim of widespread voter fraud. Thompson also played a video clip of former Attorney General Bill Barr, talking about how he told Trump that claims of a stolen election were BS.
Following Thompson’s remarks was the vice chair of the committee, Wyoming Republican Liz Cheney. She said now-former President Trump refused pleas to call off last year’s Capitol attack “for hours.” During Thursday’s hearing, she said Trump “summoned the mob, assembled the mob and lit the flame” that prompted the assault on the Capitol. She argued that the rioters were motivated by what Trump had told them, that the 2020 presidential election had been stolen.
The committee later aired previously unseen video of last year’s attack on the U.S. Capitol. It featured graphic images of Capitol Police battling large crowds of rioters. It also included a scene of gallows outside the Capitol and some rioters chanting, “Hang Mike Pence,” the former Indiana governor and vice president. Another scene showed rioters searching for House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.
The first Capitol Police officer injured in last year’s attack on the U.S. Capitol testified Thursday night. Caroline Edwards, who suffered a traumatic brain injury while battling rioters, described the scene as a “war zone” with widespread “carnage (and) chaos.” She also said some rioters called her a traitor, a villain and Nancy Pelosi’s dog.
Some republicans are arguing the January 6 committee isn’t legitimate because it’s made up of mostly democrats. Nancy Pelosi was also in charge of appointing the members. Republican congressman Jim Banks took to Twitter Thursday, calling the committee’s chairman a hypocrite.
Congressman Andre Carson, a democrat, argued the hearings were about protecting America’s democracy.
The January 6 committee is expected to hold several more hearings during June and July. The next hearing is scheduled for June 13.