January 6 committee hearing to provide opening argument, focus on far-right groups

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More than 1,000 interviews and 140,000 documents later, the House committee that spent nearly a year investigating the January 6, 2021 attack on the U.S. Capitol will begin presenting its findings to the American public at an audition on Thursday evening.

The hearing, which the broadcast networks will allow their prime-time schedule, is the first in a series this month that will together present evidence of not just what happened on the day of the attack, but also from the two months before that as then-President Donald Trump led an effort to overturn the 2020 election results.

Committee Chairman Bennie G. Thompson (D-Miss.) and Vice Chairman Liz Cheney (R-Wyo.) will lead the evening’s presentation, which will feature live testimony from Caroline Edwards, a police officer of the US Capitol which was seriously injured as pro-Trump rioters and members of far-right extremist groups broke into the building.

Nick Quested, a British filmmaker who integrated and documented the activities of one of these extremist groups, the Proud Boys, will also testify.

“We will remind people of what happened that day and bring the American people back to the reality of that violence,” a committee aide told reporters on Wednesday.

The aide – who, like others, spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak publicly – said the hearing would feature “a whole bunch of new material – invisible elements”, including videos and sounds obtained during the investigation.

The attack: The siege of the US Capitol on January 6 was neither a spontaneous act nor an isolated event

The riot unfolded the day Congress officially counted the electoral votes that formalized Joe Biden’s presidential victory. The aggression interrupted this work for hours.

The committee’s first televised hearing, which begins Thursday at 8 p.m. EST, will focus in part on coordination between extremist groups that conspired to obstruct Congress by fomenting and rioting, aides say. of the committee.

Edwards and Quested should remember their harrowing experiences on Capitol Hill that day and the violent actions of those who tried to stop the peaceful transfer of power. Edwards suffered a traumatic brain injury in the attack and would be the first officer injured in the insurgency.

The committee, which includes seven Democrats and two Republicans, is likely to screen footage shot by Quested and his team, who spent Jan. 6 and the months leading up to the assault with leaders of the Proud Boys, which Canada has named as terrorist. band. The footage provided crucial evidence to the committee’s investigation and the Justice Department’s criminal investigation.

Court documents have already detailed a meeting, filmed by Quested, that took place between Proud Boys leader Henry “Enrique” Tarrio and Stewart Rhodes, the founder and leader of the far-right Oath Keepers, on January 5 in a parking lot. underground in downtown Washington. The recording “at one point picked up audio of a person making a reference to the Capitol,” according to a court filing.

Tarrio was indicted Monday on a federal charge of seditious conspiracy, along with four senior lieutenants.

The committee’s investigation is still ongoing, a committee aide told reporters, but hearings are also scheduled for Monday, Wednesday and Thursday next week. Greg Jacob, the chief attorney for former Vice President Mike Pence, is due to testify publicly at next Thursday’s hearing, according to a person familiar with the investigation.

Jacob argued with Trump lawyer John Eastman, who had produced a legal analysis aimed at persuading Pence to use his position overseeing the Congressional count to block Trump’s defeat.

A federal judge this week ordered Eastman to share more emails and documents with the Jan. 6 committee — including an email that U.S. District Court Judge David O. Carter ruled as evidence of a probable crime.

A committee aide suggested that videos of interviews with senior White House officials, senior Trump administration officials, campaign officials and members of the Trump family would be part of the hearings, but declined. to say if such images would be broadcast on Thursday evening. The Washington Post previously reported that the committee is likely to show clips of pre-recorded interviews with Trump’s daughter, Ivanka, and her husband, Jared Kushner.

While some Trump aides cooperated with the committee, others refused — as did some Republican House members, including Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy.

Rep. Elise Stefanik (NY), Republican conference chair, argued Wednesday that the hearings were designed to distract voters from other issues, such as inflation and crime, and called them a “smear campaign.” “against Trump.

Although the committee is bipartisan, the two Republicans on it are fierce critics of Trump. McCarthy (California) pulled her hand-picked members from the panel last year after Chair Nancy Pelosi (D-California) vetoed two of her picks.

Committee aides sought to temper expectations of any shocking revelations at Thursday’s hearing and instead framed the session as an opening argument.

“[Thursday] the night connects the dots,” said a second aide. “A lot has been reported and bits and pieces have been shared. But our goal is to tie it all together in a full story and show how it’s a pattern that started before the election and continued until the 6th January.


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