The Jan. 6 committee launches its public hearings tonight. For the first hearing — a total of six are currently slated — the panel is expected to present its findings to the American public about former President Donald Trump’s role in a scheme to overturn the 2020 election and more specifically, how extremist elements were involved in efforts. to stop the peaceful transfer of power.
Daily Kos will post live updates from tonight’s hearing starting at 8 PM ET.
Watch live here:
For in-depth information about the committee’s investigation so far, check out the related story links below. There’s a BIG Guide to help you stay on top of who’s who plus Daily Kos interviews with one of the committee’s first witnesses as well as members of law enforcement who fought off the mob on Jan. 6.
The next hearing is scheduled for June 13 at 10 PM ET. Additional hearings are expected on June 15 at 10 PM ET. and June 16 at 1 PM ET. A time for the June 21 hearing has not yet been confirmed. A final presentation is anticipated on June 23 and that hearing will be in primetime, like tonight, at 8 PM.
Witnesses on Thursday night are filmmaker Nick Quested, who embedded with the Proud Boys in the lead-up to Jan. 6, and US Capitol Police officer Caroline Edwards, who suffered a traumatic brain injury after being assaulted by members of the mob.
New video footage from Jan. 6 is expected to be released during tonight’s hearing, putting the extremist elements that were at play that day in sharp relief. Heavy attention will likely be paid to the speech that Trump delivered from the Ellipse as well. It was those remarks that earned him his second impeachment for incitement of insurrection.
Next week, witnesses reportedly in the mix include Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger, who once fielded a call from Trump to “find” 11,000 votes so he could beat now-President Joe Biden’s victory in that state. Members of former Vice President Mike Pence’s office, including onetime chief of staff Marc Short and former chief counsel Greg Jacob, have been invited to testify. Other witnesses reportedly invited included officials who worked at the Department of Justice under Trump, including Jeffrey Rosen and Richard Donoghue. More details to come on that in the days ahead.
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Chairman Bennie Thompson begins tonights hearing by thanking everyone for their attention.
“I’m Bennie Thompson, chairman of the Jan. 6 Committee, I was born raised and still lived in Bolton, Mississippi, ”he says, explaining his background, a part of the country where people justify the actions of slavery, the KKK and lynching.
“I am reminded of that dark history as I hear voices today try to justify the actions of the insurrectionists on Jan. 6, 2021, ”Thompson says.
In his opening remarks this evening, Chairman Thompson outlines how in 1862, after citizens took up arms against the country, Congress adopted a new oath that no person who supported a rebellion could hold an office of public trust. Members swear an oath to protect the Constitution from all enemies, foreign and domestic.
He praises the officers who defended the Capitol on Jan. 6.
They did this to defend “your vote,” Thompson said, to protect the peaceful transfer of power.
Chairman Thompson says the truth must be confronted with resolve and determination and delivers a barn-burner of a speech. He has made it plain what the committee believes it has uncovered: overwhelming evidence that the 45th president attempted to overthrow the election. We move now to remarks from Rep. Liz Cheney, the vice chair of the committee. She is just one of two Republicans, including the Illinois Rep. Adam Kinzinger.
In her opening remarks, vicechair Liz Cheney says that the public will hear extensive evidence tonight and in the coming weeks about the overarching conspiracy by Trump to overturn the 2020 election.
Cheney: “Jan. 6 was not a spontaneous incident.” Intelligence has revealed that this was a well-orchestrated plan. The committee will identify elements of those plans and will show how Proud Boys led a mob into the Capitol on Jan. 6 ”
She continued: “On the morning of Jan. 6, President Donald Trump’s intention was to remain POTUS despite the lawful outcome of the 2020 election and in violation of his constitutional obligation to relinquish power. ”
Over multiple months, Donald Trump oversaw and coordinated a sophisticated 7-part plan to overturn the election and prevent a presidential transfer of power.
In the 2nd hearing, evidence will be shown demonstrating how Trump knew he lost the election but he perpetrated fraud, they argue, by promoting the lie that he won.
In a recorded deposition of Ivanka Trump before the Jan. 6 Cmte where she faced questions about AG’s Barr’s conclusion of no widespread fraud, she says Barr’s determination “affected her perspective.
“I accepted what he was saying,” Ivanka Trump said.
Cheney: Trump ignored the rulings of our nation’s courts, his campaign leadership, his White House staff, state officials, the DOJ, and DHS. He invested millions of campaign funds purposefully spreading false information, running ads he knew were false.
Trump tried “convincing millions of elections was corrupt and he was the true president. This misinformation campaign provoked the violence on January 6,” Cheney says.
Vicechair Cheney says we’re going to hear about Trump’s calls to Georgia officials, the attempts to rescind certified electoral states “without factual basis and contrary to law.”
We’re going to hear about how Trump officials transmitted bunk slates, falsely certifying that Trump won states he actually lost
In the last two hearings, Cheney says we will hear how Trump summoned a violent mob and directed them to march on the Capitol.
While the violence was underway, Trump failed to take immediate action and instruct his supporters to leave the Capitol.
The investigation is still ongoing. So what is disclosed here will not be the total picture.
The DOJ is still working with witnesses and Cheney says to date, only SOME of the information it has, has been disclosed.
She mentions a visit to the White House by Michael Flynn, Rudy Giuliani, Sidney Powell and others involved where they discussed the pllan to have the military seize voting machines and potentially re-run elections.
Cheney says the public will hear how Trump met with that group alone before White House lawyers and staff discovered the group was there and rushed to intervene.
A little more than an hour later, after they left, Trump sent the tweet telling people to come to Washington on Jan. 6.
“Be there, will be wild,” Trump wrote.
The hearings to come will be broken up in segments with a specific focus for each. One hearing will focus on the pressure campaign at the DOJ, another hearing will focus on the pressure campaign aimed at Pence. The final hearings will zero in on the violence that day, the live reactions from those inside the Capitol, trapped, those outside and those who were inside the White House, watching as Trump sat idly by.
Trump Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Mark Milley summed up multiple conversations then-Vice President Mike Pence had on Jan. 6th during testimony before the House Committee: “He was very animated and he was very explicit. Very direct, unambiguous orders. There was no question about that… to Secretary Miller: ‘Get the military down here. Get the Guard down here. Put down this situation. ” Milley’s conversation with Trump Chief of Staff Mark Meadows was markedly different in tone, with Meadows imploring Milley to “kill the narrative that the Vice President is making all the decisions.” “We need to establish the narrative that the president is still in charge,” Milley said Meadows told him, calling the remarks a “red flag.”