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Why the Hell Was Sean Penn at the January 6 Hearings on Thursday?

BRENDAN SMIALOWSKIGetty Images

Sean Penn made an unexpected appearance at Thursday’s hearing of the House Select Committee investigating the attack on the Capitol on January 6. Penn did not testify. He sat in the audience between D.C. Metropolitan Police officers Michael Fanone and Daniel Hodges, both of whom responded to the attacks.

CNN’s Annie Grayer asked Penn why he was at the hearing. “I’m just here to observe—just another citizen,” he said. “I think we all saw what happened on January 6 and now we’re looking to see if justice comes on the other side of it.”

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Sean Penn next to Officer Michael Fanone of the Washington, D.C., Metropolitan Police Department, at the House Select Committee hearing to Investigate the January 6th Attack on the U.S. Capitol.

BRENDAN SMIALOWSKIGetty Images

Thursday marked the fifth hearing of the Select committee, which was focusing on the pressure that former President Donald Trump put on the Department of Justice to overturn the 2020 election. The hearing had been scheduled for Wednesday but was postponed due to technical issues. Thursday will also be the final time the committee meets in June. Committee Chair Bennie Thompson said more hearings will come after Congress’s July 4 recess. According to Thompson, more evidence has been pouring in since the committee’s first meetings earlier this month.

As for Penn, he has a habit of turning up in news-making places. Last year, he visited Ukraine to film a documentary about fighting between Ukraine and Russia. He also met with Mexican drug lord Joaquín “El Chapo” Guzmán Loera in 2015 to interview him for Rolling Stone magazine. And in 2010, he did charity work in Haiti—while filming a documentary about it—after a deadly earthquake in the country.

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