“The task of this committee will require persistence,” Cheney said in her opening remarks. “We must issue and enforce subpoenas promptly. We must get to objective truth. We must overcome the many efforts we are already seeing to cover up and obscure the facts.”
At the start of the hearing the committee showed video footage with graphic content depicting the violent storming of the Capitol.
“These rioters were organized. They were ready for a fight … they came close to succeeding,” Thompson said in his opening statement. “It’s frightening to think about how close we were. A few inches of wood and glass. An officer turning left instead of turning right.”
As he denounced the “Big Lie” spread by former President Donald Trump that the election was stolen, Thompson said, “We know that efforts to subvert our democracy are ongoing, and a major part of the Select Committee’s work will be to find ways to eliminate that threat.”
The emotional testimony marks the start of the committee’s investigation into the circumstances surrounding the attack as Democratic leaders look to set the tone for a panel that congressional Republicans have dismissed as a political sideshow created merely to discredit the legacy of the former President.
“I’m hoping that the hearing will give the American people an even more vivid sense of what went on that day, the horror of that day, how these brave police officers saved so many lives,” Schiff told CNN.
The committee members will take the accounts from the four officers — DC Metropolitan Police Officers Daniel Hodges and Michael Fanone and Capitol Police Officer Harry Dunn and Sgt. Aquilino Gonell — as a jumping-off point for embarking on a probe that could lead to seeking testimony and documents from the former President, his aides and even Republican members of Congress.
Cheney said in her opening remarks, “On January 6th and the days thereafter, almost all members of my party recognized the events of that day for what they actually were,” and “No member of Congress should now attempt to defend the indefensible, obstruct this investigation or whitewash what happened that day.”
Pelosi has sought for the select committee to be able to provide an exhaustive accounting of the events surrounding the attack, the former President’s role, how extremist groups were able to organize and how security failures resulted in the deadly clash. But the California Democrat has also taken steps that have infuriated House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, including shutting down two of his picks for the select committee because of their past statements and actions that bolstered Trump’s false narrative about the election being stolen.
Cheney and Kinzinger have faced sharp blowback for joining Pelosi’s committee, with conservatives arguing that they should be removed from their other committee slots. The two members have said those threats won’t deter them.
“If the conference decided or if Kevin decides they want to punish Liz Cheney and I for getting to the bottom and telling the truth, I think that probably says more about them than it does for us,” Kinzinger said Monday.
Congressional Republicans are planning their own programming to rebut the select committee, with McCarthy and the five members who the California Republican had planned to appoint to the committee holding a news conference Tuesday morning before the hearing. While the news conference will give them a venue to air their grievances, the Republicans won’t be in the hearing room as a voice to defend Trump from the attacks he’s likely to face from Democrats.
Instead, the two Republican voices on the select committee are the most vocal Trump critics in the House GOP conference.
Tuesday’s hearing, however, is likely to focus more on the visceral danger the officers faced January 6 on the front lines at the Capitol.
Body-camera footage shows how Fanone was pulled into the crowd and tased repeatedly with his own stun gun. Gonell was beaten with a flagpole and his hand was sliced open. Dunn has spoken out about the racist attacks he and other Black officers faced that day. And Hodges was the officer in one of the most harrowing and well-known scenes from the riots, when he was writhing and screaming in pain while crushed in a doorway by a crowd of rioters.
“I want people to understand the significance of January 6. I want people to understand that, you know, thousands of rioters came to the Capitol hell-bent on violence and destruction and murder,” Fanone previously told CNN.
This story and headline have been updated with additional developments Tuesday.
CNN’s Manu Raju, Melanie Zanona, Annie Grayer and Ryan Nobles contributed to this report.Checkout latest world news below links :
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