The House committee investigating the riot that swept the U.S. Capitol on January 6, 2021 began filing a case on Thursday that President Donald Trump knew he had lost the 2020 presidential election but continued to falsely claim that had been stolen from him while he was working. to change the results.
The committee is arguing that Trump was at the center of a “coordinated, multi-step effort to nullify the results” of the 2020 presidential election that he lost to Joe Biden.
The committee offered never-before-seen videos and eyewitness accounts to show that Donald Trump supporters, including the far-right group Proud Boys, were in Washington, D.C., to prevent the transfer of power from Trump to Joe Biden.
“January 6 was the culmination of a coup attempt,” Democratic committee chairman Bennie Thompson of Mississippi said in his opening statement. “A brazen attempt, as one protester put it shortly after Jan. 6, ‘overthrow the government’. The violence was no accident. It represented Trump’s last and most desperate chance to stop the transfer of power.”
While Democrats emphasized the seriousness of the attack, Republicans tried to delegitimize hearings.
House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy of California called the committee “the most political and least legitimate committee in the history of Congress.”
Representatives Liz Cheney of Wyoming, vice chairman of the committee, and Representative Adam Kinzinger of Illinois are the only Republicans on the nine-member committee. Both criticized Trump and voted for impeachment.
Thursday’s meeting was the first in a series of public hearings the committee will hold.
Capitol Police Officer Caroline Edwards said she was behind a bike rack and trying to contain protesters at the US Capitol on January 6. “I turned to my sergeant and declared the understatement of the century. I said, ‘Sergeant, we’re going to need a few more people down here.’
‘Crazy Stuff’: Aides told Trump they found no fraud
In the days following the 2020 presidential election, former President Donald Trump’s top advisers repeatedly told him that there was not enough evidence of fraud to nullify the election.
Even as Trump continued to tell his supporters that the election had been stolen from them, Attorney General William Barr and others were contradicting his claims.
“I made it clear that I didn’t agree with the idea of saying the election was stolen and publicizing these things that I told the president was bullshit,” testified former Attorney General Bill Barr. machines, was involved in a conspiracy to change the results was “crazy stuff,” Barr said.
A former campaign attorney, Alex Cannon, told the president’s chief of staff that the campaign team was not finding enough wrongdoing to make a difference in any of the major states.
“So there’s nothing there,” he said, former chief of staff Mark Meadows replied.
Even Trump’s daughter Ivanka said she was convinced by Barr’s comments.
One of the biggest revelations of the first in a series of congressional hearings on the deadly January 6 riots at the U.S. Capitol was the video of former Attorney General William Barr, Ivanka Trump and others acknowledging that the election of President Joe Biden was legitimate.
An invasion of the Capitol
A new video showed the onslaught on the Capitol, with protesters marching towards the building and then breaking through metal barricades on the Capitol.
Using police corps cameras and other police scanner footage and audio, it showed them beating up police, hitting them with flagpoles and other weapons. The police could be heard calling for help.
US Capitol Police officer Caroline Edwards, who suffered a concussion in the attack, said she had slipped into other people’s blood.
“It was carnage,” she said.
Protesters could be heard shouting “Hang Mike Pence” as lawmakers fled the attack.
Representative Liz Cheney, R-Wyo., delivered a scathing rebuke to former President Donald Trump on Thursday during a hearing held by a House committee investigating the January 6 riot at the US Capitol.
Committee: Extremists Led the Attack
The Proud Boys and Oath Keepers led the invasion of the Capitol after Trump, in a tweet, urged his supporters to head to Washington, D.C. for a protest, the committee says.
Trump’s December 19, 2020 tweet was a “crucial moment” that started the chain of events that led to the attack, Cheney said. Members of the Proud Boys and Oath Keepers, whose leaders were indicted on sedition charges, drew the crowd to the Capitol, Cheney said.
“President Trump convened the crowd, rallied the crowd and ignited the flame of this attack,” she said in her opening statement.
Thompson said Trump is at the center of a “multi-step conspiracy aimed at overthrowing the presidential election”.
Members of both groups were talking about the need to fight to keep Trump in office as early as November, according to court documents.
Documentary maker Nick Quested said a large group of Proud Boys marched from a speech Trump gave on the National Mall to the Capitol. Thompson noted that they left the mall before Trump began to speak.
“They weren’t there for President Trump’s speech,” Thompson said.
Donell Harvin, former chief of homeland security and intelligence for the District of Columbia, says there was a “vast” amount of intelligence that led to the January 6 riots on Capitol Hill. However, there was a “failure to pay attention to intelligence,” he said, mainly on the part of federal officials.
Supporters: Trump ‘asked us to come’
In the final video of the night, Trump supporters are seen saying they stormed the Capitol on January 6 because the former president had asked.
“He personally asked us to come to DC that day,” said one supporter, Eric Barber. “And I thought, for all he’s done for us, if that’s the only thing he’s going to ask of me, I’m going to do it.”
Barber, who was charged with theft and unlawful demonstration, according to the committee, said he was disappointed Trump did not join the march to Capitol Hill.
“He said he was going to go, go with us,” he said.
Another supporter, John Wright, said: “I know why I was there, and that’s because he called me there and exposed what’s going on in our government. He exposed.”
Wright is charged with felony civil disorder.
During the opening night of the House committee hearings on the US Capitol riot, the Speakers of Congress Representatives Bennie Thompson, D-Miss., and Liz Cheney, R-Wyo., presented a damning indictment of the former. President Donald Trump with testimonies from former US Attorney General Bill Barr, Ivanka Trump and a US Capitol police officer.
Edited by André V. Pestano. The Associated Press contributed to this report.