Jan 6 Capitol riot hearing begins

Key Takeaways From the 6 Jan Capitol Riot Hearing

A video image displaying the US Capitol grounds being breached during a hearing of the Select Committee to Investigate the January 6th Attack on the US Capitol in Washington, D.C., US, on Thursday, June 9, 2022. Photographer: Mandel Ngan/AFP/Bloomberg

Here are the key takeaways from Thursday’s committee hearing on the Jan. 6 Capitol riot.

By Daniel Flatley and Mark Niquette

Word Count: 545
(Bloomberg) —
  • The most compelling testimony came from US Capitol Police office Caroline Edwards, who sustained brain damage during the attack as rioters pushed a bike rack on top of her head, knocking her unconscious. When she came to, she said, “I couldn’t believe my eyes, three were officers on the ground, they were bleeding, they were throwing up.” She said she was “slipping in people’s blood” and “it was carnage, it was chaos.’
  • Edwards’ testimony was contrasted with that of the rioters who came to DC that day; they said they came at Trump’s request. Investigators sought to show a connection between two groups: The Proud Boys and the Oath Keepers.
  • The committee also played dramatic video from the day of the attack, showing police officers and rioters clashing in a violent and sometimes bloody fracas as the Capitol was quickly breached following an address by Trump. Though similar footage has been aired, the point of the new video seemed to be to reinforce that this was no small tussle but a major effort to stop the certification of an election.
  • Committee Vice Chair Liz Cheney laid out out a broad case against former President Donald Trump, well beyond Jan. 6 itself, telling viewers he had a seven-point plan to corruptly overturn the will of the voters, even after being told repeatedly by his own staff and campaign and attorney general that he had lost the election.
  • And then, once the violence had started, Cheney quoted Trump speaking approvingly of rioters talking about hanging Vice President Mike Pence. As the violence continued for hour after hour and Republican leaders were begging him to intervene, Cheney said the former president never called a single person nor issued any order to protect the Capitol.
  • The committee sought to address criticism from Trump and his allies that the committee investigation is a “witch hunt” and the hearing’s “political theater” by previewing evidence that addresses specific elements of the insurrection, especially that Trump knew he lost the election. Cheney also tried to shame her GOP colleagues “who are defending the indefensible,” telling them “there will come a day when Donald Trump is gone, but your dishonor will remain.”
  • Cheney outlined how there will be seven committee hearings, each focused on a different element of the insurrection. Monday’s hearing, for example, will present evidence that Trump and his advisors knew that he had lost the 2020 election but engaged in “a massive effort to spread false and fraudulent information” to convince Americans the election was stolen when it wasn’t.
  • The committee effectively used video clips of testimony from former Attorney General Bill Barr and Ivanka Trump, the former president’s daughter. Barr was shown saying he told Trump there was no evidence of the election was stolen. Ivanka Trump was shown saying Barr’s contention there was no fraud affected her perspective. “I respect Attorney General Barr so I accepted what he was saying,” she said.

–With assistance from Steven T. Dennis.

© 2022 Bloomberg L.P.

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