Almost a year after its formation, the committee of lawmakers investigating the January 6, 2021, attack on the US Capitol is ready to make its case public, marking a turning point in — as the committee’s vice-chair, Rep. Liz Cheney (R-WY), put it — “one of the single most important congressional investigations in history.”
On Thursday, the House Select Committee announced it would hold the first of eight televised hearings on June 9, in prime time at 8. PM ET, when viewers will hear from live witnesses and even watch pre-taped depositions of key figures, including members of former President Trump’s own family -- namely Ivanka Trump, his daughter, and Jared Kushner, her husband.
In its statement, the committee said the hearings would “present previously unseen material documenting January 6th, receive witness testimony, preview additional hearings, and provide the American people a summary of its findings about the coordinated, multi-step effort to overturn the results of the 2020 presidential election and prevent the transfer of power.”
Rep. David Cicilline (D-RI), a former impeachment manager, echoed the committee’s statement and specified that the evidence to be unveiled at the upcoming hearings would be “disturbing,” according to CNN.
"This is our democracy. This was the greatest assault on American democracy in my lifetime. The world is watching to see how we respond to this," Cicilline told CNN.
"There will be, I think, substantial evidence that really demonstrates the coordination and the planning and the effort, despite the fact that they understood that Donald Trump lost the election and even once the insurrection began and the violence began, there were ongoing efforts to persuade the former President to stop the violence and call on folks to go home, and he refused to do it," the lawmaker from Rhode Island added.
The hearings mark the culmination of a nearly year-long exhaustive investigation conducted in private, despite a succession of minor leaks. The committee has invited over 1,000 people for depositions, collected and reviewed over 125,000 records, and pursued nearly 500 leads via its confidential tip linme. It has also reviewed text messages from within Trump’s inner circle plotting to keep Trump in power despite his loss; examined memos from pro-Trump attorneys devising blueprints for an electoral coup; and listened to audio recordings of leading Republicans in Congress privately expressing their frustrations at Trump for inciting a mob of his supporters into storming the Capitol.
In its most difficult undertaking yet, the House committee must now bring the American people into its deliberations; share key findings and facts with them; depose witnesses in front of them; and build a compelling narrative of how aggressively Trump and his allies moved to overturn the results of the 2020 elections — and how close they came to succeeding.
To tell this story, the committee will have to use testimony obtained from Trump Administration insiders, including, as reported by the Washington Post, a former White House aide who has given the congressional panel a detailed reconstruction of meetings and other activities in the White House.
Although the end result of the committee’s efforts remains in question — what with public opinions of Trump having long since solidified into competing blocs difficult to break through — members of the committee still believe that the American people should know about the events that preceded and followed the deadly Capitol attack.
“It’s important that we tell the American public, to the best we are able, exactly what happened,” said Rep. Zoe Lofgren (D-CA), one of seven Democrats on the committee. “The public need to understand the stakes for our system of government, and we need to devise potential changes in legislation or procedures to protect ourselves in future.”
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