The House Select Committee investigating the Jan. 6 riot at the U.S. Capitol began presenting its findings to the public for the first time Thursday night, seeking to convey to the American people the role former President Donald Trump and his allies played in attempting to overturn the 2020 presidential election.
The first of six hearings revealed that former President Trump’s daughter Ivanka accepted that the 2020 election wasn’t stolen, that multiple Republican members of Congress asked Trump for pardons after Jan. 6, and that Trump approved of his supporters chanting “Hang Mike Pence!”
Ivanka believed Former U.S. Attorney General Bill Barr—that was one of the key revelations of last night’s bipartisan US House Committee’s first public hearing on the Jan. 6 insurrection, and former President Donald Trump’s efforts to overturn the 2020 election results.
Statements by Barr—in which the former attorney general called the allegation that the election was stolen “bullshit”—were among the first clips aired during the hearing.
“I repeatedly told the president in no uncertain terms that I did not see evidence of fraud that would have affected the outcome of the election, and frankly a year and a half later, I haven’t seen anything to change my mind on that,” Barr told the committee in a video deposition.
The comments proved convincing for Ivanka Trump, Donald Trump’s daughter and former Senior Advisor to the President, who was deposed virtually.
“It affected my perspective,” she said. “I respect Attorney General Barr, so I accepted what he was saying.”
The harrowing and, at times, disturbing hearing was the first of six that will be held publicly this month. The arguable climax of the broadcast was a stomach-churning 11-minute video montage of the attack on the Capitol.
— January 6th Committee (@January6thCmte) June 10, 2022
Here are five other key revelations from Thursday night’s hearing:
- Aware of the Jan. 6 mob’s chants to ‘Hang Mike Pence,’ former President Trump responded: “Maybe our supporters had the right idea. Mike Pence deserves it.”
- Multiple Republican members of Congress, including Pennsylvania Rep. Scott Perry, sought pardons from Trump in the days after Jan. 6. “As you will see, Representative Perry contacted the White House in the weeks after January 6 to seek a presidential pardon,” said Republican Rep. Liz Cheney of Wyoming.
- Several members of Trump’s own campaign staff, legal team, and Department of Justice repeatedly told him the election was not stolen. “I remember a call with Mr. Meadows where Mr. Meadows was asking me what I was finding and if I was finding anything and I remember sharing with him that we weren’t finding anything that would be sufficient to change the results in any of the key states,” former Trump attorney Alex Cannon said, regarding former Chief of Staff Mark Meadows.
- On Jan. 6, the extremist group the Proud Boys staked out the Capitol in the morning, prior to the insurrection, according to documentarian Nick Quested, who was making a film about the neo-fascist group at the time. The Proud Boys and the Oath Keepers, another extremist group, were directly involved in planning the storming of the Capitol. Following the hearing, Committee Chairman Rep. Bennie Thompson of Mississippi told reporters that the Proud Boys and Oath Keepers were in contact with Trump’s orbit, which would come out in future hearings. Additionally, the hearing revealed that after Trump told the Proud Boys to “stand back and stand by” during a 2020 presidential debate, membership in the organization increased “exponentially,” roughly tripling, according to Proud Boy Jeremy Bertino.
- Officer Caroline Edwards of US Capitol Police testified about her harrowing experience that day, when she was brutally attacked, concussed, and still fought back. “What I saw was just a war scene. It was something like I had seen out of the movies. I couldn’t believe my eyes,” Edwards said. “There were officers on the ground, they were bleeding, they were throwing up. I saw friends with blood all over their faces. I was slipping in people’s blood. I was catching people as they fell. It was carnage. It was chaos.”
Thursday’s hearing was broadcast in primetime across all networks, except Fox News, which opted instead to air its usual programming without commercials, in what appears to have been a bid to keep viewers from changing channels.
During the broadcast, Rep. Cheney, the top Republican on the committee, described what future hearings would cover. The second hearing, scheduled for Monday, June 13, will reportedly show that Trump and his advisors knew he’d lost the election, but continued spreading lies about voter fraud and election rigging. The third and fourth hearings will highlight Trump’s efforts to pressure his Department of Justice, Vice President Pence, and state lawmakers and election officials to overturn the election results.
The final two hearings will cover Trump summoning his supporters to Washington on Jan. 6 and directing them to march on the Capitol, as well as a moment-by-moment account of the attack from former White House staff.
Much of Thursday’s hearing was led by Cheney, who has risked her political career and faces a Trump-backed primary to participate in the committee. She did not mince words about how she felt about her colleagues who have defended Trump’s war on the constitution and American democracy.
“Tonight, I say this to my Republican colleagues who are defending the indefensible,” Cheney said. “There will come a day when Donald Trump is gone, but your dishonor will remain.”
Here’s a video thread of the hearings.