WWhen the select House Committee on Jan. 6 convenes its first hearing to investigate the worst attack on the United States Capitol since 1814, the nine-member panel and two witnesses who will testify Thursday will be the most prominent residents of the ornate Cannon House Office. Building Caucus Room since the infamous House Un-American Activities Committee used it for hearings in the mid-20th century.
Seventy-four years after Hollywood stars like acclaimed screenwriter Dalton Trumbo were blacklisted for failing to answer that committee’s questions about whether they were “now or… ever” members of the Communist Party, will witnessing one of the best in the film industry again become a star in the exact same room.
The select committee announced Tuesday that one of the first two witnesses to testify in what is expected to be a series of at least eight hearings is Nick Quested, the award-winning documentary filmmaker who earned an Oscar nomination for his film. Restrepo in 2010. The other is Caroline Edwards, a U.S. Capitol police officer who was one of the first to be hit by the pro-Trump mob that stormed the Capitol in hopes of preventing Congress from certifying Joe Biden’s 2020 election victory.
Both witnesses will testify during the second hour of the two-hour hearing, after opening presentations by the chair of the selected committee—Representative Bennie Thompson of Mississippi—and Wyoming Representative Liz Cheney, the panel’s vice chair.
the independent has been informed that the panel’s goal in spotlighting Ms. Edwards and Mr. Quested ahead of the first prime time hearing on the Jan. 6 uprising is to highlight the role the pro-Trump extremist groups have played in starting and escalating the violence.
Mr Quested, who spent the days leading up to the riots with leaders of the Proud Boys gang as part of a documentary project, has already provided US authorities with footage of a January 5, 2021 meeting between then-leader of the Proud Boys, Enrique. Tarrio and Elmer Stewart Rhodes, founder and leader of the Oath Keepers.
Footage of Mr Tarrio and Mr Rhodes meeting on the eve of the uprising appears to have figured prominently in the grand jury proceedings that led to the unsealing of charges against Mr Tarrio and four others last week. members of Proud Boys for seditious conspiracy.
Mr. Rhodes, a Yale-trained attorney, was himself indicted in January of seditious conspiracy by a District of Columbia grand jury. According to his lawyer, Mr Rhodes has also met members of the select committee and has reportedly told them he still views the 2020 election as “illegitimate”.
Both pro-Trump extremist groups are said to have played a major role in the initial attacks on the Capitol. Members of the Proud Boys gang were among the first to attack police officers and breach the outer barriers before climbing the Capitol steps and breaking windows. Dominic Pezzola, a member of Proud Boys who is also charged with seditious conspiracy, was reportedly one of the first to enter the Capitol itself after using a stolen police shield to smash a window. Meanwhile, another group of Oathkeepers made their way through the fighting on the Western Front of the Capitol by climbing the stairs in a “stack” formation before making their way past police toward the building.
Sources familiar with the panel’s research and who have spoken with the independent have said that the hearings will show that many of the events that took place that day—events that hitherto appeared to be spontaneous—were in fact part of a multifaceted, multifaceted effort by former President Donald Trump and his supporters to the 2020 elections, and to do so consciously with the help of a violent mob.
Jamie Raskin Won’t Say Whether The Jan 6 Commission Will Have Mike Pence Testify
In particular, the panel plans to use the hearings to clarify that it has found no evidence to support Republican claims that what happened on January 6, 2021 was a peaceful protest that got out of hand or that other incidents of violence that occurred. day were spontaneous or accidental. The commission will also use evidence it has collected, including witness testimony and unreleased documents, to establish links between a violent extremist core group of Mr Trump’s supporters who responded to his call for a “wild” protest that day and Mr. Trump’s sprawling cabal from outside confidants, sounding boards and allies in the right-wing political and media ecosystems.
And unlike previous congressional investigations into Mr. Trump’s conduct, committee members will not face boasting, filibustering, showboating, or interruptions by Mr. Trump’s allies in Congress. That’s because Kevin McCarthy, the leader of the House minority group, has denied the members he put forward to join after House Speaker Nancy Pelosi rejected two of his picks — Representatives Jim Jordan and Jim Banks — on the grounds of the fact that they would eventually be called as witnesses.
Trump’s allies who have questioned the panel’s legitimacy in lawsuits seeking to block the commission from obtaining documents have pointed to the lack of GOP members when they claimed the panel was improperly composed, but multiple federal courts have rejected such arguments.
Kurt Bardella, a former adviser to Darrell Issa, the former chairman of the GOP House Oversight Committee, and who now advises the Democratic National Committee and the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, told the independent McCarthy’s decision to revoke all of his choices in a fit of anger was a “huge strategic mistake” leaving the former president with no one to defend him or interfere with him.
He also predicted that the former president would “lose his mind” when he watches the selected committee’s hearings and realizes that there is no one to meddle in points of discussion representing his side of the argument.
For the most part, committee members have kept quiet about what exactly viewers will see when they tune in Thursday night. It has been reported that the program is being produced with the help of a former ABC News executive, James Goldston, and will rely heavily on video evidence, including video captured during interviews with Mr. Trump’s top advisers.
One of the seven Democrats on the panel, Virginia Representative Elaine Luria, declined to answer questions from: the independent when she left home late Wednesday, but told MSNBC host Ali Velshi that the panel’s “ultimate work product” will not be the programming produced during the hearings, but the written report to be released later this year.
“The report of this committee, that information that we have put out in hearings, I believe will paint a very clear picture from start to finish, to the present day, of all the things that have happened leading up to this, [and] the dangers that still exist,” she said. “Clearly some of that information will be new to the public, and perhaps new to others who are also looking closely at these events.”
Another selected committee member, Maryland Democrat Jamie Raskin, told reporters that the committee has been given a plethora of evidence that she is ready to present.
When asked what he hoped people would learn from the hearings, he replied, “The truth.”
But it’s unclear whether the viewers who need the most persuasion will even tune in to Thursday’s hearing — or one of the next. Because the most-watched cable news channel in the US, Fox News, refuses to broadcast the hearings live on its flagship network, the 3 million viewers who depend on the station’s right-wing opinion programs for news will not be exposed to what was revealed Thursday. Fox will stream the hearings online without authentication and will report on Fox Business Network.
“The commission needs to make it clear to the American people that what happened on Jan. 6 was the culmination of a plan months in the making, choreographed by those closest to the president,” Bardella said.
Mr Bardella also said: the independent that the panel should use the hearings to “underline the ongoing threat from those same forces at this time”.
“These hearings should be a call to action, not just a detailed summary of how we got here,” he said.
Another prominent Republican turned critic of the GOP told former Republican National Committee chairman Michael Steele: the independent the panel must captivate their audience on Thursday for the good of the country.
“This is one of those moments in our history where everything has to stop. Everything needs a break. And people should just sit where they are. Turn on the television. And listen, because this is not partisan,” he said, later adding that in his opinion Democrats shouldn’t do much to coordinate messages around the hearings and instead let the evidence speak for itself.
“Committee members will have to map out this moment for the American people in a way that grabs their attention and guides them through everything that led up to what happened on Jan. 6 and what came after,” he said.
One of the panel’s two Republican members, Illinois Representative Adam Kinzinger, seemed confident the select committee’s presentation will have an impact when he spoke to reporters late Tuesday.
When asked if he hoped the series of hearings will change anyone’s mind, he said he “hopes”[d] they would” before making an even bolder prediction.
“It will change history,” he said.