The US commission investigating the storming of the Capitol on January 6 last year will begin a series of public hearings Thursday evening (local time). The American public is eagerly awaiting the witness hearings that will be broadcast in prime time on American television. This is what we can expect from the hearings.
The events of January 6, 2021 in brief:
- Supporters of then-President Donald Trump staged a protest march in Washington, because Trump claims (without evidence) that the election was rigged.
- Thousands of protesters march to the Capitol after Trump’s appeal. At the time, Congress confirmed Joe Biden as the new president.
- Soon the demonstrators managed to storm the building. The police are taken completely by surprise.
- Four people were killed during the storm. Among the dead were a police officer who died of a heart attack and a protester who was shot dead by police. 138 officers were wounded.
- In the aftermath of the storm, four agents were killed with their lives.
The commission wants to show that the storming of the Capitol was coordinated by then-US President Donald Trump and those around him. The attack is said to be aimed at thwarting the congressional nomination of Joe Biden as the new president of the United States.
The committee is made up of seven Democrats and two Republicans. They have spent the past year investigating what prompted Trump supporters to storm the House of Representatives.
The researchers conducted thousands of interviews and collected more than 125,000 documents. They also spoke with (former) Trump employees and prominent figures within the Republican Party, among others. The hearings are a kind of culmination of all the research that has been done.
Liz Cheney and Adam Kinzinger are the only Republican members of the investigative committee. The committee is composed of Democratic Congresswoman Nancy Pelosi.
Cheney and Kinzinger became pariahs within their party because of their involvement. In addition, most Republicans do not recognize the committee.
Statements by Mike Pence and Ivanka Trump
To convince the general public that Trump was behind the break-in, the commission will provide new information from the investigation. The commission itself is unlikely to learn anything new from the interrogations, since they relate primarily to the presentation of research results. Moreover, the committee cannot punish people. However, he could persuade the Minister of Justice to launch a criminal investigation.
During the hearings, former White House employees and Trump family members will be heard. Trump’s daughter, Ivanka, his relatives Jared Kushner, former Vice President Mike Pence, former Attorney General William Barr, and many other dignitaries are likely to be screened.
Several key people in Trump’s entourage, such as former Trump adviser Steve Bannon, refused to cooperate with the investigation. So Bannon is being tried for contempt of Parliament. It is unclear whether Trump himself will have any input during the hearings.
Deliberately choosing a listening time
Among the first witnesses on Thursday were a policewoman injured by Trump supporters and a filmmaker who filmed some of the leaders of the Capitol storming. The role of the far-right group Proud Boys in the break-in was also discussed.
The first session will start at 8:00 PM local time (Friday AM, 2:00 AM Dutch time). This time was chosen to attract the attention of as many Americans as possible. Major traditional networks NBC, ABC and CBS will broadcast the sessions live, as will CNN News. The interrogations will not be broadcast on conservative Fox News.
Sessions are also scheduled for June 13, 15, 16, 21 and 23. The public hearings will take place five months before the US midterm elections. The commission’s final report will be published in September.
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