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What can we expect from the next January 6 public hearings?

The House select committee investigating the Capitol Hill riots is expected to focus on far-right groups like the Proud Boys and Oath Keepers.

Explosive testimony expected from next January 6 public hearing
Hannah MckayREUTERS

The next public hearing of the House select committee investigating the January 6 attack on Congress will take place on Tuesday, 12 July. This hearing will focus on the composition of the violent mob who ransacked the Capitol and caused the deaths of five people, with particular focus on the far-right extremist groups thought to have helped coordinate the attack.

It is thought that the committee will explore links between the Trump administration and groups such as the Proud Boys and the Oath Keepers. Previewing Tuesday’s hearing, Democratic Rep. Zoe Lofgren of California said that there are clear connections between the militia groups and the White House:

“We are going to be connecting the dots during these hearings between these groups and those who were trying - in government circles - to overturn the election. So, we do think that this story is unfolding in a way that is very serious and quite credible.”

The role of extremist groups

Central to the testimony given in the upcoming hearing will be the role that extremist groups played in inciting the violence. Members of the Proud Boys have already been issued with a series of federal indictments which painted them as the focal point of the mob.

“In our hearings to come,” committee vice-chair Rep. Liz Cheney said ahead of the first hearing, “we will show specifically how a group of Proud Boys led a mob into the Capitol building on January 6.”

Federal investigators have claimed that it was members of the pro-Trump group who first broke through the barricades and who the smashed windows, allowing rioters to enter the Capitol Hill building itself.

Connections between Trump’s inner circle and far-right agitators

As the select committee attempts to present a coherent story of how the tragic events of January 6 occurred, each hearing has foreshadowed some of what is to follow later on. Shortly after the first hearing, Rep. Bennie Thompson answered “Yes” when asked if future witnesses would be able to “describe actual conversations between these extremist groups and anyone in Trump’s orbit?

It seems likely that this testimony, from “a number of witnesses,” will be presented on Tuesday as the committee seeks to tie Trump and his team to the rioters directly.

We know that the Oath Keepers were invited to provide security for organisers of the January 6 rally, but a top aide to Trump’s chief of staff, Mark Meadows, has further claimed that these ties extend into the White House itself.

Cassidy Hutchinson was the focus of a surprise additional public hearing last week, and she outlined the actions of Donald Trump and his closest associates in the build up to January 6.

“I recall hearing the words ‘Oath Keeper’ and hearing the words ‘Proud Boy’ closer to the planning of the January 6 rally, when Mr. Giuliani would be around,” Hutchinson told the committee.