What did we learn about the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol after the first public hearing? What’s next?
Many revelations came out of the first night of testimony held by the Select House Committee on January 6th. What’s next?
The never before seen footage from the events on January 6th and the subsequent interviews conducted by the Select House Committee on January 6th were shocking to many. The next hearing will take place on Monday 13 June at 10 AM ET.
What happened at the first hearing?
Capitol Police Officer Caroline Edwards spoke about her experience during the events of January 6th, 2021, during the first night of hearings the Select House Committee will hold over the coming weeks. The testimony of Officer Edwards is harrowing and provides the country with a first-hand account of what law enforcement officers faced as a violent mob made its way towards and later into the US Capitol. As the mob began to gather, Edwards recounted seeing various leaders of far-right and white nationalist organizations, including Joseph Biggs of the Proud Boys.
“It was carnage it was chaos.”
Very quickly as the events unfolded, Edwards joined other officers in an attempt to hold their police line, which they did by holding onto bike racks that had been strategically placed.
Recounting the experience, she said, “I felt the bike rack come on top of my head, and I was pushed backward. [...] my foot caught the stair behind me, and my chin hit the handrail, and at that point, I blacked out, but my head clipped the concrete stairs behind me.”
Edwards fell unconscious but, after regaining consciousness, ran to another part of the Capitol to help other law enforcement officers hold back the crowd. Shortly after, rioters pepper-sprayed her and another officer. During her testimony, she said she endured hours of hand-to-hand combat, far beyond any training she had received as a police officer.
Trump adminstration officials tell their side of the story
The public also saw new statements from interviews conducted with various members of the Trump Administration including, former-Attorney General Bill Barr and General Milley, the Chairmen of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.
“I did not agree with the idea of saying that the election was stolen and putting out this stuff which I told the President was bullshit,” said former Attorney-General Barr while recounting for the committee his interactions with the former president in late November and early December. Barr resigned on 23 December 2020, just two weeks before rioters invaded the Capitol.
Congresswomen Liz Cheney (R-WY), who is one of the few Republicans on the Select Committee, also stated that on 6 January, the President made no attempts to speak with his acting Attorney General, the Secretary of Defense Mike Esper, or the Chairmen of the Joint Cheifs of Staff Mark Milley. However, Vice President Mike Pence was in communication with all three.
Miley stated in an interview with committee officials that he had “two or three calls with Vice President Pence,” describing his demeanor as “animated” and “direct.” VP Pence issued “direct unambiguous orders” to “get the military down there and get the Guards down here to put down this situation.” Former Presidnet Trump made no such orders. Instead, Trump tweeted support for the actions taken by those who stormed the Capitol.
Threats against Mike Pence
Throughout the video evidence collected, it was clear that Pence was a target for the mob, with some rioters chanting “hang Mike Pence!” as they entered the Capitol building.
Many experts believe that the President placed his Vice President at great risk before and during the riots. Before the march towards the Capitol, Trump addressed his fans on the National Mall and calling VP Pence to “be strong” and “to do the right thing.” When it became clear that his vice president would not overturn the election, Trump took to Twitter.
As gallows were erected outside the Capitol Building, Trump tweeted, “Mike Pence didn’t have the courage to do what should have been done to protect our Country and our Constitution, giving the state a chance to certify a corrected set of facts, not the fraudulent or inaccurate ones which they were asked to previously certify. USA demands the truth.”
Mark Miley testified that he received a call from President Trumps Chief of Staff, Mark Medows, that the “narrative that the Vice president is making all the decisions” had to be “killed.” Medows said that Miley needed to help “establish the narrative that [...] the President is still in charge and that things are steady and stable.” Miley interpreted the comments coming from the White House as “politics” and was deeply disturbed by the suggestions.
The former Vice President has spoken publicly about the events saying “President Trump is wrong. I had no right to overturn the election. The presidency belongs to the American people and the American people alone. Frankly, there is no idea more unamerican than the notion that one person could choose the American president.”