The House Bipartisan Select Committee Investigation into the January 6 attack on the Capitol Building opened on Tuesday morning with testimony given by four police officers who shared their experiences of that day and asked only that the truth be told and those politicians who played a role be held accountable.
Committee members are:
- Chairman Bernie Thompson, Mississippi, 2nd District (D)
- Representative Pete Aguilar, California, 31st District (D)
- Representative Liz Cheney, Wyoming, at-large district (R)
- Representative Adam Kinzinger, Illinois 16th District (R)
- Representative Zoe Lofgren, California, 19th District (D)
- Representative Elaine Luria Virginia, 2nd District (D)
- Representative Stephanie Murphy, Florida, 7th District (D)
- Representative Jamie Raskin, Maryland, 8th District (D)
- Representative Adam Schiff, California, 28th District (D)
The link above is to view the first day.
GOP leader Kevin McCarthy may have made a career-ending error when he forfeited his opportunity to choose representatives for the select committee after his choice of the most disruptive representative available was denied.
McCarthy’s behavior was calculated. He selected at least one member who will likely be subpoenaed to explain his part in the attack. Speaker Pelosi, having secured the same rules that were adhered to during the Benghazi hearings, (giving the speaker veto power,) responded by vetoing two of the five who McCarthy appointed, Jim Jordan and Jim Banks. In an attempt to invalidate the proceeding McCarthy used the vetos as an excuse to withdraw all five of his Republican members, then called the hearing an exercise in partisan politics. He was outplayed, once again, by Speaker Pelosi who appointed two Republican Representatives: Liz Cheney and Adam Kinzinger. They were more vocally reproachful of Trump on Tuesday than any of the Democratic committee members.
Trump’s party has shifted blame for the coup attempt from Antifa, to Black Lives Matter, to the “libs” (trying to make the GOP look bad,) the to the FBI, and now they say it’s Nancy’s fault.
GOP leader Kevin McCarthy switched gears, attempting to draw attention away from the investigation that he had tried to stop. He orchestrated news conferences to coincide with the hearing, for Jim Jordan, Elise Stefanik, and Minority Whip Steve Scalise, who told the press that House Speaker Nancy Pelosi had “canceled” the Republicans she rejected from the committee. They also blamed Speaker Pelosi for not calling in the National Guard to aid in the insurrection, knowing only Trump had the authority to do so.
Representatives Greene, Gaetz, Gosar, and Gohmert scheduled a press conference to argue on behalf of jailed insurrectionists, saying they’ve been treated badly in prison. Green and Gaetz were run off by hecklers before it began; Gaetz was followed to his car by a woman who repeatedly shouted “Are you a pedophile, Mr. Gaetz?”
Arizona Representative Andy Biggs, chair of the far-right House Freedom Caucus, says he has introduced two resolutions that target Pelosi as well as Cheney and Kinzinger.
McCarthy himself has resorted to Trump-style name-calling when asked his thoughts of Kinzinger and Cheney— “Who is that? Adam and Liz? Aren’t they kind of like Pelosi Republicans?”
“He can call me any names he wants. I’m a Republican. Kevin McCarthy is technically my Republican leader. And to call, you know, members of Congress by childish names like Donald Trump used to do, I guess it’s just kind of par.” ~Representative Adam Kinzinger
Try as they might, to downplay the attempt to overthrow the government, there is no denying what took place on January 6. And thanks to the earnest sobriety of the members of the committee, we had the opportunity to hear uninterrupted individual accounts given by four officers who described hours of hand-to-hand combat, where they were outnumbered fifty to one. It is estimated that fewer than 200 D.C. police officers faced down 9,400 rioters.
The officers who testified are still recovering from not only physical injuries, ranging from a heart attack to concussions, but also from profound psychological effects, more difficult to recover from. One described the day as a war in which each of them fought a different battle.
The hearing has much to accomplish. Among the questions that must be answered:
- Who else communicated with Trump from the inside the Capitol during the attack?
- Why has Trump not been held accountable for not only ignoring 14 requests to send the National Guard, but tweeting to the insurrectionists to keep fighting?
- Was Mike Flynn’s brother responsible for delaying the deployment of the Guard another 40 minutes after Trump finally gave the okay?
- Why wasn’t Trump whisked away to safety by the Secret Service, like the members of Congress were?
- Why is Representative Lauren Boebert, who tweeted “1776” and updates on Nancy Pelosi’s changing location, still a member of congress?
- Who removed the panic buttons from the offices of some Representatives?
- Which members of Congress gave guided tours of the Capitol Building on January 5th? Rep. Mikie Sherrill, D-N.J. had said Tuesday that on January 5 she saw “members of Congress who had groups coming through the Capitol … a reconnaissance for the next day.”
- Why has the behavior of Ginni Thomas—wife of Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas been overlooked? She endorsed the protest demanding Congress overturn the election, and sent her “LOVE” to the rioters.
- Why were Capitol Police left uninformed and unprepared for an attack that the public anticipated?
There is no question the attack on the Capitol was an inside job.
In what can only be seen as a step in the right direction, the Department of Justice just denied Alabama Representative Mo Brooks’ request to provide him with representation in the lawsuit filed against him by Representative Eric Swalwell (D-CA.) The lawsuit accuses Brooks and others of inciting the mob on 1/6 during Trump’s “Stop the Steal” rally with their incendiary speeches. Brooks argued that it was within the scope of his duties as a House member.
“Inciting or conspiring to foment a violent attack on the United States Congress is not within the scope of employment of a Representative — or any federal employee.”~DOJ Responding to Mo Brooks
The GOP is a slow-burning fire, and Trump is a gust of hot air. If treason goes unpunished our democracy is taking its last breath. We need comparative justice for politicians and white-collar criminals as for petty shoplifters or offenders for possession of a now-legal drug. If the Republican Party manages to survive, Cheyney and Kinsinger will be its only remnants.
What’s next? Chairman Bennie Thompson, will begin issuing subpoenas and in approximately ten days the hearings will resume. The department of Justice has said former Trump officials can testify. Action can be taken if witnesses ignore subpoenas and since we are under a new administration, obstruction of the investigation should not go unpunished. Thomas says he’s considering bringing Trump before Congress to testify.
Delegate Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-DC) issued a statement asking the US House Select Committee on Jan 6 to call Mark Meadows and GOP Leader Kevin McCarthy as future witnesses.