Lessons and Reflections on the US House of Representatives Select Committee Hearing on January 6

The prime-time January 6 committee prime time hearing was designed to impress. With all major broadcast networks and most news platforms (cable and streaming) disrupting normal (and premium) programming for this event. During the two-hour hearing, dozens of witnesses were interviewed and shocking footage from the Capitol attack were shown. It is clear that the riot killed at least seven people, injuring and wounding hundreds more. This hearing was the first of many scheduled in the coming weeks and will examine the truth behind Trump’s claims of collusion between the police and the rioters.

In something not seen since Watergate, the select committee’s findings were presented in prime-time. They were a somber contrast to the heightened rhetoric during the previous weeks. While the committee members spoke in a measured manner, but what they showed was shocking.

The prime-time January 6 committee hearing had an incredibly high bar. The Democrats wanted the nation to focus on the horror of the January 6 attack, while the Republicans were out to defend former President Donald Trump. The rioters did not spontaneously erupt – one can easily tell it was orchestrated by an organized group of Trump supporters over months and the former President clearly supported it.

While there were some troubling moments in the prime-time Jan. 6 committee hearing, the Democratic side did not back down. The eveidence was heavy against Trump and even several Republican Members of Congress.  Some of those members sought presidential pardons after the hearing. While all but a few Republican lawmakers did not condemn the protesters

  • Explicit footage revives January 6 terror.  If you saw the event unfold on January 6 2021, you likely had seen more than enough.  It was difficult to watch it all again, but important in light of the larger context of the committees goals.
  • The Committee hearing would have been overwhelmingly powerful for those wanting to make a case that Trump was behind the riot and that this was an actual coup attempt, if they had a more balanced committee. Of 9 members, 7 were Democrats and 2 were Republicans — which is unheard of in light of how slime the majority in the House.  This was the only way the committee could make sure they had enough critics of the President in every seat.  Democrats would have benefited allowing Republicans to seat extreme supporters of President Trump on the committee, because it would have shown the cult like demeanor of that clique.  Instead this committee was clearly stacked and it made their charges seem exaggerated, although the evidence shows they are true.
  • Trump had no desire for the riot to stop.  According to CNN, “Vice chair Liz Cheney described testimony from a witness who said Trump was aware of chants to ‘Hang Mike Pence’ and seemed to approve of them.  Aware of the rioters’ chants to ‘hang Mike Pence,’ the President responded with this sentiment: [quote] ‘Maybe our supporters have the right idea.’ Mike Pence [quote] ‘deserves’ it,” she said. Cheney has previously characterized Trump’s inaction on January 6 during those 187 minutes as a ‘dereliction of duty.'”

It will be interesting to watch as future hearings take place, we will provide those stories too.

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