The US House committee dedicated to investigating the January 6, 2021 riot at the Capitol building released new video and audio material on the event during a prime-time public hearing on Thursday, with the panel labeling the siege an “attempted coup.”

What happened during the hearing?

Opening the hearing, committee chairman Bennie Thompson, a Democrat, said democracy “remains in danger” from the “conspiracy” which incited the riot.

Republican Representative Liz Cheney said Trump “lit the flame” of the attack during the hearing. She presented footage of former Attorney General Bill Barr, who pushed back on President Donald Trump’s election fraud claims.

The panel also released audio from General Mark Milley, who testified that former Vice President Mike Pence dispatched the military and national guard to quell the riot rather than Trump.

Pence’s chief of staff told the committee that that former vice president’s loyalty is to the constitution, not Trump.

The committee attempted to show the “harrowing story” of how the violence spiraled out of control on that day. The panel presented graphic new footage of the riot, showing people rushing out of Republican House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy’s office.

Police officer, documentary filmmaker testify

A police officer assaulted during the riot, Caroline Edwards shared her testimony. She said she was insulted in the days following the siege.

Documentary filmmaker Nick Quested, who was tracking the far-right Proud Boys group’s movement on that day, also testified. He said he “was surprised at the size of the group, the anger, the profanity.”

The panel released new evidence linking former Trump’s efforts to overturn the 2020 election to the attack. Trump, who lost to then-Democratic nominee Joe Biden, falsely claimed the election was tainted by voter fraud.

January 6 testimony from Trump's daughter, Ivanka

Some of Trump’s closest allies and family members spoke to the committee

The panel presented accounts from Trump’s family members and aides, including Trump’s daughter, Ivanka and his son-in-law Jared Kushner.

Trump has derided the probe as a “witch hunt.” Some Republicans in Congress have downplayed the investigation and the riot ahead of critical midterm elections this fall. 

Biden says riot flagrantly violated Constitution

President Joe Biden, who was attending the Summit of the Americas in Los Angeles, said viewers of the hearing “are going to be seeing for the first time a lot of the detail that occurred.”

“I think it was a clear, flagrant violation of the Constitution,” Biden said.

The investigation also faces a challenge in convincing the American public that its findings still matter amid soaring inflation, high gas prices and an unwaning global pandemic.

wd/nm (AFP, AP, Reuters)

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