April 14, 2024

The House committee investigating the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol is holding the first of several public hearings to reveal the findings of its 11-month probe. 

“We can’t sweep what happened under the rug,” House Jan. 6 select committee Chair Rep. Bennie Thompson is expected to say in his opening statement. “The American people deserve answers. So, I come before you this evening not as a Democrat, but as an American who swore an oath to defend the Constitution. The Constitution doesn’t protect just Democrats or just Republicans. It protects all of us: ‘We the People.’ And this scheme was an attempt to undermine the will of the people.”

Thursday’s historic hearing is being led by Thompson and committee vice chair Rep. Liz Cheney, who is one of only two Republicans on the committee. An aide said ahead of the hearing that Thompson will “place Jan. 6 in a broader historical context and talk about what an aberration that day was in the history of American democracy.” Committee aides said there will be opening statements by Thompson and Cheney, followed by “substantive” multimedia presentations and then live witness testimony.  

Thursday’s hearing features two witnesses: Documentary filmmaker Nick Quested, who followed the Proud Boys on Jan. 6 and recorded hours of video that day, and Capitol Police officer Caroline Edwards, the first law enforcement officer injured by rioters storming the Capitol grounds. Edwards suffered a traumatic brain injury and has not been able to return to work since the attack, according to the committee. Upon her arrival on Thursday to the hearing, Edwards said “good to go” when asked if she was ready. 

James Goldston, the former president of ABC News, helped the committee put together its presentation, which will include audio and video elements. 

Among those attending the hearing will be the widows of Capitol Police officers Howard Liebengood and Jeff Smith, who both died by suicide following the Capitol attack. 

The committee has interviewed more than 1,000 individuals, gathered more than 140,000 documents and received nearly 500 “substantive” tips on its tip line. Members have spent nearly a year reviewing documents and hearing testimony from people ranging from former Trump officials to Capitol police to riot defendants.   

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