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January 6 hearing: Capitol riot inquiry invokes emotional police testimony

At times wiping away tears, four officers detailed the repeated violent attacks by the pro-Trump mob. Rep. Adam Kinzinger, a Republican, was also overcome.

The House select committee formed to investigate the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol convened its first hearing on Tuesday, hosting a panel of four police officers who defended the building against a mob of supporters of then-President Donald Trump.

The testimony, which included new video footage from the day, was both emotional and dramatic, as the officers described being overwhelmed by rioters who were better equipped for the battle that unfolded.

  • Officer Dunn, a 13-year veteran of the Capitol Police force, recounted enduring racist slurs, in powerful testimony about confronting the mob. More on the officers here.
  • The officers provided chilling, detailed accounts of being knocked unconscious, beaten and fearing death at the hands of a mob that outnumbered them. They choked up reliving the hand-to-hand combat they faced on Jan. 6.
  • Rep. Liz Cheney, R-Wyo., issued striking criticism of her party for blocking an independent commission to examine the attack. She is one of two Republicans serving on the committee, at House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's invitation.

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Four law enforcement officers testify about Jan. 6 attack

Four law enforcement officers who were on the front lines during the Jan. 6 attack will testify at the select committee hearing. This is the first time they will tell their stories under oath at a congressional hearing.

Harry Dunn, private first class, U.S. Capitol Police

A 13-veteran of the force, Dunn's testimony of enduring racist slurs from the mob during the riot was included in Trump's second impeachment trial. Dunn has also said he endured physical assaults from the mob and has been vocal about what happened the day of the attack. 

Aquilino Gonell, sergeant, U.S. Capitol Police

Gonell was beaten with a flagpole during the riot and later told media he thought he would die that day.

Michael Fanone, officer, Metropolitan Police Department

Fanone has said that he suffered a heart attack and traumatic brain injury in the aftermath of the violent attack. Fanone has been vocal in his criticism of politicians downplaying the Jan. 6 assault on the Capitol when hordes of rioters were egged on by Trump's lies about election fraud.

Daniel Hodges, officer, Metropolitan Police Department

Hodges was seen in viral videos trapped between doors during the Capitol riot, attempting to keep the protesters from storming the Capitol. Despite the excruciating pain he appeared to be in during the attack, he later told reporters he was happy to do his duty. The FBI has arrested a Connecticut man for allegedly assaulting Hodges. 

Cheney to give opening statement at Jan. 6 hearing

Rep. Liz Cheney, one of the two Republicans serving on the select committee investigating the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol, is expected to give an opening statement today. 

The Wyoming Republican, who was tapped by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, is serving as the de facto ranking member after Pelosi rejected two of the five GOP members selected by Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, prompting him to pull all five off the panel.

Cheney was ousted from her leadership role in the GOP conference after criticizing former President Trump for his role in the riot. She voted in favor of an article of impeachment against him. 

The hearing, entitled “The Law Enforcement Experience on January 6th,” is expected to last roughly 2 to 3 hours and will feature witness testimony from several law enforcement officials who were present on the day of the attack. 

 

McCarthy's picks will be absent from the committee. Here's why.

When the Select Committee on the Jan. 6 attack begins its work, there will be no one on the panel selected by GOP leader Kevin McCarthy. 

That's because House Speaker Nancy Pelosi rejected two of McCarthy's picks for the select committee, which prompted McCarthy to pull all of his proposed appointees. The picks included Republicans Jim Jordan of Ohio, Jim Banks of Indiana, Rodney Davis of Illinois, Kelly Armstrong of North Dakota and Troy Nehls of Texas. Pelosi rejected Banks and Jordan because of the "the impact their appointments could have on the integrity of the investigation."

On Monday night, McCarthy tried to force a House vote to allow his picks to be placed on the committee, but it was rejected 218 to 197. 

Republicans have argued that Democrats are using the commission for political messaging. But Pelosi has added Republican Reps. Adam Kinzinger of Illinois and Liz Cheney of Wyoming, both of whom are outspoken Trump critics, to the committee.