The House committee investigating the deadly Jan. 6 riot at the U.S. Capitol began its first in a series of long-awaited public hearings Thursday by revealing new footage of the riot and testimony to make the case that the deadly attack was the direct result of then-President Donald Trump's attempts to cling to power.
The committee promised that the six additional hearings that have been scheduled will make it clear how Trump supporters came to lay siege to the Capitol to block members of Congress from formalizing Joe Biden’s victory in the 2020 presidential election.
Catch up quickly with key moments from the prime-time hearing:
- The committee aired sober, never-seen-before testimony from ally after ally, including Trump’s daughter Ivanka Trump, admitting they knew Trump's stolen election claims were unfounded.
- Capitol Police Officer Caroline Edwards testified that she was "slipping in people's blood" as she battled rioters.
- Rep. Bennie Thompson, the chair of the committee, argued that Jan. 6 was the "culmination of an attempted coup" coordinated by extremist groups like the Proud Boys answering Trump's call.
- Republicans cast the hearing as a partisan distraction.
Rep. Perry spokesman calls pardon claim 'ludicrous'
During the hearing, Cheney said Rep. Scott Perry, a Trump ally who objected to the election results on Jan. 6, sought a presidential pardon in the final days of Trump's term.
"This is a ludicrous and soulless lie," spokesman Jay Ostrich told NBC Philadelphia when he was asked about a request for a pardon.
Perry is the head of the conservative Freedom Caucus.
Thompson says committee has 'documentation' of GOP lawmakers who sought pardons from Trump
After the hearing finished, Thompson was asked by reporters about the committee’s claim that multiple Republican lawmakers sought pardons from Trump after Jan. 6.
Thompson said he didn’t want to get ahead of information that would be revealed in future hearings, but he added, "We have documentation." He wouldn’t say how many Republicans sought pardons. Cheney said earlier that the committee learned that Rep. Scott Perry, R-Pa., and other GOP members of Congress wanted Trump to pardon them.
Rep. Jamie Raskin, D-Md., a member of the committee, told reporters that his main emotion after he left the hearing was one of sadness.
“I feel sad to be thrusted back into these events and to have some of our colleagues not being interested in what we found. That’s really my emotion right now,” he said. Many House Republicans have ignored the committee’s work, while some of Trump’s closest allies have gone on offense, calling it a “witch hunt.”
“The details of it are just absolutely unrefuted and they’re irrefutable,” Raskin later added. “And the fact that we have elected officials in the country who are still trying to deny the truth is shocking to me.”
Republicans accuse Democrats of trying to divert attention from other issues
Republicans were largely silent about the substance of Thursday night's event while casting the hearing as a partisan attempt to distract the public by continuing to revisit the deadly riot.
"Where’s the primetime hearing on President Biden’s botched Afghanistan withdrawal?" Rep. Jim Jordan, R-Ohio, tweeted during the hearing. He also tweeted, "Gas is $5 per gallon."
Jordan also appeared to push back against the committee's argument that Trump incited his supporters and inspired them to attack the Capitol.
"PEACEFULLY and patriotically make your voices heard. -President Trump, Jan. 6, 2021," Jordan tweeted, quoting part of Trump's speech on the Ellipse that day.
House Republican Conference Chairwoman Elise Stefanik of New York said Americans are concerned about "sky-high gas prices, the border crisis, the baby formula shortage" in an interview on Fox News, which chose not to broadcast the prime-time hearing. "These hearings are no more than an attempt to change the narrative. They are desperate," she added.
Rep. Mario Diaz-Balart, R-Fla., tweeted, "Tonight’s J6 committee hearing is the most blatant attempt to distract the American people from the disastrous and failed policies of the Democratic Party."
Rep. Diana Harshbarger, R-Tenn., tweeted, "Where is the prime time coverage of the fatal fentanyl analogues flowing through our wide open border?"
Trump’s inner circle admits to the Jan. 6 committee: He lost the election but wanted to overturn it
Ally after ally of former President Donald Trump — his daughter, the former attorney general, a former senior campaign aide — admitted to congressional investigators that his claims that the 2020 election were stolen from him were false.
Their remarks were just some the revelations during the first day of the Jan. 6 committee hearings, interspersed with shocking, never-before-seen video of the deadly attack and powerful statements from a Capitol Police officer who battled rioters.
The panel says it is building a case that Trump was responsible for the events of the day.
'Trump asked us to come': Video shows rioters saying they marched on Capitol at Trump's request
In the final video of the evening played by Thompson, several Trump supporters said plainly that they attended the Jan. 6 rally and stormed the Capitol because Trump asked them to.
“What really made me want to come was the fact that I had supported Trump all that time. I did believe, you know, that the election was being stolen and Trump asked us to come,” said Robert Schornack, who the committee said was sentenced to 36 months’ probation for his role in the insurrection.
Eric Barber, who the committee said had been charged with theft and unlawful demonstration, said Trump “personally asked for us to come to D.C. that day.”
“And I thought, for everything he’s done for us, if this is the only thing he’s going to ask of me, I’ll do it,” Barber said. He added that it was “one of my disappointments” that Trump never marched to the Capitol with the rioters.
“He said he was going to go with us,” Barber said. “That he was gonna be there.”
John Wright, who is awaiting trial for felony civil disorder and other charges, said, “I know why I was there, and that’s because he called me there, and he laid out what was happening in our government.”
Capitol Police officer recalls 'carnage,' 'chaos' during attack
In harrowing testimony before the break, Edwards described her experience trying to hold off the mob in graphic detail. Edwards suffered a concussion when she cracked her head on the steps outside the Capitol after she was knocked to the ground by rioters pushing back a barricade.
“I can remember my breath catching in my throat, because what I saw was a war scene,” she said, comparing the “carnage” to “something out of a movie."
“Officers on the ground. They were bleeding, on the ground, throwing up,” she said.
“It was carnage. It was chaos,” she added. She added a moment later, “I’m not combat-trained."
Edwards described looking up at the west front at one point and being shocked at “the war zone” it had become.
Earlier, she described how the back of her head “clipped the concrete” stairs behind her after she was pushed over by rioters.
After she regained consciousness, Edwards still returned to duty, running toward the west front of the Capitol to try to hold the line at the Senate steps, she said.
“More people kept coming at us. It just seemed like more and more people coming on to the west front. They started overpowering us,” she said.
After Washington, D.C., officers showed up, she ran to another location to resume holding the line, when she saw Capitol Police Officer Brian Sicknick “with his head in his hands” and appearing “ghostly pale.”
Sicknick died of natural causes the day after the riot after he suffered two strokes.
Thompson places Trump at center of an extremist plot to attack the Capitol
Chairman Thompson placed Trump at the center of a conspiracy to stage a coup by summarizing the testimony of filmmaker Nick Quested, who recorded a meeting between the leaders of two violent groups that led the insurrection: The Proud Boys and the Oath Keepers.
“What you witnessed is what a coordinated and planned effort would look like,” Thompson said after Quested detailed the hours he spent with Proud Boys leader Enrique Tarrio before the insurrection and filming the riot. “It was the culmination of a monthslong effort spearheaded by President Trump.”
Tarrio has pleaded not guilty to charges of seditious conspiracy.
Thompson said the Proud Boys first launched their attack on the Capitol at the Peace Circle — “the first security perimeter that those marching from the Ellipse would have come to as they moved toward the Capitol.”
He described the Peace Circle walkway as a place “where the thousands of angry Trump supporters would arrive after President Trump sent them there from the Ellipse.”
Thompson went on to say that the “Proud Boys timed their attack to the moments before the start of the joint session in the Capitol, which is also where President Trump directed the angry mob.”
The committee concludes first hearing
Chairman Thompson gaveled out the first hearing at 9:54 p.m. ET — keeping the presentation under two hours.
Documentarian Quested says he picked up Proud Boys leader from jail on Jan. 5
Nick Quested said that on Jan. 5, his team picked up Proud Boys leader Enrique Tarrio from jail after he was arrested for carrying high-capacity magazines and burning a Black Lives Matter flag.
"We were attempting to get an interview with Mr. Tarrio. We had no idea of any of the events that were subsequently going to happen," Quested said.
Quested went on to say he and his team drove Tarrio to pick up his propery from the police department south of the National Mall. He said they then went to get his other bags at the Phoenix Hotel.
Quested said they then encountered Oath Keepers leader Stewart Rhodes. Afterward, he said, they filmed a scene of Tarrio, Rhodes and other people in a parking garage around the corner.
Ultimately, Tarrio went to a hotel near Baltimore, and Quested said he conducted an interview with him in the hotel room. Quested then returned to Washington for the night.
Thompson suggests Proud Boys headed to Capitol before Trump’s speech to spot ‘weaknesses’
Filmmaker Nick Quested testified that a large group of Proud Boys marched from Trump's speech to the Capitol on Jan. 6. Chairman Thompson said that Quested had previously told the committee about 250 to 300 members of the group were there, and other witnesses confirmed that there was a large Proud Boy presence at the Capitol.
“They weren’t there for President Trump’s speech," Thompson said, noting that the Proud Boys left the National Mall for the Capitol before Trump began speaking.
“They walked around the Capitol that morning. I’m concerned this allowed them to see what defenses were in place and where weaknesses might be,” Thompson said.
Filmmaker following Proud Boys describes details from Jan. 5-6
Chairman Thompson interviewed filmmaker Nick Quested, who had been embedded in the Proud Boys as part of a documentary he was making. The committee showed a video of a meeting he filmed between the leaders of the Proud Boys and the Oath Keepers in a parking garage the night before the insurrection. Quested couldn't hear what was said, but Thompson noted that the Justice Department said former Proud Boy leader Enrique Tarrio referred to the Capitol in their conversation.
In discussing the mood of the members of the Proud Boys on Jan. 6, ahead of the storming of the Capitol, Quested described the atmosphere as being full of anger. He said he felt so concerned a fight would break out that he called his attorney.
Lawmaker reacts to ‘incredible’ Milley testimony
Rep. Annie Kuster, D-N.H., who watched the hearing from the audience, told NBC News during the break she was struck by Milley’s comments. Milley testified that Pence, not Trump, called him during the attack on the Capitol and gave “very explicit, very direct, unambiguous orders” to help put an end to the insurrection.
“And that General Milley — that’s pretty incredible testimony. Because there’s a chain of command, and he was listening to the vice president. That’s historic right there,” she said.
She said the video of the attack was tough to watch.
“The images are triggering,” she said. “We’ve seen the video on the Senate side during the impeachment hearing, but we have not shown the video on the House side of how close those of us in the gallery came — and how close our democracy came.”
Capitol police officer attacked on Jan. 6 says she was called a 'traitor'
Capitol Police Officer Caroline Edwards, the first in-person witness to testify during Thursday’s hearing, who suffered a concussion during the assault on the U.S. Capitol, said she was called “a lot of things on January 6.”
Those included “Nancy Pelosi’s dog,” “incompetent,” “hero,” “villain” and a “traitor.”
“I was none of those things,” she said. “I was an American, standing face to face with many other Americans … asking myself how we had gotten here.”
Edwards, who was one of the first people to be injured while trying to hold back a pro-Trump mob looking to storm the Capitol, said she would “gladly sacrifice everything” to make sure “the America my grandfather defended is here for many years to come.”
Thompson: Committee has ‘substantial evidence’ that Trump ‘energized’ extremist groups to show up in D.C.
Chairman Thompson, introducing a new video, said the committee has obtained “substantial evidence” showing that Trump’s tweet from Dec. 19, 2020, calling his followers to Washington, D.C., on Jan. 6, 2021, “energized individuals from the Proud Boys and other extremist groups." Trump's tweet encouraged followers to "be there, will be wild!"
'There's a lot new here': Jan. 6 sleuths impressed by committee compilation
One of the online sleuths who has been compiling terabytes of video of the Jan. 6 attack and helping to identify the perpetrators said they were impressed by the committee's video presentation Thursday, even after having watched countless hours of video themselves.
"There's a lot new here," the sleuth, speaking anonymously, told NBC News.
Some of the new video, from NBC News' own review, included video shot from the top of the Capitol dome that showed the mob breaching barricades on the east side of the Capitol as a motorcade waiting for Vice President Mike Pence evacuated the area.
Wife of Jan. 6 officer who died after riot feels duty to represent him at hearings
The widow of an officer who died by suicide just days after last year’s insurrection said Thursday she feels compelled to represent him at the Jan. 6 committee hearings.
Erin Smith, who was married to Washington, D.C., Police Officer Jeffrey Smith, is not scheduled to testify as a witness, but she told NBC News she wants to be a voice for her late husband.
“I think they need to know what an officer went through that’s no longer here with us,” Smith told NBC News’ Hallie Jackson. “They’ve heard from ones that are still here, and the ones who aren’t have a story, as well.”
Smith said she is willing to testify before the House committee at a future hearing, and her attorney David Weber said there have been discussions with the panel about her potential testimony. She is attending the committee’s first hearing Thursday night.
Democratic lawmakers tear up as video of violence at the Capitol is played
Several lawmakers in the audience grew visibly emotional as the committee aired video of the violent attack at the Capitol on Jan. 6. Tears streamed down the faces of Reps. Pramila Jayapal, D-Wash., and Cori Bush, D-Mo.
The committee wrapped up the first part of its presentation Thursday night with a lengthy video of Trump supporters storming the Capitol, including visceral video from police body cameras and audio of law enforcement calling for assistance. The mood in the room grew somber as the video played, with some lawmakers in attendance audibly gasping.
We're back. Witnesses are up next.
Thompson gaveled in the hearing after a break and introduced the evening's witnesses. They are:
U.S. Capitol Police Officer Caroline Edwards:
Edwards was one of the first officers to be injured by pro-Trump rioters on Jan. 6, 2021, while protecting the U.S. Capitol and members of Congress inside. She sustained a traumatic brain injury after rioters knocked her to the ground. But even after the injury, Edwards continued to guard the entrance to the Capitol.
Edwards’ injury has prevented her from returning to her role on the Capitol first responder unit, although she hopes to return once physically cleared.
On Jan 6, 2021, and in the days leading up to it, award-winning British documentarian and filmmaker Nick Quested was following the Proud Boys.
He captured the early rumblings of violent insurgence and the ensuing attack.
Most of his footage has remained unreleased to the public until now. Some of it includes a meeting between Enrique Tarrio of the Proud Boys and Stewart Rhodes of the Oath Keepers just blocks from the Capitol.
Committee takes 10-minute recess
The committee broke for a 10-minute recess at 9:02 p.m. ET.
Gasps from lawmakers in the hearing audience as audio of Milley is played
There were gasps and a few “Jesus Christ” utterances from lawmakers here in the audience at the hearing when Cheney played audio of testimony from Gen. Mark Milley, the chairman of the joint chiefs of staff.
Milley told to the committee that Trump’s chief of staff Mark Meadows sought to have him “kill the narrative” that then-Vice President Mike Pence was “making all the decisions” related to the government’s response to the violence — rather than Trump himself.
Among the lawmakers in the audience is Rep. Cori Bush, D-Mo., who was seen shaking her head in apparent disgust as Cheney presented evidence she argued showed a plot by Trump allies to keep power by force.
Jared Kushner said Pat Cipollone's threats to resign as White House counsel amounted to 'whining'
Rep. Liz Cheney, R-Wyo., highlighted testimony from Jared Kushner in which he said White House counsel Pat Cipollone's threats to resign amounted to "whining."
Cipollone "was so concerned about potentially lawless activity he threatened to resign, multiple times," Cheney said. "That is exceedingly rare and exceedingly serious. It requires immediate attention, especially when the entire team threatens to resign. However, in the Trump White House, it was not exceedingly rare, and it was not treated seriously."
She then played testimony from Kushner, Trump's son-in-law, who was a top White House aide.
"I kind of, like I said, my interest at that time was on trying to get as many pardons done, and I know that he was always, him and the team, were always saying: 'Oh, we are going to resign. We are not going to be here if this happens, if that happens,'" Kushner said. "So I kind of took it up to just be whining, to be honest with you."
GOP Rep. Scott Perry, other Republican lawmakers sought presidential pardons, Cheney says
Cheney said the committee learned that Rep. Scott Perry, R-Pa., and other GOP members of Congress wanted Trump to pardon them.
Perry was involved in trying to get Jeff Clark appointed as acting attorney general to carry out Trump's efforts to spread lies about the election being stolen.
"As you will see, Representative Perry contacted the White House in the weeks after January 6th to seek a presidential pardon," Cheney said. "Multiple other Republican congressmen also sought presidential pardons for their roles in attempting to overturn the 2020 election."
Sean Hannity brought up impeachment and 25th Amendment to Trump's press secretary after riot
Cheney, in her opening remarks, made note of Trump's family, allies and Cabinet members pushing to sideline the president immediately after the Capitol riot. One Cabinet official, Cheney said in her opening statement, "suggested that remaining Cabinet officers take a more active role in running the White House and the administration" in Trump's final weeks.
Cheney highlighted a text exchange between Fox News host Sean Hannity, a close Trump ally, and then-White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany as "most emblematic of" the thinking among his inner circle at that time.
In multiple messages, Hannity wrote: “Key now, no more crazy people.” “No more stolen election talk.” “Yes, impeachment and 25th amendment are real, and many people will quit.”
McEnany responded in part: “Love that. That’s the playbook.”
Milley testified that Meadows sought to have him inflate Trump's involvement in Jan. 6 response
Gen. Mark Milley, the chairman of the joint chiefs of staff, testified to the committee that then-President Donald Trump's chief of staff Mark Meadows sought to have him "kill the narrative" that then-Vice President Mike Pence was "making all the decisions" related to the government's response to the violence.
"Not only did President Trump refuse to tell the mob to leave the Capitol, he placed no call to any element of the U.S. government to instruct that the Capitol be defended," Cheney said in her opening statement. "He did not call his secretary of defense on January 6th.
"He did not talk to his attorney general. He did not talk to the Department of Homeland Security. Trump gave no order to deploy the National Guard that day and made no effort to work with the Department of Justice to coordinate and deploy law enforcement assets," she continued. "But Mike Pence did each of those things."
She cited testimony that Milley provided the committee that Pence called him on two or three occasions as a pro-Trump mob was sacking the Capitol.
"He was very animated, and he issued very explicit, very direct, unambiguous orders," Milley said. "There was no question about that. And I can get you the exact quotes. From our records somewhere. But he was very animated, very direct, very firm to [Defense Secretary Christopher Miller]. Get the military down here, get the Guard down here. Put down this situation, et cetera."
Then Cheney presented Milley's testimony about his call with Meadows on Jan. 6, 2021.
"He said: 'We have to kill the narrative that the vice president is making all the decisions. We need to establish the narrative, you know, that the president is still in charge and that things are steady or stable,' or words to that effect," Milley recalled. "I immediately interpreted that as politics. Politics. Politics. Red flag for me, personally. No action. But I remember it distinctly.”
Cheney says final Jan. 6 committee hearing will feature live testimony from Trump White House staff
Cheney said in her opening statement that the final hearing in the committee's planned seven-hearing sprint this month will feature live testimony from former Trump White House staffers detailing the "moment-by-moment" developments of the Capitol riot.
"In our final hearing, you will also hear a moment-by-moment account of the hourslong attack from more than a half-dozen White House staff, both live in the hearing room and via videotaped testimony," she said. "There is no doubt that President Trump was well aware of the violence as it developed. White House staff urged President Trump to intervene and call off the mob."
Trump meeting in mid-December 2020 that included Giuliani led to a 'pivotal moment,' Cheney says
Cheney said that on Dec. 18, 2020, a group that included former Gen. Michael Flynn, Sidney Powell and Rudy Giuliani visited the White House and "stayed late into the evening."
"We know that the group discussed a number of dramatic steps, including that President Trump impose martial law, seize voting machines and potentially rerun elections," Cheney said.
She then said that the public will hear about the meeting during the hearings and that "Trump met with that group alone for a period of time before White House lawyers and other staff discovered that the group was there and rushed to intervene."
After the meeting, Trump sent the tweet telling people to come to Washington on Jan. 6. "Be there," he said. "Will be Wild!"
"As you will see, this was a pivotal moment," Cheney said. "This tweet initiated a chain of events. The tweet led to the planning for what occurred on January 6th, including by the Proud Boys who ultimately led the invasion of the Capitol and the violence on that day."
Analysis: Thompson zeroes in on Trump's fitness to hold office
Thompson’s reference to a Civil War-era change to the federal oath of office included an insinuation that Trump should never be allowed to hold office again.
“In 1862, when American citizens had taken up arms against this country, Congress adopted a new oath to help make sure no person who had supported the rebellion could hold a position of public trust,” Thompson said.
The committee argues that Trump was at the center of a failed coup. During the post-insurrection impeachment last year, the Senate had the power to convict Trump on impeachment charges and prohibit him from being sworn in to office again. It chose not to do that.
NBC News reported Sunday that, while Trump has not made a final decision about running for president in 2024, his advisers are split over whether the announcement of such a bid should happen before or after November’s midterm elections.
Jeffrey Clark drafted letter to states claiming DOJ found 'significant concerns,' Cheney says
Cheney presented a letter that Jeff Clark drafted that he planned to send to states that said the Justice Department had "identified significant concerns that may have impacted the outcome of the election."
Trump wanted Clark to send the letter to states after he offered him the job of acting attorney general, Cheney said. Then-acting Attorney General Jeff Rosen, however, blocked Trump's plan to oust him.
"This letter, and others like it, would have urged multiple state legislatures to withdraw their official and lawful electoral votes for Biden," Cheney said.
Richard Donoghue, who was acting deputy attorney general at the time, told the Jan. 6 committee that the letter "could have tremendous constitutional, political and social ramifications for the country," Cheney said.
"The committee agrees with Mr. Donoghue’s assessment," she continued. "Had Clark assumed the role of attorney general in the days before January 6th and issued these letters, the ramifications could indeed have been grave. "
Cheney said the committee's third hearing will focus on the efforts by Trump to replace the attorney general and install people who would spread his lies about the election.
Family members of police officers who died in the aftermath of Jan. 6 are in the hearing room
Family members of officers who died after Jan. 6 are seated to the right of the witnesses.
The mother of the late Officer Brian Sicknick, Gladys Sicknick, is among them. Sicknick died of a stroke following the physical attacks against him that day.
Other key police officers who have previously testified before Congress are in the hearing room, as well, including Harry Dunn, Michael Fanone, Daniel Hodges and Aquilino Gonell.
Members of Congress who were in the gallery of the House as the attack on Jan. 6 unfolded were in the back of the hearing room.
Rep. Dean Phillips, D-Minn., tweeted a photo of them.
Ivanka Trump says she 'accepted' Barr's assessment that election fraud claims were unfounded
Cheney, the top Republican on the committee, played video of former Attorney General Barr, who testified he told Trump “in no uncertain terms that I did not see evidence of fraud.”
"And it was being laid out there," Barr said in the clip. "And I told him that it was crazy stuff and they were wasting their time on that and that it was doing great, great disservice to the country.”
Cheney then aired a clip from Ivanka Trump, the president’s daughter, who, when asked how Barr’s statement affected her perception of the election, said: “It affected my perspective. I respect Attorney General Barr, so I accepted what he was saying.”
Cheney says Trump's 'massive effort' to spread false information will be focus of second hearing
Cheney said in her opening statement that the second hearing the committee plans to hold Monday will focus on Trump's efforts to claim the 2020 election was stolen despite numerous messages from advisers that said otherwise.
She played a clip of testimony from Jason Miller, a former campaign spokesman, who said he was in the Oval Office when the campaign's internal data expert told Trump by phone that he was going to lose. The conversation happened a few days after the election, he said, and the expert conveyed the message in "pretty blunt terms," Miller said.
Cheney also played testimony from a Trump campaign lawyer, Alex Cannon, who spoke to White House chief of staff Mark Meadows about the election. "I remember sharing with him that we weren’t finding anything that would be sufficient to, um, change the results in any of the key states," Cannon said.
Cheney: Trump had 'seven-part' plan to overturn election and stay in power
In her opening statement, Cheney said Trump was engaged in a "seven-part" plan to overturn the 2020 election and stay in power.
"As you hear this, all Americans should keep this fact in mind: On the morning of January 6th, President Trump’s intention was to remain President of the United States despite the lawful outcome of the 2020 election and in violation of his constitutional obligation to relinquish power," she said.
"Over multiple months, Donald Trump oversaw a sophisticated seven-part plan to overturn the presidential election and prevent the transfer of presidential power. In our hearings, you will see evidence of each element of this plan."
Trump said Pence 'deserves' chants calling for his murder, Cheney says
Rep. Liz Cheney, R-Wyo., detailed at the beginning of her opening statement some of Trump's remarks and behavior at the White House as the attack at the Capitol unfolded.
Trump told his staff, for example, that his supporters who were at the Capitol "were doing what they should be doing," Cheney said, which she suggested the committee learned from interviews with former White House staff members.
Cheney said the public will hear testimony over the coming weeks that "the president didn't really want to put anything out" to call off the riot.
"You will hear that President Trump was yelling, and 'really angry at advisers who told him he needed to do be doing something more.' And, aware of the rioters’ chants to 'hang Mike Pence,' the president responded with this sentiment: 'Maybe our supporters have the right idea.' Mike Pence 'deserves' it," Cheney said.
Barr, in committee interview, calls Trump's election fraud claims 'bullshit'
In a tape Thompson played of the Jan. 6 committee’s interview with William Barr, the former attorney general said he repeatedly told the president that there was no evidence that the election had been stolen.
“I made it clear I did not agree with the idea of saying the election was stolen and putting out this stuff which I told the president was bullshit. And I didn’t want to be a part of it, and that’s one of the reasons that went into me deciding to leave when I did,” Barr said. “You can’t live in a world where an incumbent administration stays in power based on its view, unsupported by specific evidence, that there was fraud in the election.”
Thompson: Jan. 6 was ‘culmination of an attempted coup’
After Trump lost his court challenges to the results of the 2020 election, Trump engaged in “what became a sprawling, multi-step conspiracy aimed at overturning the presidential election” that was “aimed at throwing out the votes of millions of Americans — your votes, your voice in our democracy —and replacing the will of the American people with his will to remain in power after his term ended,” Chairman Thompson said.
“Donald Trump was at the center of that conspiracy. And ultimately, Donald Trump — the president of the United States — spurred a mob of domestic enemies of the Constitution to march down to the Capitol and subvert American democracy,” Thompson continued.
“January 6th was the culmination of an attempted coup. A brazen attempt, as one rioter put it shortly after January 6th, ‘to overthrow the government,’” he said. “The violence was no accident. It represented Trump’s last stand, most desperate chance to halt the transfer of power.”
Thompson: Rioters stormed Capitol 'at encouragement' of Trump
Again invoking the oath of office, Chairman Thompson said it was “domestic enemies of the Constitution who stormed and occupied the Capitol” and who “sought to thwart the will of the people, to stop the transfer of power.”
“And they did so at the encouragement of the president of the United States,” he added, referring to Trump. “The president of the United States. Trying to stop the transfer of power. A precedent that had stood for 220 years, even as our democracy has faced its most difficult tests.”
Thompson: Oath to protect against domestic enemies 'put to the test' on Jan. 6
Chairman Thompson reminded viewers that all members of Congress swore an oath to defend the Constitution “against all enemies, foreign and domestic,” emphasizing and repeating the last word.
He explained that including the word “domestic” in the oath had its roots in the Civil War, “when American citizens had taken up arms against this country.”
“That oath was put to the test on January 6th, 2021,” he said.
Thompson compares defense of the riot to defense of slavery, KKK
Kicking off his opening remarks, Chairman Thompson said that as a lifelong Mississippi resident, he’s “from a part of the country where people justified the actions of slavery, the Ku Klux Klan and lynching.”
“I’m reminded of that dark history as I hear voices today try and justify the actions of the insurrectionists on January 6th, 2021,” Thompson said.
Rep. Thompson gavels in first public Jan. 6 hearing
The House committee investigating the attack on the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021, gaveled in its first public hearing just after 8 p.m.
Capitol Police officer Dunn wears 'insurrection' shirt to hearing
U.S. Capitol Police Officer Harry Dunn, who has testified publicly about his experience on Jan. 6, wore a shirt to the first Jan. 6 hearing with the definition of an "insurrection."
"A violent uprising against an authority or government" is the first definition.
"January 6, 2021," is the second definition.
The shirt then includes a quote from Dunn.
"Instead of accepting the results of the 2020 election, many attempted to change the results through an insurrection on 1/6/2021."
'Democracy remains in danger,' Thompson will say in opening remarks
Committee Chairman Bennie Thompson, D-Miss., will say in his opening remarks Thursday night that the purpose of the hearings will be to “remind you of the reality of what happened” on Jan. 6, 2021.
“We can’t sweep what happened under the rug. The American people deserve answers,” Thompson will say, according to excerpts of his opening remarks.
“January 6th and the lies that led to insurrection have put two and a half centuries of constitutional democracy at risk,” Thompson will say.
Thompson will say that the committee’s role isn’t merely backward-looking and that “democracy remains in danger.”
“The conspiracy to thwart the will of the people is not over,” he will say.
Trump's super PAC buy $500k in advertising attacking Jan. 6 committee
Trump's super PAC — Save America PAC — announced it will buy $500,000 worth of television and digital ads to counter the Jan. 6 committee.
"The Democrat Congress ignores our problems — instead, spending millions on another partisan witch hunt. It’s a disgrace,” the ad states.
The PAC would not say in which markets the advertisements will air.
Democrats hope hearing reminds voters why they backed Biden
Some Democrats close to the White House hope tonight's Jan. 6 hearing reminds voters why they supported Biden for the presidency in 2020. They said they won’t shy from trying to link Trump-backed candidates in key races to Jan. 6.
“If what’s presented, and it’s consequential, and the evidence is there, people will take stock of where we are and what candidates are saying and doing as it relates to the democracy,” one of them said.
But even Democrats close to the White House who hope it refocuses voters’ attention acknowledge that that is unlikely to change the political trajectory against the backdrop of record gas prices and soaring inflation. But, another one of them said, “it reminds people that Joe Biden is not Donald Trump.”
Judge orders John Eastman to send more emails to Jan. 6 committee
A federal judge ordered John Eastman, the Trump lawyer who wrote memos arguing then-Vice President Mike Pence could overturn the 2020 election, to turn over about 170 documents to the House committee investigating the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol.
U.S. District Judge David Carter said in a filing Tuesday that while 440 documents are privileged, Eastman would have to give the committee 159 other documents by Wednesday afternoon, which include communications from former President Donald Trump about state electors in swing states and the sizes of his campaign rallies. The committee did not immediately respond to a request for comment about whether Eastman met the deadline.
The judge pointed to an email from Dec. 20, 2020, that he said included evidence of a potential crime.
Ex-Education Secretary Betsy DeVos wanted to know if 25th Amendment was viable option to remove Trump
Former Education Secretary Betsy DeVos said in a new interview that she spoke with other Cabinet members, including then-Vice President Mike Pence, on the day after the Jan. 6 riot to discuss the possibility of removing Donald Trump as president.
"I spoke with the vice president and just let him know I was there to do whatever he wanted and needed me to do or help with, and he made it very clear that he was not going to go in that direction or that path," DeVos told USA Today.
"I spoke with colleagues. I wanted to get a better understanding of the law itself and see if it was applicable in this case," she added. "There were more than a few people who had those conversations internally."
Under the 25th Amendment, the vice president can, with the support of the majority of the Cabinet, invoke the measure and declare the president unfit for office, which could lead to his early removal.
GOP congresswoman feared Trump supporters' reaction on Jan. 6: 'They're going to go nuts'
Rep. Debbie Lesko, R-Ariz., told colleagues the day before the Jan. 6 riot she was worried that Trump supporters would "go nuts" if — and "most likely" when — lawmakers failed to overturn the election results, a newly disclosed audiotape reveals.
In the tape, which NBC News obtained from the authors of “This Will Not Pass: Trump, Biden, and the Battle for America’s Future,” Alex Burns and Jonathan Martin, Lesko said she'd "asked leadership to come up with a safety plan for members."
"I’m actually very concerned about this, because we have who knows how many hundreds of thousands of people coming here. We have antifa, we also have, quite honestly, Trump supporters who actually believe that we are going to overturn the election. And when that doesn’t happen — most likely, will not happen — they are going to go nuts," she said. "And maybe we need a transportation plan to get us to our homes with police or something because I don’t know what to expect and I’m concerned about it.”
Burns and Martin said McCarthy assured her on the call with GOP conference members that such plans were being made. She objected to her state's electors' being certified on Jan. 6, 2021.
Lesko's office did not immediately respond to a request for comment on the tape.
Navarro called FBI agents who arrested him 'kind Nazis'
Peter Navarro, a onetime aide to former President Donald Trump, called FBI agents who arrested him "kind Nazis" and was offered a phone call to an attorney after his arrest despite his claims to the contrary, according to an FBI summary of his post-arrest interview.
A federal grand jury indicted Navarro, 72, last week after he refused to comply with a subpoena from the House committee investigating the Jan. 6 attack.
The FBI document was released in response to a letter Navarro sent to the judge in his case Wednesday. In the letter, Navarro alleged that the FBI agent who arrested him at an airport Friday on contempt of Congress charges refused to allow him to contact an attorney before he appeared before a magistrate judge.
GOP divided over how to defend Trump ahead of first Jan. 6 hearing
A split is emerging among Republicans about how best to counter the House Jan. 6 committee’s opening hearing Thursday, as the party waits to see just how explosive the panel’s findings prove to be.
One GOP faction believes the attack on the Capitol a year and a half ago is of so little interest to Americans by now that it’s hardly worth rebutting the committee’s presentation. More politically advantageous, that faction argues, is amplifying the message that President Joe Biden and his fellow Democrats are to blame for rising gas and grocery prices.
“I would not expect a full-fledged takedown of what’s going on at the committee hearings,” a Republican National Committee aide said, speaking on condition of anonymity to talk freely about strategic planning. “They will draw attention, but at the end of the day our job is to win elections. This doesn’t help us, and we don’t think it helps them [Democrats] either.”
Top Pence aide to testify before Jan. 6 committee
A key adviser to former Vice President Mike Pence who was with him at the Capitol when rioters tried to hunt him down will testify at the House Jan. 6 committee’s public hearing next week, two people familiar with the matter said.
Greg Jacob was subpoenaed to appear and plans to comply. He testified privately before the committee in February.
His appearance could offer fresh details about the harrowing moments when Secret Service rushed Pence out of the Senate chamber just ahead of the mob that stormed the Capitol.
As Pence’s chief counsel at the time, Jacob also will presumably speak about Pence’s rationale in rebuffing Trump and certifying Joe Biden’s victory. Pence concluded that his role in counting the electoral votes was merely ceremonial and that he couldn’t legally carry out Trump’s plan to delay certification while states looked into false claims that the election was stolen.
Emails released by the committee show that as the Capitol was being overrun, Jacob traded heated email messages with a lawyer advising Trump, John Eastman. Eastman had written a memo laying out scenarios in which Pence could recognize alternate slates of pro-Trump electors on Jan. 6, resulting in a Trump victory.
In one email to Eastman, Jacob wrote that “thanks to your bull---- we are now under siege.”
Capitol Police officers who responded on Jan. 6 to attend hearing
At least three Capitol Police officers who defended the Capitol during the attack — Officers Harry Dunn and Daniel Hodges and Sgt. Aquilino Gonell — will be at Thursday's hearing, they said.
“Looking forward to hear about how many of our elected officials and respected leaders disregarded their oath to protect our country, the constitution and our democracy," Gonell said in a text message. "How they misled and continue misleading the American people for political gain and favors.”
They will walk in with the three widows of officers who died in the aftermath of the insurrection: Erin Smith, Serena Liebengood and Sandra Garza.
Another group of officers who responded on that day will watch the hearing together at one of their homes.
Officer Eugene Goodman, who was awarded the Congressional Gold Medal after he diverted the mob away from the Senate chamber, is not expected to attend in person.
Rep. Luria hopes Jan. 6 hearings lead to legislative action
Jan. 6 committee member Rep. Elaine Luria, D-Va., said Thursday she hopes the hearings will spark legislative action to prevent future attacks on the Capitol and stop attempts to steal elections.
“The goal is to get to the truth, to get to the bottom of the facts for things that led up to the events of Jan. 6, the events of that day and since. We are a legislative committee, we are also able to ultimately provide recommendations to prevent something like this from happening in the future,” Luria told NBC News.
Luria said the hearing Thursday will be an “opening argument” and the panel will ultimately produce a “comprehensive report of what happened,” which will serve as “as a starting point for making changes in the future.”
“My hope is that everyone will take time to watch these hearings. I think that this is just too important of an event in our history to ignore, and too important to ignore the consequences for would it could mean in the future if we don’t tackle some of the issues that led up to it.”
‘It’ll change history’: Jan. 6 panel hypes first public hearing
The House Jan. 6 committee is raising expectations for its first public hearing Thursday, saying the prime-time event will be packed with new video, audio and other information proving that former President Donald Trump was at the heart of the attack.
“We will be revealing new details showing that the violence on Jan. 6 was the result of a coordinated, multistep effort to overturn the results of the 2020 election and to stop the transfer of power from Donald Trump to Joe Biden,” a Jan. 6 committee aide said in a call previewing the hearing with reporters on Wednesday afternoon, “and indeed that the former president Donald Trump was at the center of that effort.”
The committee’s pledge to present compelling new evidence is a risky proposition.
The promise of new details may tempt more people to watch and see for themselves what the panel has uncovered. But that also means the committee is on the hook to deliver. Unless members roll out fresh evidence, the hearings may go down as an overhyped bust.
Lawmakers trapped in House gallery during Jan. 6 attack will attend hearing in person
A handful of Democratic lawmakers who were stranded in the House gallery during the Jan. 6 attack will attend Thursday night’s prime-time hearing in person.
The group, which calls itself the “Gallery Group,” asked the Jan. 6 committee for seats inside the Cannon Building hearing room, and its request was granted, Rep. Susan Wild, D-Pa., told NBC News. Fewer than 10 lawmakers from the informal group will attend in person.
“I see it as a really important thing in terms of history — 200 years from now people may be looking back at these hearings, they may be looking back at the testimony to ascertain what exactly happened in 2021,” she said. “I want to have a front row seat to history, number 1, but number 2, I was there. I was unfortunately intimately involved in the proceedings of that day and I want to see the testimony.”
Wild famously was captured in a photograph that day, lying on the floor, clutching her heart and holding hands with her colleague, Rep. Jason Crow, D-Colo., as rioters attempted to breach the barricaded House chamber.
She said each member of the “Gallery Group” has dealt with the trauma from that day in their own way.
“I tend to compartmentalize. It’s the only way I can get through working with the other side of the aisle, people who voted not to certify the election. Even after that experience, people voted against impeachment,” Wild said. “So for me, it’s better just to compartmentalize and not spend too much time thinking about it.
“It’s had a huge impact on my family, particularly my adult kids, and so it’s just a lot better for me if I try not to spend a lot of time thinking about it."
FBI arrests Michigan GOP gubernatorial candidate on Jan. 6 charges
A Republican candidate for governor in Michigan was arrested by the FBI on Thursday and charged with misdemeanors for his role in the U.S. Capitol riot on Jan. 6, 2021, the agency said.
Federal agents raided Ryan Kelley’s home in Allendale, Michigan, on Thursday morning. NBC News received a tip about the raid, which was confirmed by a law enforcement official.
An FBI spokesperson later confirmed that a search warrant was executed at the home where Kelley was arrested. He faces four charges related to his alleged actions at the Capitol, including disorderly conduct and willfully injuring or attacking U.S. property, according to the criminal complaint.
Jan. 6 chair Thompson says panel will show 'significant video' from rioters' depositions
Jan. 6 Committee Chairman Rep. Bennie Thompson, D-Miss., said the panel at its public hearing Thursday night will show “significant video” of depositions from Capitol rioters who have been convicted or pleaded guilty.
“We’ll have significant video of some people who’ve been charged, some people who have been convicted, some people who pled guilty,” Thompson told reporters Thursday morning.
The Justice Department has brought charges against 820 individuals involved in the Jan. 6 attack. At least 310 have pleaded guilty and five have been found guilty.
Thompson said that the roughly 90-minute hearing will provide a sweeping overview of the special House committee’s investigation for the past 11 months.“We’ll outline what our work has entailed. We’ll talk about a lot of the work that we’ve uncovered,” he said. “We’ll show some never before seen video that we have uncovered, and we’ll just tell the story.”
Earlier in the day, Thompson told NBC News that the panel had been rehearsing for the 8 p.m. hearing for at least two hours Thursday morning.
Georgia Secretary of State Raffensperger to testify publicly before Jan. 6 committee
Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger will testify publicly before the House committee investigating the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol at a hearing later this month, a source familiar with the planning confirmed to NBC News.
Raffensperger deputy Gabriel Sterling, the office’s chief operating officer and voting system implementation manager, will also appear, the source said.
Raffensperger met privately with the committee for four hours in late November, where he testified about being pressured by then-President Donald Trump to change his election loss in Georgia to a win.
Who are the witnesses at the first Jan. 6 hearing?
Two witnesses are expected to provide testimony at the first Jan. 6 committee hearing.
U.S. Capitol Police Officer Caroline Edwards:
Edwards was one of the first officers to be injured by pro-Trump rioters on Jan. 6, 2021, while protecting the U.S. Capitol and members of Congress inside. She sustained a traumatic brain injury after rioters knocked her to the ground. But even after the injury, Edwards continued to guard the entrance to the Capitol.
Edwards’ injury has prevented her from returning to her role on the Capitol first responder unit, though she hopes to return once physically cleared.
On Jan 6, 2021, and in the days leading up, award-winning British documentarian and filmmaker Nick Quested was following the Proud Boys.
He captured the early rumblings of violent insurgence and the ensuing attack.
Most of his footage has remained unreleased to the public until now. Some of this footage includes a meeting between Enrique Tarrio of the Proud Boys and Stewart Rhodes of the Oath Keepers that occurred just blocks from the Capitol.
How to watch the Jan. 6 committee public hearings
The first public hearing held by the House committee investigating the Jan. 6 riot will take place Thursday evening with witness testimony and video footage surrounding last year’s attack on the Capitol.
The televised hearing is the first in a series that’s expected to last through July.
The Jan. 6 committee begins hearings with a big challenge: Capture public attention
Seldom has a set of congressional hearings opened amid so much anticipation and, at the same time, so little guarantee of success.
The House committee investigating the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol will hold the first of at least a half-dozen public hearings this week, having already promised stunning revelations that would lay bare just how dangerously close the U.S. came to losing its democracy.
“It’s all about democratic resiliency. Can we fortify our institutions and our people against insurrection, coups and violence?” Rep. Jamie Raskin, D-Md., a committee member, told NBC News. “I hope we will be able to spur the country to make the necessary reforms to solidify democracy.”