Jan. 6 Committee seeks to convince Americans that riot was an attack on democracy

Jan. 6 Committee seeks to convince Americans that riot was an attack on democracy

The House committee is trying to convince Americans that the riot was an orchestrated attack on democracy after the 2021 attack on the U.S. Capitol by Donald Trump supporters.

After almost a year of investigation, the U.S. House of Representatives Select Committee to Investigate the January 6th Attack moves into a new phase on Thursday with videotaped testimony from senior Trump White House officials and campaign officials, committee aides said.

The violence of Jan. 6 was the result of a coordinated, multi-step effort to overturn the results of the 2020 election and to stop the transfer of power from Donald Trump to Joe Biden, according to an aide who spoke on condition of anonymity to the hearing.

The aides didn't name witnesses whose taped depositions will be featured. Trump's close associates who have spoken to the committee include his son Donald Jr. daughter Ivanka and his son-in- law Jared Kushner, former acting Attorney General Jeffrey Rosen, former Attorney General William Barr and senior aides to former Vice President Mike Pence.

The session is scheduled for 8 p.m. EDT 2400 GMT on Thursday and aims to capture the attention of as many television viewers as possible.

The hearing will feature two in-person witnesses, U.S. Capitol police officer Caroline Edwards, who sustained a traumatic brain injury, and Nick Quested, a filmmaker who captured footage of the far-right Proud Boys group, accused of planning the deadly attack.

The Democratic-led Select Committee is trying to reverse Republican efforts to downplay or deny violence of the day, with five months to go until the Nov. 8 midterm elections that determine which party controls both the House and Senate for the next two years.

The committee wants to make the case, not just that Jan. 6 was planned with the cooperation of members of Trump's inner circle, but that there is an ongoing threat to U.S. democracy.

Four people died on the day of the attack, one fatally shot by police and the others of natural causes. More than 100 police officers were injured and one died the next day. Four officers died by suicide. The Capitol suffered millions of dollars in damage.

Our democracy is on more fragile ground than it was on January 6, Rep. Adam Schiff, one of seven panel Democrats, told reporters on Wednesday. We will succeed if we can reach people with an open mind, if we can awaken the American public to the threat that still exists in our democracy. There are two Republican members on the committee, Representatives Adam Kinzinger, Vice Chair and Liz Cheney. Cheney will join the panel's Democratic chairman, Representative Bennie Thompson, in making remarks during the hearing laying out the panel's case.

Trump, who is currently flirting with another White House run in 2024, denied wrongdoing and accused the committee of engaging in a political attack.

Some congressional Republicans condemned Donald Trump in the first days after the attack, but almost all have changed their tone since.

This committee is not about seeking the truth. It is a smear campaign against President Donald Trump, Republican members of Congress, and Trump voters across the country, Representative Elise Stefanik, who replaced Cheney in Republican leadership, told a press conference on Wednesday.