6 January: 5 Takeaways From the First Hearing on the 2021 US Capital Riots

"President Trump summoned the mob, assembled the mob and lit the flame of this attack," Republican Liz Cheney said.

3 min read
Edited By :Saundarya Talwar

Shocking evidence was presented on Thursday, 9 June, against former President Donald Trump in the first of the six hearings to be conducted by the United States House Select Committee on the Capitol riots that occurred on 6 January last year.

Two issues are central to the televised hearings – whether Trump broke the law or not on 6 January and whether he is guilty of deliberately trying to overturn the results of the 2020 election.

Here are five key takeaways from the first hearing.


Donald Trump is at the Center of it All

The first key takeaway from the hearings is that there is one man at the centre of the happenings.

"President Trump summoned the mob, assembled the mob and lit the flame of this attack," the committee's Vice-Chair Liz Cheney (one of the two Republicans on the committee) said during the hearings.

Bennie Thompson, who heads the committee, held Trump personally responsible for the attack on the US Capitol, saying "Donald Trump was at the centre of this conspiracy" who "was trying to stop the peaceful transfer of power."

The committee also alleged that right-wing extremist groups like the Proud Boys and the Oath Keepers were motivated by the president himself.

'Attempted Coup': Committee Says Attack Was Not Spontaneous

The Select Committee has also alleged that the violence was an organised event and not the product of spontaneous pro-Trump protests.

"January 6 was the culmination of an attempted coup. A brazen attempt, as one rioter put it shortly after January 6, to overthrow the government. Violence was no accident. It represented Trump's last stand, most desperate chance to halt the transfer of power," Thompson said in his scathing arguments during the hearings.

"It was the culmination of a months-long effort spearheaded by President Trump," he added.

The hearing also displayed interviews with several men who were charged in the violence. They claimed during the interviews that Trump told them to come to the capitol.

"We were invited by the president of the United States!" an attacker could be heard yelling in footage from 6 January that was also played during the hearing.


'Trumplicans' Come Under Attack

Not just Trump, but the whole Republican Party came under scrutiny during the hearing.

Thompson spent quite some time attacking members of the Republican Party who continued to defend Donald Trump despite mounting evidence of him being responsible for the 6 January attack.

The former compared these 'Trumplicans' to those Americans who defended slavery at the time of the civil war.

"I'm from a part of the country where people justify the actions of slavery, the Ku Klux Klan and lynching. I'm reminded of that dark history as I hear voices today try to justify the actions of the insurrectionists," Thompson said as he delivered his opening remarks.


Trump's Inner Circle Did Not Believe the Election Was Stolen

The hearing also established, with shocking evidence, that Trump's own inner circle did not believe that the 2020 Presidential Election was stolen.

For instance, Ivanka Trump, the former president's daughter, told the committee that she does not believe her father's claim of the election being stolen because of voting fraud.

"I respect Attorney General Barr. So I accepted what he was saying," Ivanka told the committee in a video that was played during the hearing. William Barr was Trump's attorney general for most of 2020.

Barr himself called Trump's claims "bullshit" in a video of the former attorney general speaking to the house committee's investigators.

He added that he had "repeatedly told the president in no uncertain terms that I did not see evidence of fraud that would have affected the outcome of the election. And frankly, a year and a half later, I still haven’t."


The Value of Video

The congressional committee used the power of video to persuade the American people about the seriousness of the 6 January attack.

It displayed an extended video of the day's events. The footage showed the attack that was captured by body cameras of the police and security officials.

Clips from Trump's speech and his tweets were also included in the videos to draw a linkage between him and the violence.

The carefully edited and produced video stunned the hearing room into silence as it ended.

The families of police officers who had lost their lives due to the violence could be seen holding back tears.

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Edited By :Saundarya Talwar
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