6 January US Capitol Riot Hearings: Here's All You Need to Know

The committee has claimed that the attack was not spontaneous but a planned "attempted coup."

3 min read

The first of the six congressional hearings regarding the violence that took place at the US Capitol on 6 January 2021 concluded on the night of Thursday, 9 June.

The last congressional hearings that were so anticipated and written about were in 1973, with respect to the Watergate Scandal involving the then President Richard Nixon.

The 6 January hearings, analysts say, are going to be even more historic than the Watergate hearings.

With six public hearings conducted by the United States House Select Committee (consisting of seven Democrats and two Republicans), a huge trove of evidence gathered by it involving 1,000 interviews and more than 125,000 documents is expected to create a political firestorm in the country.

On 6 January 2021, protesters supporting former President Donald Trump had stormed the US Capitol in Washington, DC, in scenes that were broadcast live on multiple news channels across the world.

The committee has claimed that the attack was not spontaneous but a planned "attempted coup," which was triggered by Trump's efforts of overturning the 2020 election in which he suffered a massive defeat.


When are the Hearings?

The first hearing was held on 9 June, the takeaways of which have been written about here.

The next four hearings are expected to be held on 13, 15, 16, and 21 June.

The sixth and final hearing will be held in late June.

The Point of the Hearings

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

"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 first hearing.

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.

Why Televise Them?

The hearings being publicly televised adds an extra element of politics to them. The objectives for this are two-fold as well.

Firstly, the Select Committee wants to present to the public the unadulterated truth about the violence that occurred at the US Capitol on 6 January 2021.

Secondly, the committee wants to convince the American people, with its evidence, that the attack was not spontaneous but was carefully organised by a range of politicians (including Donald Trump) and non-political actors.

Non-political actors include pro-Trump activists like Ali Alexander and others who promoted the "Stop the Steal" movement, and far-right groups like the Proud Boys and Oath Keepers.

Earlier this week, Henry "Enrique" Tarrio, the former head of the Proud Boys, along with other members were charged with seditious conspiracy for their "coordinated attack" on the Capitol.


Fox News to 'Cater to Audience'

The hearings will be televised across all news channels in the US except one – Fox News.

The highest-rated host of the new channel, Tucker Carlson, will do his usual prime time show during the first and the last hearings to reportedly counter the committee's findings.

Another top anchor at Fox News, Laura Ingraham, said that the hearings were "total theatre," while justifying why her channel won't cover them live.

"We actually do something called cater to our audience. Our audience knows what this is," she added.

(With inputs from The Guardian, The New York Times, The Washington Post, and CNN)

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