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January 6 Hearings

The committee investigating the January 6 Capitol riots began holding its first televised hearings into the attack.

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CNN
Jonathan Good
Leans Left
Stephen Webber
Leans Right
Rachel Zelicof
Leans Left

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Background

Investigation. The House select committee investigating the January 6 attack has interviewed over 1,000 witnesses, including former Trump aides, government officials, and even some Capitol rioters. While most testified voluntarily, the panel has issued over 100 subpoenas. The investigation has culminated in a series of televised public hearings throughout June. So far, the panel has held three hearings, with two more currently scheduled.

Hearing 1 — Thursday, June 9

In its first prime-time televised hearing, the committee argued that former President Trump knowingly lied about the election, inspiring the Capitol riots. They further suggested these claims present an ongoing threat to American democracy. Trump and other Republicans have dismissed the narrative that he bears responsibility for the attack, pointing to video footage of Trump asking protestors to act peacefully

AG Barr. The panel played testimony by former Attorney General Bill Barr that the claims of election fraud  were “bulls***” and of Ivanka Trump saying she accepted that statement. Following the hearing, Trump dismissed Barr as “weak and frightened” and claimed his daughter was “not involved in looking at… Election results.”

Miller Testifies. Former Trump spokesman Jason Miller testified that a data expert told the former President he had lost. However, Miller claims the panel did not air part of his testimony that the former President disagreed with the analyst’s conclusion.

Cipollone. According to the committee, former White House counsel Pat Cipollone threatened to resign several times over the former President’s post-election activity. Jared Kushner, Trump’s son-in-law and a former adviser, dismissed those threats as “whining.”

Pardons? The House panel says several Republican lawmakers — specifically Rep. Scott Perry (R-PA) — asked for presidential pardons following the Capitol riots, raising ethics questions. A Perry spokesman called the allegation “a ludicrous and soulless lie.”

Pence. Rep. Liz Cheney claimed Trump spoke approvingly of rioters’ chants to “Hang Mike Pence” following his decision not to reject swing-state electoral votes, which the former President denied.

According to footage of Mark Milley, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, former Vice President Mike Pence requested National Guard troops come to the Capitol. Some conservative commentators have suggested Milley’s revelation means Pence violated the chain of command.

Documentarian. The committee also heard testimony from Capitol Police Officer Caroline Edwards and Nick Quested, a documentary filmmaker. Edwards detailed how she sustained an injury during the January 6 attack and recalled how her fellow officers suffered. Meanwhile, Quested described the Proud Boys’ escalation on January 6, explaining how they played a role in the riots.

Hearing 2 — Monday, June 13

The panel’s second hearing focused on Trump’s election fraud claims and heard testimony from officials from his administration and conservative analysts saying they had no merit. They also criticized how the former President raised money from its election allegations.

Fraud Claims. The committee played extensive testimony from Bill Barr discrediting Trump’s fraud claims, specifically those related to Dominion voting machines. Eric Herschmann and Matt Morgan, two Trump lawyers, echoed Barr’s sentiment.

Benjamin Ginsberg, a renowned conservative election attorney, testified that there was “no evidence” to the former President’s allegations and that his campaign failed to prove any fraud in court, despite numerous legal challenges.

Byung J. Pak, a former U.S. attorney in Atlanta, explained his investigation into Trump and his allies’ claims that a poll worker had pulled out a suitcase full of ballots and counted them again, saying the allegation was false.

Former Philadelphia City Commissioner Al Schmidt (R) described death threats he received following a tweet from Trump attacking his assertion that there was no evidence of widespread election fraud in the city. Trump and his allies repeatedly claimed that 8,000 dead people had voted in Philadelphia, something Schmidt debunked. 

Red Mirage. Chris Stirewalt, a former Fox News political analyst, explained the network’s decision to call Arizona for President Biden before any other outlet. He also discussed the so-called “Red Mirage” political phenomenon. Many states count in-person votes — which favor Republicans — before they count absentee ballots — which favor Democrats. As a result, initial vote totals skew toward Republicans, giving the illusion that they have a large lead.

Drunk Mishap? Jason Miller testified that Rudy Giuliani, one of Trump’s personal lawyers, was intoxicated on Election Night and told the President to declare victory, despite several top aides urging him not to — including his campaign manager. Giuliani has denied claims that he was drunk.

Election Defense Funds. The panel also claims Trump and his allies raised $250 million from the stolen election claim, asking supporters to donate to the “Election Defense Fund.” According to its investigation, the committee says no such fund exists, and it was merely a marketing strategy — they say most of the money went to support Trump, not election-related litigation.

Hearing 3 — Thursday, June 16

The committee’s third hearing focused on a Trump-supported legal strategy from one of his advisors — John Eastman — to have Pence unilaterally delay electoral certification or reject swing-state electors outright. It also claimed Trump endangered his Vice President after Pence refused to act on that plan.

Potential Political Move. Former Pence lawyer Greg Jacob and retired conservative Judge J. Michael Luttig testified that the former Vice President did not have the legal authority to do what Trump and Eastman were pressuring him to do. Pence’s Chief of Staff, Marc Short, said the Vice President repeatedly told the pair that the plan was unconstitutional. Jacob claims that even Eastman admitted his suggested actions violated federal law and says Eastman conceded to him that they would lose unanimously if the issue went before the Supreme Court. The panel released an email from Eastman to Rudy Giuliani asking for a presidential pardon in the aftermath of the Capitol riot.

Committee’s Argument. Despite those legal doubts, advisors say Trump continued to press Pence to throw out swing-state electors, insulting him repeatedly for his opposition. However, Trump has since denied saying some of the comments.

The committee argues that Trump and Eastman’s continued public insistence that Pence could throw out electoral votes spurred violence and caused rioters to target him. They claim that Trump sent out a tweet attacking Pence even after his advisors told him there was violence at the Capitol, further suggesting that the tweet led the mob to hunt the Vice President. Investigators also revealed that the rioters came within 40 feet of Pence.

Moving Forward

Criminal Charges? Given committee members’ repeated assertion that the former President committed crimes, some wonder if the investigation will result in a criminal trial. While the panel cannot indict Trump, it can recommend charges to the Department of Justice. Members have given conflicting messages about whether it will do so, though Attorney General Merrick Garland has publicly stated he is watching the hearings. Whether that will result in a criminal indictment against Trump remains to be seen.

Solitary. Many participants in the January 6 Capitol riots are being held in solitary confinement in Washington, D.C.’s city jail for 23 hours a day. The decision is unusual since people accused of a crime must first receive a bail hearing. There has been bipartisan opposition as Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) has stated, “I do not believe in solitary confinement for extended periods of time for anyone.” The ACLU issued a statement saying, “Prolonged solitary confinement is torture and certainly should not be used as a punitive tool to intimidate or extract cooperation.”

Partisan Claims. Many Republicans have criticized the January 6 committee as a political tool for election purposes. Similar to the Russian investigation, which didn’t convict President Trump of any wrongdoing, Republicans claim the committee’s purpose is to turn media coverage away from recent economic issues. Republicans point to an ex-ABC executive being used as a “secret advisor” and the lack of chosen Republicans on the committee as evidence the hearings are a partisan show.

Left Narrative

The January 6 committee’s bombshell hearings have made it abundantly clear that former President Trump and his cronies knowingly pushed election lies to overturn a free and fair election. They did so for financial and political advantage, with no regard to the immense harm to American democracy. These actions were criminal, and all those responsible should bear the full penalty of the law. Now, Trump is going on a revenge tour, trying to replace those who rejected the attempted coup with insurrectionist-sympathizers so they can overturn future elections. We must remain vigilant and keep election-deniers out of office — America’s democracy depends on it.

Left-Lean Narrative

Right-Lean Narrative

Right Narrative

The January 6 committee is a partisan show trial made up of Democrats and two wannabe Democrats that were censured by the Republican Party. This prime-time event is a poor attempt to shift the news narrative away from President Biden’s failures and to persecute Republicans for the acts of a few rioters. Where was the outrage and prime-time committees when Left-wing extremists rioted throughout the country in 2020. On 5/29, violent Leftists attempted to storm the White House, burn down a historic church, injured hundreds of police, and send the President to the security bunker. This received praise in the media, while grandmas who were invited into the Capitol by police are being placed in solitary confinement. In addition, we have yet to figure out why Ray Epps received a pardon by the January 6 committee when there is video evidence of him inciting the riot, removing barricades, and entering the building. The double standards, lack of evidence, and partisanship demonstrate that Democrats are facing a terrible 2022 election year, and will stop at nothing to change the narrative.

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Questions & Answers

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Discussion Questions

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  1. Do you think the January 6 rioters received appropriate charges? Why or why not?
  2. Do you think the panel should recommend charges against Donald Trump to the Department of Justice? Why or why not?
  3. Were all of those at the Capitol rioting? Explain your answer.
  4. Do you think the January 6 hearings caused less or more conflict between Republicans and Democrats? Explain your answer.
  5. Do you think the January 6 hearings will lead to a more just/civil society? Explain your answer.

Current Events

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Accompanying Content

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min
Vox
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8 Times Left-Wing Protesters Broke Into Government Buildings And Assaulted Democracy

According to The Federalist, Left-wing demonstrators have long made a habit of attacking, infiltrating, and occupying government buildings. Here are some instances that come to mind.

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Fox News
Indiana grandmother, first to be convicted in Capitol riot cases, avows nonviolence in Ingraham interview

An Indiana grandmother said that her life has been turned upside down after her court-appointed public defender coaxed her into drafting a written admission of “guilt,” as she became the first suspect in the January 6 Capitol riot to be sentenced.

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Jun 25, 2021
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MEAWW
Ray Epps: Viral video shows ex-marine urging Jan 6 crowd to storm Capitol

Some Trump supporters have hypothesized that 60-year-old Ray Epps intended to frame them as domestic terrorists.

Article
Jan 6, 2022
Right
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Washington Examiner
Ray Epps uncharged in Capitol riot, but feds arrested woman engaged in similar conduct

Defenders of Ray Epps contend he has not been arrested because he didn’t break the law during the Capitol riot, but a woman caught on video standing next to him is facing up to a year in prison for being in a “restricted area” — something Epps was also filmed doing.

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Jan 13, 2022
Leans Right
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MEAWW
Graphic letter from Jan. 6 detainee being held in solitary details ‘nightmare’ of his life behind bars

Read the letter of someone in solitary confinement for the January 6 riot.

Article
Sep 24, 2021
Right
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2
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Kyle Becker
Watch: Jan. 6 Video That Was Suppressed Shows Capitol Police Officer Waving Protesters Into Building

Watch footage allegedly showing a Capitol police officer encouraging rioters to enter the building on January 6.

Video
Oct 18, 2021
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CNBC
Watch Jan. 6 Committee Chairman Bennie Thompson’s opening statement

Chairman Bennie Thompson (D-MS) provides opening remarks at the January 6 committee’s first prime-time hearing.

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