By Jessica Corbett / Common Dreams
The U.S. House Select Committee to Investigate the January 6th Attack on the United States Capitol plans to hold its first of six public hearings at 8:00 pm ET on Thursday—a event that will be livestreamed on the panel’s YouTube channel and aired by most major television networks.
“The committee will present previously unseen material documenting January 6th, receive witness testimony, and provide the American people an initial summary of its findings about the coordinated, multi-step effort to overturn the results of the 2020 presidential election and prevent the transfer of power,” the panel said. “The committee will also preview additional hearings.”
Congressman Jamie Raskin (D-Md.)—who is on the nine-member panel, which includes two Republicans—said earlier this week that they have “found evidence of concerted planning and premeditated activity,” adding that “the idea that all of this was just a rowdy demonstration that spontaneously got a little bit out of control is absurd.”
Raskin served as the manager for former President Donald Trump’s historic second impeachment, which followed the Capitol attack that was provoked by the Republican leader and his allies’ lies about the 2020 election results. The panel could ultimately decide to refer Trump and others to the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) for prosection.
Ahead of Thursday’s prime-time hearing—which Fox News is declining to broadcast live—progressive advocacy groups and lawmakers welcomed the event and reiterated that the 2021 insurrection was, as Morris Pearl of the Patriotic Millionaires put it, “a clear and flagrant assault on American democracy.”
Pearl also stressed that “it was only possible because of decades of groundwork laid by anti-democratic right-wing billionaires and lawmakers” who “have spent years moving the United States closer and closer to an oligarchy by bankrolling campaigns and events just like the White House Ellipse rally that immediately precipitated the Capitol riot, and in the process undermined the most basic building blocks of our democracy.”
“January 6th was a tragic day, but it was an inevitable consequence of the right-wing campaign to amass power whatever the costs,” he added. “In this spirit, we hope that tonight’s hearings underscore the urgent need to combat election misinformation and hate speech in America but also the equally critical need to dilute the power and influence of big money that enables it.”
Congresswoman Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.), who is not on the panel, also shared her hopes for the hearing in a statement Thursday.
Highlighting that the committee “has pored over thousands of hours of footage and over 140,000 pages of documents during the past 11 months of investigations,” Omar said that “I hope the hearing will make clear to the nation what has been clear to those of us who experienced the events of January 6th: that President Donald Trump waged a deliberate monthslong campaign to discredit the outcome of the presidential election and keep himself in office.”
“He did this in coordination with Republican congressional leadership, along with far-right and militia groups, and he deliberately incited rioters on January 6th to disrupt the congressional certification of the election results,” she added. “I was proud to introduce the first resolution impeaching Donald Trump for this insurrection. And I hope this hearing will remind everyone how fragile our democracy is, how important it is to defend it, and to hold any and all insurrectionists accountable.”
Omar was far from alone in demanding accountability.
“We need to call out the traitors who embraced the Big Lie and incited a violent insurrection against our country,” said Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.). “We can’t let them cover up the details of their plot. The House hearings beginning tonight are powerfully important so we can get the facts and ensure accountability.”
“Understand this: The attempt to overturn the 2020 election was part of an ongoing scheme to stop the American people from being able to choose our country’s leaders,” she added. “We must get to the bottom of this and defend the right to vote and the right to have that vote counted.”