What to know as Jan. 6 insurrection hearings begin

Capitol Riots

(NewsNation) — The 11-month House investigation into the Jan. 6 riot at the U.S. Capitol is over and the long-awaited public hearings, in which a bipartisan committee of lawmakers will lay out their findings, is set to begin Thursday.

The House panel investigating the Jan. 6 riots at the U.S. Capitol will open a series of hearings focusing on far-right extremists who broke into the building, what role former President Donald Trump and his allies played, financing of the riot and security failures.

The Justice Department said 140 police officers were assaulted the day of the riot, 90 people have thus far been charged with using a deadly or dangerous weapon or causing serious bodily injury to an officer. Over 800 people have been arrested.

WHO IS ON THE COMMITTEE?

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., appointed all seven Democrats and two Republicans to the committee, much to the chagrin of Republican Leader Kevin McCarthy, who called her selection process a “sham” and vowed Republicans would not participate.

Mississippi Democrat Bennie Thompson is serving as the committee chair. He is joined by: Zoe Lofgren, D-Calif.; Adam Schiff, D-Calif.; Jamie Raskin, D-Calif.; Jamie Raskin, D-Md.; Pete Aguilar, D-Calif.; Stephanie Murphy, D-Calif.; and Elaine Luria, D-Calif.

The selection of the two Republican members sitting on the committee, Liz Cheney of Wyoming and Adam Kinzinger of Illinois, is where the true controversy around the selection process began.

Rep. Liz Cheney, R-Wyo., and Rep. Adam Kinzinger, R-Ill., listen as the House select committee tasked with investigating the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol meets to hold in contempt Steve Bannon, one of former President Donald Trump’s allies, on Capitol Hill in Washington, Tuesday, Oct. 19, 2021. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

Both Cheney and Kinzinger have been outspoken critics of President Donald Trump and the events that occurred on Jan. 6 at the capitol. The pair was censured by the Republican Party for voicing their distaste over the riots, which Republican Party leaders have deemed “legitimate political discourse.”

Cheney was named vice chair of the committee, which led to Republican threats to remove her from the party.

Kinzinger has become one of the most vocal Republican critics of Trump, saying the former President had spread “lies and conspiracy theories” that “threaten our self-governance.”

McCarthy was perturbed after Pelosi rejected his picks for the committee, Rep. Jim Jordan, R-Ohio, and Rep. Jim Banks, R-Ind.

Other Republicans have already taken to denigrating the hearing before it has even begun.

“This committee is not about seeking the truth,” said Rep. Elise Stefanik, R-N.Y. “It is a smear campaign against President Donald Trump, against Republican members of Congress and against Trump voters across this country.”

WHO ARE THE FIRST WITNESSES?

The panel announced Tuesday that British filmmaker Nick Quested, who recorded members of the far-right Proud Boys as they stormed the building, will testify during Thursday’s primetime hearing.

Caroline Edwards, a U.S. Capitol Police officer who was seriously injured as the rioters, including members of the Proud Boys, shoved past police officers and forced their way into the Capitol, will also testify. Edwards sustained a traumatic brain injury battling rioters.

WHAT COULD COME OF THE HEARINGS?

The committee members think that over the 11-month investigation — and over 1,000 interviews — they’ve uncovered serious efforts to undermine the legitimacy of the 2020 election and attempt to override the will of American voters.

These upcoming hearings are meant to carefully lay out their case.

Several members of the committee have promised new and explosive information will arise from the public hearings, but it remains unclear what that will entail.

Expect over the course of six nights a painstakingly choreographed presentation combining new videos, in-person testimony and potentially bombshell text messages between members of Congress. The new evidence could possibly expose high-profile GOP figures and those in the Trump White House in 2020.

The panel’s probe has so far been divided into a series of focus areas, including the efforts by former President Donald Trump and his allies to cast doubt on the election and halt the certification of President Joe Biden’s victory, the financing and organizing of rallies in Washington that took place before the attack, security failures by Capitol Police and federal agencies, and the actions of the rioters themselves.

Interview videos will be on display, including interviews with Jared Kushner and Ivanka Trump.

Sources told NewsNation the committee thinks it has substantial evidence for the trial. But the members’ biggest challenge is convincing Americans to care, and having an impactful impression on those who watch.

The committee is actually working with a former TV news executive in organizing its presentation during these hearings, which in part explains why some are calling it a “made-for-TV” moment.

Several major networks and cable news programs are expected to carry the first hearing live in the prime-time slot. The committee is also expected to livestream it on C-SPAN and on its YouTube page.

The hearings are expected to be exhaustive but not the final word from the committee, which plans to release subsequent reports on its findings, including recommendations on legislative reforms, ahead of the midterm elections.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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