12:20 PM PDT, June 10, 2022
The first televised hearing of the Jan. 6 House committee was a rollercoaster of violence, tears and disgust as viewers watched a disturbing recount of the U.S. Capitol being attacked by raging Donald Trump supporters.
Thursday night’s prime-time broadcast included new revelations about the terrorizing insurgency, which paralyzed the nation’s seat of government. Viewers also heard testimony from Trump allies who said the then-president’s inner circle knew full well his claims of a stolen election were really lies.
Inside the massive hearing room, a video played with previously unseen footage. The footage showed a human herd of Trump supporters rampaging the Capitol, shouting and smashing their way into the building. As the president’s enraged followers beat the outnumbered police, anguished radio calls were heard from officers who pleaded for reinforcements.
Law enforcement survivors of that day held hands and wept Thursday evening as the thundering video of a screaming mob filled the packed hall.
Here are key moments from the impassioned hearing, and a schedule of what will be covered in subsequent sessions scheduled for next week.
Former Attorney General William Barr Calls ‘Bull***t”
Trump’s U.S. Attorney General William Barr, in videotaped testimony before the House committee, said he repeatedly told the then-president that his effort to overturn the 2020 election was based on false claims and “bull***t.”
“I made it clear I did not agree with the idea of saying the election was stolen and putting out this stuff, which I told the president it was bull***t, and I didn’t want to be a part of it,” Barr said during the taped deposition.
Barr said he had three conversations with Trump on Nov. 23, 2020, Dec. 1, 2020, and Dec. 14, 2020, before he ultimately resigned as attorney general.
Ivanka Trump Testifies She Believed William Barr
The former president’s daughter Ivanka Trump testified before the committee that she accepted Barr’s conclusion that her father’s claims of a rigged election were false. She and her husband, Jared Kushner, were on the president’s staff, but have attempted to distance themselves since the Jan. 6, 2020 attack on the Capitol.
“I respect Attorney General Barr so I accepted what he was saying,” she testified.
Trump’s Campaign Staff Told Him He Had Legitimately Lost the 2020 Election
Jason Miller, a former Trump campaign adviser, testified that the then-president’s data expert had a phone call with Trump after the election, and told him he had lost, based on poll results.
“I remember he delivered to the president pretty blunt terms that he was going to lose,” Miller told the committee.
Trump Cheered Supporters Who Chanted “Hang Mike Pence”
Rep. Liz Cheney, a Republican from Wyoming and a lead investigator on the House committee, cited testimony from Trump advisers.
She said those aides testified Trump had turned on former Vice President Mike Pence, who was inside the Capitol helping to certify the 2020 election results declaring Democrat Joe Biden the victor.
Trump supporters storming the Capitol had rigged a makeshift gallows with a noose outside Congress, and chanted “Hang Mike Pence!” as they overran the building.
“Maybe our supporters have the right idea. Mike Pence deserves it,” the advisers testified they heard Trump say.
Injured U.S. Capitol Police Officer: “I Was Slipping in People’s Blood.”
Caroline Edwards, believed to be the first law enforcement officer injured by rioters, told the committee Thursday night in live testimony, “What I saw was just a war scene,” she said. “It was something like I had seen out of the movies. I could not believe my eyes.
“There were officers on the ground. They were bleeding. They were throwing up. I saw friends with blood all over their faces. I was slipping in people’s blood. I was catching people as they fell.
“I’m not combat-trained,” she said. “And that day, it was just hours of hand-to-hand combat.”
Behind her, Capitol police officers and survivors of the fallen silently cried.
Serena Liebengood, the widow of U.S. Capitol Police officer Howard Liebengood, Sandra Garza, the partner of fallen Officer Brian Sicknick, Officer Harry Dunn, and Sgt. Aquilino Gonell all appeared overcome by the graphic testimony of Edwards.
The officer also testified that rioters slammed her into a set of concrete steps, where she fell, hit her head and blacked out. When she regained consciousness, she said she stood up and helped fellow officers who had been beaten and sprayed with chemicals.
She recounted trying to help Officer Brian Sicknick, who was beaten and sprayed and died the next day after suffering two strokes.
“All of a sudden, I see movement to the left of me. I turned, and it was Officer Sicknick with his head in his hands and he was ghostly pale,” Edwards testified.
“My cop alarm bells went off, because if you get sprayed with pepper spray, you’re going to turn red. He turned just about as pale as this sheet of paper,” she said.
What Happens Next
Rep. Cheney laid out Thursday night what will be covered in coming public hearings.
On Monday, at 10 a.m., the committee will focus on former President Trump, who knew he had lost the election but nonetheless waged a “massive effort to spread false and fraudulent information,” she said.
On Wednesday, at 10 a.m., the bipartisan group will hear testimony that senior leaders in the Justice Department and the White House threatened to resign and confronted Trump in his Oval Office, Cheney said.
On Thursday at 1 p.m., the committee will hear details about Trump’s efforts to pressure Vice President Pence into overturning the 2020 election, she said.
Additional hearings, which have not been scheduled, will spotlight the former president’s attempts to get state legislators and election administrators to invalidate ballots and how those actions led to the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol, Cheney said.