Jan. 6 panel opens hearing with never-before-seen video, officer testimony
Watch the full hearing
Thursday night’s hearing lasted nearly two hours and featured live testimony from two witnesses, videotaped interviews with former Trump administration officials, and new footage from the scene of the attack. The full hearing can be viewed in this CBS News Special Report, hosted by Norah O’Donnell.
Officer Edwards describes Jan. 6: “It was carnage, it was chaos”
U.S. Capitol Police Officer Caroline Edwards testified about her experience on Jan. 6 and how she realized the crowd was getting out of control.
“I’ve worked, I can conservatively say, hundreds of civil disturbance events – I know when I’m being turned into a villain, and that’s when I turned to my sergeant and said ‘Sarge, I think we’re going to need a few more people down here.'”
Edwards described how the rioters ripped back the barricades as officers tried desperately to hold them off. She described how the bike rack was pushed into her and that she blacked out when the back of her head hit the concrete stairs behind.
When she regained consciousness, she returned to duty.
“More people kept coming at us,” Edwards said. “It seemed like more people were coming on to the westfront – they started overwhelming us. “
Edwards said she tried to help decontaminate people when she noticed Officer Brian Sicknick — a colleague who would die the following day. She said that his face was not as pale as it would have been if he had pepper-sprayed.
Thompson asked her about one memory of that day. Edwards described it as a “war scene.” “
“That time when I talked about falling behind MPD’s line, I remember because I had been kind of shielded away because I was holding those stairs — so I wasn’t able to see what was really going on over here,” she said. “When I fell behind the line and saw what it was, I can only remember my breath catching in mine because I saw nothing but a war scene. It was exactly like what I had seen in the movies. It was unbelievable. Officers were lying on the ground, bleeding, throwing up… I saw friends with blood on their faces. I was slipping in the blood of others. I was catching people falling… it was chaos, it was carnage. I cannot even describe what I saw. I never thought that I would find myself in the middle a battle as a police officer. “
Documentarian says Proud Boys were marching toward the Capitol before Trump’s speech even began
Filmmaker and documentarian Nick Quested told the committee he was “confused” that a couple hundred Proud Boys members were marching in the direction of the Capitol before Trump even began speaking.
“I was confused to an extent why we were walking away from the president’s speech because that’s what I felt we were there to cover,” Quested said.
Quested said that as they neared the Capitol, he saw very few police officers. Quested stated that the atmosphere was darker than in previous days when he had covered Proud Boys.
Officer Edwards said “never” had her patriotism been called into question before Jan. 6
U.S. Capitol Police Officer Caroline Edwards recalled how her patriotism was called into question on Jan. 6, 2021, and in the days after.
“I was called a lot of things on January 6, 2021, and the days thereafter,” she said, including “Nancy Pelosi’s dog,” a “traitor,” a “hero,” and a “villain.”
“In actuality, I was none of those things. She said that she was an American.
“I had been called names before, but never had my patriotism or duty been called into question,” Edwards said.
Edwards still hasn’t been able to return to her regular duties prior to Jan. 6, 2021, after she was injured by rioters.
Cheney says Trump made no calls to National Guard or law enforcement. “Vice President Pence did each one of those things. “
Cheney claimed that Trump did not call any U.S. government element to direct law enforcement to protect Capitol, including the National Guard. Cheney claimed that Vice President Mike Pence made those calls.
“Not only did President Trump refuse to tell the mob to leave the Capitol, he placed no call to any element of the United States government to instruct that the Capitol be defended,” Cheney said. “He didn’t call his secretary of defence on January 6. He didn’t speak to his attorney general. He did not speak to the Department of Homeland Security. Trump did not give an order to deploy the National Guard on that day. He also failed to cooperate with the Department of Justice in order to coordinate and deploy law enforcement resources. Each of these things was done by Vice President Pence.”
Cheney: “There will come a day when Donald Trump is gone, but your dishonor will remain”
Vice Chairman Liz Cheney was fired from the Republican Party leadership for her repeated criticisms of Trump and insistence on the election not stolen. She had a message to send to the Republicans who continue to defend Trump and downplay the attack on the Capitol.
“Tonight, I say this to my Republican colleagues who are defending the indefensible. Donald Trump will soon be gone. She said, “But your dishonor will continue.”
Committee plays some never-before-seen footage of Capitol assault
The committee viewed footage of rioters breaking into the Capitol and officers preparing for the assault in an effort to protect Congressmen.
The video, which includes violence and explicit language, can be seen below:
The video included a brief interview with one of the men who breached the Capitol. The man was asked what he was willing to do.
“Whatever it takes. “I’ll lay down my life, if necessary,” the man said.
Cheney says public will hear about Trump Cabinet members discussing possibility of invoking 25th Amendment
Committee Vice Chair Liz Cheney said the American public will hear about members of Trump’s Cabinet discussing the “possibility of invoking the 25th Amendment.” The 25th Amendment provides the Cabinet a path to replace the president.
Former Trump Education Secretary Betsy DeVos, in a conversation with a USA Today columnist published Thursday, said there were “more than a few people” in the administration having conversations about potentially invoking the 25th Amendment. DeVos resigned as a Trump official on Jan. 7, the day following the attack.
Cheney says McCarthy was “scared” and called Trump’s family members on Jan. 6
Cheney stated that House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy was so scared to call Trump’s family members on Jan. 6.
“You will hear that leaders on Capitol Hill begged the president for help, including Republican leader McCarthy who was quote, ‘scared,’ and called multiple members of President Trump’s family, after he could not persuade the president himself.”
Since then, McCarthy has downplayed Jan. 6, and said “everybody in the country” bears some responsibility for what happened that day.
Cheney says committee will lay out Trump’s legal strategy to overturn election results
Cheney described the committee’s plans for an investigation into Trump’s legal strategy to reverse the election results. This included the work of John Eastman, a conservative attorney who devised a plan to disqualify states’ electoral votes.
The committee has subpoenaed thousands of Eastman’s emails from his former employer, with a federal judge ordering their release to investigators in recent weeks.
Cheney said J. Michael Luttig, a former federal judge who advised Pence’s team, will testify that Eastman “was wrong at every turn.”
“You will see the email exchanges between Eastman and the vice president’s counsel as the violent attack on Congress was underway,” Cheney said. “[Pence counsel Greg] Jacob told Mr. Eastman, “Thanks to your bullshwe are under siege.”
Cheney highlighted several rulings from U.S. District Judge David Carter, the federal judge overseeing the dispute over the subpoena for Eastman’s emails. In one ruling, Carter wrote that it was “more likely than not” that Trump attempted to obstruct Congress.
“If Dr. Eastman and President Trump’s plan had worked, it would have permanently ended the peaceful transition of power, undermining American democracy and the Constitution,” he wrote in March. “If the country doesn’t commit to investigating and seeking accountability for those responsible, then the Court fears that January 6 will be repeated. “
Pence chief of staff says VP was more loyal to Constitution than Trump
“I think the vice president was proud of his four years of service and he felt like much had been accomplished in those four years, and I think he was proud to have stood beside the president for all that had been done, but I think he ultimately knew his fidelity to the Constitution was his first and foremost oath and that is what he articulated publicly and that is what I think he felt,” Short told investigators.
Cheney says Republican members of Congress sought pardons after Jan. 6
Vice Chairwoman Rep. Liz Cheney said one of her fellow Republicans, Rep. Scott Perry, sought a pardon from Trump after Jan. 6, 2021. She said that he wasn’t alone. Perry rejected the subpoena.
“Multiple other Republican congressmen also sought presidential pardons for their roles in attempting to overturn the 2020 election,” she said.
Ivanka Trump says she believed then-Attorney General Bill Barr’s analysis on election’s integrity
In recorded video testimony, Trump’s daughter Ivanka Trump, a long-time White House aide, said that she accepted Bill Barr’s analysis that Trump associates claims of mass voter fraud were incorrect.
“I respect Attorney General Barr, so I accepted what he was saying,” she said in the recorded testimony.
Lead data aide told Trump he would lose election, aide says
According to on-camera testimony, Trump aide Jason Miller, who was in the Oval Office at the time, said the campaign’s lead data analyst told Trump he would lose.
“I remember he delivered to the president — in pretty blunt terms, that he was going to lose,” Miller said.
That was based on county-by-county and state-by-state results, Miller confirmed.
Cheney: Trump wanted Mike Pence to be hanged
Committe vice chairwoman Rep. Liz Cheney said in her opening statement that more than a dozen former White House staffers will show that Trump wanted Vice President Mike Pence to be hanged. Cheney stated that those staffers were present in the West Wing on Jan. 6.
“You will hear testimony that, ‘The president did not really want to put anything out,’ calling off the riot or asking his supporters to leave. You’ll hear Trump yelling at his advisers, who told him that he should be doing more. Conscient of the rioters’ calls to hang Mike Pence the president replied with this sentiment: ‘Maybe our supporters have the right idea. Mike Pence, ‘deserves it.'”
Cheney said testimony will also show that Trump refused for hours to instruct his supporters to stand down and leave the Capitol.
Barr says in videotaped testimony: “I told the president it was bullsh. I didn’t want a part. “
Thompson played a video excerpt of former Attorney General Bill Barr’s interview by the House Jan. 6 committee. Barr claimed that he told Trump about his claims of a stolen electoral vote. “
“I didn’t want to be a part of it,” he said.
Barr said he couldn’t live in a world where an incumbent administration stays in power based on “unsupported by specific evidence that there was fraud in the election. “
Thompson says “Trump was at the center of this conspiracy”
Chairman Bennie Thompson did not mince words, squarely placing responsibility for Jan. 6 at the feet of former President Trump.
“Donald Trump was at the center of this conspiracy,” Thompson said.
“It boils down to this,” he continued. “January 6 was the culmination a failed coup. It was a brazen attempt to overthrow government, as one rioter described it shortly after January 6. The violence was not an accident. “
Thompson said Trump broke the long-held tradition of the peaceful transfer of power. He said that even President Abraham Lincoln during the Civil War acknowledged he had a responsibility to accept the election results if he lost in 1864.
“Donald Trump lost the presidential election in 2020. Thompson stated that Trump was voted out of office by the American people.
But Trump didn’t stop there, Thompson said.
“But for Donald Trump, that was only the beginning of what became a sprawling, multi-step conspiracy” aimed at overturning the election, Thompson said.
Over the next few weeks, the committee will remind Americans what happened that day, but also that democracy is still in danger, Thompson suggested.
“January 6 and the lives that led to insurrection have put two-and-a-half centuries of constitutional democracy at risk. He said that the world is watching what they do here.
Sandra Garza, partner of late Officer Brian Sicknick, says “justice for me for Brian would be having Donald Trump in prison”
Sandra Garza, the partner of late Officer Brian Sicknick, who died on Jan. 7, 2021, after engaging with rioters, has arrived at the hearing. She was accompanied by former Metropolitan PD officer Michael Fanone and Harry Dunn from Capitol police.
“I hope we can get some, you know, clarification for the public on how Trump is responsible for instigating that event that day,” Garza told reporters. “We know this in our hearts, and I hope the public sees it live and in color. “
When asked if she felt this was justice for Sicknick, she said, “I hope so. “
“Justice for me for Brian would be having Donald Trump in prison, but it doesn’t seem like that ever happens,” Garza said. “The man seems able to escape justice over and over again. Maybe today could change that. It would be wonderful. I don’t know. We’ll see. “
Witness Caroline Edwards says “good to go” ahead of hearing
Capitol officer Caroline Edwards has arrived at the hearing. When asked if her readiness was good, she replied “Yeah. Good to go.” “
Committee chair Bennie Thompson to open by saying “we can’t sweep what happened under the rug”
The chairman of the committee, Rep. Bennie Thompson will make an opening statement, stating that the attack on Capitol was an attempt to undermine the will and will of the people.
“We can’t sweep what happened under the rug,” Thompson will say, according to his prepared statement. “The American people need answers. So, I am not a Democrat. Instead, I am an American who took an oath to protect the Constitution. The Constitution does not protect only Republicans or Democrats. It protects us all: ‘We, the People. This scheme was designed to undermine the will and power of the people. “
He will also say the hearings aren’t intended to just look backwards, adding that democracy “remains in danger.”
“January 6th and the lies that led to insurrection have put two and a half centuries of constitutional democracy at risk,” he’ll say. “The world is watching our actions here. America has been a shining city built on a hill for a long time. A beacon of hope, freedom. “
Two witnesses are set to testify Thursday night
The select committee announced Tuesday evening that it would call two witnesses on Thursday. Nick Quested, a filmmaker, and Capitol Police officer Caroline Edwards were the witnesses. Edwards was the first officer to be injured in the riots storming Capitol Grounds. According to the committee, Edwards sustained a traumatic brain injury that prevented him from returning to work.
Quested will likely face questions about the footage he shot both on the days leading up to Jan. 6 and on the day of the attack, when he followed a group of Proud Boys as they stormed the Capitol. The leader and four members of that far-right group are facing charges of seditious conspiracy.
Jan. 6 committee expected to discuss the pressure on Mike Pence
A lot of the events that took place before and after the attack on the U.S. Capitol on January 6 were focused on Mike Pence, then-Vice President. The pressure campaign to reverse the Electoral College vote result was first, followed by threats to his life. The video below shows Scott MacFarlane, CBS News congressional correspondent, describing it.
Some witnesses confirm upcoming appearances
Georgia Secretary Of State Brad Raffensperger will appear in front of the House Jan. 6 committee, according to a source familiar with the matter. This is according to a CBS News source.
J. Michael Luttig, a former judge on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit and a leading conservative jurist who advised then-Vice President Mike Pence, confirmed to CBS News that he has accepted an invitation to appear before the committee next week. He told CBS News that it would be an honor to testify before this committee on January 6.
Greg Jacob, who served as chief counsel to Pence, and Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger will also appear at subsequent hearings.
– Robert Costa and Major Garrett
Jan. 6 hearing could reveal explosive new evidence
Committee aides have promised explosive new evidence that will show the attack was a coordinated and planned effort to overturn the 2020 presidential election. Caroline Edwards, a U.S. Capitol Police officer, and Nick Quested, a documentary filmmaker will be the first witnesses. The video below gives details about Nikole Killion, CBS News congressional correspondent.
Biden says “a lot of Americans are going to be seeing for the first time some of the detail that occurred”
Mr. Biden noted ahead of his meeting with Justin Trudeau, Canadian Prime Minister, at the Summit of the Americas Los Angeles on Thursday that some Americans will hear details of the Jan. 6, attack for the first-time.
“And as I said when it was occurring and subsequent, I think it was a clear, flagrant violation of the Constitution,” Mr. Biden said. “I believe these guys and ladies broke the law. There are many questions about who is responsible and who is involved. I don’t intend to make a judgement on that, but I do want you to know that a lot of Americans will be seeing the details that occurred for the first time. “
Widows of Capitol officers who died by suicide will be in audience
The widows of Capitol Police officers Howard Liebengood (who both committed suicide after the attack on Capitol) will be present at Thursday night’s hearing. Four of the officers who responded to the attack on Jan. 6 committed suicide within seven months.
Jeff Smith’s widow, Erin Smith, told CBS News in an exclusive interview that she thought the “physical attack on him changed him.” CBS News obtained body camera footage that shows that Smith was the victim of multiple assaults on Jan. 6. He was attacked at least twice inside the Capitol, and again at the Capitol’s west front.
She petitioned Washington, D.C., to consider the possibility that Jeff had suffered a brain injury during the attack and that his death occurred in the line of duty. She said, “If he didn’t go to work that morning, he’d still be here.”
In March 2022, she received the official recognition that the Jan. 6 injury “was the sole and direct cause his death.”
Serena Liebengood, the widow of Officer Howard Liebengood, wrote In a letter to Virginia lawmaker Rep. Jennifer Wexton that her husband was ordered to remain on duty “practically around the clock” for three days following the insurrection and “was severely sleep deprived” before his death by suicide on Jan. 9.
“The Liebengood family wants Howie’s death to not have been in vain,” she wrote, according to the letter obtained by CBS News. She called upon the U.S. Capitol Police 1654822684000 and wrote that “the UCSP must hold it accountable for its actions” to address the mental well-being of its officers.
– Caroline Linton and Ellis Kim
How Republicans have tried to block the committee’s actions
House Republicans repeatedly stated that the select committee is “ignoring” pertinent questions about security decisions made prior to Jan. 6. They also questioned the lack of coordination and communication between federal agencies in order to anticipate trouble and violence.
There was legislation to create a national commission to investigate Jan. 6. It was authorized to create a national commission to investigate Jan. 6. 2. The legislative text.
It proposed a bipartisan panel with equally distributed budgets for committee staff and importantly, set a date for a final report of Dec. 31, 2021.
The House passed legislation creating this national commission 252-175. Then, Senate Republicans killed it with a filibuster, the cloture vote failing 54-35 (it needed 60 votes to pass). The House Republicans did not object.
To review, a national commission empowered to investigate the very questions House Republicans now regard as “crucial” was killed by Senate Republicans — without a whimper from House Republicans. These hearings are being held in an election year. Republicans who complain about this have forgotten that the original proposal for a national commission would have been completed by now if it wasn’t for Senate Republicans killing it.
Also, federal courts have repeatedly upheld the power and legislative purpose of the select committee, despite repeated Republican and Trump White House attempts to suggest it is illegitimate and lacks congressional standing. It is valid and its subpoena powers are reaffirmed over-and-over. It was created by Nancy Pelosi, House Speaker. She is a partisan. Pelosi rejected two House Republican Members because evidence at the time suggested that they were involved in efforts to decertify elections. This would have given them the authority to investigate conduct that they would have every reason coverup or obscure.
Angry fights over past elections – but they can’t compare to 2020
There have been many public disputes over contested presidential elections in our country before.
But nothing like 2020.
In 1800, our country almost came unglued following the election that eventually elevated Jefferson to the presidency, which ended Federalist rule. The musical “Hamilton“ gave the rancor a resonant beat and lyrics, but the nation damn near collapsed amid intrigue, recrimination and scheming over who would succeed George Washington.
The election of 1824 produced the widely discussed “corrupt bargain” that delayed Andrew Jackson’s ascendancy to the presidency by four years.
In 1860, Abraham Lincoln wasn’t even on distributed ballots in ten southern states. The country rated electoral votes in states that were ready to seize control of the union. Lincoln was elected president amid the formation of the Confederate States of America, a separatist country.
In 1876, the result of the election was uncertain almost until Inauguration Day, which was in early March back then. It seemed impossible to resolve the three states’ results. A long-running debate about the future of Reconstruction was brought to a close in an attempt to resolve the matter. After Reconstruction was ended in order to exchange for the presidency The election was concluded with Rutherford B. Hays winning the presidency
In 1960, the election was the closest of that century. Richard Nixon was urged by the authorities to contest it. In several states, grand juries investigating election fraud were formed. John Kennedy was inaugurated in a smooth manner.
In 2000, Florida gripped the nation as a recount tried to assess obvious questions about voter intent in some counties. The Supreme Court intervened and declared a winner. Gore accepted and George W. Bush was elected president. However, the traumas of the recount have infected much the “rigged” election rhetoric from both the left- and right-leaning parties.
But in all these contested elections, the president or nominee never called the election or the process illegitimate. The process that led to the election was never questioned by the president or his nominee. In fact, Trump never attempted to mobilize public opinion against these very procedures.
What led up to Jan. 6 has never, ever been seen in American history. It is hard to believe, but it is still true and meaningful.
House Democratic lawmakers will be in the audience
We can expect to see House Democratic lawmakers in the audience tonight at the Jan. 6, committee hearing.
The panel has reserved seats for some members of the “gallery group,” a group of Democratic lawmakers who were stuck in the House gallery on Jan. 6 while others were being evacuated. Since then, the members have formed a sort of support group for one another. Pramila Jayapal, a Washington Democratic Representative, and Ann Kuster, a New Hampshire Democratic Rep. will be there.
Some of the gallery group are having dinner together Thursday night before they attend the hearing, a source said. They want to support one another. They will have seats reserved in the committee room.
Bipartisan senators reach a general agreement on updating Electoral Count Act
A bipartisan group of senators working to reform the Electoral Count Act has reached a general agreement and is working on legislative text during this work period, which ends June 24, according to two sources familiar with the matter. They met Wednesday night in order to discuss changes to the law that governs how Congress counts and certifies votes from each presidential election.
“We had an excellent meeting last night where we resolved almost all of the issues,” GOP Sen. Susan Collins, of Maine, said Thursday.
She said the group has already drafted language that would make clear that the vice president’s role is ministerial in the process of counting Electoral College votes. The new language also raises the threshold for triggering a challenge to a state’s slate from one member in each chamber to 20% of the members in each body. A majority vote would be required to support an objection.
Advocates for reforming the Electoral Count Act of 1887 argue that it’s outdated and doesn’t provide clear guidance about the role that Congress plays in certifying election results. That ambiguity, they say, created the circumstances that led to the Capitol assault on Jan.6, 2021, when thousands of then-President Trump’s supporters stormed the Capitol to try to stop Congress from affirming what the states had already determined — that Joe Biden had won the 2020 presidential election.
–Jack Turman, Alan He and Adam Brewster