UPDATE, 10:01 AM PT: Capitol police officers concluded their testimony to a select committee investigating the January 6 Capitol riot by calling on members to investigate the source of what happened — including the role that President Donald Trump and his allies played.
Metropolitan Police Officer Daniel Hodges said that the committee “needs to address if anyone in power had a role in this.”
Capitol Police officer Harry Dunn compared it to a crime investigation of a hit man: Authorities seek not just the assailant, but whoever hired him.
UPDATE, 8:12 AM PT: Police officers who defended the Capitol on January 6 provided riveting, graphic and disturbing testimony of the scene that day — and described how they felt that their lives were at stake.
It’s significant because, as the months pass, some defenders of Donald Trump have tried to downplay what happened.
“What we were subjected to that day was like something from a medieval battlefield,” said Capitol Police Officer Aquilino Gonell.
He described trying to defend an entrance door and “thinking to myself, ‘This is how I am going to die.'”
Officer Michael Fanone of D.C.’s Metropolitan Police described beating beaten on the Lower West Terrace, as rioters chanted at him, “Get his gun! Kill him with his own gun!” He said that he was “electrocuted again and again” with a taser.
“I thought that I would be torn apart or shot to death with my own weapon,” Fanone told the committee.
He said that he tried to “appeal to any humanity they had” by calling out, “I have kids.” Then some in the crowd came to his aid.
Fanone also showed a flash of anger as he railed against lawmakers and others who have tried to minimize what happened that day.
“Too many are telling me that hell doesn’t exist, or that hell wasn’t actually that bad,” he said. “The indifference shown to my colleagues is disgraceful.”
Capitol Police officer Harry Dunn described being yelled at, multiple times, with the N-word.
He said that as the insurrectionists were pouring into the Capitol near the Speakers Lobby, he asked them to leave. When some yelled, “No man, this is our house. President Trump invited us here. We are here to stop the steal. Joe Biden is not the president. Nobody voted for Joe Biden.”
Then, Dunn said, he answered, “Well, I voted for Joe Biden. Does my vote not count? Am I nobody?”
Then he received a “torrent of racial epithets,” including a woman in a pink MAGA shirt who yelled, “You hear that guys? This n— voted for Joe Biden.”
“And they crowd, perhaps about 20 people, began screaming, ‘Boo. F***ing n—-. No one had ever, ever called me a n—- while wearing the uniform of a Capitol police officer.”
Networks carried the testimony without bleeping out vulgarities, epithets and swear words. CNN did not bleep it out even in a replay.
Metropolitan Police Officer Daniel Hodges, seen in a video screaming in pain as he was being crushed in a door as the mob tried to get through, repeatedly described the rioters as terrorists.
He later was asked about one lawmaker’s comparison of the rioters to tourists. “If that’s what American tourists are like, I can see why foreign countries don’t like American tourists,” he said. He went on to cite U.S. code that defines terrorism as an attempt to “intimidate or coerce a civilian population.”
Rep. Liz Cheney (R-WY), one of two Republicans on the committee, directed part of her questioning on what officers thought of Trump’s role.
Gonell said, “All of them were telling us, ‘Trump sent us…He could have done a lot of things. One of them was telling them to stop.”
He added, “He himself helped to create this monstrosity. I am still recovering from the hugs and kisses that he claimed that so many rioters, terrorists were assaulting us that day. If that was hugs and kisses then I wish you all would go to his house and do the same thing to him.” He later apologized for the latter suggestion of going to Trump’s house.
PREVIOUSLY: More than six months after the attack on the U.S. Capitol by a mob of supporters of President Donald Trump, lawmakers launched a specially created inquiry into the riot via a select committee, starting with a dramatic and graphic video if the events of January 6.
“Some people are trying to deny what happened, whitewash it, turn the insurrectionists into martyrs, but the whole world saw the reality of what happened on January 6,” said Rep. Bennie Thompson (D-MS), who is chairing the committee. “…We cannot allow ourselves to be undone by liars and cheaters.”
Rep. Liz Cheney (R-WY), one of two Republicans on the committee, said, “We cannot leave the violence of January 6 and its causes uninvestigated. The American people deserve the full and open testimony of every person who knowledge of the planning and preparation for January 6.
But Cheney also said that the investigation must extend to Trump’s White House. “We must also know what happened every minute of that day in the White House,” she said. “Every phone call. Every conversation. Every meeting leading, up to, during and after the attack.”
She said that if those who were not responsible were not held accountable and if Congress does not act responsibly, “this will remain a cancer on our constitutional republic, undermining the peaceful transfer of power at the heart of our democratic system. We will face the threat of more violence in the months to come, and another January 6th every four years.”
With coverage from broadcast and cable networks, as well as the attention of much of Beltway media, Democrats were assured a platform from which to remind viewers not to forget what happened that day, even as Trump’s allies have tried to focus attention on House Speaker Nancy Pelosi or even minimize the nature of the siege.
“These are elected officials in high office who a pretending none of it happened,” said Charles Ramsey, law enforcement analyst for CNN, referring specifically to a GOP House member, Rep. Andrew Clyde (R-GA), who claimed that the rioters were merely seeking a tour of the building.
Rep. Jim Banks (R-IN), one of the lawmakers who Pelosi nixed from the committee, appeared on Fox News just before it started and questioned why Capitol Police were not more prepared. “All of this happened on Nancy Pelosi’s watch. She doesn’t want that line of questioning to occur.”
The Select Committee on January 6 was scheduled to feature dramatic testimony from four members of law enforcement who tried to defend the Capitol that day, against an angry mob who, with Trump’s encouragement, had marched to the Capitol following a rally at the Ellipse. Trump was impeached by the House for inciting the insurrection, as he encouraged to march on the Capitol as lawmakers were set to certify the electoral vote count.
The committee members — seven Democrats and two Republicans — entered the hearing room and, like a receiving line, greeted each of the four officer witnesses, who stood up to shake lawmakers’ hands or to give them hugs.
Thompson opened the hearing by noting the effort of the mob to stop the certification of the election. “A peaceful transfer of power did not happen this year. It did not happen. Let that sink in,” he said. “…It was a scene of violence in the citadel of democracy not seen…since 1814.”
He then played the video, laced with profanity, scenes of a mob rushing through halls, breaking windows and overrunning police officers.
.@January6thCmte Chair @BennieGThompson shows video from January 6th: "Describing that attack doesn't come close to capturing what actually took place that day. So, we're going to see some of what our witnesses saw on January 6th…" pic.twitter.com/zCaVD1yyAB
— CSPAN (@cspan) July 27, 2021
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