OnPolitics: What you need to know about the House Jan. 6 hearings

  • In Politics
  • 2022-06-09 22:48:22Z

Good afternoon, OnPolitics readers!

Welcome to a special edition of OnPolitics.

The House committee investigating the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the U.S. Capitol holds its first public hearing Thursday in prime time.

Since its formation in 2021, the Select Committee to Investigate the January 6th Attack on the U.S. Capitol - as it's formally known - has interviewed hundreds of witnesses and subpoenaed almost 100 allies of former President Donald Trump, as well as other individuals and businesses connected to events surrounding the attack on the Capitol.

The hearings will examine the evidence the committee has gathered to answer several questions: What happened that day? Who was involved in the planning and execution of the insurrection? How can future attacks be prevented?

How to watch the hearings: Major news networks such as CNN, MSNBC, CBS, NBC and ABC News will be airing it, along with C-SPAN. NBC's online streaming channel NBC News NOW will also air the hearings online.

While you can watch on most news outlets, Fox News isn't one of them. Fox News Channel's prime-time programs will "cover the hearings as warrants," and at 11 p.m., Fox will air a two-hour live analysis special, the network announced Monday. The network will instead carry the coverage on its Fox Business channel, as well as Fox Nation and its website.

USA TODAY will also be live-streaming the hearings on our website and on our social media platforms.

It's Amy and Chelsey with everything you need to know about the Jan. 6 committee hearings.

Want this news roundup in your inbox every night? Sign up for the OnPolitics newsletter here.

Why Mike Pence is a central figure in the Jan. 6 investigation

When a violent mob breached the Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021, Secret Service agents hustled Vice President Mike Pence off the Senate floor and down a flight of stairs restricted to lawmakers and other dignitaries.

He left while rioters prowled the Capitol halls and chanted "Hang Mike Pence." Members of the mob later pawed through the mahogany desks in the Senate chamber and sat for pictures in Pence's chair on the rostrum.

The House committee investigating the attack will focus during its June hearings on Pence's key role presiding over the Electoral College vote count.

Rather than single-handedly rejecting electors from states then-President Donald Trump lost, as the president and his allies urged, Pence refused to interfere with or delay the count certifying President Joe Biden's victory while a mob ransacked the Capitol and threatened the vice president's life.

Will Pence testify? Rep. Bennie Thompson, D-Miss., the chair of the Jan. 6 committee, said lawmakers discussed having Pence testify but that it might not be necessary because of cooperation from his top advisers. Pence's chief of staff, Marc Short, and counsel, Greg Jacob, were among more than 1,000 witnesses, including more than a dozen from the White House, who met with the committee.

The committee hearings come as Pence increasingly distances himself from Trump. In a proxy battle in Georgia's Republican gubernatorial primary May 24, Pence endorsed Gov. Brian Kemp against Trump's preferred candidate, former Sen. David Perdue.

The political rupture came after Trump has repeatedly insisted Pence could have changed the election results. In a statement Jan. 30, Trump said lawmakers were trying to change the Electoral Count Act because the vice president could have rejected electors from contested states.

"Unfortunately, he didn't exercise that power, he could have overturned the Election!" Trump said.

Real quick: stories you'll want to read

  • Who's who on the Jan. 6 committee?: Here's a roster of the lawmakers who have collected evidence of the events surrounding the Capitol insurrection in preparation for its first hearing.

  • Will Trump watch the hearings?: The former president, an avid TV watcher, is expected to closely watch the hearings for evidence against him and his allies.

  • Who has the Jan. 6 committee subpoenaed?: The panel has asked nearly 100 individuals, organizations and Trump allies for evidence.

  • Who's been charged in the Capitol riots?: So far, more than 800 people in 48 states have been charged with participating in the Jan. 6 riot.

  • How did the insurrection unfold?: USA TODAY has put together a timeline of what transpired that day.

See what happens live: Follow along with the hearings in real-time on our live blog.

Unknown White House aides and justices center stage during hearing

The long-awaited Jan. 6 committee hearings will expose some behind-the-scenes players to the national spotlight.

Cassidy Hutchinson, Richard Donoghue, Greg Jacob, Benjamin Williamson and Keith Kellogg are former White House and Justice Department staffers who will provide testimony during the hearings on the activities of Trump, former Vice President Mike Pence and then-chief of staff Mark Meadows on Jan. 6, 2021.

Hutchinson, a former aide to Meadows and special assistant to the president for legislative affairs, reportedly told the committee about White House strategy sessions where lawmakers discussed different methods of overturning the results of the 2020 presidential election. He said Meadows communicated using encrypted applications and burned documents in his office fireplace, according to reports.

Former deputy attorney general Donoghue described how Trump debated replacing his acting attorney general with someone more willing to challenge state election results, and Jacob, counsel to Pence, condemned Trump attorney John Eastman's legal arguments for overturning the election results.

Testimony from these and the remaining witnesses will offer just a glimpse from more than 1,000 witnesses who helped to illuminate what led to the Capitol riot and the reaction from the White House.

"The committee wants to give every opportunity to people to come forward with information relevant to the investigation," said one member, Rep. Jamie Raskin, D-Md. "We feel that's true regardless of your political party or job or title."

We've compiled some of the most unforgettable images from Jan. 6, 2021. Find them here. -- Amy and Chelsey

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: What you need to know about the House hearing on Jan. 6 Capitol attack


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