On Thursday, the House panel investigating the riots at the U.S. Capitol on January 6, 2021, laid blame on former President Donald Trump for the violent attack on the Capitol.
Calling the insurgence of the U.S. Capitol an "attempted coup," the committee also asserted that Trump's efforts to try to overturn the 2020 Presidential election directly influenced the events of that day, the Associated Press reports.
"We can't sweep what happened under the rug," said panel Chairman Rep. Bennie Thompson (D-MS) as he opened the hearing, which was broadcast on television at 8 pm EST. "The American people deserve answers."
The AP reports that the committee interviewed more than 1,000 people and compiled videos and more than 140,000 documents connected to the January 6 riots. This evidence will be presented throughout the seven-part trial taking place this month.
The hearing began with Thompson asserting that the committee found that Trump led a "sprawling, multi-step conspiracy aimed at overturning the presidential election," which resulted in the January 6 attack.
He added, "January 6 was the culmination of an attempted coup, a brazen attempt, as one rioter put it shortly after January 6, to overthrow the government. The violence was no accident."
Rep. Liz Cheney (R-WY), the vice-chair of the panel, asserted that "the attack on our Capitol was not a spontaneous riot."
Cheney is one of two Republicans on the nine-person panel.
"When a president fails to take the steps necessary to preserve our union — or worse, causes a constitutional crisis — we're in a moment of maximum danger for our republic," Cheney later added.
During the trial, the committee showed a video of former Attorney General William "Bill" Barr insisting that he told President Trump that his claims that the election was fraudulent were unsupported.
The committee also showed new, graphic video footage showing the progression of the attack from a riot to a violent attack on Capitol police and the U.S. Capitol building. The video was put together by stitching footage from police body cameras, security cameras and phone camera videos. A video of what lawmakers were doing inside the Capitol building as the riot grew more violent was shown as well.
One significant testimony came from Capitol Police officer Caroline Edwards, who was present on the day of the attack. Edwards suffered from a traumatic brain injury during the attack after members of the Proud Boys extremist group shoved her to the ground as they pushed through the barricades outside the Capitol building.
Edwards described the events as a "war scene," saying that some officers "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. It was carnage. It was chaos."
Edwards has yet to return to duty in the unit where she worked at the time of the January 6 attack.
British filmmaker Nick Quested also testified during the hearing, noting that he was documenting the actions of the Proud Boys on the day. Quested testified that he filmed the Proud Boys as they met another group, the Oath Keepers, in an underground garage before the day's events. He then walked with the Proud Boys from the White House to the U.S. Capitol building.
"For anyone who didn't understand how violent that event was, I saw it," Quested said. "I documented it, and I experienced it."
Lawmakers further highlighted their own experience on the day as they fled the congressional chambers to seek safety after the building was breached.
This is the first of seven televised congressional hearing on the January 6 attack. The second hearing is scheduled to take place on June 13.
Photo courtesy: ©Getty Images/Pool
Kayla Koslosky has been the Editor of ChristianHeadlines.com since 2018. She has B.A. degrees in English and History and previously wrote for and was the managing editor of the Yellow Jacket newspaper. She has written on her blog since 2012 and has also contributed to IBelieve.com and Crosswalk.com.