The House select committee investigating the Capitol riot will hold its first hearing on July 27 to hear directly from Capitol and DC police officers who responded to the deadly attack, Democratic leaders announced Wednesday.
The hearing will mark the first time the panel will hear public testimony from first responders and will kick start its efforts to investigate the events on January 6. Chairman of the committee Bennie Thompson said last week he planned to have the committee hold its first hearing as soon as this month, regardless of whether House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy appointed anyone to the panel.
While the committee did not provide a witness list, sources tell CNN that staffers reached out to at least two police officers and asked them to testify: United States Capitol Police Officer Harry Dunn, who fought off the pro-Trump mob as they hurled racial slurs at him, and DC Metropolitan Police Officer Michael Fanone, who was beaten, tased and suffered a heart attack while responding to the attack. Both officers, who indicated they’d be willing to appear before the committee, had been vocal about the need for an independent commission to investigate the deadly insurrection and lobbied members of Congress to support legislation to establish one.
With the panel’s first public hearing, Democrats are hoping to shine a bright light on the deadly events of January 6 in the face of a GOP-led effort to whitewash the insurrection and who was behind it. Rep. Andrew Clyde, a Republican from Georgia who was on the House floor as rioters tried to breach the chamber, has since said the day looked like “a normal tourist visit.” And other Republicans have floated a wild conspiracy theory that the FBI orchestrated the violent mob attack.
McCarthy has yet to name his five GOP members to the panel, telling Fox News earlier this week that he hasn’t decided who – or even whether — to appoint anyone. But he is expected to pick members to the select committee before the first hearing, according to a source familiar with the thinking.
Wednesday’s announcement effectively set the stop clock for McCarthy, and the source said there is a recognition that it will be important to have GOP members in place for that first hearing.
Meanwhile, Democratic sources previously told CNN their strategy is to avoid turning the committee’s efforts into a spectacle and keep most work for the committee behind closed doors.
Speaker Nancy Pelosi appointed eight members to the select committee, including one Republican, Rep. Liz Cheney of Wyoming. In her first interview since being tapped for the investigation, Cheney warned McCarthy against naming Republicans who are still challenging the legitimacy of the 2020 election results or downplaying January 6.
“It’s very important that we have members who are committed to upholding the rule of law and members who are committed to their oaths to the Constitution,” Cheney said to CNN. “And I would certainly hope that the minority leader will be guided by that as he makes his choices.”
This story has been updated with additional developments Wednesday.
CNN’s Jeremy Herb and Ryan Nobles have contributed to this report.