Jan. 6 committee holds first prime-time hearing

By Elise Hammond, Maureen Chowdhury and Melissa Macaya, CNN

Updated 5:15 p.m. ET, June 10, 2022
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12:36 a.m. ET, June 10, 2022

Proud Boys and Oath Keepers met in parking garage the night before insurrection, panel's findings show

(January 6 Committee Exhibit)
(January 6 Committee Exhibit)

Findings of the panel, presented in a video by investigative counsel of the Jan. 6 committee Marcus Childress, show that the leaders of two extremist groups — the Proud Boys and the Oath Keepers — met in a Washington, DC, parking garage on Jan. 5, 2021.

The meeting between Enrique Tarrio, former leader of the Proud Boys, and Stewart Rhodes of the Oath Keepers, was caught on video obtained by the committee.

"There's mutual respect there. We're fighting the same fight and that's what's important," Tarrio said in the video obtained by the committee that was shown during the hearing.

Before the meeting: On Dec. 19, 2020, President Trump tweeted about a rally on Jan. 6, 2021, saying, "Big protest in D.C. on January 6th. Be there, will be wild!”

That tweet “energized individuals from the Proud Boys and other extremist groups,” Committee Chairman Bennie Thompson said. 

"Many of the witnesses we interviewed were inspired by the President's call and came to D.C. for January 6th," Childress said in the presentation.

"But the extremists, they took it a step further. They viewed this tweet as a call to arms," he added.

Childress referred to a Department of Justice indictment that described how the Proud Boys created a chat called "the Ministry of Self Defense leadership chat" where they established a command structure with the intention of coming back to Washington, DC, on Jan. 6, 2021.

The committee also revealed that it talked to members of Proud Boys leadership, who have not been charged. They showed footage of a private deposition with one member who said that Trump’s infamous “stand back and stand by” comment to Proud Boys on the debate stage in September 2020 substantially increased enrollment in the far-right group.

Meanwhile, leading up to the insurrection, the Oath Keepers were also making preparations.

The committee learned that the group established "quick reaction forces" where they stored weapons in Virginia, Childress said.

"The goal of these quick reaction forces was to be on standby just in case President Trump ever invoked the Insurrection Act," Childress said in the video.

"Individuals associated with two violent extremist groups have been charged with seditious conspiracy in connection with the Jan. 6th attack," Thompson said following the video presenting the evidence.

Watch here:

10:16 p.m. ET, June 9, 2022

Officer says she was knocked unconscious and tear-gassed during Jan. 6 riot

Capitol Police Officer Caroline Edwards described her experience confronting rioters and Proud Boy members on Jan. 6, 2021 and the injuries she suffered after an altercation while defending the US Capitol.

"They started approaching the first barricade. They ripped the first barricade down, and they approached our bike racks. At that time, we started holding on, grabbing the bike racks. There were not many of us, so I grabbed the middle between two different bike racks, and I was not under any pretense that I could hold it for very long. But I wanted to make sure that we could get more people down and get our [Civil Disturbance] units time to answer the call," Edwards said.

She said that while trying to hold the line with fellow officers, "we started grappling over the bike racks. I felt the bike rack come on top of my head. I was pushed backwards, and my foot caught the stair behind me, my chin hit the handle, and at that point, I had blacked out. The back of my head clipped the concrete stairs behind me."

Edwards said that she was knocked unconscious, but when she regained consciousness she returned to duty, where she was sprayed in the eyes by rioters and tear-gassed.

9:52 p.m. ET, June 9, 2022

Jan. 6 panel says Trump tweet about "wild" protest inspired extremists, echoing DOJ allegations

From CNN's Marshall Cohen

The House select committee has obtained “substantial evidence” showing that former President Donald Trump’s tweet on December 19, 2020, “energized individuals from the Proud Boys and other extremist groups,” Chairman Bennie Thompson said.

The tweet said: “Big protest in D.C. on January 6th. Be there, will be wild!”

The Justice Department also has cited that tweet in many of the Jan. 6-related criminal cases, and has argued that it was an important moment in the run-up to Jan. 6 that many of the rioters paid attention to – and were inspired by. This includes members of the Oath Keepers and Proud Boys, who have been charged with seditious conspiracy.

For instance, prosecutors said Proud Boys leader Joe Biggs texted the group’s president Enrique Tarrio after the tweet, saying, “Let’s get radical and recruit real men.” Prosecutors have said that the Proud Boys assembled a national leadership team one day later, as they started planning for their trip to DC for the Jan. 6 rally.

Prosecutors also said alleged Oath Keeper Roberto Minuta sent a text after Trump’s tweet, saying that he spoke with the group’s leader, Stewart Rhodes, and that Rhodes “feels like it's go time” and that “the time for peaceful protest is over.”

On Thursday, the committee featured a social media post from alleged Oath Keeper Kelly Meggs in which he echoed Trump’s tweet about the plans for “wild” protests in DC.

All of these defendants have pleaded not guilty to and maintain their innocence.

The committee also revealed that it talked to members of Proud Boy leadership, who have not been charged. They showed footage of a private deposition with one member who said that Trump’s infamous “Stand back and stand by” comment to Proud Boys on the debate stage in September 2020 substantially increased enrollment in the far-right group.

CNN's Hannah Rabinowitz contributed reporting to this post.

9:53 p.m. ET, June 9, 2022

Capitol Police officer who was injured in Jan. 6 attack: "They dared question my honor" and patriotism

US Capitol Police Officer Caroline Edwards, who was hurt in the January 6 attack, testifies on Thursday.
US Capitol Police Officer Caroline Edwards, who was hurt in the January 6 attack, testifies on Thursday. (Win McNamee/Getty Images)

Capitol Police Officer Caroline Edwards, who was injured after she was part of an altercation involving members of the Proud Boys while defending the US Capitol during the riot, said that the day of the insurrection was the first time her patriotism had been questioned, during her opening statement.

"I was called a lot of things on January 6, 2021 and the days after. I was called Nancy Pelosi's dog, called incompetent, called a hero and a villain. I was called a traitor to my country, my oath and my Constitution. In actuality, I was none of those things. I was an American standing face to face with other Americans, asking myself, how many times, many, many, times, how we had gotten here? I have been called names before, but never had my patriotism or duty been called into question. I, who got up every day, no matter how early the hour or how late I got in the night before, to put on my uniform and to protect America symbol of democracy. I, who spent countless hours in the baking sun and freezing snow to make sure that America's elected officials were able to do their job. I, whose literal blood, sweat and tears were shed that day defending the building that I spent countless holidays and weekends working in," Edwards said.

Edwards shared that her grandfather fought in the Korean War and "lived with the rest of his days with bullets and shrapnel in his legs, but never once complained about his sacrifice."

"I would like to think that he would be proud of me, proud of his granddaughter that stood her ground that day and continued fighting, even though she was wounded, like he did, many years ago. I am my grandfather's granddaughter, proud to put on a uniform and serve my country. They dared to question my honor, they dared to question my loyalty and they dared to question my duty. I am a proud American, and I will gladly sacrifice everything to make sure that the America my grandfather defended is here for many years to come," Edwards said.
10:52 p.m. ET, June 9, 2022

Documentarian on violence he witnessed during Jan. 6 attack: "I saw it, I documented it, and I experienced it"

From CNN's Clare Foran

Nick Quested, a documentary filmmaker who was embedded with the Proud Boys, testifies Thursday.
Nick Quested, a documentary filmmaker who was embedded with the Proud Boys, testifies Thursday. (Drew Angerer/Getty Images)

Documentarian Nick Quested, who is testifying before the Jan. 6 committee, explained how and why he witnessed the attack on the Capitol.

During his opening statements, Quested said that he was surprised at "the anger" he observed and described "incredibly aggressive chanting."

"In the winter of 2020, I was working on a documentary. As part of that documentary, I filmed several rallies in Washington, DC," he said, adding, "I learned there would be a rally on the mall on January 6."

He said that he and several colleagues came to document the event.

"We arrived at the mall and observed a large contingent of Proud Boys marching toward the Capitol," he said. "I documented the crowd turn from protestors to rioters to insurrectionists. I was surprised at the size of the group, the anger and the profanity."

"For anyone who didn't understand how violent that event was — I saw it, I documented it, and I experienced it. I heard incredibly aggressive chanting and I subsequently shared that footage with the authorities."

9:24 p.m. ET, June 9, 2022

A documentarian who embedded with the Proud Boys is speaking to the committee

From CNN's Paul LeBlanc

US Capitol Police Officer Caroline Edwards and documentary filmmaker Nick Quested are sworn in to testify Thursday.
US Capitol Police Officer Caroline Edwards and documentary filmmaker Nick Quested are sworn in to testify Thursday. (Jonathan Ernst/Reuters)

Documentarian Nick Quested is testifying now in the Jan. 6 committee hearing.

Quested was embedded with the Proud Boys for a significant period of time leading up to January 6 and is considered a firsthand fact witness because of the amount of time he spent with the group.

He has already been deposed by the committee and Justice Department officials about his experience on January 6 and has provided the committee and the department with video footage from the filming of his documentary.

Why the focus on the Proud Boys? Leaders of the Proud Boys were involved in some of the early clashes that overpowered police lines and breached the Capitol.

The group has been a focus of the Justice Department for months, and on Monday, the agency charged the head of the Proud Boys, Enrique Tarrio, and four other leaders with seditious conspiracy in connection with the January 6 attack.

These are the most aggressive charges brought by the Justice Department against the Proud Boys, and the first allegations by prosecutors that the group tried to oppose by force the presidential transfer of power.

Tarrio and his co-defendants previously pleaded not guilty to an earlier slate of charges.

Read more about the documentarian here.

12:04 a.m. ET, June 10, 2022

Capitol Police officer who was injured after altercation with Proud Boys members on Jan. 6 is testifying

From CNN's Ryan Nobles, Annie Grayer and Zachary Cohen

US Capitol Police Officer Caroline Edwards was injured in the January 6 attack.
US Capitol Police Officer Caroline Edwards was injured in the January 6 attack. (Jonathan Ernst/Reuters)

Capitol Police Officer Caroline Edwards, who was injured after she was part of an altercation involving members of the Proud Boys while defending the US Capitol during the Jan. 6 riot, is now providing testimony to the House select committee.

Leaders of the Proud Boys were involved in some of the early clashes that overpowered police lines and breached the Capitol. The group has been a focus of the Justice Department for months, and earlier this week the agency charged the head of the Proud Boys, Enrique Tarrio, and four other leaders with seditious conspiracy in connection with the Jan. 6 attack.

These are the most aggressive charges brought by the Justice Department against the Proud Boys, and the first allegations by prosecutors that the group tried to oppose by force the presidential transfer of power.

Tarrio and his co-defendants previously pleaded not guilty to an earlier slate of charges.

Broadly, committee members have teased that the hearings could be focused on former President Donald Trump's role in undermining the 2020 presidential election results.

The panel has been working toward a thesis that former President Donald Trump's obsession with his election loss and his peddling of false claims about the results laid the groundwork for the deadly riot at the Capitol.

12:38 a.m. ET, June 10, 2022

Catch up: Here's what happened during the first half of the hearing

The House select committee holds its first public hearing on Thursday.
The House select committee holds its first public hearing on Thursday. (Andrew Harnik/AP)

Democratic Rep. Bennie Thompson, chair of the committee, and Republican Rep. Liz Cheney, vice chair of the committee, opened the hearing with statements and then showed a video of the Capitol attack that had not yet been released.

In case you missed the first portion of the hearing, here's what happened:

  • Liz Cheney: The Republican said former President Donald Trump had a “sophisticated seven-part plan” to overturn the presidential election over the course of several months, detailing how the panel plans to use its future hearings to tackle each part of the scheme. She argued Trump "summoned the mob."
  • Bennie Thompson: The committee chairman said the job of the committee is to do more than look to the past. He warned Americans that "our democracy remains still in danger." He hopes the hearings remind people of the reality of that day.
  • Ivanka Trump: The committee played a clip from the former President's daughter, saying she accepted Bill Barr and the Department of Justice's assessment there was no fraud sufficient enough to overturn the election.
  • At the hearing: Mother of fallen US Capitol Police Officer Brian Sicknick, Gladys Sicknick, had a box of tissues under her seat, and used tissues appearing to be crying during the intense video presentation showing how rioters breached the Capitol. Brian Sicknick suffered two strokes and died of natural causes one day after he confronted rioters at the Capitol, according to a ruling from DC’s chief medical examiner. Sicknick’s longtime partner, Sandra Garza, is also in attendance tonight. USCP officer Harry Dunn wiped away tears from his eyes when talking to Gladys Sicknick during the break.
  • Coming up: Documentarian Nick Quested, who filmed members of the Proud Boys in the week leading up to and on Jan. 6, 2021, and Capitol Police Officer Caroline Edwards, who was injured while defending the US Capitol, will testify.

CNN's Annie Grayer contributed reporting to this post.

12:43 a.m. ET, June 10, 2022

Ex-Trump adviser Jason Miller says his deposition was taken out of context

From CNN's Kristen Holmes and Sarah Fortinsky

Jason Miller, Donald Trump’s campaign spokesperson, is claiming he was taken out of context during tonight’s Jan. 6 hearing.

During the hearing, Rep. Liz Cheney played a clip of Miller:

“I was in the Oval Office,” Miller said in his deposition, a clip of which was played at Thursday’s hearing. “At some point in the conversation, Matt Oczkowski, who was the lead data person, was brought on, and I remember he delivered to the President, in pretty blunt terms, that he was going to lose.”

Miller is now reacting on twitter, saying that Cheney did not play the rest of the clip in which Trump disagreed with Oczkowski and believed that Oczkowski was not looking at the prospect of “legal challenges” going Trump’s way:

"Here’s what came next in my testimony, which Liz Cheney failed to play:

Q: Okay. And what was the President's reaction then when Matt said to him, 'Hey, we've looked at the numbers, you're going to lose'? A: I think it's safe to say he disagreed with Matt's analysis," Miller wrote in a Twitter thread.

Remember: Despite this belief, the Trump campaign has lost almost every legal challenge regarding election fraud.