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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7:06 p.m. ET, June 9, 2022

2 witnesses who interacted directly with the Proud Boys during the Capitol riot will testify tonight

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

Nick Quested will testify during the Jan. 6 House select committee hearing about his experience filming members of the Proud Boys during the riot at the Capitol.
Nick Quested will testify during the Jan. 6 House select committee hearing about his experience filming members of the Proud Boys during the riot at the Capitol. (Mike Pont/Getty Images for Tribeca Film Festival)

The Jan. 6 House select committee says its hearing tonight will include testimony from two witnesses who interacted directly with the Proud Boys during the riot at the Capitol.

The panel announced earlier this week that it will call documentarian Nick Quested to testify about his experience filming 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 after she was part of an altercation involving members of the Proud Boys while defending the US Capitol.

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

He was embedded with the Proud Boys for a significant period of time leading up to Jan. 6, 2021, and is considered a firsthand fact witness because of the amount of time he spent with the group.

Some background: 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 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 forcibly oppose the presidential transfer of power.

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

7:05 p.m. ET, June 9, 2022

Fact check: McCarthy misleads about Republican representation on Jan. 6 committee

From CNN's Daniel Dale

House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy speaks during Thursday's news conference on Capitol Hill.
House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy speaks during Thursday's news conference on Capitol Hill. (Jacquelyn Martin/AP)

During his weekly news conference on Thursday, House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy slammed the House select committee investigating the January 6, 2021 attack on the Capitol. Among other criticisms, McCarthy said House Speaker Nancy Pelosi “rejected the minority’s picks to be on the committee.” He continued moments later, “You reject the minority to have a say in the committee.”  

After McCarthy specified that Pelosi had rejected Reps. Jim Banks and Jim Jordan, he alleged that while she rejected “these qualified Republicans, she appointed radical Democrats.”

Facts FirstMcCarthy’s claims are misleading, leaving out critical context. Pelosi did reject two of McCarthy’s five proposed Republican committee members, Banks and Jordan, on account of concerns about their “statements made and actions taken” – but she accepted McCarthy’s three other Republican picks, and she also gave McCarthy a chance to suggest another two members to replace Banks and Jordan. Instead, McCarthy decided to withdraw the three members Pelosi had accepted. Even after he did so, the Republicans’ House minority still had “a say” on the committee: Reps. Liz Cheney, who had already been selected by Pelosi before McCarthy pulled out his own selections, and Adam Kinzinger, whom Pelosi selected later. Both Cheney and Kinzinger are outspoken Trump critics who have been at odds with many of their GOP colleagues, but they are elected Republicans nonetheless.

In addition, all of these developments came after McCarthy had rejected a proposal for a bipartisan commission that would have given equal membership and subpoena power to Democrats and Republicans. After the commission proposal failed in the Senate because of Republican opposition (only six Republicans voted in favor), the House created the Democratic-controlled select committee.

-- CNN’s Annie Grayer contributed to this post.

7:01 p.m. ET, June 9, 2022

Biden: Americans will be "seeing for the first time" details of Jan. 6 riot during tonight's hearing 

From CNN's Allie Malloy

President Joe Biden speaks during a meeting at the Summit of the Americas on Thursday.
President Joe Biden speaks during a meeting at the Summit of the Americas on Thursday. (Sean Kilpatrick/The Canadian Press/AP)

Ahead of the House select committee’s Jan. 6 hearing, President Biden said many Americans will be “seeing for the first time” details that occurred during the insurrection at the Capitol.

The President said the actions taken on that day were a “flagrant violation of the Constitution'' and that the committee’s hearing is going to “occupy” the country. 

“I think it was a clear, flagrant violation of the Constitution. I think these guys and women broke the law — tried to turn around a result of an election and there’s a lot of questions, who’s responsible, who’s involved,” Biden said in Los Angeles at the beginning of a bilateral with Canada’s Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.

Biden added he would not make a “judgment” on who was involved. 

6:56 p.m. ET, June 9, 2022

Here's a timeline of how the Jan. 6 insurrection unfolded

From CNN’s Ted Barrett, Manu Raju and Peter Nickeas

Supporters loyal to then-President Donald Trump break through a police barrier at the US Capitol on January 6, 2021.
Supporters loyal to then-President Donald Trump break through a police barrier at the US Capitol on January 6, 2021. (Julio Cortez/AP)

The House select committee investigating the Jan. 6 insurrection at the US Capitol is set to lay out its findings during a public hearing tonight. When and how the events occurred that day have been a key part of their probe.

Supporters of then-President Trump breached the US Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021, engulfing the building in chaos after Trump urged his supporters to protest against the ceremonial counting of the electoral votes to certify President Biden's win.

Here's how key events unfolded throughout the Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021, after Trump’s speech:

  • At 1:10 p.m. ET, while Congress began the process of affirming then-President-elect Joe Biden's Electoral College win, Trump encouraged his supporters to protest at the US Capitol. Despite promising he would join them, Trump retreated to the White House in his SUV and watched on television as the violence unfolded on Capitol Hill.
  • Shortly after 1 p.m. ET, hundreds of pro-Trump protesters pushed through barriers set up along the perimeter of the Capitol, where they tussled with officers in full riot gear, some calling the officers "traitors" for doing their jobs.
  • About 90 minutes later, police said demonstrators got into the building and the doors to the House and Senate were being locked. Shortly after, the House floor was evacuated by police. Then-Vice President Mike Pence was also evacuated from the chamber, he was to perform his role in the counting of electoral votes.
  • An armed standoff took place at the House front door as of 3 p.m. ET, and police officers had their guns drawn at someone who was trying to breach it. A Trump supporter was also pictured standing at the Senate dais earlier in the afternoon.
  • The Senate floor was cleared of rioters as of 3:30 p.m. ET, and an officer told CNN that they had successfully squeezed them away from the Senate wing of the building and towards the Rotunda, and they were removing them out of the East and West doors of the Capitol.
  • The US Capitol Police worked to secure the second floor of the Capitol first, and were seen just before 5 p.m. ET pushing demonstrators off the steps on the east side of the building. 
  • With about 30 minutes to go before Washington, DC's 6 p.m. ET curfew, Washington police amassed in a long line to push the mob back from the Capitol grounds. It took until roughly 5:40 p.m. ET for the building to once again be secured, according to the sergeant-at-arms.
  • Lawmakers began returning to the Capitol after the building was secured and made it clear that they intended to resume their intended business — namely, confirming Biden's win over Trump by counting the votes in the Electoral College.
  • Proceedings resumed at about 8 p.m. ET with Pence — who never left the Capitol, according to his press secretary — bringing the Senate session back into order.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said in a statement earlier on the evening of Jan. 6 that congressional leadership wanted to continue with the joint session that night.

Then-Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said on the floor that the "United States Senate will not be intimidated. We will not be kept out of this chamber by thugs, mobs or threats."

It took until deep in the early hours of Thursday morning (Jan. 7, 2021), but Congress eventually counted and certified Biden's election win.

See the full timeline of events here.

6:46 p.m. ET, June 9, 2022

Fact check: Trump attacks the Jan. 6 committee with his usual lie about the 2020 election 

From CNN's Daniel Dale

Former President Donald Trump speaks in Casper, Wyoming, last month.
Former President Donald Trump speaks in Casper, Wyoming, last month. (Chet Strange/Getty Images)

In a Thursday post on his social media platform, Truth Social, former President Donald Trump attacked the House select committee investigating the January 6, 2021, attack on the Capitol – by repeating his usual lie about the 2020 election.

Trump complained that the committee had not studied “the reason” that a large number of people had gone to Washington that day. He said the presence of these people “was about an Election that was Rigged and Stolen, and a Country that was about to go to HELL.”

Facts FirstTrump’s claim about the 2020 election is, again, a lie. The election wasn’t rigged and wasn’t stolen. Joe Biden won fair and square. There was a tiny smattering of voter fraud that was nowhere near widespread enough to have changed the outcome in any state, let alone to have reversed Biden’s 306-232 victory in the Electoral College. 

Trump made the same false claim about the election being “stolen” in the January 6 speech he delivered in Washington before the riot; in the video message later that day in which he urged supporters to leave the Capitol; and on numerous other occasions before and since.

6:44 p.m. ET, June 9, 2022

Jan. 6 committee chair: "The conspiracy to thwart the will of the people is not over"

From CNN's Clare Foran

(J. Scott Applewhite/AP)
(J. Scott Applewhite/AP)

Democratic Rep. Bennie Thompson, chair of the House select committee investigating the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol, will issue a stark warning to the American public tonight, saying, "the conspiracy to thwart the will of the people is not over," according to an excerpt of the chairman's opening statement released by the committee.

"There are those in this country who thirst for power but have no love or respect for what makes America great: devotion to the Constitution, allegiance to the rule of law, our shared journey to build a more perfect Union," Thompson will say, according to the excerpt.

 “January 6th and the lies that led to insurrection have put two and a half centuries of constitutional democracy at risk," the excerpt reads.

 “We must confront the truth with candor, resolve, and determination. We need to show that we are worthy of the gifts that are the birthright of every American," he adds.

The hearing is set to begin at 8 p.m. ET.

6:42 p.m. ET, June 9, 2022

Here's a breakdown of what the panel — and the press — unearthed about Trump's role in the Jan. 6 riot

From CNN's Marshall Cohen

Former President Donald Trump supporters participate in a rally in Washington, DC, near the White House on January 6, 2021.
Former President Donald Trump supporters participate in a rally in Washington, DC, near the White House on January 6, 2021. (John Minchillo/AP/File)

With public hearings kicking off today, the House select committee investigating January 6 is zeroing in on former President Donald Trump, and is preparing to use its platform to argue that he was responsible for grave abuses of power that nearly upended US democracy.

Here's a breakdown of what the panel — and the press — unearthed about Trump's leadership role in the anti-democratic scheme, and how it all fits into the ongoing criminal investigations:

Trump's election subversion before Jan. 6, 2021: The committee has interviewed officials from Michigan and Georgia, among other states, where Trump unsuccessfully tried to cajole local officials into nullifying Biden's votes and name him the winner. Trump also tried to enlist senior Justice Department officials to assist with these efforts.

Lawmakers have also dug into the "fake electors" plot, which was led by Trump campaign officials and was an attempt to undermine the Electoral College process in December 2020.

Congressional investigators have obtained hundreds of emails from right-wing attorney John Eastman, who directly advised Trump to pursue legally dubious methods to stay in office. This included a plan for then-Vice President Mike Pence to throw the election to Trump on January 6 while presiding over a joint session of Congress to certify Biden's Electoral College victory.

In another victory for the committee, the judge in Eastman's civil case said Tuesday that the potentially criminal scheme between Trump and Eastman to obstruct the Electoral College proceedings was formed in December 2020, weeks earlier than previously established. The ruling paves the way for the panel to get additional emails that Eastman tried to keep secret.

Trump and his allies pushed ahead with these efforts, and promoted the "Big Lie", even after he was told by top officials, including then-Attorney General Bill Barr, that the election results were legitimate and that he lost. Even Eastman acknowledged in emails at the time that his plans were not legally sound. Lawmakers have said this suggests Trump had a corrupt state of mind.

"The data is going to be compelling from the committee," former Rep. Denver Riggleman, who was a Republican advisor to the committee, said on CNN's "Anderson Cooper 360°" last week. "I think it is up to the American people, after that is presented, to come up — using facts, not fantasies or opinions — on what the culpability of the President is, and the people around him."

Trump, Eastman and the other GOP figures who were involved have denied wrongdoing. Spokespeople for Trump did not respond to a request for comment for this story.

Trump's dereliction of duty during the Capitol riot: Once Trump failed to stop states from certifying their results, he started focusing on Jan. 6, 2021 as his last chance to cling to power. The facts of that tragic day are well-known, but the panel is going to attempt to drive home a clear narrative from the chaos: Trump knew his supporters could get violent, but egged them on anyway, and was derelict when he didn't do try to stop the violence.

"They were warned that January 6th could, and likely would, turn violent," Wyoming Rep. Liz Cheney, the Republican vice chairwoman of the panel, said at a committee hearing in March.

Pence's staffers were so concerned before Jan. 6, 2021 that they warned the US Secret Service that Trump might stoke violence against him, because he wasn't willing to overturn the election, according to The New York Times. (The Secret Service has since claimed it has "no knowledge" of that conversation happening.) Some of Pence's senior advisers, who have cooperated with the committee's inquiry, could potentially be called as witnesses during the public hearings.

Prominent Republican officials and right-wing media figures knew in real-time that only Trump could call off the mob and bring an end to the deadly carnage at the Capitol, according to text messages that these Trump allies sent to Trump's chief of staff Mark Meadows on January 6. CNN obtained his texts after he partially complied with a subpoena to turn over the messages.

Despite those pleas, according to committee members, Trump spent 187 minutes during the riot watching TV and working the phones, seemingly pleased with how his supporters were fighting for him at the Capitol. He reacted approvingly when he learned that some of the rioters were chanting "hang Mike Pence," according to testimony that the panel got from a Meadows aide.

To zero in on these crucial hours inside the White House, the panel interviewed people who were there with Trump that day, including his daughter Ivanka Trump and his son-in-law Jared Kushner. Clips of their videotaped depositions will likely be played at the public hearings for the first time — which are just some of the never-before-seen details that lawmakers have teased.

Read more about the investigation here.

6:45 p.m. ET, June 9, 2022

The committee will lay out its findings today. Here are the 9 lawmakers on the panel.

From CNN's Annie Grayer and Ryan Nobles

Top row from left, Rep. Jamie Raskin, Rep. Zoe Lofgren, chairman Rep. Bennie Thompson, Rep. Elaine Luria, and Rep. Pete Aguilar. Bottom row from left, Rep. Adam Kinzinger, Stephanie Murphy, vice chairwoman Rep. Liz Cheney, and Rep. Adam Schiff.
Top row from left, Rep. Jamie Raskin, Rep. Zoe Lofgren, chairman Rep. Bennie Thompson, Rep. Elaine Luria, and Rep. Pete Aguilar. Bottom row from left, Rep. Adam Kinzinger, Stephanie Murphy, vice chairwoman Rep. Liz Cheney, and Rep. Adam Schiff. (AP)

Members of the House select committee have been investigating what happened before, after and during the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol — and now they will present what they discovered to the public.

The committee is holding its first prime-time public hearing tonight and is expected to give an overview of their findings from the past year.

The committee is made up of 7 Democrats and 2 Republicans. It was formed after efforts to create an independent 9/11-style commission failed.

Rep. Liz Cheney is one of two Republicans on the panel appointed by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, a Democrat from California, after House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy pulled all five of his selections because Pelosi would not accept two of his picks. In July 2021, Pelosi invited GOP Rep. Adam Kinzinger of Illinois to join the committee, making him the second GOP lawmaker to sit on the committee.

Here's who is on the panel — and key things to know about them:

Democrats:

  • Rep. Bennie Thompson, chairman: Thompson, a Democrat from Mississippi, is the chairman of the House select committee. Thompson also serves as chairman of the Homeland Security Committee, the first ever Democrat to hold the position. As chairman of the Homeland Security panel, Thompson introduced and oversaw the House's passage of the legislative recommendations after the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks. Thompson is a civil rights pioneer who started his political career by registering fellow African Americans to vote in the segregated South. His first political victory was being elected the first Black mayor of his hometown of Bolton, Mississippi. He is the only Democrat serving in Mississippi's delegation. Thompson views the work of the Jan. 6 committee in the same vein as his work in the civil rights struggle.
  • Rep. Pete Aguilar: Aguilar is a Democrat from Southern California. Before coming to Congress, he served as the mayor of Redlands, California. Aguilar is considered a rising star in the House Democratic Caucus. As vice chairman of the House Democratic Caucus he is the highest-ranking Latino member in congressional leadership. In addition to his role on the Jan. 6 committee, Aguilar has several high-profile committee assignments. He also is a member of the committees on Appropriations and House Administration. Aguilar believes the committee's most important job is creating a full, comprehensive record of what led to the violence of Jan. 6, 2021.
  • Rep. Zoe Lofgren: Lofgren is a Democrat from California who served as an impeachment manager in the first impeachment trial against Trump. Lofgren is also chair of the Committee on House Administration. She was first elected to Congress in 1994 and also served as a staffer on Capitol Hill for eight years. Lofgren has a background as an immigration lawyer and has made reforming immigration law a key part of her portfolio as a member of Congress. She also represents a big part of the Silicon Valley and as a result has had a heavy focus on tech related issues. She is a long-time ally and friend to Pelosi. The duo has served in the California Congressional delegation together for close to three decades and both represent different parts of the bay area in Northern California.
  • Rep. Elaine Luria: Luria is a Democrat from the Virginia Beach area who represents a community with a significant number of constituents connected to the military. Luria is a Navy Veteran. She served 20 years as an officer on Navy ships, retiring as a commander. She has attributed her military background as part of her motivation for serving on the Jan. 6 committee and getting to the bottom of what happened on that day. Of the nine members of the committee, Luria is facing the toughest general election in the fall midterms.
  • Rep. Stephanie Murphy: Murphy is a Democrat from Florida and is the first Vietnamese American woman elected to Congress. Before serving in Congress, Murphy was a national security specialist in the office of the US Secretary of Defense. Murphy said the challenge for committee members is to translate the mountains of information learned through the investigation into a digestible narrative for the American people. Murphy announced in December 2021 that she would not be seeking reelection.
  • Rep. Jamie Raskin: Raskin is a Democrat from Maryland who previously served as the lead impeachment manager for Democrats during Trump's second impeachment trial. In the days before the Capitol insurrection, Raskin announced the death by suicide of his 25-year-old son, Tommy, on New Years Eve 2020. Raskin reflected on the tragic loss of his son, and his experience living through the attack on the Capitol, in his book "Unthinkable: Trauma, Truth and the Trials of American Democracy." Raskin said that becoming the lead House impeachment manager last year served as a "lifeline" in the aftermath of his son's death, describing to David Axelrod on "The Axe Files" podcast how Pelosi asked him to lead the second impeachment managers.
  • Rep. Adam Schiff: Schiff is a Democrat from California and also serves as the chairman of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence. He was the lead impeachment manager representing Democrats during Trump's first impeachment trial. "January 6 will be remembered as one of the darkest days in our nation's history. Yet, more than a year later, the threat to our democracy is as grave as ever. January 6 was not a day in isolation, but the violent culmination of multiple efforts to overturn the last presidential election and interfere with the peaceful transfer of power for the first time in our history," Schiff said in a statement to CNN.

Republicans

  • Rep. Liz Cheney, vice chairwoman: Cheney, who represents Wyoming, serves as the vice chairwoman on the committee. Cheney has been an outspoken critic of former President Donald Trump and was one of 10 House Republicans to vote to impeach him. House Republicans have punished her for her public opposition to Trump by removing her as their party's conference chairwoman in May of last year and she faces a Trump-endorsed challenger in the GOP primary in her reelection bid. That primary is in August. Cheney told CBS in an interview that aired over the weekend that she believes the January 6 attack was a conspiracy, saying when asked, "I do. It is extremely broad. It's extremely well organized. It's really chilling." She has even gone as far to say that Trump's inaction to intervene as the attack unfolded was a "dereliction of duty."
  • Adam Kinzinger: Kinzinger of Illinois broke with his party by accepting the appointment from Pelosi. Kinzinger, once thought to have a bright future in GOP politics, has taken heavy criticism from his colleagues because of his criticism of Trump. He has placed much of the blame of inciting the violence that day on Trump and his allies. Kinzinger is one of 10 Republicans who voted twice to impeach Trump after the Capitol insurrection. He also voted for the bipartisan independent commission to investigate the riot. His willingness to take on Trump led to the former President personally promising to back a primary opponent. Instead of facing the prospect of a Trump back challenge, he chose to retire from Congress at the end of his current term.

7:22 p.m. ET, June 9, 2022

Just hours before start of Jan. 6 hearing, 3 Proud Boys pleaded not guilty to a seditious conspiracy charge

From CNN's Hannah Rabinowitz and Holmes Lybrand

Proud Boys leader Enrique Tarrio pleaded not guilty to the new charge of seditious conspiracy.
Proud Boys leader Enrique Tarrio pleaded not guilty to the new charge of seditious conspiracy.

Three Proud Boys leaders pleaded not guilty to the new charge of seditious conspiracy during a motions hearing Thursday.

Enrique Tarrio, Dominic Pezzola and Joseph Biggs, three of the five Proud Boys named in the superseding indictment, entered the plea just hours before the Jan. 6 committee is set to hold their first primetime hearing, which will focus in part on the right-wing group. 

The other two defendants, Zachary Rehl and Ethan Nordean, were not present at the hearing and have not entered a formal plea. 

The group is scheduled to go to trial in August. 

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

The Justice Department said that the House select committee investigating the events on Jan. 6, 2021, will release all 1,000 witness transcripts from their investigation in early September, coinciding with the trial of these 5 defendants.

Prosecutor Jason McCullough said that the department has asked the committee to give copies of the transcripts to the five Proud Boy defendants before the August trial begins, but that those requests have so far been denied.

"We're all going to have to think about the fact that this committee exists, the fact that they are holding these public hearings," said federal Judge Timothy Kelly.

Kelly added he did not believe the trial needed to be postponed, and that what the committee does "is beyond the power of anyone around our table here today."

"Mixing politics and justice is extremely dangerous," said defense lawyer Nick Smith, who represents Ethan Nordean. "We have to run from it like fire."

But Kelly rejected the idea, calling the idea of collusion between the Justice Department and House Select committee "unreasonable."