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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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."

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

Ex-Meadows aide replaces lawyer, signaling willingness to continue cooperating with House Jan. 6 committee

From CNN's Jim Acosta and Zachary Cohen

(White House via CNU)
(White House via CNU)

The American people may soon hear directly from a key witness in the House January 6 select committee's investigation who can speak to former President Donald Trump's approving reaction to the US Capitol riot — live testimony that could be the most important moment of the panel's upcoming public hearings.

Cassidy Hutchinson, an aide to then-White House chief of staff Mark Meadows, is now likely to testify in person during one of the committee's upcoming hearings after she replaced her lawyer who had significant links to the former President, according to a source familiar with the matter.

The committee has previously said it considers Hutchinson a key witness in its ongoing investigation, and she has testified several times behind closed doors.

Hutchinson told the January 6 committee that Trump had suggested to Meadows he approved of the "hang Mike Pence" chants from rioters who stormed the US Capitol, CNN has reported.

She also testified that Trump complained about his then-vice president being hustled to safety while Trump supporters breached the Capitol, the sources told CNN.

Hutchinson has answered the panel's questions during three separate sessions and went over "new ground" with the committee last month, though it was not immediately clear what was discussed during that deposition.

Hutchinson was not willing to risk taking a contempt of Congress charge to impede the probe and the change in representation is a sign she is more willing to cooperate with the committee, the source familiar with the matter told CNN.

Her former boss, Meadows, was referred to the Justice Department for possible criminal contempt charges, but the DOJ ultimately decided not to pursue such a case.

Hutchinson was initially represented by Stefan Passantino, an attorney with significant links to people in Trump's orbit.

She fired Passantino, the source said, and is now represented by Jody Hunt of Alston Bird.

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

FBI arrests Michigan gubernatorial candidate on charges related to involvement in the Jan. 6 riot

From CNN's Holmes Lybrand and Hannah Rabinowitz

Michigan gubernatorial candidate Ryan Kelley speaks to supporters of former President Donald Trump who had gathered outside the Michigan State Capitol in February to demand a forensic audit of the 2020 presidential election.
Michigan gubernatorial candidate Ryan Kelley speaks to supporters of former President Donald Trump who had gathered outside the Michigan State Capitol in February to demand a forensic audit of the 2020 presidential election. (Emily Elconin/Reuters/File)

A GOP Michigan gubernatorial candidate, Ryan Kelley, was arrested Thursday on misdemeanor charges related to his involvement in the Capitol riot on January 6, 2021, according to the Justice Department.

“Ryan Kelley, 40, of Allendale, Michigan, was arrested this morning on misdemeanor charges stemming from the Jan. 6, 2021 Capitol breach. He was arrested in Allendale. Mr. Kelley is to make his initial appearance this afternoon in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Michigan,” said Bill Miller, a spokesperson for the US Attorney’s office in the District of Columbia.

The Detroit FBI field office confirmed Kelley’s arrest and said his home was searched on Thursday morning.

“I can confirm FBI agents from Grand Rapids office executed an arrest and search warrant at Mr. Kelley’s residence in Allendale, MI. At this time, I cannot provide any information on the nature of the charges against Mr. Kelley, although I expect additional information to be forthcoming,” Mara Schneider, a public affairs officer with the FBI’s Detroit’s office, said in a written statement.

CNN has reached out to Kelley’s campaign.

Read more here:

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

Georgia election officials expected to testify at Jan. 6 hearing later this month

From CNN's Sara Murray

Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger talks with reporters as he arrives for an election night party in Peachtree Corners, Georgia, last month.
Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger talks with reporters as he arrives for an election night party in Peachtree Corners, Georgia, last month. (Ben Gray/AP)

Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger and his deputy Gabe Sterling were both subpoenaed and are expected to testify at a hearing later this month before the House select committee investigating the Jan. 6 insurrection, according to a person familiar with the situation.

The public hearings are set to spotlight the work of the committee’s 10-month investigation and reveal new details on how efforts to overturn the 2020 election culminated in an attack on the US Capitol. The slate of Georgia witnesses could offer a glimpse into the blowback state officials faced as they rebuffed attempts to overturn the election results. 

Raffensperger’s profile grew after the 2020 election when he resisted former President Donald Trump’s efforts to pressure Raffensperger to “find” the votes necessary for Trump to win Georgia in an infamous January 2021 phone call.

The Georgia Republican has already spoken privately with the committee about his experience in addition to testifying before a special grand jury in a criminal probe into Trump’s efforts to overturn the 2020 election results in the Peach State.

Raffensperger and Sterling’s plans to testify publicly before the Jan. 6 committee were previously reported by the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. 

As Trump refused to accept the outcome of the 2020 election and his allies pursued various schemes to try to upend the results, Raffensperger, Raffensperger’s wife and other Georgia officials faced a barrage of threats. 

In December 2020, Sterling publicly pleaded for Trump to condemn the harassment that officials and election workers had been facing.

“Stop inspiring people to commit potential acts of violence," Sterling said at the time, addressing Trump. "Someone's going to get hurt, someone's going to get shot, someone's going to get killed, and it's not right."

A month later rioters stormed the US Capitol.

6:15 p.m. ET, June 9, 2022

The Justice Department has arrested more than 840 people in connection to the Jan. 6 Capitol attack

From CNN's Holmes Lybrand

Trump supporters clash with police and security forces as people try to storm the US Capitol on January 6, 2021.
Trump supporters clash with police and security forces as people try to storm the US Capitol on January 6, 2021. (Brent Stirton/Getty Images)

A day before the Jan. 6 House select committee was set to hold their first prime-time, public hearing, the Justice Department released an update on the progress of their investigation into the Capitol attack.

Seventeen months after the riot, the Justice Department has arrested over 840 individuals, charging roughly 255 with assaulting, resisting or impeding officers that day – 90 of whom are charged with using a weapon or causing serious injury to an officer.

According to the Justice Department, over 50 defendants have been charged with conspiracy, ranging from conspiring to obstruct a congressional proceeding to conspiring to obstruct law enforcement.

Sixteen individuals – members of the far-right groups the Proud Boys and Oath Keepers – have been charged with seditious conspiracy for their alleged actions that day, three of whom have pleaded guilty to the charge.

In April, the estimated cost of damage done to the Capitol building and grounds during the riot increased from $1.5 million to $2.7 million, an amount slowly being paid for in part by convicted rioters who have agreed to pay restitution for the damage as part of plea agreements with the government.

So far, however, the total number of restitution and fines judges have ordered Jan. 6, 2021 rioters to pay is still under $240,000, according to CNN’s tally.

Roughly 305 rioters have pleaded guilty, 59 of whom have pleaded to felony charges. Of the seven Jan. 6 riot cases that have gone to trial, all but one has been found guilty.

But the investigation is not close to being over. The Justice Department is still looking for over 350 individuals who they say “committed violent acts on Capitol grounds.”