January 6th Committee Makes Prime Time Case Against Trump, GOP Offers Rebuttal
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The Congressional committee investigating the January 6th Capitol Hill riot began making their case against former President Donald Trump, Thursday, and they did it in an unprecedented manner: to a prime-time audience.
The January 6th Select Committee seeks to prove the existence of a coordinated, multi-step effort to overturn the 2020 presidential election and prevent the peaceful transfer of power.
"President Trump summoned the mob, assembled the mob, and lit the flame of this attack," Rep. Liz Cheney (R-WY), co-chair of the committee, said during her opening remarks.
Lawmakers promised never before seen video, audio, and evidence, and that included recorded testimony from Former Attorney General William Barr and Trump's daughter Ivanka.
"I repeatedly told the President, in no uncertain terms, that I did not see evidence of fraud that would have affected the outcome of the election," Barr said.
When Ivanka was questioned about how Barr's statement made her feel, she responded, "It affected my perspective. I respect General Barr, so I accepted what he was saying."
Two witnesses appeared before the committee, Thursday night. U.S. Capitol Police officer Caroline Edwards, injured on January 6th, and Nick Quested, a filmmaker who followed the Proud Boys while capturing the day's events. "I documented the crowd turn from protestors, to rioters, to insurrectionists," he told lawmakers.
Edwards recalled the moment she got a good look at what she described as a "battlefield," saying, "I'm trained to detain a couple of subjects and handle a crowd, but I'm not combat trained. But that day it was just hours of hand-to-hand combat, hours of dealing with things that were way beyond anything any law enforcement officer is trained for."
Republicans call the committee's findings, "partisan and illegitimate," and held counter-programming during and after the hearing to, "set the record straight."
"The entire point behind this process is to prosecute Donald Trump for crimes he did not commit. We all know this is a sham committee process. They want to put Donald Trump in jail, if not that, they'd settle for keeping his name off the ballot," said Rep. Jim Banks (R-IN) during an interview on Fox News, the only major news network not to stream the hearing.
GOP Conference Chair Elise Stefanik (R-NY) accused Democrats of using the hearing to try to take attention away from what's really affecting the American people.
"Inflation, sky high gas prices, the border crisis, the baby formula shortage; that's what the American people care about, and Democrats know that they are losing on all of those issues because they've created their crisis, their radical policies," Stefanik said.
Trump also made a statement ahead of the hearing, saying in part, that January 6th "represented the greatest movement in the history of our country to make America great again."
Additional hearings are scheduled for this summer. The question remains whether the committee's findings will do anything to change opinions or get the attention of a distracted American public.
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