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‘The world is watching’: January 6 Congressional panel to say at opening hearing

Members of the Oath Keepers at the US Capitol, on January 6, 2021. (AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta)
Members of the Oath Keepers at the US Capitol, on January 6, 2021. (AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta)

The chairman of the House committee investigating the Jan. 6 Capitol insurrection and Donald Trump’s attempt to overturn the 2020 election says “the world is watching” the US response to the panel’s year-long investigation into the Capitol attack.

“America has long been expected to be a shining city on a hill. A beacon of hope and freedom,” Rep. Bennie Thompson plans to say, according to excerpts released in advance. “How can we play that role when our own house is in such disorder? We must confront the truth with candor, resolve and determination.”

The committee plans to present never-before-seen video and a mass of other evidence to show the “harrowing story” of the deadly violence that day and also a chilling backstory as Trump, the defeated president, tried to overturn Biden’s election victory.

This evening’s prime-time hearing is providing eyewitness testimony from the first police officer pummeled in the mob riot and from a documentary filmmaker who tracked the extremist Proud Boys as they prepared to fight for Trump immediately after the election and then led the storming of the Capitol.

The hearing will also feature accounts from Trump aides and family members, interviewed behind closed doors.

“When you hear and understand the wide-reaching conspiracy and the effort to try to corrupt every lever and agency of government involved in this, you know, the hair on the back of your neck should stand up,” Rep. Elaine Luria, D-Va., a member of the 1/6 committee, says in an interview.

The 1/6 panel’s yearlong investigation will begin to show how America’s tradition of a peaceful transfer of presidential power came close to slipping away. It will reconstruct how Trump refused to concede the 2020 election, spread false claims of voter fraud and orchestrated an unprecedented public and private campaign to overturn Biden’s victory.

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