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Jan. 6 hearing makes case Trump at ‘center of this conspiracy’ to overturn election

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(WASHINGTON) — The House select committee investigating the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol held its first prime-time hearing on Thursday.

The hearing featured never-before-seen video footage and witness testimony as lawmakers aim to explain what they call a “coordinated, multi-step effort” by former President Donald Trump and his allies to overturn the results of the 2020 presidential election.

Here is how the hearing unfolded:

Jun 09, 10:30 pm
‘He called me there’: Teasing next hearing, committee shows video of rioters voicing intent

Chairman Bennie Thompson wrapped up the hearing with a video compilation of rioters’ interviews with the committee, with more than half-a-dozen Capitol rioters explaining in their own words why they marched on the Capitol last Jan. 6.

“Trump only asked me for two things,” said Robert Schornack, who was arrested last March and pleaded guilty to a single misdemeanor last December. “He asked me for my vote, and he asked me for January 6th.”

“He asked us to come to come to D.C. and said things are going to happen,” said Daniel Herendeen,” who pleaded guilty last year to illegally entering the Capitol.

Thompson closed by teasing the committee’s next hearing, scheduled for Monday, June 13, at 10 a.m.

“We’re going to examine the lies that convinced those men and others to storm the Capitol,” he said.

-ABC News Benjamin Siegel and Alex Mallin

Jun 09, 10:24 pm
Historic hearing gavels out

In a nearly two-hour hearing in prime time, the House select committee placed Trump at the center of an “attempted coup” and “multistep conspiracy aimed at overturning the presidential election,” with the panel’s chairs emphasizing how Trump and his allies repeatedly tried to stop the peaceful transfer of power.

Never-before-seen footage and graphic testimony from a Capitol Police officer, who described the crowd as an “absolute war zone,” brought some in the hearing room to tears, as the committee laid out how it will explain in subsequent hearings a “sophisticated seven-part plan” by Trump to steal the election.

Rep. Liz Cheney, R-Wyo., said the 11-month-long investigation with more than 1,000 interviews revealed that Trump was “well aware” of the violence at the Capitol and security risk to Vice President Mike Pence and lawmakers but chose to do nothing.

“Not only did President Trump refuse to tell the mob to leave the Capitol, he placed no call to any element to the United States government to instruct at the Capitol be defended,” she said. “The vice president — Pence — did each of those things.”

Jun 09, 10:02 pm
‘It was carnage’: Capitol Police officer recounts ‘slipping in people’s blood’

Capitol Police officer Caroline Edwards, who suffered a traumatic brain injury after rioters knocked her to the ground, described in detail what she called a “an absolute war zone” as officers struggled to hold the line.

“I can just remember my — my breath catching in my throat, because I — what I saw was just — a war scene,” she said. “It was something like I had seen out of the movies.

“I couldn’t believe my eyes. There were officers on the ground. You know, they were bleeding. They were throwing … I saw friends with blood all over their faces. I was slipping in people’s blood,” she continued.

“I was catching people as they fell … It was carnage. It was chaos. I can’t even describe what I saw,” she added. “Never in my wildest dreams did I think as as a police officer, as a law enforcement officer, I would find myself in the middle of a battle.”

Jun 09, 9:56 pm
Video shows Capitol Police officer getting knocked unconscious

The committee aired a video showing the moment Capitol Police officer Caroline Edwards was knocked out as she tried to hold the line from a crowd of rioters pushing up against barricades and bike racks.

Edwards winced as the video began.

“I felt the bike rack come on top of my head and I was pushed backwards, and my foot caught the stair behind me, and my chin hit the handrail,” she said. “At that point I blacked out but the back of my head clipped the concrete stairs behind me.”

Edwards returned to duty after regaining consciousness, saying “adrenaline kicked in” as she went to the West Front of the Capitol to protect the Senate steps. There she helped people who had gotten pepper sprayed and others injured before she was hit herself with pepper spray and tear gas.

Jun 09, 9:54 pm
Documentarian notes Proud Boys went to Capitol before Trump spoke

Documentarian Nick Quested, who followed the Proud Boys through Washington as members of the extremist group marched on the Capitol and clashed with law enforcement, noted in his testimony that the group headed to the Capitol long before Trump spoke on the Ellipse.

“The was a large contingent, more than I would expect, and I was confused to a certain extent while we were walking away from the president’s speech, because that’s when I felt we were there to cover,” Quested said.

Chairman Bennie Thompson emphasized that point to argue the Jan. 6 attack was not purely spontaneous but a “coordinated plan” and the “culmination of a months-long effort spearheaded by President Trump.”

“They were not there for President Trump’s speech,” Thompson said of the hundreds of Proud Boys who descended on Washington. “We know this because they left that area to march toward the Capitol before the speech began.”

Jun 09, 9:34 pm
Witness testimony begins, officer recounts insults hurled at her during attack

Capitol Police officer Caroline Edwards told lawmakers that her patriotism was called into question as she pushed back against rioters, sustaining a serious head injury in the process.

“I was called Nancy Pelosi’s dog, called incompetent, called a hero and a villain,” Edwards testified. “I was called a traitor to my country, my oath and my Constitution. In actuality, I was none of those things.”

She continued, “I was an American standing face to face with other Americans asking myself how many times — many, many times — how we had gotten here.”

Edwards recounted her own grandfather’s experience fighting in the Korean war, telling lawmakers she will “gladly sacrifice everything to make sure that the America my grandfather defended is here for many years to come.”

Jun 09, 9:32 pm
Cheney slams Kushner for downplaying resignation threats by WH lawyers as ‘whining’

Among several clips of taped testimony with Trump aides, Rep. Liz Cheney, R-Wyo., played one of Jared Kushner telling the committee that he dismissed White House counsel Pat Cipollone’s “multiple” threats to resign when asked if he was aware on any instances.

“Like I said, my interest at that time was on trying to get as many pardons done, and I know that he was always, him and the team, were always saying oh we are going to resign,” Kushner said. “‘We are not going to be here if this happens, if that happens’ … . So, I kind of took it up to just be whining, to be honest with you.”

Cheney slammed Kushner’s response.

“Whining,” she repeated.

“There is a reason why people serving in our government take an oath to the Constitution,” she said. “And that oath must mean something.”

-ABC News’ Benjamin Siegel

Jun 09, 9:16 pm
Powerful video compilation prompts short recess

The House select committee played a 10-minute video compilation including never-before-seen footage of rioters violently breaching the Capitol overlaid with law enforcement officers calling for backup, and Trump calling the crowd “loving.”

In chronological order, the video followed the timeline of the day: from Trump speaking at his “Save America” rally to the joint session of Congress being gaveled in — leading up to rioters clashing with police and storming the Capitol, prompting lawmakers to take cover.

Capitol Police Officer Harry Dunn, one of several officers in the hearing room who defended the Capitol, was seen wiping away tears before Chairman Bennie Thompson called a short recess.

Some members of Congress watching in the public seats teared up, clearly rocked with emotion by the horrific memory.

Rep. Pramila Jayapal, D-Wash., held tissues in her hands. Around the hearing room, people shook their heads yet intently watched the footage.

-ABC News’ Katherine Faulders

Jun 09, 9:05 pm
Committee says multiple Republicans sought presidential pardons after attack

Rep. Liz Cheney, R-Wyo., said for the first time publicly that multiple Republican members of Congress reached out to the Trump White House to ask for presidential pardons in the wake of the Jan. 6 attack, including Rep. Scott Perry, R-Pa.

“Multiple other Republican congressmen also sought presidential pardons for their roles in attempting to overturn the 2020 election,” she added.

As with other House Republicans, Perry has refused to cooperate with the committee’s investigation through voluntary requests and a congressional subpoena.

-ABC News’ Katherine Faulders

Jun 09, 8:55 pm
Cheney issues warning to fellow Republicans

Rep. Liz Cheney, R-Wyo., had a message for her colleagues who continue to defend Trump and his false election claims.

“Tonight I say this to my Republican colleagues who are defending the indefensible: There will come a day when Donald Trump is gone, but your dishonor will remain,” Cheney said.

Cheney also had a message for the American people as they watch these hearings unfold over the next several weeks.

“Please remember what is at stake,” she said. “Remember the men and women who have fought and died so that we can live under the rule of law and not the rule of men.”

Jun 09, 8:52 pm
Trump ‘well aware’ of violence but ‘placed no call’ to defend Capitol: Cheney

Rep. Liz Cheney, R-Wyo., vice chair of the select committee, shared snippets of what White House aides told the committee Trump said to them while the attack at the Capitol was ongoing, laying out what she called Trump’s “sophisticated, seven-part plan to overturn the presidential election.”

“You will hear testimony that ‘The president didn’t really want to put anything out’ calling off the riot or asking his supporters to leave. You will hear that President Trump was yelling and “really angry at advisers who told him he needed to do be doing something more.’

“And, aware of the rioters’ chants to ‘hang Mike Pence,’ the president responded with this sentiment: “Maybe our supporters have the right idea.’ Mike Pence ‘deserves’ it,” she said.

She then added, in new detail, “Not only did President Trump refuse to tell the mob to leave the Capitol, he placed no call to any element to the United States government to instruct at the Capitol be defended.”

Jun 09, 8:38 pm
With Ivanka Trump tape, panel argues Trump was aware he lost

Using taped testimony from Trump officials including Attorney General Bill Barr and campaign attorney Alex Cannon, Rep. Liz Cheney, R-Wyo., argued that Trump and his team were well aware that he lost the election but still carried out a plot to stay in power.

“In our second hearing, you will see that Donald Trump and his advisers knew that he had in fact lost the election,” Cheney said, explaining how the committee will lay out its case. “But despite this, President Trump engaged in a massive effort to spread false and fraudulent information to convince huge portions of the U.S. population that fraud had stolen the election from him.”

In a video clip from an interview with Barr, Trump’s attorney general said he “repeatedly told the president, in no uncertain terms, that I did not see evidence of fraud and — you know, that would have affected the outcome of the election.”

The committee also aired a taped interview with Trump’s daughter Ivanka Trump commenting on Barr’s statement that the Justice Department found no fraud sufficient to overturn the election.

“It affected my perspective,” Ivanka said of Barr’s assessment. “I respect Attorney General Barr, so I accepted what he was saying.”

Jun 09, 8:35 pm
Cheney says Trump ‘lit the flame of this attack’

GOP Rep. Liz Cheney said Americans will learn new details about what Trump was doing before, during and after the attack at the Capitol in his effort to remain in power despite his 2020 election loss.

“Over multiple months, Donald Trump oversaw and coordinated a sophisticated seven-part plan to overturn the presidential election and prevent the transfer of presidential power,” she said.

The Wyoming Republican asserted Trump told his staff during the riot that it’s what people “should be doing” and that he agreed with protesters urging violence against then-Vice President Mike Pence.

After the dust settled, Cheney said, Trump continued to ignore the statements from the Department of Justice, election officials and his own staff telling him the election result was legitimate.

“President Trump summoned the mob, assembled the mob and lit the flame of this attack,” she said in her opening statement.

Jun 09, 8:22 pm
Committee places Trump at ‘center of this conspiracy,’ deems attack ‘attempted coup’

In his opening statement, Chairman Bennie Thompson — looking directly at the camera — called Jan. 6 an “attempt to undermine the will of the people” and “only the beginning of what became a sprawling multistep conspiracy aimed at overturning the presidential election.”

“Trump was at the center of this conspiracy, and ultimately, Donald Trump, the president of the United States, spurred a mob of domestic enemies of the Constitution to march down Capitol and subvert American democracy,” he said.

Thompson said the attack on the Capitol was “the culmination of an attempted coup” and a “brazen attempt … to overthrow the government”

“The violence was no accident,” he said. “It represents President Trump’s last stand, his most desperate chance to halt the transfer of power.”

Jun 09, 8:01 pm
Historic hearing underway

Chairman Bennie Thompson has gaveled in the committee’s first prime-time hearing intended to “remind you of the reality of what happened that day.”

“But our work must do much more than just look backwards. Because our democracy remains in danger,” Thompson will say in his opening statement, according to an excerpt released by the committee. “The conspiracy to thwart the will of the people is not over.”

Americans will hear live testimony from a Capitol Police officer and documentarian who were on the scene of the attack and watch never-before-seen video footage in a rare congressional hearing made for television.

Jun 09, 7:50 pm
Cheney arrives on Capitol Hill

Rep. Liz Cheney, R-Wyo., vice chair of the select committee, was the first member to arrive on Capitol Hill through the member entrance, according to an NBC pool reporter.

Asked how she was feeling, Cheney said, “Good, thank you,” as she walked inside.

Cheney and Rep. Adam Kinzinger, R-Ill., the only other House Republican to accept a seat on the panel, have faced relentless attacks from within their caucus for their participation. Cheney was removed from her No. 3 House GOP leadership post last year, and both were formally censured by the Republican National Committee for choosing to investigate what it controversially called “legitimate political discourse.”

Jun 09, 7:49 pm
Demonstrators rally outside Capitol

Demonstrators gathered outside the U.S. Capitol on Thursday ahead of the House select committee’s first prime-time hearing of its Jan. 6 investigation.

Participants held signs reading, “Not above the law.”

The panel is looking to explain what it calls a “coordinated, multi-step effort” by Trump and his supporters to overturn his 2020 election loss.

Jun 09, 7:35 pm
Trump calls Jan. 6 riot ‘the greatest movement’

From legal action to name-calling, Trump continues to try to discredit the House select committee as the panel prepares to go public with its findings in prime time.

“January 6th was not simply a protest, it represented the greatest movement in the history of our Country to Make America Great Again,” Trump said in a string of posts hours ahead of the hearing on Truth Social, the social media platform his team launched after Twitter permanently suspended him in the wake of the Capitol siege “due to the risk of further incitement of violence.”

Jun 09, 7:22 pm
Just before hearing, 3 Capitol rioters express regret in federal court

Three rioters convicted on federal charges for participating in the Capitol attack appeared in court just hours ahead of the prime-time event and asked for mercy before federal judges deciding their punishments.

“I made one mistake in my life and I have immediately took responsibility for it,” said Michael Daughtry, a gun store owner and former police officer who pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor charge this past March. “I apologize to the court for my indiscretion. But does a person not get to make at least one mistake in their entire life?”

The sentencing hearings just blocks away from the Capitol offer a noteworthy split-screen as lawmakers and their staff are in the midst of final preparations to put their investigation’s findings on full display for the American people. Click here for more.

-ABC News’ Alexander Mallin

Jun 09, 7:00 pm
‘Our democracy remains in danger’: Opening statement excerpt

Chairman Bennie Thompson will warn the American public of the ongoing threat from “those in this country who thirst for power” when the Jan. 6 committee soon kicks off a series of public hearings laying out its investigation, according to an opening statement released by the committee.

“So tonight, and over the next few weeks, we’re going to remind you of the reality of what happened that day. But our work must do much more than just look backwards. Because our democracy remains in danger,” Thompson is expected to say. “The conspiracy to thwart the will of the people is not over.”

“January 6th and the lies that led to insurrection have put two and a half centuries of constitutional democracy at risk. The world is watching what we do here,” read the excerpt.

Jun 09, 6:57 pm
Officers and widows plan to attend hearing

Several police officers who defended the Capitol on Jan. 6 and widows of law enforcement members who died in the aftermath will be present at the hearing.

Among them are Erin Smith, the widow of Metropolitan Police Department officer Jeffrey Smith; Serena Liebengood, the widow of Capitol Police officer Howie Liebengood; Sandra Garza, partner of Capitol Police officer Brian Sicknick; Capitol Police officer Harry Dunn; Capitol Police Sgt. Aquilino Gonell; and Metropolitan Police Department officer Daniel Hodges.

Dunn told ABC News Congressional Correspondent Rachel Scott the hearing will be “triggering.”

“I think about Jan. 6 daily and tonight we are going to find out stuff we didn’t know,” he said.

Garza told Scott she’s preparing to painfully “relive the nightmare of the day.” Her longtime partner, Officer Sicknick, suffered two strokes and died of natural causes one day after engaging with rioters.

“Everybody should watch the hearings because they need the truth of what happened that day,” Garza said. “These are the facts — it’s important for them not to only hear the witnesses but see it again.” She added, “There has to be some accountability, people are dead because of what happened.”

Jun 09, 5:45 pm
Capitol Police officer, documentarian to testify

One of the first officers injured on Jan. 6, U.S. Capitol Police officer Caroline Edwards, who suffered a traumatic brain injury after she was thrown to the ground by rioters pushing bike racks, will deliver her firsthand account before the committee in a matter of hours.

Documentary filmmaker Nick Quested, who followed the Proud Boys through Washington as members of the extremist group marched on the Capitol and clashed with law enforcement, is also scheduled to testify live.

ABC News exclusively obtained some of Quested’s extraordinary material, showing how a group of Trump supporters at a presidential rally transformed into an angry mob that broke into the Capitol. Click here for more.

Jun 09, 5:22 pm
McCarthy dodges questions on legitimacy of 2020 election

House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., wouldn’t say Thursday if President Joe Biden was the legitimate winner of the 2020 election.

ABC News Chief Washington Correspondent Jonathan Karl pressed McCarthy on the matter four times during a news conference where House Republicans preemptively slammed tonight’s hearing, calling the Jan. 6 panel “the most political and least legitimate committee in American history.”

McCarthy said Biden is the president, but declined to address the legitimacy aspect and declined to say Trump was wrong when he baselessly claimed the election was fraudulent.

Watch the full exchange here:

Jun 09, 5:02 pm
Key players to watch

The select committee has promised never-before-seen videotaped depositions from some of Trump’s closest aides and family members after Ivanka Trump, Jared Kushner and Donald Trump Jr. all sat for interviews earlier this year.

Former White House chief of staff Mark Meadows — who turned over thousands of text messages to the committee — has been described by congressional sources as an “MVP” of the hearings, as his messages have provided somewhat of a roadmap for investigators.

Jun 09, 4:35 pm
Biden calls Jan. 6 ‘flagrant violation of the Constitution’

President Joe Biden said a lot of Americans will learn new details about the Jan. 6 attack as lawmakers begin to reveal the findings of their 11-month investigation.

“One of the things that’s gonna occupy my country tonight, I suspect, is the first open hearings on January the 6th,” Biden said as he sat down with Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau at the Summit of the Americas on Thursday afternoon.

“And as I said when it was occurring and subsequent, I think it was a clear, flagrant violation of the Constitution,” Biden continued. “I think these guys and women broke the law, tried to turn around the result of an election. And there’s a lot of questions: who’s responsible, who’s involved?”

Jun 09, 4:11 pm
Hearing kicks off at 8 p.m.

Thursday’s hearing, the first of six scheduled in June, is the culmination of an 11-month-long investigation by the House select committee.

The nine-member panel has collected more than 140,000 documents and 1,000 witness interviews throughout the course of the investigation, and members have promised to introduce never-before-seen videos and exhibits they say will shock the public.

ABC News Television Network will air special coverage of the hearing at 8 p.m. and ABC News Live will carry gavel-to-gavel coverage.

Copyright © 2022, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

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