Following a year of political unrest since the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol, the United States House Select Committee began an investigation and aired public congressional hearings on June 9 regarding the attack, expected to continue into July.
The Select Committee is composed of seven Democrats to represent the House majority and two Republicans to represent the House minority. According to the Washington Post, the committee collected over 125,000 documents and conducted over 1,000 interviews to be presented as evidence of former President Donald Trump’s “pressure campaign” aimed at overturning the 2020 presidential election results.
Below is a timeline of the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol Building and an overview of the recent congressional hearings to date, according to transcripts of the hearings.
June 9 - First Public Hearing
According to the transcript of the first congressional hearing, the public hearings were broadcast on public television during prime time by all major news outlets, except Fox News. The committee outlined a seven-step plan taken up by former President Donald Trump.
The hearing featured opening statements by committee members Chairman Bennie Thompson, D-MS. and Vice Chair Liz Cheney, R-WY.
“For Donald Trump, this was only the beginning of what became a sprawling multi-step conspiracy aimed at overturning the presidential election, aimed at throwing out the votes of millions of Americans, your votes, your voice in our democracy, and replacing the will of the American people with his will to remain in power after his term ended,” Rep. Thompson said.
The first hearings reviewed live footage captured during the attack. Documentary filmmaker Nick Quested testified that he shot footage of the Proud Boys, a far-right extremist group and injured police officer.
Jared Kushner, Ivanka Trump’s husband and son-in-law to President Trump, as well as other Congressional Representatives discussed issuing Presidential Pardons to prevent any criminal charges for those involved in the attempted overturn of the 2020 election.
Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Mark Milley was shown testifying in a videotape. Milley said the White House encouraged him to claim that Trump had ordered the National Guard to respond on Jan. 6, even though Vice President Mike Pence gave the order.
“He said we have to kill the narrative that the Vice President is making all the decisions. We need to establish the narrative that, you know, that the President is still in charge and that things are steady or stable or words to that effect. I immediately interpret that as politics, politics, politics. Red flag for me personally, no action. But I remember it distinctly,” Mark Milley said.
June 13 - Second Public Hearing
According to the transcript of the second congressional hearing, the June 13 hearing focused on false claims of voter fraud allegations made by Trump and his staff. Officials in charge of declaring elections were pressured to announce the former president as the winner, despite the ballot numbers. This resulted in several officials resigning or getting fired for their involvement, or lack thereof, in supporting Trump.
Former U.S. Attorney for Georgia, B.J. Pak testified and resigned after Trump officials told Pak he would be fired if he did not declare Trump the victor. Chris Stirewalt, former Fox News editor, testified that he was fired by Fox News for being the first to declare the state of Arizona a Biden victory.
“Throughout the committee's investigation, we found evidence that the Trump campaign and its surrogates misled donors (of the Official Election Defense Fund) as to where their funds would go and what they would be used for. So not only was there the big lie, there was the big rip off. Donors deserve to know where their funds are really going. They deserve better than what President Trump and his team did,” Rep. Logan said.
June 16 - Third Pubic Hearing
According to the transcript of the third congressional hearing, the public hearing explored the roles and responsibilities of the vice president outlined in the Constitution. In this case, the committee discussed whether Pence has the jurisdiction to overturn the election.
Despite Trump's routine pressure on Pence to override election results and declare Trump the winner, Pence, who did not testify, was cleared of participating in Jan. 6, following Chief of Staff Greg Jacob’s testimony that Pence was aware that he had no legal authority to overturn election results. The committee presented a timeline of the attack on Capitol, where rioters were time stamped as breaching the Capitol at 2:13 p.m.
Around the same time, Trump was made aware of the breach and tweeted at 2:24 p.m., "Mike Pence didn't have the courage to do what was necessary." The mob that attacked the Capitol made it 40 feet away from Pence as he was hidden in a secure location inside the building. The committee found evidence that members of the mob were willing to murder Pence and Nancy Pelosi if they found them on Jan. 6.
“So then when that tweet — the Mike Pence tweet was sent out I remember us saying that that was the last thing that needed to be tweeted at that moment. The situation was already bad, and so it felt like he was pouring gasoline on the fire by tweeting that,” Sarah Mathews, former White House Deputy Press Secretary, said.
June 21 - Fourth Public Hearing
According to the transcript of the fourth congressional hearing, the hearing introduces the “Pence Card” which banked on Pence to fall to Trump’s pressure and overturn election results. The plan included refuting certified elections results through pressuring seven states with Republican-controlled state legislatures.
Most notably, the committee outlined Trump’s pressure in the state of Georgia. Georgia’s Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger testified during the committee hearing, describing the pressure Trump was putting on state officials to “find 11,780 votes,” the number he needed to beat Joe Biden by one vote. Raffensperger said he had found no widespread fraud that would change the election results.
“The numbers don't lie. We had many allegations and we investigated every single one of them. In fact, I challenged my team, did we miss anything? You can register to vote in Georgia when you're 17 and a half. You have to be 18 by Election Day. We checked that out. Every single voter. Every single allegation we checked,” Raffensperger said.
June 23 - Fifth Public Hearing
According to the transcript of the fifth congressional hearing, the hearing described Trump’s plan to pressure public servants, specifically top Department of Justice (DOJ) officials who resisted Trump’s calls for a fraudulent election. Jeffrey Rosen, former acting attorney general, and Richard Donoghue, former acting deputy attorney general, were two high level DOJ officials who were in contact with Trump in December 2020 as he was working to pressure overturning election results.
Rosen and Donoghue were repeatedly asked by Trump to investigate election fraud conspiracy QAnon theories that were already debunked as “absurd” and were never likely to have occurred. This pressure continued as Trump threatened Rosen and Donoghue’s jobs after former Attorney General Bill Bar resigned.
“We had seen nothing improper with regard to the voting machines. And I told him that the real experts that had been at DHS (Department of Homeland Security) and they had briefed us, that they had looked at it and that there was nothing wrong with the voting machines. And so that was not something that was appropriate to do,” Rosen said.
June 28 - Sixth Public Hearing
According to the transcript of the sixth congressional hearing, the hearing featured Cassidy Hutchinson, former White House Aide during the Trump administration. Hutchinson was questioned by members of the committee on her prior knowledge of the attack on Jan 6. Hutchinson was able to confirm the numerous times Trump was aware of the attack at the Capitol, testifying that advisors told Trump to stand down and admit defeat.
At the hearings, Hutchinson discussed how her work led to conversations with upper-level Trump administration where officials discussed concerns regarding an uprising on Jan 6 and the “potential for violence.” She said they had discussed the potential for demonstrations by radical groups, such as the Proud Boys and the Oath Keepers.
The committee found evidence that demonstrators were carrying weapons and firearms such as AR-15s at the Capitol on the lawn of the Washington Monument the day of the Jan 6. attack. Trump was aware that a number of the individuals in the crowd had weapons and were wearing body armor, Hutchinson said. She said the former President was also aware that his supporters were planning to march to the U.S. Capitol and it could get violent.
“Trying to fight the results of the election, finding missing ballots, pressuring filing lawsuits in certain states where there wasn’t significant evidence and reaching out to state legislatures about that. The way the White House was handling the post-election period, he (Director of National Intelligence John Ratcliffe) felt there could be dangerous repercussions, in terms of precedent set for elections, for our democracy, for the 6th,” Hutchinson said.
July 12 - Seventh Public Hearing
According to the transcript of the seventh congressional hearing, the most recent hearing on July 12 focused on the connections between Trump’s administration and far-right domestic extremist militia groups, such as the Proud Boys and Oath Keepers who are attributed to the violent escalation at the Capitol steps.
The committee displayed videotaped testimony of Pat Cippollone, former White House counsel, who has been repeatedly subpoenaed to testify. Cippollone said he had frequent meetings with Trump as well as Sidney Powell, Michael Flynn and Patrick Byrne who were not politicians, but made up an outside council who wanted to push election conspiracy theories.
Cippollone discussed a draft executive order made by Trump for the U.S. military to seize voting machines, to draft speeches with negative language regarding Pence, and to reveal knowledge of the armed protestors at Freedom Plaza the night before Jan. 6.
“Today there appears to be general recognition the committee has established key facts, including that virtually everyone close to President Trump, his DOJ officials, his White House advisers, his counsel, his campaign, all told him the 2020 election was not stolen,” Rep. Liz Cheney said.
The eighth and ninth public hearing will occur July 21 and July 28 and will be available on major news channels for viewing.