The United States’ House of Representatives’ select committee investigating the 6 January 2021, attack on Capitol resumes its hearings on Thursday to hear more witnesses who may expectedly implicate former President Donald Trump further in the worst attack on America’s seat of government in more than 200 years.
The committee, composed of seven Democrats and two Republicans, has already listened to several former close aids to Trump, including former Attorney General William Barr, who put the blame squarely on his former boss. The Congressional committee has so far presented strong evidence of Trump’s responsibility for the riot because of his claim that the 2020 presidential election was “rigged” and the presidency “stolen” from him. Barr told the committee that the former president’s fraud claims were “bogus.”
Prominent Republicans had opposed the hearings. Trump called it “a judicial farce”. Following the damning testimony of Barr, Trump issued a 12-page statement accusing the Democrats and President Joe Biden of creating a “narrative of Jan. 6 to detract from the much larger and more important truth that the 2020 Election was Rigged and Stolen.” He called the committee “treasonous”.
Spontaneous reaction by people?
However, shocking footages that have never been seen before, shown at the hearings, suggest that the riots were not a spontaneous reaction by the people to the election results, as Trump claims. The new footage shows a planned attack on the Capitol to breach it from different sides of the building.
At the centre stage of the attack were two of the most militant far-right extremist groups in US, the ‘Proud Boys’ and the ‘Oath Keepers’. Their members, thousands of them, donning military gear, and some armed, spearheaded the breach of the Capitol. Their actions suggested it was a coup attempt, the committee heard.
So far, the committee members are divided on the possibility to recommend criminal charges again Trump. Nevertheless, they all agree that those who planned and instigated the Jan. 6 attack must be held accountable to protect the basic fabric of the US democratic system and to deny the chief executive the ability to exploit his power to change the centuries-old rules that govern the system.
The American people, who remain sharply divided over the legacy of the former president, deserve to know the truth about what exactly happened on that day.
It essential also that the committee looks at the fact without the usual partisan biases. The Jan. 6 attack was an unusual event.
Congress owes it to the American people to investigate it objectively and transparently so that people can put it behind them.