Make no mistake: Republicans do not want any kind of investigation into the events surrounding the Jan. 6 insurrection because they’re extremely afraid of what that investigation will find. That’s why, when given the opportunity to have an impartial panel that examined those events outside the normal back and forth of Congressional politics, Republicans in the Senate shot it down. That’s why when House Speaker Nancy Pelosi revived the idea as a select committee, Republicans voted against it. That’s why Kevin McCarthy first tried to saddle the investigation with a stack of Republicans whose announced intention was to derail any look into those events, then made a pretense of withdrawing Republican “support” when Pelosi rejected the worst of those who were out to make the investigation a farce.
Republicans do not want this to happen. What they want is for everyone else to leave this alone so they can continue the project of turning Jan. 6 from insurrection to tourist visit to patriotic action that’s a model for future events.
That effort is expected to continue on Tuesday as the House holds the first hearing from that select committee. As CNN reports, House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy is expected to make clear that he “will not cooperate” with the committee’s investigation. They are planning a number of events for the course of the day, all with the same theme: It’s Nancy Pelosi’s fault. Pelosi, according to the cover story being generated on the right, failed to get the Capitol Police and National Guard to the Capitol in sufficient numbers—a claim that ignores how that was both not Pelosi’s job and not within her authority.
Meanwhile, the actual hearing is going to begin. Here’s what to expect.
The opening video included new information, including audio communications of insurgents calling for use of the gallows, and those outside the Capitol insisting that federal, state, and local officials needed to be rounded up for mass executions.
This first day of testimony will be focused on the appearance of four members of law enforcement who were present at the assault on the Capitol. D.C. Metro Police Officer Michael Fanone has become well known for his previous statements and a letter to Congress in which he called attempts to downplay the events of Jan. 6 “disgraceful” and demanded recognition for the dozens of officers injured on that day. Fanone was beaten with metal pipes and repeatedly shocked with a Taser. He described the events of that day as the “most brutal, savage, hand-to-hand combat of my entire life.”
D.C. Metro Police Officer Daniel Hodges’ name may not be quite as familiar as Fanone’s at this point, but millions of Americans have certainly seen his face. It was Hodges who was caught in the entrance as Trump supporters made a game of trying to crush him between two doors. Trapped with his hands and shoulders pinned behind him, insurgents took the opportunity to beat him, hit him with bear spray, and coordinate their movements to press ever harder against Hodges’ trapped form. At least one man has already been arrested specifically for his attack on Hodges. Hodges also made it clear that in spite of the pain and damage he suffered on that day, he knew exactly what was going on. “If it wasn't my job, I would have done that for free ... It was absolutely my pleasure to crush a white nationalist insurrection ... and we’ll do it as many times as it takes.”
Capitol Police Officer Harry Dunn fought against rioters who smashed police lines and assaulted officers outside the building, then teamed up with other officers to follow Trump insurgents inside and attempt to block access to officials. As a Black man, Dunn was subject to special attention from the white supremacist mob, including being called the N-word dozens of times. When Dunn mentioned this, it was enough to have Tucker Carlson attempt to discredit the officer as an “angry activist.” Because that’s how Black men are. Angry … about being kicked, beaten, bear-sprayed, and clubbed while being under constant racist assault.
The final member of police to speak on this day is Capitol Hill Police Sgt. Aquilino Gonell. Gonell, both a police veteran and a military veteran, was beaten with a flag pole, had his hand sliced open with a knife, and was so dosed in chemical spray that it dripped from his clothing. Gonell, in a stunned haze from the assault and chemical spray, has recounted hearing insurgents say they were going to kill the police and calling them traitors. Gonell has also said he took Republican votes to block an independent Jan. 6 commission as a personal insult.
The hearing is now underway with a review of videos and reports from that day.
The initial video presented at the opening of the hearing was genuinely chilling. It not only showed footage previously seen at the Senate impeachment trial, but included new footage, much of it from the Capitol grounds, showing more Trump supporters urging the use of the gallows to hang members of Congress, as well as making it clear that many of those present saw Jan. 6 as an opening act.