Un man with buffalo horns wandering the halls of the US Congress, elected officials crawling on the ground with gas masks… The assault on the Capitol on January 6, 2021 marked history. Eighteen months later, one question remains, however, unanswered. What was Donald Trump’s role in this invasion? After long months of investigation, a parliamentary commission presents the first conclusions on the night of Thursday June 9 to Friday 10 (French time, editor’s note). Protesters stormed the seat of parliament after the former president’s ‘encouragement’, said Bennie Thompson, the head of the so-called ‘January 6’ commission, opening a series of hearings meant to prove the existence of a deliberate campaign to overturn the result of the 2020 presidential election, won by Joe Biden.
“January 6 was the culmination of an attempted coup,” Bennie Thompson said. “Donald Trump was at the center of this conspiracy.” To support its conclusions, the “January 6” commission released unpublished images of the violence of this cold winter day during which thousands of supporters of Donald Trump had gathered in Washington to denounce the result of the election. of 2020, which had seen the ex-real estate magnate lose. These videos show crowds attacking the headquarters of Congress, including calling to “hang” Vice President Mike Pence, and a protester reading Donald Trump’s tweets through a megaphone.
For nearly a year, this group of elected officials – seven Democrats and two Republicans – has heard more than 1,000 witnesses, including two children of the former president. In addition, they peeled 140,000 documents to shed light on Donald Trump’s actions before, during and after this event which shook American democracy. The plot behind the Capitol assault “is not over,” warned the head of a parliamentary committee. “Our democracy is still in danger. The conspiracy to defeat the will of the people is not over,” said lawmaker Bennie Thompson.
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Seven auditions by the end of June
Capitol Police officer Caroline Edwards, “the first member of law enforcement to be injured by rioters” on Jan. 6, as well as documentary writer Nick Quested, whose team was following the militia of the “Proud Boys” during the attack, are the first witnesses of this hearing. Police officer Caroline Edwards testified to the violence of the day, during which she suffered a concussion when she injured her head on the steps of the Capitol after being knocked down by the onslaught of the crowd. She spoke of the “blood, sweat and tears” she shed “that day to defend the building”.
Five other hearings, throughout the month of June, will complete Thursday’s presentation. Sign of the importance that the commission wants to attribute to its revelations, the first hearing was organized at prime time. It will be broadcast on many news channels continuously, but shunned by Fox News, the favorite channel of the conservatives. A new illustration of the deep political fault line that has divided the United States since “January 6”.
A year and a half after the storming of the Capitol, millions of Donald Trump supporters remain firmly convinced that the 2020 election was marred by fraud. And this, despite the overwhelming evidence to the contrary. The January 6 commission therefore also promised to expose “ongoing threats to American democracy”. The idea is to “show that there is a pattern (a pattern, editor’s note) that began before the election, until January 6” 2021. This pattern “continues to this day”, assured a parliamentary source .
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Republicans call it a ‘witch hunt’
The commission’s supporters say its work is essential to ensuring that one of the darkest episodes in American history is never repeated. But the majority of Republicans denounce the work of this group of elected officials, the main interested party Donald Trump castigating a “witch hunt”. The leader of the Republicans in the House of Representatives, Kevin McCarthy, followed suit on Thursday, assuring that this commission was “the most political and the least legitimate in the history of the United States”.
“I don’t see a prime time hearing on gas prices, how to fight inflation, feed our children and make our streets safer,” he told a conference Press. His party has already promised to bury the work of this commission if it were to take control of the Chamber during the mid-term legislative elections in November.
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