The House committee investigating the Jan. 6, 2021, Capitol riots held its first public hearing Thursday during prime time, providing an inside look into their investigation over the past year through testimonies and video accounts from the violence that ensued on that day.
This was the first of six public hearings the bipartisan committee is planning to hold, hoping to piece together the events culminating into the attack on the U.S. Capitol and former President Donald Trump’s role in it.
All three major broadcast networks aired the hearing live.
The committee heard testimony Thursday from U.S. Capitol Police officer Caroline Edwards and documentary filmmaker Nick Quested, who was following leaders of the Proud Boys on Jan. 6.
Here are 10 notable takeaways from the hearing:
Then Attorney General William Barr told Trump his claims the election was stolen were ‘bullshit.’
The committee showed video testimony from former Attorney General William Barr recounting he told Trump his claims around election fraud were “bullshit.”
Barr said he had three separate conversations with Trump on Nov. 23, 2020, Dec. 1, 2020, and Dec. 14, 2020, before he resigned as attorney general.
“I made it clear I did not agree with the idea of saying the election was stolen and putting out this stuff, which I told the president it was bullshit, and I didn’t want to be a part of it,” Barr said during his deposition.
Following Joe Biden’s victory in November 2020, Barr told The Associated Press there was no proof to support claims of widespread fraud.
“To date, we have not seen fraud on a scale that could have effected a different outcome in the election,” Barr said at the time.
Ivanka Trump told the committee she was ‘affected’ by Barr’s comments.
Ivanka Trump, Trump’s daughter and former White House adviser, told investigators Barr’s assessment that there was no election interference “affected my perspective,” according to video aired from her testimony.
“I respect Attorney General Barr so I accepted what he was saying,” she said.
Trump’s campaign staff told the former president he had lost the election.
The House panel also aired footage of testimony by Jason Miller, a former Trump campaign adviser, saying Matt Oczkowski, Trump’s campaign internal data expert, held a call with the former president in the days following the presidential election, telling Trump he had lost, based on the reported results.
“I remember he delivered to the president pretty blunt terms that he was going to lose,” Miller told the committee.
Jared Kushner dismissed White House counsel Pat Cipollone’s threats to resign as ‘whining.’
Vice chair Rep. Liz Cheney (R-Wyo.) introduced a video showing Jared Kushner telling investigators he dismissed White House counsel Pat Cipollone and his team of lawyers’ multiple threats to resign prior to Jan. 6.
“I know he was always ― him and the team were always saying, ‘Oh, we’re going to resign. We’re not going to be here if this happens, if that happens,’” Kushner said. “So I kind of took it up to be just whining, to be honest with you.”
Cipollone and his deputy had threatened to resign if Trump brought in an acting attorney general who would support his election fraud lies.
Trump cheered supporters wanting to hang Mike Pence.
Cheney revealed Trump was angry with his advisers telling him he should be doing more to stop the riots, while he embraced calls by his supporters for then Vice President Mike Pence to be hanged for his refusal to stop the certification of the 2020 election results.
“Maybe our supporters have the right idea,” Cheney recited Trump as saying, based on his advisers’ accounts. “Mike Pence deserves it.”
Cheney added the former president did not make any efforts to send reenforcement as the Capitol was being breached, despite pleas by lawmakers, including members of his own party like House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy.
“Not only did President Trump refuse to tell the mob to leave the Capitol, he placed no call to any element of the United States government to instruct that the Capitol be defended,” Cheney said.
Cheney added it was Pence who made efforts to deploy the National Guard.
“President Trump gave no order to deploy the National Guard that day and he made no effort to work with the Department of Justice to coordinate and deploy law enforcement assets,” Cheney said. “Vice President Pence did each of those things.”
The committee released never-before-seen brutal video of violence at the U.S. Capitol.
Chairman Bennie Thompson (D-Miss.) introduced the montage warning the video won’t be easy to watch and includes violence.
“It’s important that we remember exactly what took place. That this was no tourist visit to the Capitol,” Thompson said.
The footage, which the committee obtained as part of their investigation, showed Trump supporters attacking police officers, destroying property at the Capitol and looking for members of Congress to attack.
At the end of the video, the House panel included an audio except from a Fox News interview with Trump on July 11, 2021, drawing contrast between the gruesome scenes and Trump’s assertions that the event was a peaceful protest.
“They were peaceful people,” Trump said. “These were great people. The crowd was unbelievable. And I mentioned the word love. The love, the love in the air, I’ve never seen anything like it.”
Capitol Police officer Harry Dunn shed tears while watching videos of the riots.
Capitol Police officer Harry Dunn, who was working at the Capitol during the attacks of Jan. 6, teared up while watching footage of the riots during the hearing. Dunn was sitting alongside the girlfriend of the late Officer Brian Sicknick, left, and fellow Capitol police officer, Aquilino Gonell, on the right.
Dunn told The Wall Street Journal it was hard watching video from the attacks.
“It was painful. It was difficult. It was very emotional,” Dunn said.
Dunn though still plans to attend all of the future Jan. 6 committee hearings.
“It’s only right that we seek accountability and justice for you know, some of our officers are no longer with us because of that day,” Dunn told the Journal.
Dunn, who wore a T-shirt featuring the definition of insurrection, has previously spoken at length about his experience from that day and his fears a similar attack could happen in the future.
“It’s scary to think something [like this] can happen again, and yet it can happen again ... there’s nothing in place now to deter these people from doing it again,” Dunn told MSNBC in January.
Proud Boy said membership ‘tripled probably’ following Trump comment in presidential debate.
The committee aired testimony of Jeremy Bertino, who the panel lists as a Proud Boy, saying the street gang’s membership grew “exponentially” following Trump calling on them to “stand back and standby” during a presidential debate in 2020.
″I’d say tripled probably,” Bertino told investigators.
Trump made the reference to Proud Boys in response to a question by debate moderator Chris Wallace in Sept. 29, 2020, about whether Trump would condemn white supremacists and militia groups.
“Proud boys stand back and standby,” Trump said. “But I’ll tell you what: somebody’s got to do something about antifa and the left, because this is not a right-wing problem.”
“This is a left-wing problem,” Trump continued.
Officer Edwards described ‘the carnage’ and ‘absolute war zone’ outside the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6.
Edwards, the first U.S. Capitol police officer to be injured during the Capitol riots, painted the scene on Jan. 6, 2021, as an “absolute war zone” during her testimony before the House panel Thursday.
“I just remember that moment of stepping behind the line and seeing the absolute war zone that the west front [of the Capitol] had become,” said Edwards, who sustained a concussion during the attack.
Edwards also spoke about the injuries other officers suffered during the insurrection.
″[Officers] were bleeding, they were throwing up... I saw friends with blood all over their faces, I was slipping in people’s blood,” Edwards said.
“I was catching people as they fell. It was carnage, it was chaos. I can’t even describe what I saw. Never in my wildest dreams did I think that as a police officer, as a law enforcement officer, I would find myself in the middle of a battle,” Edwards continued.
Edwards also recounted being called “Nancy Pelosi’s dog” and a “traitor to my country, my oath and my Constitution” on Jan. 6 and the days following the attack.
“I’d be called names before, but never had my patriotism or duty been called into question,” Edwards said.
Capitol rioters said they were invited by Trump.
The committee showed a video presentation compiling statements from several rioters saying Trump had invited them there.
“I did believe the election was being stolen and Trump asked us to come,” said Robert Schornack, who was sentenced to 36 months probation, during an interview with the House panel.
Eric Barber, who was charged with theft and unlawful demonstration in the Capitol, said Trump “personally” asked them to come to Washington D.C. on Jan. 6, 2021.
“I thought for everything he’s done for us, if this is the only thing he’s going to ask of me, I’ll do it,” Barber said, according to audio sourced by the Department of Justice.
John Wright, who is awaiting trial for felony civil disorder and other charges, told the House committee he also attended at the former president’s request.
“I know why I was there and that’s because he called me there, and he laid out what is happening in our government,” Wright said.