Jan. 6 committee holds first prime-time hearing

By Elise Hammond, Maureen Chowdhury and Melissa Macaya, CNN

Updated 5:15 p.m. ET, June 10, 2022
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12:18 a.m. ET, June 10, 2022

Here are key lines from the Jan. 6 committee's prime-time hearing

From CNN staff

US Rep. Liz Cheney, the vice chair of the committee, gives her opening remarks on Thursday night.
US Rep. Liz Cheney, the vice chair of the committee, gives her opening remarks on Thursday night. (J. Scott Applewhite/AP)

The House select committee investigating the Jan. 6 insurrection at the Capitol laid out some of its preliminary findings in its first prime-time hearing on Thursday.

Here are some key lines from the panel's presentation and testimony from witnesses:

Thompson: "Our democracy remains in danger"

Democratic Rep. Bennie Thompson, the committee's chairman, used part of his opening statement to set the tone of why Americans should be interested in the committee's findings. Thompson said the insurrection put democracy at risk — and it didn't stop on Jan. 6, 2021. "The conspiracy to thwart the will of the people is not over," Thompson said.

Cheney: "Trump summoned the mob, assembled the mob, and lit the flame of this attack"

GOP Rep. Liz Cheney, the vice chair of the committee, laid the blame for the Jan. 6 attack on the US Capitol squarely on former President Donald Trump. "On this point, there is no room for debate," she said during her opening statement. Later, she said Trump had a "sophisticated seven-part plan" to overturn the election over the course of several months.

Thompson: "It's hard to watch"

Thompson gave a warning before the committee played never-before-seen footage from the insurrection. The video showed the violent scenes of that day — rioters breaking windows and pushing their way through officers and into the Capitol.

Officer: "Literal blood, sweat and tears were shed that day defending the building"

Capitol Police Officer Caroline Edwards, who was injured after she was part of an altercation involving members of the Proud Boys while defending the US Capitol during the riot, said during her testimony that the day of the insurrection was the first time her patriotism had been questioned. She recalled what it was like to deal with the aftermath of the attack.

Documentarian: "For anyone who didn't understand how violent that event was — I saw it, I documented it, and I experienced it"

Documentarian Nick Quested, a witness who testified during tonight's hearing, described the violence he saw during the attack on the Capitol. "I documented the crowd turn from protesters to rioters to insurrectionists. I was surprised at the size of the group, the anger and the profanity," he told the committee. "I heard incredibly aggressive chanting and I subsequently shared that footage with the authorities," he continued. The documentarian was embedded with the Proud Boys for a significant period of time leading up to the Jan. 6 attack.

Cheney: "There will come a day when Donald Trump is gone, but your dishonor will remain"

Cheney had a critical message for her Republican colleagues who are defending what is "indefensible." Cheney herself has faced a major backlash from fellow Republicans for becoming a prominent critic of Trump and his lies over the election outcome.

Ivanka Trump: "I respect Attorney General Barr so I accepted what he was saying"

In a clip of recorded testimony shown during the hearing, Ivanka Trump, Trump's daughter and former adviser, said former Attorney General Bill Barr's statement that the Justice Department found no sufficient evidence to overturn the election changed her perspective — a statement that stands in contrast to her father's repeated claims that the election was stolen.

Barr: "I made it clear that I did not agree with the idea of saying the election was stolen and putting out this stuff, which I told the President was bullshit"

Former Attorney General William Barr said that Trump’s claims about election fraud were “bullshit" in a recording of a closed-door deposition. Barr, who resigned in December 2020, said part of the reason that he left the Trump administration was because of the false claims of fraud that Trump was making.

Read takeaways from today's hearing here.

11:19 p.m. ET, June 9, 2022

Committee plans to release closed-door deposition transcripts, Thompson says

From CNN's Jeremy Herb 

US Rep. Bennie Thompson, the committee chairman, talks to CNN's Jake Tapper on Thursday night.
US Rep. Bennie Thompson, the committee chairman, talks to CNN's Jake Tapper on Thursday night. (CNN)

House Select Committee Chairman Bennie Thompson confirmed to CNN Thursday that the panel plans to release the transcripts from the closed-door depositions that it conducted in its sweeping investigation into the Jan. 6 insurrection and former President Donald Trump’s efforts to try to overturn the election.

“We’ll make it available,” Thompson said in an interview with CNN’s Jake Tapper after the committee’s first hearing on Thursday.

Thompson also said that the committee planned to cooperate, if requested, with the Justice Department’s investigation into Jan. 6, 2021, while saying the committee’s job wasn’t to determine whether crimes had been committed. The Justice Department last month had asked for transcripts from the committee, but the panel resisted ahead of this month’s hearing.

On Thursday, the committee played video of staffers fleeing House GOP Leader Kevin McCarthy’s office. Asked about the video from the office of McCarthy — who has repeatedly criticized the committee — Thompson said that he tried to negotiate with McCarthy to create an independent commission, but McCarthy opposed it because of Trump.

“We have to set the record straight,” he said of McCarthy.
12:19 a.m. ET, June 10, 2022

Thompson: There will be witnesses linking conversations between extremist groups and people in Trump's orbit

Democratic Rep. Bennie Thompson, Jan. 6 House select committee chair, told CNN's Jake Tapper that in future hearings there will be witnesses that will describe conversations between extremists groups and people who were in former President Donald Trump's orbit.

"We have a number of witnesses who have come forward that people have not talked to before, that will document a lot was going on in the Trump orbit while all of this was occurring," Thompson said.

Thompson explained that the committee made sure that everything that's being presented could be verified and fact-checked.

"Everything that the public heard tonight is factual. We can prove it. Because as you know, the fact checkers will look at everything that was presented, and we made a conscious effort to only put on what we could prove. So, we put the tweets from the President. We put video from the President. We put everything on, but we put in and order that the public could now see that even when the President was told by the chief law enforcement officer, that he appointed, attorney general, that there was no fault in election. Obviously, the people he was listening to were not reputable in terms of looking at the evidence. And so, the President blew him off and started listening to people who had no real ground on the issue," he said.

Watch here:

11:06 p.m. ET, June 9, 2022

Former Capitol Police officer who attended hearing: "That was rough to watch"

From CNN's Annie Grayer

Harry Dunn, one of the police officers who defended the Capitol on January 6, listens to testimony while attending Thursday's hearing.
Harry Dunn, one of the police officers who defended the Capitol on January 6, listens to testimony while attending Thursday's hearing. (Drew Angerer/Getty Images)

Capitol Police Officer Harry Dunn, who attended tonight's hearing, said videos of rioters breaching the Capitol were "rough to watch."

“They warned us that they were going to play some footage,” Dunn said. The committee showed footage of how the violence unfolded during the hearing.

“I look over and I see them losing and that was rough to watch. It was really tough,” Dunn said, describing what it was like seeing the wives of fallen officers crying next to him.

After the hearing concluded for the night, committee members shook hands with witnesses, thanked officers who attended tonight’s hearing and greeted wives and partners of the fallen US Capitol Police.

Capitol Police Officer Caroline Edwards gave a long hug to Sandra Garza, the partner of Capitol Police Officer Brian Sicknick, who suffered two strokes and died one day after he confronted rioters at the Capitol on Jan. 6.

During her testimony, Edwards mentioned seeing Sicknick and how he looked white and unwell as the riot unfolded.

10:22 p.m. ET, June 9, 2022

Trump's former aides knew they were being recorded while testifying

From CNN's Kaitlan Collins and Gabby Orr

In the coming days, expect to see a common refrain from former Trump officials who have tried to maintain their connections to him: that their testimony was "taken out of context."

That's the defense several who testified are planning to use if they come under fire by the former President or his acolytes, they told CNN, given this was often a tried and true strategy when Trump's Cabinet secretaries would testify on Capitol Hill.

But several of former President Trump's former aides knew they were being recorded while testifying before the Jan. 6 committee, multiple people told CNN. 

One official said they were not explicitly told but assumed their testimony was being recorded. Others who testified in person said it was clear there were cameras set up in the room. 

The taken out-of-context defense is one that could come in handy for staying in his good graces. In the first prime-time hearing, Trump's allies, former staffers and even his daughter noted in recorded testimony that he was shown information showing he had lost the election, despite how Trump still maintains he didn't. 

One former senior Trump White House official told CNN he was informed at the outset of his closed-door meeting with the committee that footage of his testimony could potentially air in future public hearings. 

12:21 a.m. ET, June 10, 2022

The hearing has concluded

From CNN's Jeremy Herb, Marshall Cohen and Zachary Cohen

The House Jan. 6 select committee's first prime-time hearing has concluded.

Rep. Benny Thompson, the chair of the committee, and GOP Rep. Liz Cheney, the vice chair of the committee, laid out their case against former President Donald Trump and his involvement in events that led up to the Jan. 6 riot.

A Capitol Police officer and filmmaker who interacted directly with the Proud Boys testified about what they experienced during the insurrection and in the aftermath of the attack.

The committee will hold its next public hearing on Monday at 10 a.m. ET.

Here are some key takeaways from today's hearing:

Members of Trump's inner circle turned against him in depositions: The committee's first hearing was bolstered with never-before-seen video clips showing members of Trump's White House and campaign — as well as his daughter Ivanka Trump and son-in-law Jared Kushner — speaking about how they didn't believe Trump's claims that the election was stolen.Former Attorney General William Barr said that Trump's claims of voter fraud were "bullshit."Ivanka Trump said that she respected Barr and "accepted what he was saying" about the election. Trump spokesman Jason Miller said the campaign data person told Trump in "pretty blunt terms that he was going to lose."

And the committee cited testimony from Trump campaign lawyer Alex Cannon, who testified he told Meadows by "mid-to-late November" that the campaign had come up empty trying to find widespread fraud in key states that Trump lost. Cannon said Meadows responded to his assessment by saying, "So there's no there there."

New visceral footage from riot shown: The committee played a compilation of some of the most disturbing footage from the Jan. 6 attack.

They included some never-before seen material, including birds-eye view footage from security cameras that showed the enormous pro-Trump mob as it started swarming the Capitol grounds.

Trump didn't want the riot to stop: The committee revealed testimony from Trump White House officials who said the former President did not want the US Capitol attack to stop, angrily resisted his own advisers who were urging him to call off the rioters and thought his own vice president "deserved" to be hanged. It also offers a new window into Trump's demeanor during the riot — something the committee has repeatedly suggested would be a key part of their public hearings.

Cheney described testimony from a witness who said Trump was aware of chants to "Hang Mike Pence" and seemed to approve of them.

"Aware of the rioters' chants to 'hang Mike Pence,' the President responded with this sentiment: [quote] 'Maybe our supporters have the right idea.' Mike Pence [quote] 'deserves' it," she said.

Cheney has previously characterized Trump's inaction on Jan. 6 during those 187 minutes as a "dereliction of duty."

Read more takeaways here.

10:27 p.m. ET, June 9, 2022

Jan. 6 rioters testify that Trump called them to the Capitol

From CNN's Hannah Rabinowitz and Holmes Lybrand

To close out the first prime-time hearing, the House select committee played a video testimony of six people who were at the Jan. 6 riot claiming that they came to Washington, DC, because then-President Donald Trump called them to.

“You know, Trump has only asked me for two things,” said Matthew Walter, who has pleaded not guilty to nine charges connection to the riot. “He asked me for my vote, and he asked me to come on January 6.”

Walter was identified by the committee as a member of the Proud Boys, and said that Trump’s comments were “what got me interested” in going to DC.

Eric Barber, who pleaded guilty in December to theft and illegally entering the Capitol, said that Trump “personally asked for us to come to DC that day, and I thought for everything he's done for us, that this is the only thing he's gonna ask of me, I'll do it.”

“That's one of my disappointments,” Barber said. “He said he was gonna go, go with us, that he was gonna be there.”

12:21 a.m. ET, June 10, 2022

Capitol Police officer says of Jan. 6: "It was carnage. It was chaos."

From CNN's Clare Foran

Capitol Police Officer Caroline Edwards testifies on Thursday.
Capitol Police Officer Caroline Edwards testifies on Thursday. (Ting Shen/Bloomberg/Getty Images)

Capitol Police Officer Caroline Edwards was asked by Committee Chair Bennie Thompson if she could describe a memory that stands out "most vividly" from the Jan. 6 attack.

Edwards went on to describe what she likened to "a war scene," saying she witnessed "carnage" and chaos."

"I can just remember my breath catching in my throat because what I saw was just a war scene. It was something like I had seen out of the movies. I couldn't believe my eyes: There were officers on the ground. They were bleeding, they were throwing up. I saw friends with blood all over their faces. I was slipping in people's blood. 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."

She went on to say, "I'm trained to detain a couple of subjects and handle a crowd, but I'm not combat trained."

Edwards said there were "hours of hand-to-hand combat." She added that there were "hours of dealing with things that were way beyond what any law enforcement officer has ever trained for."

Watch here:

12:36 a.m. ET, June 10, 2022

Proud Boys and Oath Keepers met in parking garage the night before insurrection, panel's findings show

(January 6 Committee Exhibit)
(January 6 Committee Exhibit)

Findings of the panel, presented in a video by investigative counsel of the Jan. 6 committee Marcus Childress, show that the leaders of two extremist groups — the Proud Boys and the Oath Keepers — met in a Washington, DC, parking garage on Jan. 5, 2021.

The meeting between Enrique Tarrio, former leader of the Proud Boys, and Stewart Rhodes of the Oath Keepers, was caught on video obtained by the committee.

"There's mutual respect there. We're fighting the same fight and that's what's important," Tarrio said in the video obtained by the committee that was shown during the hearing.

Before the meeting: On Dec. 19, 2020, President Trump tweeted about a rally on Jan. 6, 2021, saying, "Big protest in D.C. on January 6th. Be there, will be wild!”

That tweet “energized individuals from the Proud Boys and other extremist groups,” Committee Chairman Bennie Thompson said. 

"Many of the witnesses we interviewed were inspired by the President's call and came to D.C. for January 6th," Childress said in the presentation.

"But the extremists, they took it a step further. They viewed this tweet as a call to arms," he added.

Childress referred to a Department of Justice indictment that described how the Proud Boys created a chat called "the Ministry of Self Defense leadership chat" where they established a command structure with the intention of coming back to Washington, DC, on Jan. 6, 2021.

The committee also revealed that it talked to members of Proud Boys leadership, who have not been charged. They showed footage of a private deposition with one member who said that Trump’s infamous “stand back and stand by” comment to Proud Boys on the debate stage in September 2020 substantially increased enrollment in the far-right group.

Meanwhile, leading up to the insurrection, the Oath Keepers were also making preparations.

The committee learned that the group established "quick reaction forces" where they stored weapons in Virginia, Childress said.

"The goal of these quick reaction forces was to be on standby just in case President Trump ever invoked the Insurrection Act," Childress said in the video.

"Individuals associated with two violent extremist groups have been charged with seditious conspiracy in connection with the Jan. 6th attack," Thompson said following the video presenting the evidence.

Watch here: