The biggest takeaways from the Jan. 6 hearings

A president throwing food at the walls of the White House. 2020 election workers who are still afraid to leave their home. Department of Justice officials threatening to resign en masse. These are all facts that came out of testimony from the first eight public hearings of the Jan. 6 House select committee this summer.

Watch the PBS NewsHour’s compilation and reporting on all eight hearings in the player above.

The committee has been looking at hundreds of thousands of pages of documents, interviewed more than one thousand people and is expected to resume holding public hearings in September. The narrative the committee has played out over the eight hearings, the last of which was held on July 21, 2022, is that former President Donald Trump was ultimately responsible for the Jan. 6 attack through his and his associates’ actions after he lost the 2020 election..

For a full playlist of every hearing in its entirety, click here.

Trump and his associates pushed the “Big Lie” that President Joe Biden’s 2020 presidential win was illegitimate, based on the false narrative that the election was fraudulent. Through testimony, the House committee argued all of these efforts happened while many advisers and White House staff around the former president told him and his associates that the election was won, fairly, by Biden.

Here are some highlights from each day of the first eight public hearings.

Jan. 6 hearing day 1 – June 9, 2022

This hearing was held during prime time television, and kicked off the hearings by covering a wide view of what happened on Jan. 6, including airing never-before-seen video of the attack on the Capitol that day.

Former Attorney General Bill Barr, in taped video testimony, shared that he had raised concerns about Trump’s continued efforts to push the idea that the 2020 election was fraudulent.

“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 was bulls***. You can’t live in a world where — where the incumbent administration stays in power, based on its view, unsupported by specific evidence, that the election — that there was fraud in the election,” he testified.

U.S. Capitol Police Officer Caroline Edwards testifies before the U.S. House Select Committee to Investigate the January 6 Attack on the United States Capitol with Sandra Garza, partner of Brian Sicknick, and U.S. Capitol Police Officer Sgt. Aquilino Gonell in the back, on Capitol Hill in Washington, U.S., June 9, 2022. Photo by Jonathan Ernst/REUTERS

U.S. Capitol Police Officer Caroline Edwards testifies before the U.S. House Select Committee to Investigate the January 6 Attack on the United States Capitol with Sandra Garza, partner of Brian Sicknick, and U.S. Capitol Police Officer Sgt. Aquilino Gonell in the back, on Capitol Hill in Washington, U.S., June 9, 2022. Photo by Jonathan Ernst/REUTERS

Caroline Edwards, U.S. Capitol police officer, in live testimony shared her recollection of the attacks on the Capitol on Jan. 6. “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. They were — you know, they had — I mean, I saw friends with blood all over their faces. I was slipping in people’s blood.”

For more on day 1 of the Jan. 6 hearings, click here.

Jan. 6 hearing day 2 – June 13, 2022

This hearing covered new details from some of Trump’s inner circle about how the false narrative that the 2020 election was stolen spread. There was also testimony from election officials about how far Trump and his associates went to dig up what they thought to be examples of voter fraud, where there were actually none, in places like Pennsylvania and Georgia– both places where Biden won a majority of votes.

Former Attorney General Bill Barr, in taped video testimony, said it became harder to talk to Trump after the 2020 election. “I felt that, before the election, it was possible to talk sense to the president and, while you sometimes had to engage in a big wrestling match with him, that it was possible to keep things on track. But I was — felt that, after the election, he didn’t seem to be listening,” he said.

U.S. House Select Committee to Investigate the January 6 Attack on the United States Capitol holds public hearing in Washi...

Republican election attorney Ben Ginsberg, former U.S. Attorney for Georgia Bjay Pak, who resigned as former President Trump sought to overturn Georgia’s 2020 election results and Al Schmidt, the only Republican on Philadelphia’s 2020 elections board, are sworn in to testify during the second public hearing, U.S., June 13, 2022. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst/Pool

Al Schmidt, former Philadelphia City Commissioner and Republican, in live testimony, said Trump targeted him in a tweet about his role in the 2020 election which led to ongoing harassment from Trump supporters. “After the president tweeted at me by name, calling me out the way that he did, the threats became much more specific, much more graphic, and included not just me by name, but included members of my family by name, their ages, our address, pictures of our home,” Schmidt testified.

For more on day 2 of the Jan. 6 hearings, click here.

Jan. 6 hearing day 3 – June 16, 2022

This hearing covered the danger former Vice President Mike Pence faced on Jan. 6, as well as the pressures he faced from Trump and his associates ahead of Jan. 6 and during the insurrection, to throw out the results of the 2020 election.

Committee Chairman Bennie Thompson said in the hearing that the investigation has shown Trump and his associates pressured Pence to overturn the election on Jan. 6.

“Donald Trump wanted Mike Pence to do something no other vice president has ever done. The former president wanted Pence to reject the votes and either declare Trump the winner or send the votes back to the states to be counted again,” he said.

“Mike Pence said no. He resisted the pressure. He knew it was illegal. He knew it was wrong. We’re fortunate for Mr. Pence’s courage on January 6. Our democracy came dangerously close to catastrophe. That courage put him in tremendous danger,” Thompson added.

“When Mike Pence made it clear that he wouldn’t give in to Donald Trump’s scheme, Donald Trump turned the mob on him, a mob that was chanting, “Hang Mike Pence,” a mob that had built a hangman’s gallows just outside the Capitol,” he said.

Chairperson Bennie Thompson (D-MS) attends the second public hearing of the U.S. House Select Committee to Investigate the January 6 Attack on the United States Capitol, at Capitol Hill, in Washington, U.S. June 13, 2022. Photo by Joshua Roberts
/REUTERS

Chairperson Bennie Thompson (D-MS) attends the second public hearing of the U.S. House Select Committee to Investigate the January 6 Attack on the United States Capitol, at Capitol Hill, in Washington, U.S. June 13, 2022. Photo by Joshua Roberts/REUTERS

Eric Herschmann, former White House attorney, in a taped video testimony, pointed out that he had a conversation with John Eastman, a law professor pushing the theory that Pence had the authority to overturn the election results, and Herschmann said he pushed back on those ideas.

“I’m going to give you the best free legal advice you’re ever getting in your life. Get a great F’ing criminal defense lawyer. You’re going to need it.’ And then I hung up on him,” Herschmann said.

For more on day 3 of the Jan. 6 hearings, click here.

Jan. 6 hearing day 4 – June 21, 2022

This hearing covered the pressure Trump and his allies put on state and local officials to change the results of the 2020 election.

Brad Raffensperger, the Republican Georgia secretary of state, testified that when Trump and his associates pushed Georgia election officials to look into claims of voter fraud, he found nothing.

“They said that there was over 66,000 underage voters. We found that there was actually zero. They said that there was 2,423 non-registered voters. There were zero,” Raffensperger said.

“They said that there was 2,056 felons. We identified less than 74 or less that were actually still in a felony sentence. Every single allegation, we checked. We ran down the rabbit trail to make sure that our numbers were accurate,” he said.

U.S. House holds public hearing on Jan. 6, 2021, assault on Capitol

Wandrea “Shaye” Moss, former Elections Department employee in Fulton County, Georgia, is sworn-in to testify, as her mother, Georgia election worker Ruby Freeman looks on, during the fourth public hearing of the U.S. House Select Committee to investigate the January 6, 2021 attack on the U.S. Capitol, on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC, U.S. June 21, 2022. Michael Reynolds/Pool via REUTERS

Wandrea “Shaye” Moss, a former Georgia election worker, testified that after Trump tweeted and promoted lies about her role as an election worker, harassment against her began – and never stopped.

“I just don’t do nothing anymore,” Moss said, in an emotional testimony. “I don’t want to go anywhere. I second-guess everything that I do. This affected my life in a major way, in every way, all because of lies, for me doing my job, same thing I have been doing forever.”

For more on day 4 of the Jan. 6 hearings, click here.

Jan. 6 hearing day 5 – June 23, 2022

This hearing covered how Trump pressured the Department of Justice to overturn the 2020 election results.

Three of Trump’s top Justice Department officials, in live testimony, recounted how Trump wanted the department to undermine and overturn the election and how, when that effort failed, Trump nearly installed a loyalist who would carry out his demands.

Jeffery Rosen, former acting U.S. attorney general, testified that he felt Trump was pushing different ways for the Justice Department to help overturn the 2020 election.

“So, the common element of all of this was the president expressing his dissatisfaction that the Justice Department, in his view, had not done enough to investigate election fraud. But, at different junctures, other topics came up at different intervals,” he said.

“So, at one point, [Trump] had raised the question of having a special counsel for election fraud. At a number of points, he raised requests that I meet with his campaign counsel, Mr. Giuliani. At one point, he raised whether the Justice Department would file a lawsuit in the Supreme Court,” Rosen added.

“At a couple of junctures, there were questions about making public statements or about holding a press conference. One of the later junctures was this issue of sending a letter to state legislatures in Georgia or other states,” he said.

House January 6th Select Committee Holds Its Fifth Hearing

WASHINGTON, DC – JUNE 23: (L-R) Steven Engel, former Assistant Attorney General for the Office of Legal Counsel, Jeffrey Rosen, former Acting Attorney General, and Richard Donoghue, former Acting Deputy Attorney General, are sworn-in as they testify before the House Select Committee on June 23, 2022 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)

Richard Donoghue, former acting deputy attorney general, testified that Trump was investigating whether he could put someone else, a little-known lawyer named Jeff Clark, who would investigate the bogus claims of election fraud

“[Trump] said, ‘So, suppose I do this. Suppose I replace him, Jeff Rosen, with him, Jeff Clark. What would you do?’ And I said,’Mr. President, I’m going to resign immediately. I’m not working one minute for this guy, who I had just declared was completely incompetent.’” The president then turned to Steven Engel, who served as assistant attorney general for the Justice Department’s Office of Legal Counsel during the Trump administration, and said, according to Donoghue’s recollection, “‘Steve, you wouldn’t resign, would you?’ And he said, ‘Absolutely, I would, Mr. President. You leave me no choice.’”

For more on day 5 of the Jan. 6 hearings, click here.

Jan. 6 hearing day 6 – June 28, 2022

This surprise hearing focused on the live testimony of Cassidy Hutchinson, who was a senior aide to former White House chief of staff, Mark Meadows. Hutchinson detailed the minutes and hours of what Trump did before, during and after the Jan. 6 attack. The details were explosive and provided a compelling account of Trump’s actions.

“[Rudy Giuliani] looked at me and said something to the effect of ‘Cass, are you excited for the sixth? It’s going to be a great day.’” Hutchinson testified. “I remember looking at him saying, ‘Rudy, could you explain what’s happening on the sixth?’

And he had responded something to the effect of, ‘We’re going to the Capitol, it’s going to be great, the president is going to be there. He’s going to look powerful.’”

Hutchinson recalled how the president was adamant about going to the Capitol after his speech on the Ellipse on Jan. 6 and was upset when some key members of the White House team did not allow it. “Trump said something to the effect of, ‘I’m the effing president, take me up to the Capitol now,’” Hutchinson recalled.

January 6th Committee Holds Surprise Hearing During Congressional Break

WASHINGTON, DC – JUNE 28: Cassidy Hutchinson, a top former aide to Trump White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows, testifies during the sixth hearing by the House Select Committee to Investigate the January 6th Attack on the U.S. Capitol in the Cannon House Office Building on June 28, 2022 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Brandon Bell/Getty Images)

Trump lunged at Bobby Engel, who was the head of security detail, after Engel said a trip to the Capitol wasn’t secure or doable, Hutchinson testified.

Hutchinson recalled later hearing from then-White House deputy chief of staff Tony Ornato that after Engel told Trump they had to return to the White House, Trump reached up to the front of the vehicle to grab the steering wheel. Engel grabbed the president’s arm and said, “Sir, you need to let go,” Hutchinson said. Trump then used his free hand to lunge toward Engel’s neck, Ornato told Hutchinson.

In a tweet the president made on Jan 6., shown during the hearing, Trump said then-Vice President Mike Pence didn’t have the “courage” to overturn the 2020 election. As a staffer, Hutchinson said seeing that tweet made her feel “frustrated” and “disappointed.”

“As an American, I was disgusted, it was unpatriotic, it was un-American,” she said. “We were watching the Capitol building get defaced over a lie.”

Hutchinson recounted a conversation former White House counsel Pat Cipollone had with Meadows.

“‘The rioters have gotten to the Capitol, Mark. We need to go down and see the president now.’ And Mark looked up at him and said, ‘He doesn’t want to do anything, Pat.’” Pat Cipollone then told Mark Meadows, Hutchinson testified, “ something to the effect of, ‘Mark, something needs to be done, or people are going to die and the blood’s going to be on your effing hands. This is getting out of control. I’m going down there.’”

For more on day 6 of the Jan. 6 hearings, click here.

Jan. 6 hearing day 7 – July 12, 2022

This hearing covered the connection Trump and his associates had with far-right extremist groups like the Proud Boys and Oath Keepers. Those groups worked together to organize part of the U.S. Capitol attack.

It also included taped testimony from former White House counsel Pat Cipollone, who tried to push back on conspiracy theories from lawyers in Trump’s inner circle like Sidney Powell and Rudy Giuliani.

Cipollone, in taped video testimony, said he wanted Trump to concede.

“Did I believe he should concede the election, at a point in time? Yes I did,” Cipollone said. “I believe [Republican] Leader [Mitch] McConnell went onto the floor of the Senate, I believe, in mid-December, and basically said the process is done. That would be in line with my thinking on these things.”

Jason Van Tatenhove, a member of the Oath Keepers, testifies during a public hearing of the U.S. House Select Committee to investigate the January 6 Attack on the U.S. Capitol, on Capitol Hill in Washington, U.S., July 12, 2022. Photo by Elizabeth Frantz/REUTERS

Jason Van Tatenhove, a member of the Oath Keepers, testifies during a public hearing of the U.S. House Select Committee to investigate the January 6 Attack on the U.S. Capitol, on Capitol Hill in Washington, U.S., July 12, 2022. Photo by Elizabeth Frantz/REUTERS

Jason Van Tatenhove, former Oath Keepers spokesperson, in live testimony warned that he worries for the future of the country with Trump still in the political sphere.

“If a president that is willing to try to instill and encourage, to whip up a civil war amongst his followers using lies and deceit and snake oil, and regardless of the human impact, what else is he going to do if he gets elected again? All bets are off at that point,” Van Tatenhove said.

For more on day 7 of the Jan. 6 hearings, click here.

Jan. 6 hearing day 8 – July 21, 2022

This hearing capped this summer’s public hearings from the select House committee investigating the Jan. 6 attack. It covered what Trump was doing during the more than three hours that the Capitol was under attack.

An anonymous former White House security official in taped audio described a harrowing scene as rioters stormed the Capitol and came close to where Pence was taking shelter.

“There was a lot of yelling, a lot of very personal calls over the radio, so it was disturbing. I don’t like talking about it, but there were calls to say goodbye to family members, so on and so forth.It was getting — for whatever the reason was on the ground, the V.P. detail thought that this was about to get very ugly,” they said.

Cipollone listed, in recorded testimony, the number of people in the White House who wanted rioters to leave the Capitol, and said he couldn’t think of anyone on staff who did not want rioters to exit and end their attack. When asked about whether Trump wanted people to leave, Cipollone consulted his lawyer, and said he couldn’t “reveal communications.”

Rep. Adam Kinzinger, R-Ill., argued at the end of the eighth hearing that Trump purposely did nothing during the insurrection, allowing the mob to continue their assault, and only put out a video asking them to stop when he knew they couldn’t succeed.

“Although Pat Cipollone is being careful about executive privilege, there really is no ambiguity about what he said. Almost everybody wanted President Trump to instruct the mob to disperse. President Trump refused,” Kinzinger said.

U.S. House holds public hearings on Jan. 6, 2021 assault on Capitol

U.S. Representative Adam Kinzinger (R-IL), Chairman U.S. Representative Bennie Thompson (D-MS), Vice Chair U.S. Representative Liz Cheney (R-WY) and U.S. Representative Zoe Lofgren (D-CA) listen during the fifth of eight planned public hearings of the U.S. House Select Committee to investigate the January 6 Attack on the U.S. Capitol, on Capitol Hill in Washington, U.S. June 23, 2022. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst

“The people closest to Trump told him the truth. It was his supporters attacking the capital, and he alone could get through to them. So they plead for him to act, to place his country above himself,” Kinzinger said.

“Still, he refused to lead and to meet the moment to honor his oath. It was only once the vice president and the members of Congress were in secure locations and the officers defending the capital began to turn the tide that then President Trump engaged in the political theater of telling the mob to go home. And even then, he told them all they were special. And that he loved them. Whatever your politics, whatever you think about the outcome of the election, we as Americans must all agree on this. Donald Trump’s conduct on January 6th was a supreme violation of his oath of office and a complete dereliction of his duty to our nation. It is a stain on our history.”

For more on day 8 of the Jan. 6 hearings, click here.