WATCH: Ahead of Jan. 6 hearings, McCarthy calls committee ‘least legitimate’ in American history

Hours before the Jan. 6 committee opens its prime time hearings about the riot at the U.S. Capitol in January 2021, House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy called it “the most political and least legitimate committee in American history.”

Watch the full event in the player above.

“It has permanently damaged the House and divided this country. And let’s be honest, it is a smokescreen for Democrats to push their radical agenda,” he said.

READ MORE: How to watch the Jan. 6 hearings

The hearing will reconstruct events leading up to the 2021 riot, including then-President Donald Trump’s refusal to concede the 2020 election based on false claims of voter fraud and the orchestrated effort to overturn Joe Biden’s victory.

With the televised hearings, the seven Democrats and two Republicans on the nine-member panel hope to grab the attention of the American public and drive home the sheer violence of that day in 2021, as some have attempted to downplay the attack. And they plan to use the more than 1,000 interviews they have conducted to spotlight people who played pivotal roles in the siege – and to show that it was a deliberate, unprecedented attempt to block the certification of Joe Biden’s victory.

READ MORE: Key players in the Jan. 6 committee hearings

While the panel has talked to dozens of Trump aides and allies, they have not heard from some of the most prominent figures who were closest to Trump that day – notably former chief of staff Mark Meadows, who declined to talk to the panel after negotiations broke down, and McCarthy himself, who also declined to cooperate.

The committee subpoenaed McCarthy and four other House Republicans who interacted with Trump and the White House before and during the attack, but they have so far refused to comply.