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Rep. Bennie Thompson, D-Miss., gave an opening statement on July 12 as the House committee investigating the Jan. 6 attack presented its findings to the public. The focus of the hearing was on extremist far-right groups like the Proud Boys and the Oath Keepers and the role they played in the Capitol insurrection.
Watch Thompson’s remarks in the player above.
Thompson spoke about the importance of allowing the people within a democracy to settle their differences at the ballot box, adding that any leader who sees their supporters attempt to use harassment, violence or intimidation to achieve a desired outcome “has a responsibility” to intervene and say “stop.”
Even after Joe Biden was confirmed the president-elect of the United States in late 2020, many supporters of former President Donald Trump were convinced that his election was illegitimate due to the rhetoric Trump was spreading at the time. Rather than tell his supporters “we did our best and came up short,” Thompson said, Trump leaned in.
WATCH: Jan. 6 Committee hearings – Day 7
“He seized on the anger he had already stoked among his most laws, supporters and as they approached the land. He didn’t wave them off. He urged them on,” Thompson said.
Rep. Liz Cheney, R-Wyo., also gave an opening statement on July 12 as the House committee investigating the Jan. 6 attack presented its findings to the public. The focus of the hearing was on extremist far-right groups like the Proud Boys and the Oath Keepers and the role they played in the Capitol insurrection.
She said Pat Cipollone, a former counsel to the White House, gave a taped testimony to the committee. Cheney also said that the committee has established keys facts, including that “virtually everyone close” to Trump, including his advisers, all told the former president that the election was not stolen.
“President Trump is a 76-year-old man. He is not an impressionable child. Just like everyone else in our country, he is responsible for his own actions and his own choices,” Cheney said in her opening remarks. “As our investigation has shown, Donald Trump had access to more detailed and specific information showing that the election was not actually stolen than almost any other American, and he was told this over and over again. No rational or sane man in his position could disregard that information and reach the opposite conclusion.”
Cheney added that Trump “cannot escape responsibility by being willfully blind, nor can any argument of any kind excuse President Trump’s behavior during the violent attack on January 6th.”
In the year since its creation, the committee has conducted more than 1,000 interviews, seeking critical information and documents from people witness to, or involved in, the violence that day.
The committee’s hearing Tuesday will highlight the ways that violent far-right extremist groups answered what one lawmaker says was Trump’s “siren call” to come to Washington.
The panel is also probing whether the extremist groups coordinated with Trump’s White House.
Isabella Isaacs-Thomas is a digital reporter on the PBS NewsHour's science desk.
Casey is a producer for NewsHour's digital video team.
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