A raging crowd in the halls of the United States Congress, elected officials crawling on the ground with gas masks… Protesters stormed the seat of Parliament this day after “encouragement” from the former president, Bennie said Thompson, the head of the commission, at the start of a series of hearings supposed to prove the existence of a deliberate campaign to overturn the result of the 2020 presidential election, won by Joe Biden.
“January 6 was the culmination of a coup attempt,” said Bennie Thompson during the nearly two-hour hearing. “Donald Trump was at the center of this plot.”
For nearly a year, this group of elected officials – seven Democrats and two Republicans – has heard more than 1,000 witnesses, including two children of the former president, and gone through 140,000 documents to shed light on the specific facts and actions of Donald Trump before, during and after this event that shook American democracy.
“President Trump summoned the crowd, gathered the crowd and lit the fuse for this attack,” said Liz Cheney, one of the few elected Republicans who agreed to sit on this commission.
– “War zone” –
To support its conclusions, the “January 6” commission broadcast unpublished and extremely violent images of this cold winter day during which thousands of supporters of Donald Trump had gathered in Washington to denounce the result of the 2020 election.
These videos show a flood of people storming the headquarters of Congress, attacking police officers, calling to “hang” Vice President Mike Pence, and a protester reading tweets from Donald Trump through a megaphone in the middle of a delirious crowd.
“It was in no way a tourist visit to the Capitol”, launched Bennie Thompson in allusion to those among the Republicans who brandished this argument.
Superimposed on some of these images is a montage of Donald Trump calling his protesters “peaceful” and assuring that there is “love in the air”.
The commission also received the testimony of a policewoman, Caroline Edwards, the first member of the police force to have been injured by the rioters on January 6, comparing the surroundings of the Capitol to “a war zone”.
“I was slipping on people’s blood”, “it was carnage, it was chaos”, confided the policewoman.
Documentary writer Nick Quested, whose team followed the far-right ‘Proud Boys’ militia during the assault, says he was shocked by the ‘anger’ he saw among the group’s members .
The images of this hearing were broadcast live by many news channels but shunned by the most conservative media, a new illustration of the deep political fault line that divides the United States.
– Democracy “in danger” –
Because a year and a half after the assault on the Capitol, millions of supporters of Donald Trump remain firmly convinced that the 2020 election was marred by fraud. And this despite the overwhelming evidence to the contrary.
The main interested party, Donald Trump, once again praised this day on Thursday, assuring that the assault on Capitol Hill was the “greatest movement in history to make America great again”.
Whoever calls this investigation a “witch hunt” accused on his social network Truth Social, after Thursday’s hearing, the parliamentary committee of being biased and reiterated his allegations of electoral fraud.
According to him, the commission “refuses to present some of the very many positive witnesses and statements”.
The parliamentary committee considers its investigation essential in order to guarantee that one of the darkest episodes in American history is never repeated, despite very real threats.
“Our democracy is still in danger. The plot to counter the will of the people is not over,” warned Bennie Thompson.
The majority of Republicans reject its work, the leader of the conservatives in the House of Representatives, Kevin McCarthy, denouncing the commission “the most political and the least legitimate in the history of the United States”.
His party has already promised to bury the work of this commission if it were to take control of the Chamber during the mid-term legislative elections in November.
The elected conservative Liz Cheney, who has become the former president’s pet peeve for having been one of the rare voices of the Grand Old Party to openly dare to criticize him, took his Republican colleagues directly to task: “The day will come when Donald Trump will leave , but your dishonor will remain”.