The U.S. House select committee investigating the Jan. 6, 2021 attack on the U.S. Capitol is holding its first public hearing on its findings Thursday evening.
Here’s what you need to know:
The prime-time hearings begin 8 p.m. ET/6 p.m. MT on Thursday and shown on ABC, CBS, CNN, C-SPAN, NBC, and MSNBC. A follow-up hearing will be held the morning of Monday, June 13.
The select committee has been working behind closed doors since holding its first hearing nearly a year ago in which U.S. Capitol and D.C. Metropolitan Police spoke about their experience defending the Capitol.
The committee has since conducted interviews with about 1,000 people about efforts to overturn the 2020 election, including former President Donald Trump’s children Ivanka and Don Jr. and former Trump White House aides, and obtained more than 140,000 documents.
The committee has subpoenaed individuals including Kimberly Guilfoyle; Roger Stone; Alex Jones; former Trump chief of staff Mark Meadows; Steve Bannon; rightwing groups including the Proud Boys and Oath Keepers; individuals close to Trump who operated a so-called “war room” to stop the counting of electoral votes and promote misinformation about the election; organizers of rallies on and before Jan. 6 including the Stop the Steal rally; and Alphabet, Meta, Reddit, and Twitter for information related to the spread of misinformation and foreign influence in the 2020 campaign.
Who is on the committee?
The nine-member, bipartisan, Democratic-controlled committee is chaired by Rep. Bennie Thompson, D-Miss., and there are two Republican members: Reps. Adam Kinzinger of Illinois and Liz Cheney of Wyoming.
The other members are Democratic Reps. Zoe Lofgren, Adam Schiff and Pete Aguilar of California, Stephanie Murphy of Florida, Jamie Raskin of Maryland, and Elaine Luria of Virginia.
In an interview with CBS News’ “Sunday Morning,” Cheney said she believes Jan. 6 was a conspiracy that was “extremely broad” and “extremely well-organized” and that people “must understand how easily our democratic system can unravel if we don’t defend it.”
Who is testifying?
The committee hasn’t yet announced who will testify, but according to the Associated Press, among those expected to testify Thursday are Caroline Edwards, a U.S. Capitol Police officer injured in the attack, and British filmmaker Nick Quested, who filmed the Proud Boys during the attack.
What to expect
The hearing will include testimony and multimedia presentation, and it’s expected to focus in part on extremist groups, according to the Associated Press.
Former ABC News president James Goldston is producing the hearing, and the committee has access to never-publicly-seen official White House photos from Jan. 6, 2021, surveillance footage from inside the Capitol, and videotaped depositions, Axios reported.
Republican criticism of the hearings
The No. 3 House Republican, Rep. Elise Stefanik, R-N.Y., called the hearing a “shameless prime-time show” that didn’t serve any legislative or oversight purposes and was a “smear campaign against President Donald Trump, against Republican members of Congress and against Trump voters across the country.”
“[Democrats] are scrambling to change the headlines, praying that the nation will focus on their partisan witch-hunt instead of our pocket books,” Stefanik said during a House Republican leadership press conference Wednesday.
Rep. Jim Banks, R-Ind., who said he’s co-authoring an alternative Jan. 6 report with fellow House Republicans, told Fox News the group had conducted dozens of interviews with Capitol Police officers and others involved with security on and leading up to Jan. 6, 2021.
“We should study the events that led up to it,” Banks said. “Why the Capitol was left unsecured on Jan. 6 when there was intelligence dating back before Jan. 6 something was going to happen.”
Many Republican lawmakers opposed creating 9/11-style Jan. 6 committees. Efforts to create one in the Senate failed last year after just six Republicans voted in favor, while in the House, 35 Republicans voted to create the select committee, a fraction of the more than 200 House Republican members.
What will Fox News air?
Fox News is sticking to its regularly scheduled opinion programming of “Tucker Carlson Tonight,” “Hannity,” and “The Ingraham Angle” and using news hosts Bret Baier and Martha MacCallum to Fox Business until an 11 p.m. special, according to Deadline.
“Hannity” host Sean Hannity received a letter requesting information earlier this year about his concerns regarding the legality of Trump’s plans for Jan. 6 in texts and communication with Trump and his associates, and host Tucker Carlson has promoted a conspiracy theory that Jan. 6 was actually the work of those hoping to discredit Trump and his supporters.
More than 800 people have been charged in connection with Jan. 6, including some who said they were following Trump’s orders or believed misinformation about the election.
Senate Majority Leader Schumer called Fox News “cowardly” for not airing the hearing live, during a press conference Tuesday.