- Prime time hearing aims to draw attention to the events of January 6, 2021, when a mob of then-President Donald Trump’s supporters stormed the United States Capitol.
- It is the first in a round of public sessions set to take place this month, the panel says.
- House Republican Conference Chair Elise Stefanik, a close Trump ally, will lead the party’s response to the committee.
- Hearing will examine the riot, events at the White House that day, and whether the two are connected, professor says.
Here are all the latest updates:
Republican leaders rally against committee
Republican congressional leaders have rallied against the January 6 congressional committee, painting it as political and illegitimate.
“Speaker [Nancy] Pelosi’s Select Committee on January 6th is unlike any other committee in American history. In fact, it is the most political and least legitimate committee in American history,” House Minority Leader Kevin MacCarthy said at a news conference.
He accused the panel of using congressional subpoenas to violate due process and “infringe on the political speech of private citizens”.
MacCarthy said the violence was “wrong”.
But he added: “From the beginning, the Select Committee refused to investigate the real circumstances that led to the riot. Including the lack of security around the Capitol.”
MacCarthy, who in the days following the riots said Trump “bears responsibility” for the attack, repeatedly refused to say whether the 2020 election was legitimate when asked at the news conference.
Democrats are using January 6 to avoid accountability for the worst inflation since 1981, record high gas prices that have doubled since Biden took office, historic crime, and open borders. https://t.co/U7W1KzrGbe
— Kevin McCarthy (@GOPLeader) June 9, 2022
Accountability needed to avoid ‘slide towards authoritarianism’
Republicans have slammed the committee’s investigation as a partisan witch hunt, but Debra Perlin, policy director at non-profit group Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) rejected that argument.
She pointed out that two Republicans sit on the panel – Liz Cheney and Adam Kinzinger – and stressed that its probe is critical for the future of US democratic institutions.
“It shows that we recognise that these sorts of actions can lead a country to slide towards authoritarianism and we need to be serious about accountability – for Trump, for his allies – if we don’t want that slide to happen,” Perlin told Al Jazeera.
Top Trump ally to lead response to hearing
House Republican Conference Chair Elise Stefanik, a close Trump ally, has said she will lead the GOP response to the January 6 panel hearings.
“You will see us all over the airwaves, we will be setting the record straight,” Stefanik, who replaced Liz Cheney, one of two Republicans on the January 6 panel, as conference chair last year, told Breitbart News earlier this week.
“We will be telling the truth to the American people sharing the facts and also really pointing out how unprecedented and unconstitutional and illegitimate this committee is,” she said.
I am proud to lead the push for TRUTH against Nancy Pelosi’s sham witch-hunt.https://t.co/reayC0G28c
— Rep. Elise Stefanik (@RepStefanik) June 9, 2022
Panel’s focus on ‘middle ground’ in US public opinion: Professor
Brace, the Rice University professor, said the committee will be hoping to use its hearings to attract “the flexible electorate” that does not hold already-cemented views on the events of January 6.
The question, he said, is “will the January 6 committee have the kind of tidbits that trigger significant curiosity and persistent interest among a relatively broad array?”
“You’re not going to get the staunch Republican Trump supporters – they think it’s a witch hunt – [and] you don’t need the Democrats because they already believe he’s guilty. You need that middle group,” he told Al Jazeera.
Michigan governor candidate arrested for alleged Capitol riot role
The FBI has arrested Ryan Kelley, a Republican candidate for Michigan governor, for misdemeanor charges in connection to the US Capitol riot.
An FBI agent’s sworn statement said Kelley, 40, was captured on video standing in a crowd of people who were “assaulting and pushing past law enforcement officers” at the Capitol.
Kelley is one of five people seeking the Republican nomination to challenge Democratic Governor Gretchen Whitmer in a November election. He serves as an appointed planning commissioner in Allendale, Michigan.
In a recent opinion poll cited by local media in Michigan, Kelley emerged as the leading Republican candidate, though the race remains fluid with 49 percent of Republican voters still undecided.
Who are the far-right Proud Boys?
The alleged involvement of members of the far-right Proud Boys group in the events of January 6 is expected to be a focus of the committee’s hearing.
The Proud Boys describe themselves as “Western chauvinists” and dispute claims they are a hate group, but the Southern Poverty Law Center, which tracks extremism in the US, says their “actions belie their disavowals of bigotry”.
“Rank-and-file Proud Boys and leaders regularly spout white nationalist memes and maintain affiliations with known extremists. They are known for anti-Muslim and misogynistic rhetoric,” the SPLC says on its website.
Several members of the group, including its former leader Henry “Enrique” Tarrio, face criminal charges linked to the Capitol riot, including seditious conspiracy charges filed against Tarrio and four Proud Boys this week.
Read more about the group here.
Documentary filmmaker, Capitol officer to testify: Reports
The New York Times and The Associated Press news agency have reported that a British documentary filmmaker, Nick Quested, who was filming members of the far-right Proud Boys group during the riot, will testify.
A Capitol police officer who was injured on January 6 is also expected to deliver live testimony.
Three elements likely to be focus of hearings: Professor
Paul Brace, a political science professor at Rice University in Texas, said he expects the hearing to involve “a certain amount of stagecraft” to grab the attention of the US public.
The committee is seeking to lay out its findings on three key points, Brace told Al Jazeera.
“One is what’s going on in the White House [on January 6], two is what went on, on the ground, and then third will be, are they connected?” Brace said.
Read Trump’s January 6, 2021 speech
Former President Donald Trump delivered an incendiary speech to his supporters in Washington, DC, shortly before a mob stormed and ransacked the Capitol building.
In that speech, Trump urged members of the crowd to “fight like hell” and repeated false claims that the 2020 presidential election he lost to Joe Biden was “rigged”.
Read the full speech here.
Welcome to Al Jazeera’s live coverage of a United States congressional committee’s public hearing in its probe into the January 6, 2021 Capitol riot.