The House select committee investigating the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol will hold the second of several public hearings on Monday morning at 10 a.m. ET to reveal more of what it has learned during its 11-month probe.
Committee aides said Monday’s hearing will focus on the “Big Lie,” documenting how former President Donald Trump declared victory on election night despite being told he didn’t have the numbers to win, and how he continued to embrace baseless claims of election fraud.
“We’re going to hear testimony from government officials who were the ones who looked for the fraud, and about how the effort to uncover these baseless allegations bore no fruit,” a committee aide said. “Simply, the fraud that they were looking for didn’t exist and the former president was told that, again and again, claims were baseless, but he continued to repeat them anyway.”
The hearing will be broadcast as a CBS News Special Report anchored by “CBS Evening News” anchor and managing editor Norah O’Donnell. She will be joined by CBS News chief political analyst John Dickerson, chief Washington correspondent Major Garrett, chief White House correspondent Nancy Cordes, chief election and campaign correspondent Robert Costa and congressional correspondents Scott MacFarlane and Nikole Killion.
Monday’s hearing will have two panels of witnesses. The first panel will consist of former Trump campaign manager William Stepien and former Fox News political director Chris Stirewalt, who was let go by Fox News shortly after the 2020 presidential election, during which his team correctly called Arizona for Joe Biden before other networks had.
The second panel will consist of election attorney Benjamin Ginsberg, former U.S. attorney for the northern district of Georgia BJ Pak, who resigned effective Jan. 4, 2021, and former Philadelphia city commissioner Al Schmidt.
Some of the witnesses are expected to provide testimony about the the basic logistics of election litigation and how such action usually proceeds. A committee aide said the committee will also demonstrate that the Trump campaign aides used the election fraud claims to raise hundreds of millions of dollars between the election and Jan. 6th. And finally, the aide said, the committee will show that “some of those individuals responsible for the violence on the 6th echoed back those very same lies that the former president peddled in the run up to the insurrection.”
Committee vice chair Rep. Liz Cheney said last week that the second hearing will show that “Donald Trump and his advisers knew that he had, in fact, lost the election.”
“But, despite this, President Trump engaged in a massive effort to spread false and fraudulent information — to convince huge portions of the U.S. population that fraud had stolen the election from him. This was not true,” Cheney said at Thursday’s hearing.
Cheney and committee chair Rep. Bennie Thompson led the first public hearing, which was held Thursday. In that hearing, the committee attempted to link Trump’s baseless claims of a stolen election to the chaos and violence of Jan. 6, which Thompson described as the “culmination of an attempted coup.”
Testimony was shown from some of the top figures in Trump’s orbit who said they told him he had not won the election. Thompson played a recording from former Attorney General William Barr’s testimony before the committee, in which he said he told the former president his claims of a stolen election were “bullsh**.” In another clip, Trump’s daughter, Ivanka Trump, said she “trusted” Barr and accepted his insistence that her father had lost the election.
Cheney also said there were members of Congress who sought pardons from Trump for their role in the attack. Cheney named Rep. Scott Perry of Pennsylvania as one of those Republicans, a claim which he denied on Friday.
Rep. Adam Kinzinger, Cheney’s fellow Republican on the committee, told “Face the Nation” on Sunday that “we’re not going to make accusations or say things without proof or evidence backing it.”
Cheney on Thursday had harsh words for Republicans who have fallen in line with Trump after the attack: “There will come a day when Donald Trump is gone but your dishonor will remain.”
In addition to the recorded testimony and some never-before-seen footage from Jan. 6 shown at the first hearing, two witnesses also testified: documentary filmmaker Nick Quested, who was embedded with the Proud Boys at the time of the riot, and Capitol Police officer Caroline Edwards, who suffered a traumatic brain injury on Jan. 6. Edwards described seeing a “war scene” on Jan. 6.
“It was something like I had seen out of the movies,” Edwards said. “I could not believe my eyes. There were officers on the ground. They were bleeding. They were throwing up. I saw friends with blood all over their faces. I was slipping in people’s blood. I was catching people as they fell. It was carnage. It was chaos.”
The hearing also touched on the Proud Boys‘ role in the Jan. 6 attack. In video testimony shown Thursday, some of the group’s members said they believed Trump’s remark at a presidential debate to “stand back and stand by” was a call to action. Quested testified that the Proud Boys were organized and heading to the Capitol at 10 a.m., before Trump’s speech at the Ellipse had even started.
Thompson and Cheney sought to show that, amid the chaos at the Capitol, Trump did not perform his duties as president. They showed video testimony from Gen. Mark Milley, the current chairman of the joint chiefs of staff, saying that former Vice President Pence — not Trump — issued the orders for the National Guard to come to the building.
While Pence is not likely to participate in the hearings, some of his top advisers are. Greg Jacob, Pence’s former chief counsel, Marc Short, his former chief of staff, and conservative jurist J. Michael Luttig, who advised Pence ahead of Jan. 6, are all likely to testify in the coming weeks.