By Beatriz Pascual Macias
Washington, Jun 9 (EFE).- The assault on the United States Capitol building on Jan. 6, 2021 was the “culmination” of an attempted coup by then-president Donald Trump, supported by the far-right group Proud Boys, the committee investigating the event showed on Thursday.
The first in a series of public hearings of the House select committee investigating the attack was marked by chilling videos and testimonies that were broadcast live on almost all television networks across the country during prime time.
“Jan 6 was the culmination of an attempted coup,” said the committee’s chairman and Mississippi lawmaker, Democrat Bennie Thompson. “The violence was no accident. It was Trump’s last stand.”
Thompson and the committee’s vice president, Republican Liz Cheney, described a conspiracy hatched in the greatest detail with Cheney charging that Trump “oversaw and coordinated a sophisticated seven-part plan to overturn the presidential election” that he lost to Democrat Joe Biden.
“Those who invaded our Capitol and battled law enforcement for hours were motivated by what President Trump had told them – that the election was stolen, and that he was the rightful president,” she said.
“President Trump summoned the mob, assembled the mob, and lit the flame of this attack,” Cheney fired.
Excerpts from committee interviews with former Trump advisers who said they had told him or his chief of staff, Mark Meadows, that the allegations of voter fraud were not true, were shown on a screen above the lawmakers.
Excerpts from the committee’s interviews with Trump’s son-in-law Jared Kushner and one of his daughters, Ivanka, who for the first time appeared publicly saying that she did not believe the electoral fraud hoax, were also projected on the huge screen.
The committee also showed a chilling video of about 10 minutes which showed some of the most violent acts of the mob that broke into the Capitol to prevent Biden’s victory from being certified.
“It’s hard to watch,” Thompson warned before showing the footage.
Sitting in the audience was African-American police officer Harry Dunn, who was the target of racial attacks on the day of the assault, and Serena Liebengood, the widow of an officer known as Howie who committed suicide days after serving on the front lines of the attack.
The room also saw another video showing protesters attacking Capital police officer Caroline Edwards, one of the first to respond to the attack and who sustained a traumatic brain injury.
Edwards, one of the witnesses who appeared Thursday, described what happened as “a war scene.”
“I was slipping in people’s blood,” she said. “I was catching people as they fell. It was carnage. It was chaos. I can’t even describe what I saw.”
Most of the images shown by the committee had already been published, but for the first time the role played by the Proud Boys, who led the crowd inside the building, was outlined.
In fact, the Proud Boys may have pre-planned the attack and could be a key to why the Capitol assault occurred, investigators said.
On the day of the assault, Trump gave a midday speech on the White House Ellipse, in which he urged his supporters to march to the Capitol building and “fight” for his presidency.
However, before the speech had ended, hundreds of Proud Boys members marched to Congress, said British filmmaker Nick Quested, who was making a documentary about the group and had been embedded with them for weeks.
In addition, footage from Quested showed a meeting in a Washington parking lot between Proud Boys leader Enrique Tarrio and Stewart Rhodes, the head of another far-right group, the Oath Keepers, the night before the attack.