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tv   Investigating the Insurrection  CNN  July 27, 2021 6:00am-10:00am PDT

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good morning, i'm jake tapper. for ow viewers in the united states and around the world, welcome to cnn's special live coverage. we're minutes way from major first step in the search for truth and the first high profile public hearing, the house select committee investigating the january 6th asemented insurrection. we'll hear the emotional testimonies of four law enforcement officers who are on front lines defending the capitol and democracy on that day. the officers expected to recount the vicious physical attacks they experienced by the pro trump rioters. they were beaten with flag poles, crushed in doorways, tazed, dragged by the violent mom mob along with their harrowing testimonies, the km the expected to show never before seen videos depicting the violence if that day.
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this is all in an effort to capture what happened on the ground that day and show the afacts attempt to whitewash what happened that day from many of the forces of allegiance to former president trump. our potential of experts is here with me standing by to discuss what we expect to haeshgs the politics of it all and more. let's start on capitol hill. what more do we know about the opening statements? >> the opening statements are expected to set the tone for an emotional and dramatic day of testimony from the four police officers, two capitol police officers, two d.c. police officers who defended the building that day throughout the day's testimony will be never-before-seen footage, body camera footage of what the officers experienced and this is all part of an effort of what the democrats say and the two remembers who are a part of the committee saying in an effort to tell the truth about what
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happened that day. pushed back on the conspiracies about we're hearing from a lot of folks on the republican side about what exactly happened. that is even what congressman liz cheney and adam kinsinger have been saying in the days running up to this hearing. cheney will deliver an opening statement after the chairman of the committee bennie thompson delivers his remarks. that's when the committee will dig down and start to lay out the plan for a full deep dive investigation and promising to look into all orders of exactly what happened here. as far as why and what happened and donald trump's role in supporting the organizers in this and any republican efforts to talk to donald trump, republican lawmakers who are in contact with the white house and the runup to january 6th. even potentially kevin mccarthy the house republican leader himself with conversations with donald trump on january 6th. all that will be down the line. but today will begin that effort to try to detail exactly what
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happened, tell the public what happens here and expect a dra mat uk day. things we have not seen yet. jake? >> thank you so much. as we await the start of the first official hearing of the january 6th select committee, the five remembers who were selected and then withdrawn from taken part are sounding off. the this, of course, happened pelosi rejected two of the republicans. melanie, these republicans who were appointed to the committee by kevin mccarthy, what do they have to say? >> republicans sitting on the sidelines and under pressure to defend donald trump are now looking for new because to counter program, distract, and undermine this investigation. rinne republican sources i talked to said they didn't want to be coming across as anti-police or looking like they're trying to impugn the testimony of the officers who are going to be at the hearing today. so instead, they tried to focus
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their attacks on pelosi and tried to blame her for the security failures even though to be clear the capitol police don't respond to the speaker of the house, they respond to an independent capitol police force. the challenge for that effort will is mccarthy's own party has members that are going out and defending the rioters. they have members who are out there going after the police officers who shot and killed one of the rioters and tried to storm the building. even marjorie taylor greene are holding a press conference later today to defend the january 6th prisoners, making them sound like some sort of political prisoners there. but, look, one other element of the gop strategy here is to attack adam kinsinger and liz cheney, the lone republicans on the panel and specifically they want to go after the republican credentials to try to undermine the bipartisan credibility of the entire probe. take a listen to what troy neil had to say about the gop colleagues at that press conference today. >> the only so-called
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republicans on the committee are on the committee to grandstand and attack the former president because of their own personal vendettas. those pelosi republicans aren't interested in the truth. the they're interested in getting even. that line, pelosi republicans, is something that kevin mccarthy said yesterday and can expect to hear a lot in the weeks and months ahead from the gop. >> in terms of him talking about the truth, we should note, he is one of the people that is has been pushing the lie about the election. he's an election liar. not everybody that mccarthy put on the hearing, on this committee were liars. congressman armstrong, for example, not an election liar. but jordan banks who pelosi veto and congressman neils are pushing forward the luz about t luz lies about the election. l liz cheney who is on the committee invited by pelosi did speak out this morning about who
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might be called to testify after this initial when the front line police officers. cheney did not rule out a subpoena for any colleagues including jim jordan or kevin mccarthy as well as former president trump. take a listen. >> congressman jordan may well be a material witness. he's somebody who was involved in a number of meetings in the lead-up to what happened on january 6th, involved in planning for january 6th. certainly for the objections that day as he said publicly. so he may well be a material witness. we will on this committee follow the facts wherever they go. >> and that could include subpoenas for mr. mccashirthy a former president trump? >> it could. >> even if former president trump never testifies, some of the officials who served in his justice department, they might. cnn's senior justice correspondent has this new reporting. evan, tell us what you learned. >> well, jake, the justice
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department has decided that former justice department officials are not covered by executive privilege. they're able to testify should they be called by this committee or one of the other committees on capitol hill with regard to what they know, what they witness around january 6th in the days -- chaotic days that happened -- that occurred after president trump lost the november election and his efforts to try to get justice department to claim that there was some fraud to support his efforts to stay in office. so what has now happened is the justice department has declund declined to assert privilege which means the acting attorney general at the time of january 6th could be called to testify. he would be able to testify if he wants to. now there's a couple steps, obviously that, we must go through before that happens. the committee to my knowledge has not requested officially requested that testimony.
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and, you know, these officials including rosen and other officials could appear and decide what they want to do as far as answering the questions. but this is an important hurdle that is crossed by the justice department. >> and evan, this is one of two important political decisions about the insurrection that the attorney general faces this week. what is the other? >> right. that's right. mo brooks, the congressman who gave a fiery speech on the ellipse before the attack on the capitol has been asking the justice department to substitute itself, essentially sntand in fr him and defend him in a lawsuit brought by a democratic representative. the justice department is facing a deadline today, jake, to decide whether it wants to do that. and so we're expecting to hear both from the house and from the justice department on whether this lawsuit will survive the day. we'll see what happens with that decision. obviously, as you have noted,
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attorney general marek garland is under pressure because the decisions because i think people on the left believe he shouldn't be siding with the trump administration. this is one big one that we're expecting to see later today. >> yeah, he's been criticized as being too much of an institutionalist even when standing by those principles means supporting or defending the former president trump and his administration. some tough decisions for him, i guess. evan, thank you so much. i appreciate it. with me now to discuss, my panel of experts. john king, let me start with you. yesterday we learned that the two republicans cheney and kinzinger were meeting with the democrats on the select committee to prepare. much that's unusual. usually they prepare separately. >> they do. this is one group. you heard it again. leader mccarthy, the republicans
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on the left, let's just start with the big picture. the republicans have a chance for a nonpartisan commission. the republicans had a chance to negotiate with the speaker to put people on this commission. congress is doing its job today. we all were here on january 6th. it's like the republicans are saying they don't want to the police to investigate a bank robbery or the police to look back on a murder. the capitol insurrection was a huge event. this is what congress is supposed to do. the republicans say, no. it's unusual. the republicans are working with the democrats who essentially have one committee as opposed to democrats on one side and republicans on the other. let's hope that gets us to the important questions. what happened that day? what did the former president know before, during, after? what did leader mccarthy know? but i just want to focus on the big picture as we start. this th this. the speaker took a provocative move, yes, telling leader muk kar ka mccarthy, yes, i'm not putting the stunt dummies on this committee. we're not doing that. that was a risk on her part. as we go forward now, the republicans are in a parallel
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universe. they're going to have a protest, free the prurz? prisoners? let's hope the committee can do their job. there's a lot of pluolitics surrounding it. but why does the republican party not want the congress to do one of the most sacred duties and obligations. find out what happened on a horrific day in american history. follow the facts. what is wrong with that? what are they afraid of? >> just to bring a little more information for viewers that haven't been keeping up to speed, what your referring to, today we're hearing from the committee. what you're rfrgeferring to is proposal for a commission for members that were not members of congress and kevin mckascarthy demanded make it 50/50 and pelosi caved. he demanded that republicans have equal subpoena power as the democrats which was not in the first proposal and she caved. pelosi gave him everything demanded and voted against it anyway. >> because they don't want it.
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the leader thought pelosi would not give him that. she would want some control over this. they did. the she gave them just about everything if not everything they asked for. then they said no. which is why, again, when you hear all the noise around this i want to come back to basic question. why are you afraid of the truth? republicans keep saying, what did speaker pelosi do that dau? fine, raise the question during the committee hearing. but participate -- you took an oath to the constitution. this is what the congress is supposed to do. we were in this town 20 years ago almost after 9/11. the 9/11 commission, they thought about it. it was a fight before it began. it is one of the most historical documents you can read about the mistakes that government made. a lot of the pieces of the government made mistauz before that day. this is another moment like. that the republicans punted y? why do they fear the truth? because it's in the wau oy of p to power. >> it's important to note that the one thing that was holding republicans back from pushing
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back against the 9/11 committee back then and obviously september 11th is not january 6th and nobody is suggesting they are. the one thing that was pushing them back was cheney. and fear of public disapproval. but now the republican party, that's not part of the equation. all they care about is republican disapproval and specifically donald trump's disapproval. >> a week after this happened, kevin mccarthy said president trump bears some responsibility. now he has completely changed the tune. why? he wants to be speaker. he believes they have to hitch that wagon to donald j. trump and not alienate him. >> you have some exclusive reporting. liz cheney, i think it's possible that democrats have learned from some of their missteps when it comes to more partisan steps that they have taken, partisan seeming steps they have taken in both impeachment proceedings and giving more prominence to liz cheney knowing that i think that they know she's probably one of the most effective voices given she's a very conservative republican. more conservative than kevin
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mccarthy on issues. what are you expecting her to say? >> i've had a glimpse behind the scenes. and just to your point, they are working as one committee. what do we normally see visually? the republicans sit on this side. the democrats sit on this side. you will wnot see that today. the chaurm will sit in the middle and then it will be liz cheney, adam kinzinger and then more democrats on the other side. they are really presenting themselves as one force in all of this. i'm also told that liz cheney -- as we heard on -- in her interview this morning, she is working very, very closely to make sure that if this is about kevin mccarthy, if this is about donald trump, if this is about any of her fellow republicans, she believes that there should be subpoenas and should be
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expedited. there is no place that she will not go. >> interesting. and laur yashga, i want to read this op-ed from congressman kinskinnk kinzinger. >> the work of this committee needs to be a nonpartisan effort. it can't be a partisan fight to zbret discredit each other for political points or fund-raising efforts. the childish mudslinging is not helpful. i urge all of my colleagues and american people to unplug the rage machine and see the situation through clear eyes. america was attacked and we deserve to know why and how it happened. childish mudslinging is a term within hours of kevin mccarthy calling him a pelosi republican. he seems more upset about adam kinzinger and liz cheney than what he is about january 6th. >> and that's problematic and
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counterproductive to finding out the truth. investigations don't always simply vilify. they can often exonerate. they can demonstrate there is something good that happened in terms of the sponsor ways to legislate and a solution to threaten the future. the idea of simply trying to avoid ever learning what really happened there all to me says you do not want transparency. and the role of congress is to be able to have the transparency, the american people need in order to make sure that we get to deter problematic behavior and preserve the union and honor the constitution. what we're seeing here, remember, we're going into this with 21 republicans that refuse to vote for a congressional medal of honor. why? because symantecs. they didn't like the term insurrection. not because it's not applicable. it doesn't translate well at the polls. if that's where we're beginning, it's not, you know, odd to hear
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kinzinger say the childish behavior going on. it's counterproductive. i want to move the needle, not just towards vilifying but also what the american people want to know. they want to know how is it that on a day that we're certifying electoral college that capitol is not fortified, cannot be protected. they cannot hold the line. there is chatter online in terms of the fbi and what they know and other entities. there are some elements predictable. the president of the united states and member of congress were speaking at an actual hearing -- a rally and they still could not prevent it. what took place? that is a fair question. nothing to do with politics. nothing to do with the election in terms of partisanship. just the truth. >> yeah. the truth. and we're going to hear from four of the police officers who helped defend the capitol that day. and we're going to take a quick break. when we come back, i'm going to talk to the former police commissioner of philadelphia charles ramsey to talk about what the officers might say.
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the we're waiting for the start of the select committee's investigation into the january 6th attack on the capitol. it should gun in minutes. we'll be back right after this break.
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centrum multigummies aren't just great tasting... they're power-packed vitamins... that help unleash your energy. loaded with b vitamins... ...and other key essential nutrients...'s a tasty way to conquer your day. try centrum multi gummies. now with a new look. we're minutes away from the first high profile hearing of the january 6th select committee. the four law enforcement officers who will will testify this morning have been very public about their horrific experiences on the day of the attempted insurrection. here is a little sample of what they have previously said.
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>> i experienced the most brutal savage hand to hand combat of my entire life. let alone my policing career. which spans almost two decades. and as a result, i suffered a trau tra traumatic brain injury and heart attack after being tased numerous times. >> there was a guy ripping my mask off. he was able to rip away my baton and beat me with it. he was practically foaming at the mouth. so just these people were true believers in the worst way. >> they kept saying trump sent me. we won't listen to you. we are here to take over the capitol. wear here to get mike pence. >> they thought we were going to pull out.
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and we weren't. so they turned against us. it was very scary. i thought i was going to lose my life. officer itsitnick was killed. we had officers that took their lives because of the stress that they endured from that day. that is what happened. those people are the terrorists on the sixth, they were there to cause harm. and they came prepared for a fight. and they hurt us physically and emotionally. >> cnn's josh campbell joins us now. walk us through what we're expecting to hear this morning from these officers. >> jake, this committee is charged with two things. investigating what happened on january 6th and why. now the why has been politicized by some. we can set that aside. today is all about the what. the what was it like for the officers on the front lines trying to protect that building? we're going to hear from officer michael fanone about what it is
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like to be dragged into that crowd to be beaten and tased. they beat and sent volts of electricity through that officer. he suffered a heart attack. we're also going to hear from officer daniel hodges who, of course, was crushed in the doorway as he screamed out for his life. yet the unsurinsurrectionists continued to push. we're also going to hear from aquilino gonell to tell us how it was like to be beaten by a flagpole. we'll hear from harry dunn, one of the black officers there that talked about receiving so many racial epithets hurled at him and fellow officers as they did their work. one thing to keep in mind here is that while we'll only hear from four officers, the four are essentially vessels, they're the public voice for the hundreds of officers that were there that day trying to protect the
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building. the final point is we can't lose sight of the fact that these are victims. they were valiant and brave, yes. they were victims. i can tell you having dweealt wh a the lot of victims, it doesn't go away. of course, we're going to hear their compelling stories just a few minutes from now. >> all right. josh campbell. thank you for. that i want to bring in former philadelphia police commissioner and metropolitan police department police chief charles ramsey. two of the four officers are mpd, metropolitan police department officers. you would have been their chief. you were their chief when you were there. what it is like to see this and also as a police chief, former police chief, to see these officers attacked on mega media, to see republican members of congress criticize them. four republican members of congress are going to hold an event today outside the justice department saying the insurrectionists are political
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prisoners. that has to be traumatic. >> it makes me angry. when you see what the officers went through and then to now have people -- people that we should really respect, i mean, these are elected officials to very high offices that are pretending as if it didn't happen. even though you're looking at it. you know, mike fanone, i remember him from my time in mpd. he is a very good police officer. as you learned, he's also very outspoken. none of them deserved what took place there. now there were issues. there were break downs in intelligence and break down in operational planning, all those kinds of things. but that is not the fault of the men and women you see out there fighting. >> correct. >> they did everything they possibly could to protect the capitol. and now for people who while this was going on were no doubt hiding in a secure room in a capitol somewhere, you know, now all of a sudden this was just the regular tour of the building
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or, no, kisses and hugs between the police officers and the insurrectionists. i mean it's embarrassing. it makes me angry. >> there are the four officers right now. two of them from the capitol police force, two of them from the metropolitan police department here in washington, d.c. and officer fanone, the second from the left there who you were his chief when you were head of the metropolitan police department here in d.c., he tried to get a meeting with house republican leader for kevin mccarthy and given the run around for awe long time. ultimately they did have a meeting. fanone did not find it particularly satisfying. mccarthy is out there doing a back the blue cycling event. i just wonder, you know, traditionally speaking, the republican party has trudied to cast itself as backing the blue, as always standing with the men and women who serve as law enforcement officers whenever there is criticism of the police department, whether it's defund the police or black lives
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matter, whatever. do you see evidence that the republican party at least house republicans are backing the blue here? >> no. they're not backing the blue. in fact, when the chips are down, now you see where they actually stand. and so, you know, this is going to be very revealing on a lot of different levels. when you talk about not just how they feel towards police but just towards our democratic government as a whole. i mean, how can you sut there and do this? i mean, our democracy is very, very fragile. they're underestimating how fragile it is. and once you lose it, you will not get it back. and they need to understand that. they really need to understand that. >> you know, will smith one tomb said in terms of police brutality being caught on iphones and smart phones, raisism getting worse is not getting worse, it's getting filmed. you see members of the select committee here. there is adam schuiff saying hi.
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you saw one of the two republicans saying hi as well. there is liz cheney saying hi to officer dunn. a lot of it comes from the insurrectionists. they thought it was great. >> proud of what they did. now some of them regret it now because they got caught. and everybody is sorry once they get caught. but at that moment, they weren't sorry at all. and they were attacking police officers in a very violent and vicious way. and anybody who doesn't see that, i mean, i don't know what to say. >> the other thing that is remarkable about this, chief, is these officers literally risked thei l their tllives to protect the senators. there were completely different mote motivation who's killed a capitol police officer. so when you see liz cheney and adam kinzinger and other
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democrats hugging and shaking hands, they know that the capitol police officers and also mpd officers here in d.c. they know that they actually us are beinged their lives for them. and yet you have a number of people who work in that chamber, no the in that committee, who don't seem to gufive him the respect they deserve. >> they know the officers are going to protect them no matter what. >> exactly. >> and they know that. and so, you know, they're not really gambling on this. they know that those cops, even though they're clearly not on their side, those cops will still give their lives to protect them. they're there for a higher purpose. >> that may be -- we see harry dunn on the right. he is a capitol police officer. he gets attacked on media as an activist. he's not a real cop. we're going to listen in.
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they're gaveling in now. >> -- investigate the january 6th attack on the united states capitol will be in order. the select committee is meeting today to receive testimony on the law enforcement experience on january 6th. without objection, the chair's authorized to declare the committee in recess at any time. i now recognize myself for an opening statement. let me say a few words at the outset about this committee's work and how as chairman i plan to run things. we're going to be guided solely by the facts. the facts of what happened on january 6th in the runup to that tragic day and what has taken place since. that's what we're charged to do by house resolution 503. as there is no place for politics or partisanship in this investigation. our only charge is to follow the facts where they lead us. while we have a lot to uncover,
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there are few things we already know. we know that the insurrection on january 6th was a view olent atk that involved vicious assault on law enforcement. we know there is evidence in a coordinated, planned attack. we know that men and women who stormed the capitol wanted to derail the peaceful transfer of power in this country. we know that seven people lost their lives. more than 140 police officers suffered injuries. we no he that efforts to subvert our democracy are on going and a major part of the select committee's work will be to find ways to eliminate that threat. we also know that the rioters came dangerously close to succeeding. if not for the heroism of the capitol police and mpd, many
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mohr lives may have been lost and the rioters coulders may ha automobile to accomplish what they set out to do. we welcome them for appearing here and more importantly for your heroism on january 6th. st you have the gratitude of this committee and this country. you held the line that day. i can't overstate what was on the line, our democracy. you held the line. we're going to revisit some of those moments today. it won't be easy. history will remember your names and actions. and it's important to think about history as this committee starts its work. and as we hear from these courageous men and to get answers for the american people because we need to understand our history if we want to
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understand the significance of what happened on january 6th in our role as members of the people's house. i'm talking about the peaceful transfer of power. 200 years ago in 1801, the house of representatives did one of the jobs laid out in the constitution. after deadlock in the electoral college this body cast 36 ballots and seld the contest for president of the united states. what followed was the first peaceful transfer of power in our country's history. we know that since then our history has been far from perfect. we have been torn apart and brought back together. we struggle across generations to make our country's great vision a reality for all americans. we won victories and we suffered fallures. but the peaceful transfer of power has stood as the pillar of our democracy.
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it's one of those things we rely on. a safeguard that we hold close. because as heated and angry and divided as we may be, whatever victories we celebrate or upheavels we endure, question rest easy knowing when the moment comes our system guarantees that one party will hand the reigns to another if that's the will of the people. and while our institutions endured and joe biden is the elected president of the united states, a peaceful transfer of power didn't happen this year. it did not happen. let that sink in. think about it. a violent mob was pointed towards the capitol and told to win a trial by combat. some descended on this city with clear plans to disrupt our
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democracy. one rioter said they weren't there to commit violence but -- i'm quoting, "we're just there to overthrow the government." i want to repeat that. i urge everyone to listen to those words and think about what they mean. "we were just there to overthrow the government." they marched on the capitol with a clear intention of stopping the certification of the election. and when they encountered the police who want to keep us safe, they went on the attack with bear spray, knives, tasers, hockey sticks, even flag poles and clubs with the american flag still attached. and those rioters breached the capitol. they smashed windows, scaled walls, broke down doors and invaded the halls of congress. it was a scene of violence in
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the citadel of our democracy, not seen since 1814. when british soldiers sacked the building. they will race through the hall ways chanting, "hang mike pence." where is nancy? they stormed on to the senate floor because they wanted to stop the senate from certifying the election. the rioters tried to take over the house floor for the same reason. thankfully, some astute young staff member had the presence of m mind to grab the physical electoral ballots for safe keeping. they were organized and kaum close to succeeding. it is fright ening to think about how close we were, a few inches of wood and glass. an officer turning left instead of turning right.
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just describing that attack doesn't come close to capturing what actually took place that day. so we're going to see some of what our witnesses saw on january 6th. let's see the video, please. please be advised that it contains graphic images and strong language which many may find disturbing. >> boots on the ground here. we're moving on the capitol now. boots on the ground update here in a few. >> multiple capitol injuries!
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>> we're still taking metal, sharp objects. bottles and rocks. chemical grade fireworks . >> this is a riot. >> declauring a riot. >> okay. guys, apparently the it up of the spear has entered the capitol building .
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>> take your pins up. [ beep ] [ beep ]
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>> where are they? >> 10:33. they stormed the capitol. >> walk up together. >> get them to the back. let's get some fresh faces up
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front. >> let me out! let me out of here! aaahhh! >> mike pence, we're coming for you! hang mike pence! hang mike pence! >> it's tomb to start using them.
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>> we're going to take down everyone. >> we'll be back, he warns us. this is just chilling. i thank god for our democracy and our republic. with stood this assault. but that man's warning reminds us that this threat hasn't gone away. it looms over our democracy like a dark cloud. some people are trying to deny what happened. turn the insurrectionists into martyrs. but the whole world saw the reality of what happened on january 6th.
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the hangman's gallow sitting out there on our nation's mall. the flag of the disgraced rebellion against our union being paraded through the capitol. the hatred, bigotry, violence. and all of it for a vile, vile lie. let's be clear. the rioters who tried to rob us of our democracy were propelled here by a lie. as a chairman of this committee, i woi you won't give lie fert i'll ground. we need to understand how the lie behind january 6th continued to spread and feed the forces that would undermine american democracy. and we need to figure out how to fix the damage. it won't be easy.
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but i have tremendous confidence in the colleagues sitting to my left and right. these are men and women of courage and character. we did not ask for this. the house of representatives did its job to give this country the first peaceful transfer of power. and we'll do our job to make sure the peaceful of power remains a pillar of our democracy. we cannot allow ourselves to be undone by liars and cheaters. this is the united states of america. my distinguished colleague from wyoming? bipartisan. it's important that we hear republican voices as well. i now recognize representative cheney for an opening statement. >> thank you very much, chairman thompson. thank you to all my colleagues on this committee. and thank you to each of the
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witnesses appearing before us today. it is because of you, you held the line. you defended all of us. you defended the capitol and you defended the constitution and our republic. and every american knowes undyi gratitude. i hope every american can hear your testimony today and watch the videos. the videos show the unbelievable violence and the unexcusable and intolerable cruelty that you all faced. and people need to know the truth. i want to begin reflecting briefly on the investigation that we're launching today. every one of us here on the committee voted for and would have preferred that these matters be investigated by an independent nonpartisan commission. composed of five prominent from each party.
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it was opposed by my own leadership in the house, it overwhelmingly passed with the support of 35 republican members. it was defeated by republicans in the senate. and that leaves us where we are today. we cannot leave the violence of january 6th and its causes uninvestigated. the american people deserve the full and open testimony of every person with knowledge of the planning and preparation for january 6th. we must know what happened here at the capitol. we must also know what happened every minute of that day in the white house. every phone call, every conversation, every meeting leading up to, during, and after the attack. honorable men and women have an obligation to step forward. if those responsible are not held accountable and if congress does not act responsibly, this will remain a cancer on our
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constitutional republic. undermining the peaceful transfer of power at the heart of our democratic system. we will face the threat of more violence in the months to come and another january 6th every four years. i have been a conserve tough republican since 1984 when i first voted for ronald reagan. i've disagreed sharply on policy and politics with almost every democrat democratic member of the committee. in the end, we're one nation under god. the framers of our constitution recognize the danger of the vicious factionalism of partisan politics. and they knew that our daily arguments could become so fierce that we might lose track of our most important obligation, to defend the rule of law and the freedom of all americans. that is why our framers compelled each of us to swear a solemn oath to preserve and protect the constitution.
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when a threat to our constitutional order arises as it has here, we are obligated to arise above politics. this investigation must be nonpartisan. while we begin today by taking the public testimony of these four heroic men, we must also realize that the task of this committee will require persistence. we must issue and enforce subpoenas promptly. we must get to ownive truth. we must overcome the many efforts we are already seeing to cover up and obscure the facts. on january 6th, and in the days th there after, almost all members of my party recognized the events of that day for what they actually were. run republican por example, said, quote, what is happening at the u.s. capitol right now is unacceptable and unamerican. those participating in lawlessness and violence must be arrested and prosecuted to the
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fullest extent of the law. no member of congress should now attempt to defend thein defensible, obstruct this investigation or white wash what happened that day. we must act with honor and duty and in the interest of our nation. america is great. because we preserve our democratic institutions at all cost. until january 6 we were proof positive for the world that a nation conceived in liberty could long endure. but now january 6 threatens or most sacred legacy. the question for every one of us who serves in congress, for every elected official across this great nation, indeed for every american is this, will we adhere to the rule of law. will we respect the rulings of our courts? will we preserve the peaceful transition of power?
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or will we be so blinded by partisanship that we throw away the miracle of america. do we hate our political adversaries more than we love our country and revere our constitution. i pray that that is not the case. i pray that we all remember our children are watching. as we carry out this solemn and sacred duty entrusted to us, our children will know who stood for truth. and they will inherit the nation we hand to them. a republic, if we could keep it. thank you, mr. chairman, i yield back. >> thank you, representative cheney. i will now introduce our witnesses. we're joined today by sergeant aquilino gonel of the united states capitol police. he's a 15 year veteran of the capitol police and assigned to a
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first responders unit in the united states capitol police uniform services bureau. before joining the capitol police sergeant served eight years in the united states army and spent 545 days in iraq where his base was under con stont mortar and rocket and indirect fire by insurgents. he's received multiple awarded for his military service. we're also joined by officer michael fanone of the metropolitan police department in washington, d.c. officer fanone began his law enforcement career with the united states capitol police shortly after the terrorist attack of 9/11. for nearly 20 years officer fanone has served the citizens of the district of columbia in special units focusing on narcotics investigation and violent criminals. officer daniel hodges is a
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member of the civil disturbance unit 42 in the d.c. metropolitan police department where his responsibilities include riot response. prior to his service on metropolitan police department, he serves six years in the 116th infantry regiment, third battalion, as an indirect fire infantryman. harry dunn is a 13 year veteran of the united states capitol police and a member of its first responders unit. his responsibilities include ensuring the integrity of the perimeter around the capitol building. officer dunn has been among the first capitol police officers describing what happened to law enforcement on january 6th. i will now swear in our witnesses. our witnesses will please rise and raise their right hand. do you swear or affirm that the testimony you are about to give
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is the truth, the whole truth andin and nothing but the truth, so help you god? thank you. you may be seated. let the record reflect that the witnesses answered in the affirmative. without objection, the witnesses' full statement will be included in the record. i now recognize sergeant gonel to summarize his testimony. >> good morning, everybody. >> good morning. >> chairman thompson, members of the select committee, thank you for the opportunity to testify regarding the attack on the u.s. capitol on january 6th, 2021. it is with honor and heavy heart that i come before you to tell you my story, from a painful firsthand experience of what happened that terrible day at the capitol. providing this testimony shows
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my personal capacity as a representative of the u.s. capitol. it is imperative that the events of january 6 are fully investigated in the congress and the american people know the truth of what actually occurred and that all of those responsible are held accountable, particularly to ensure the horrific and shameful event in our history never repeats itself. i implore you for pursuing this perspective. even though there is overwhelming evidence to the con terri, including hours and hours of individuals and photographic coverage, there is a continuous shocking attempt to ignore or try to destroy the truth of what truly happened that day. and to whitewash the facts into something other than what they all mistakenly reveal, an attack on our democracy by a violent
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domestic extremists and stain our history and our moral standing here at home and abroad. as a child in the dominican republic, i look up to the united states as the land of opportunity. and a place to better myself and from that moment i landed at jfk, 1992, i have tried to pursue goal. thankfully i achieved that goal on many levels. i was the first in my family to graduate college, join the army and become a police officer. on july 23rd, 1999, the day before my 21st birthday, i raised my hand and swore to protect the constitution of the united states. because this country gave me an opportunity to become anything
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that i wanted. at that time, i already started basic training with the army reserves. in fact, i raised my hand several times in ceremonies to pledge my commitment to defend and protect the constitution of the united states. when i joined the army reserves, when i was promoted to sergeant in the army, when i was promoted during my -- during my ceremony when my enlistment in the army, when i joined the united states capitol police and lastly when i was promoted to sergeant three years ago. i always take my oath seriously. on january 6th, 2021, i fulfilled my oath once more. this time to defend the united states capitol and members of congress carrying out their constitutional duties to certify
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the results of the november 2020 presidential election. to be honest, i do not recognize my fellow citizens stormed the capitol on january 6 or the united states that they claim to represent. when i was 25 years old and then a sergeant in the army, i had been deployed to iraq for operation iraqi freedom. from time to time i volunteered to travel on ied infested rolls to conduct supply missions for u.s. and allied forces in local iraqi population as well. but on january 6th, for the first time, i was more afraid to work at the capitol than in my entire deployment to iraq. in iraq, we were in a war zone. but nothing in my experience in the army or as a law enforcement officer prepared me for what we
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confronted on january 6. the verbal assaults and disrespect we endure from the riots were bad enough. i was falsely accused of betraying my oath of trusting my paycheck, choosing my paycheck over the loyalty to the u.s. constitution. here as i defended the very democratic process that protected everyone in the hostile crowd. while i was at the lowest terrace of the capitol, working with my fellow officers, to prevent the breach and restore order, the riots called me traitor. -- a police officer should be executed. some of the rioters had the
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audacity to tell me it was nothing personal. that they would go through me, through us, police officers to achieve their goal as they were breaking metal barriers to use as a weapon against us. other used more menacing language. if you shoot us, we all have weapons. we will shoot back. or we'll get our guns, we outnumber you, they say. join us. i heard specific threats to the lives of speaker nancy pelosi and then also vice president mike pence. but the physical violence we experienced was horrific and devastating. my fellow officers and i were punched, kicked, shoved, sprayed with chemical irritants and even blinded with eye-damaging lasers by a violent mob apparently who
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saw us, law enforcement, officers dedicated to protecting them as u.s. citizens, as an impediment to their attempt of insurrection. the mob had weapons to try to accomplish the insurrection objectives and used them against us. these weapons included hammers, rebar, knives, baton and police shields taken by force as well as bear spray and pepper spray. some of the riots wore tactical gear including bulletproof vests and gas masks. the rider took our bat ones and shields to use them against us. i was particularly shocked at the scene the insurrectionists violently attacked us you with the very american flag that they claim to protect.
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based on the coordinating tactics and verbal commands we heard, it appears many of the attackers had law enforcement and military experience. the rioters were vicious and relentless. we find ourselves in a violent battle desperate to attempt to prevent a breach of the capitol by the immigration stage. metropolitan police officers were being pulled into the crowd. we have one right here, right next to me. as we try to push the rioters back from the breach in the capitol, in my attempt to assist to mpd officers and one officer by the back of the collar and pull him back to the police line. when i tried to help the second officer, i fell on top of some police shields on ground that were slippery because of the
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pepper spray and bear spray. rioters immediately began to pull me by my leg, by my shield, by my strap on my left shoulder. i started kicking and punching as i tried in bane to get attention behind and above me. they could not help me because they also were being attacked. i finally was able to hit the rioter who was grabbing me with my baton and able to stand and then i continued to fend off new attackers as they kept rotating and attacking us again and again. what we were subjected to that day was like something from a medieval battle. we fought hand to hand, inch by
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inch to prevent an invasion of the capitol by a violent mob intent on subverting our democratic process. my fellow officers and were committed to not letting any riots breach the capitol. it was a prolonged and desperate struggle that rioter as tempted to breach the capitol were shouting trump sent us. pick the right side. we want trump. i heard officers screaming in agony, in pain just along the left of me. i didn't know at that time
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i finally fell asleep completely and mentally exhausted yet by 8:00 a.m. i was already back on my way back to the capitol. and i continued to work for 15 c consecutive days until after the inauguration. i made sure to work despite my injuries because i wanted to continue doing my job and help secure the capitol complex. more than six months later, i'm still trying to recover from my injuries. many of my fellow capitol officers as well as mpd officers
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suffered several physical injuries from the violence inflicted on us on january 6. i sustained injuries on both my hands, my left shoulder, my left calf and my right foot. i had surgery on my right foot and i was just told that i need surgery on my left shoulder. i've been in medical and administrative leave for much of the past six months and i expect to need further rehab for possibly more than a year. there are some who expressed outrage when someone kneels while calling for social justice. where are the same people expressing the outrage to condemn the violence attack on law enforcement, the capitol, in our american democracy. i'm still waiting for them.
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as american and the -- watch in horror of what was happening at the capitol. we did not receive timely reinforcement and support we needed. in contrast, during the black lives matter protests last year, u.s. capitol police had all of the support we needed and more. why the different response, why not for the brave members of mpd and later on from other law enforcement agencies. i'm afraid to think what could have happened on january 6th. i want to publicly thank all of the law enforcement agencies that responded to assist that day for the courage and their support. i especially want to thank those capitol police officer who responded on their own from home after working the night shift. despite being outnumbered, we
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did our job. every member of the house of representatives, senators and staff members made it home. sadly, as a result of that day, we lost officers. some really good officers. but we held the line to protect our democratic process. because the alternative would have been a disaster. we are not asking for medals, recognition, we simply want justice and accountability. for most people, january 6 happened for a few hours. before, for those of us that were in the thick of it, it has not ended. that day continued to be a constant trauma for us literally every day. whether because of our physical or emotional injuries or both. why it has not received much
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attention, sadly many of my colleagues have quietly resigned from the capitol because of that day. i'm also regularly called by law enforcement officials and prosecutors to help identify from photograph and videos the rioters. and to be honest, physical therapy is painful and hard. i could have lost my life that day. not once, but many times. but as soon as i recovered from my injuries, i will continue forward and proudly serve my country in the u.s. capitol police. as money immigrant to the united states, i'm proud to defend the u.s. constitution and our democracy on january 6. everyone in the position of authority in our country has the courage and conviction to do
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their part by investigating what happened on that terrible day and why. this investigation is essential to our democracy and i'm deeply grateful to you for undertaking it. i'll be happy to assist as i can and answer any question you may have to the best of my ability. thank you. >> thank you very much for your riveting testimony, sergeant gonel. i'll now recognize officer fanone to summarize his testimony. >> thank you, mr. chairman. and members of this committee. for inviting me to provide my eyewitness testimony of the violent assault on our nation's capitol on january 6, 2021. my name for those of you who don't know is michael fanone. and i'll i've been a sworn officer with the metropolitan
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police department in washington, d.c. for almost two decades, my law enforcement career actually began here in this building as a united states capitol police officer shortly after 9/11. in part because of the 2001 attack on our country by terrorists, i felt called to serve. as a capitol police officer, i was proud to protect this institution and dedicated members of congress and their staff who work hard each day to uphold our american democracy. i remain proud of the work of the united states capitol police and mpd officers who literally commit their lives to protecting the safety of each of you and all of us in this room in our nation's capitol. after leaving the united states capitol police, i became an mpd officer servicing the residents of washington, d.c. i had spent the majority of my nearly 20 years as a metropolitan police officer working in special mission units whose responsibilities include
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the investigation and arrest of narcotics traffickers and vile criminals. i've worked both as an undercover officer, as the lead case officer in many of these investigations. in this line of work, it probably wouldn't shock to you know that i've dealt with some dicey situations. i thought i'd seen it all. many times over. yet what i witnessed and experienced on january 6, 2021, was unlike anything i had seen. anything i had ever experienced or could have imagined in my country. on that day, i participanted in the defense of the united states capitol from an armed mob, an armed mob of thousands determined to get inside. because i was among the vastly outnumbered group of law enforcement officers protecting the capitol, and the people inside it. i was grabbed, beaten, tased,
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all while being called a traitor to my country. i was at risk of being striped of and killed with my own firearm as i heard chants of kill him with his own gun. i could still hear those words in my head today. although i regularly deal with risky situations on the job, nowhere in my wildest imagine did i ever expect to be in that situation or sitting here before you talking about it. that experience and its aftermath were something that not even my extensive law enforcement training could prepare me for. i was just one of hundreds of local police who lined up to protect congress even though i had not been assigned to do that. some had asked why we ran to help when we didn't have to. i did that because i simply could not ignore what was happening. like many other officers, i could not ignore the numerous
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calls, numerous calls for help coming from the capitol complex. i'm a plain clothed officer, signed to the first district's crime suppression team. but for the first time in nearly a decade, i put on my uniform. when my partner jimmy albright and i arrived at the capitol around 3:00 that afternoon, it was unlike -- excuse me, it was unlike any scene i had ever witnessed. jimmy parked our police vehicle near the intersection of south capitol street and d. street in southeast and we walked to the capitol. from there passing the long worth house office building. it was eerily quiet and the sidewalks usually filled with pedestrians were empty. as we made our way to independence avenue, i could see dozens of empty police vehicles that filled the street. police barricades which had been abandoned and hundreds of angry protesters, many of whom taunted
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us as we walked toward the capitol building. jimmy and i immediately began to search for an area where we could be of most assistance. we made our way through a door on the south side of the capitol. walking then to the crypt and finely down to the lowest west terrace tunnel. it is there that i observed a police commander trugling to breathe as he dealt with the effects of cs gas that lingered in the air. and then i watched him collect himself and traiten his cap and trench coat adorned with the silver eagles and returned to the line. that commander was ramey kyle of the metropolitan police department and those images are etched in my memory never to be forgotten. in the midst that intense and chaotic scene, commander kyle remained cool, calm and collected as he gave commanded to his officers, hold the line, he shouted over the roar.
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of course that day the line was the seat of our american government, despite the confusion and stress of the situation, observing ray's leadership, protecting a place i cared so much about, was the most inspirational moment of my life. the bravery he and others showed that day are the best examples of duty, honor and service. each of us who carried a badge should bring those core values to our work every day. the fighting in the lower west terrace tunnel was nothing short of brutal. here i observed approximately 30 police officers standing sloermd to shoulder to hold back the onslaught of violent attackers. many of these officers were injured, bleeding and fatigued. but they continued to hold the line. as i don't have to tell the members in this room, the tunnel
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is a narrow and long hallway. it is not the sort of space anyone would want to be pulled into hand to hand combat with an angry mob. although the narrowness of the hallway provided what was probably the only chance of holding back the crowd from entering your personal officers, the house, and senate chambers. in an attempt to assist it injured officers jimmy and i asked them if they needed a break? there were no volunteers. selflessly, those officers only identified other colleagues who may be in need of assistance. the fighting dragged on. i eventually joined the tactical line at the tunnel's entrance. i could remember looking around and being shocked by the sheer number of people fighting us. as my police body worn camera shows, thousands upon thousands of people seemingly determined
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to get past us by any means necessary. at some point during the fighting, i was dragged from the line of officers and into the crowd. i heard someone scream, i got one. as i was swarmed by a violent mob, they ripped off my braej, they grabbed and striped me of my radio and secured ammunition on my body and they began to beat me with their fists and with what felt like hard metal objects. at one point i came face-to-face with an attacker who repeatedly lunged for me and attempted to remove any firearm. i heart chanting from some in the crowd, get his gun and kill him with his own gun. i was aware enough to recognize i was at risk of being striped of and killed with my own firearm. i was electrocuted, again and again and again with a taser. i'm sure i was screaming but
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don't think i could even hear my own voice. my body camera captured the violence of the crowd directed toward me during those very frightening moments. it is an important part of the record for this committee's investigation and for the country's understanding of how i was assaulted and nearly killed as the mob attacked at capitol that day and i hope that everyone will be able to watch it. the portions of the video i've seen remain extremely painful for me to watch at times. but it is essential that everyone understands what really happened that tragic day. during those moments, i remember thinking there was a very good chance i would be torn apart or shot to death with my own weapon. i thought of my four daughters what might lose their dad. i remain grateful that no member of congress had to go through the violent assault that i experienced that day. during the assault, i thought about using my firearm on my
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attackers. but i knew that if i did, would be quickly overwhelmed and that in their minds would provide them with the justification for killing me. so i instead decided to appeal to the -- any humanity they might have. i said as loud as i could imagine, i've got kids. thankfully someone in the crowd stepped in and assisted me. those few individuals proteskted me from a crowd and inched me toward the capitol until my fellow officers could rescue me. i carried back inside. what happened afterwards is much less vivid. i had been beaten unconscious and remained so for more than four minutes. i know that jimmy helped to evacuate me from the building an drove me to medstar washington hospital center despite suffering significant injuries himself. at the hospital, doctors told me that i had suffered a heart attack. and i was later diagnosed with a
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concussion, a traumatic brain injury and post-traumatic stress disorder. as my physical injuries subsided and the adrenalin that stayed with me for weeks waned, i've been left with the psychological trauma and the emotional anxiety of having survived such a horrific event. and my children continue to deal with the trauma of nearly losing their dad that day. what makes the struggle harder and more painful is to know so many of my fellow citizens, including so many of the people i put my life at risk to defend or downplaying or outright denying what happened. i feel like i went to hell and back to protect them and the people in this room. but too many are now telling me that hell doesn't exist. or that hell actually wasn't that bad. the indifference shown to my
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colleagues is disgraceful. my law enforcement career prepared me to cope with some of the aspects of this experience. being an officer you know your life is at risk whenever you walk out of the door. even if you don't expect otherwise law-abiding citizens to take up arms against you. but nothing truly nothing has addressed the elected members of our government that continue to deny the events of that day and in doing so, betray their oath of office. those very members whose lives, offices, staff members, i was fighting so desperately to defend, i agreed to speak here today and have talked publicly about what happened because i don't think our response to the insurrection should have anything to do with political
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parties. i know that what my partner jimmy and i suited up for on january 6th didn't have anything to do with political parties. or about politics or what political party any of you public servants belong to. i've worked in the city for two decades and i've never cared about those things. no matter who was in office. all i've ever cared about is protecting you, and the public. so you could do your job and in service to this country and for those whom you represent. i appreciate your time and attention. i look forward to the committee's investigation and i'm hopeful with your commitment we as country will confront the truth of what happened on january 6 and do what is necessary to make sure that this institution of our democracy never falls into the hands of a
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violent and angry mob. we must also recognize the officers who responded that day. many unsolicited and in their countless acts of bravery and selflessness. it has been 202 days since 850 mpd officers responded to the capitol and helped stop a violent insurrection from taking over this capitol complex. which almost certainly saved countless members of congress and their staff from injury and possibly death. the time to fully recognize these officers is now. thank you again for the opportunity to provide my testimony here today. >> thank you very much for your testimony. and i don't think there is any question that you have our commitment to that we will do just that as a committee. >> thank you, sir. >> i know recognize officer
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hodges to summarize his testimony. >> good morning to the committee, members of the press and the country. to the members of committee i'd like to thank you for your invitation to provide my account of my knowledge and experiences from january 6th, 2021. as the chairman mentioned, i'm a member of civil disturbance unit 42 and as working in that capacity on the day in question. we started that day at 7:30 a.m. and our assignment at the time was to maintain high visibility along constitution avenue namely the blocks leading up to president's park where then president trump was holding his gathering. my particular station was in front of 1111 constitution avenue where i stood on foot as the crowd poured down the street and into the park. there significant number of men dressed in tactical gear attending the gathering, wearing ballistic vests and goggles and backpacks and without
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identifying law enforcement or military patches, they appeared to be prepared much more than listening to politicians speak at a park. two of my colleagues were approached by a group of three to four such men. they were white men in good shape with bode bury vest with molly pouchs and wearing bdu's and tactical boot and black sunglasses and they have radios an one was equipped with an earpiece. after a bit of small talk one of them asked my colleague is this all of the man power you have. do you really think you'll be able to stop all of these people? the dumbfounded my colleague expressed they didn't understand what the speaker meant and the group continued on. as the day went on and speaks in the park said their piece, i monitored the crowd on the radio. i heard our gun recovery unit working constantly and monitoring those in the crowd carrying firearms and making arrests and seizures when
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possible. multiple gun arrests were made jan 5th through the 7th for those that planned to atent the donald trump and we'll never know how many were carrying firearms and other lethal weapons. i don't know what time it was but eventually the foot traffic reversed with people leaving president's park and traveling eastbound down constitution avenue towards the united states capitol. at approximately 12:30 p.m., i noticed a commotion half a block to my east and i saw the crowd. i ran to where they were and found a confrontation at 10th and constitution avenue. one counter propertiers a black man was paddling away with someone. myself and my colleague first arrived and physically separated the two. but a crowd of donald trump's people had gathered. they attempted to bait the counter protester in attack and shouting insults such as your mother is a who are and accused of hiding behind the cops.
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eventually enough mpd members had gathered to move along the crowd and continued eastbound toward the capitol building and the counter-protester departed northbound on 10th street. returning to my post, i continued to monitor the radio. i could hear commander glover leading the efforts as the protesters began the transition from peaceful assembly in terrorism. i became agitated and wished to move in to support as i could hear the increasing desperation of the commander's voice but yet we still have to wait for our orders to change and eventually they did. at approximately 1:30 p.m., they deployed hard gear and respond to the capitol including cd 42. the last thing i remember hearing over the air before departed for the capitol grounds was confirmation that our disploesive ordinance team found a device and i recognized they
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found a bomb near the capitol. this thought was never far from my mind for the restst day. we ran back to our vans and got on our hard gear as quickly as could to avoid the foot traffic we drove as close as we could to the capitol to the northwest side of the capitol grounds and gave our gear a final check and marched toward the west terrace. the crowd was thinner the further out from the capitol you were. so as we marched, the rye siftance that we met was verbal. a man yelled here comes the boys in blue. so brave. another called us to remember your oath. there was plenty of booing. a woman called us stormtroopers. and another woman who was part of the mob of terrorists laying siege to the capitol of the united states shouted traitors. some shouted traitors at us as we past. one man turned into a chant and
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we continued to march. we had been marching in two columns but as we got closer to the west terrace, we matched single file with our hands on the shoulderers of the man in front of us to avoid separation. however, as we came close to the terror as, our line was divide ed and we came under attack and i wrestled for control and i remained my weapon and he said you're on the wrong team. cut off from our leadership which is at the front of the confrontation. one man shouted are you my brother. another takes a different tack shouting you will die on your knees. i was at the front of our greer and determined we have to push our way through the crowd in order to join the defense proper. so i began shouting make way as i forged ahead hoping that i'm clearing a path for others behind me to follow. however, as i looked back i saw
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the rest of the group came under attack and were unable to follow. the crowd attempted to physically bar the rest of the platoon from following. i backtracked and started pulling the terrorists off my team from backpacks and collars. around this time one of the terrorists who scaled the scaffolding through something heavy down at me and struck me in the head, disorienting me. i suspect this resulted in the likely concussion i dealt with in the weeks after. another man attempted to disarm me of my baton and again we wrestled for control. he kicked many me my chest as we went to the ground. i was able to retain my baton again but i ended on my hands and knees and blind. the medical mask i was wearing to protect myself from the coronavirus was pulled up over my eyes so i couldn't see. i braced myself against the impact of the blows and feared the worst. thankfully my platoon had got me
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back on my feet. the crowd started chanting usa at us and we struck out again for the west terrace. i led the charge through the midst of crowd control munitions and explosions and smoke engulfing the area, terrorists were tearing the bike racks into pieces to use as weapons. thankfully we made it to the segd defense line on the west tearas. the rest of my platoon got behind the line and took stock of the situation. i recognized someone had stolen my radio. from that point oint b way in the dark as to the current status, when reinforcements would arrive and terrorists were scaling the scaffolding on both of our sides, the tower in front of us and atetempting to breach the barrier aside from ourselves. the sea of people was punctuated by flags. mostly varieties of american flags and trump flags.
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there was gadson flags, it was clear the terrorists perceived themselves to be christians. i saw the christian flag to my front and another had jesus is my savor and trump is my frez. and one read don't give up the ship. another had crossed rifles beneath a skull and emblazoned with the pattern of the american flag. to my perpetual con fusion, i saw the thin blue line flag, the symbol of support for law enforcement more than once being carried by the terrorists as they ignored our commands an continued to assault us. the accurate sting of cs gas or tear gas or mace hung in the air as they -- through our own gas canisters back at us and sprayed with our own oc and later i learned one was spraying us with wasp spray. the terrorists alternated between attempting to break our
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defenses and shouting out or attempting to convert us. men told us how they fought for this country and were fighting for it again. one man tried to start a chant of four more years. another shouted do not attack us. we're not black lives matter as if political affiliation is how to determine when to use force. and a man in a qanon hoodie exclaims, this is the time to choose which side of history to be on. a man whose shirt read god, guns an trump stood behind him holding a trump flag. another man came to the front and fixating on me berating me telling me to take off my gear and give it to him to show solidarity of we the people or we are going to run over you with the vol of his threats. he continued, do you think your little pea shooter guns will stop this crowd. no. we're going in that building. eventually there is a surge in the crowd. the defense buckled and broke apart and we were unable to hold
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the line. aip chaotic may lay ensued. terrorists pushed through the line and engaged us in hand to hand combat. several attempted to knock me over and steal my baton. one latched on to my face and got his thumb in my right eye attempting to gouge it out. i cried out in pain and managed to shake him off. managed to shake him off before any permanent damage was done. i couldn't fully engage anyone for the moment i do is when another 20 terrorists move in to attack while my hands are full. it was all we could do to keep ourselves on our feet and continue to fall back. i'm sprayed with a fire extinguisher and red smoke, a red smoke grenade burns at our feet. in the fight, a terrorist is knocked to the ground and his jacket rides up exposing a large hunting knife on his belt. i along with several other officers removed the knife from his person. he regained himself unharmed and
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shouted what are you doing? what ow are you guys doing? they cornered us on southern edge and followed by more stairs up and inside. inside of the capitol building officers walked through the halls briefly until they found a place to sit to decontaminate their face and take a quick breather. i followed suit. someone found a pack age of watr bottles and i rinsed out my mouth and drafrpg the rest. i took the opportunity of relative safety to don my gas mask. not long afterward i heard officers to assist and i sealed myself for another round and ascended into a long hallway filled with smoke and screams. the capitol building is labyrinth but judging from the
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intense combat i could tell the hallway led outside. officers were stacked deep but every so often one would fall back from the front line nursing an injury or struggling to breathe and those who remained would take a step forward. it was a battle of inches with one side pushing and other side regaining ground. at the time i and i suspect others in the hallway did not though that the terrorists had gained entry by breaking doors and windowsel where, so before they had true acis to the building and our elected representatives. eventually it was my turn in the meat grinder that the front line. the terrorists had a wall of shields that they had stolen from officers as well as stolen abou bat ones. during this intense contest of wills they tried to convert us to their cult. one man shouted we all just want to make our voices heard and i think you feel the same. i really think you feel the
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same. seemed to appreciate this wasn't a game. he fought his way across the long, up the steps through the western terrace and the oc gas and the front line was asking us to hold on because he has asthma. the two sides were at a stalemate at a metal door frame that sat in the middle of hallway. at the front line i inserted myself to the frap was at my back and then i gave myself something to gain against when pushing forward. unfortunately soon after i secured this position, the momentum shifted and we lost the ground that got me there. on my left was a man with a clear ride shield stolen during at salt. he slammed it against me and with all of the weight of the bodies pushing behind him trapped me. my arms were pinned and effectively useless. trapped against the shield on my left or the door frame on my right.
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with my posture granting me to functional strength or freedom of movement, i sustained injury from the increasing pressure of the mob. directly if front of me a man seized the opportunity of my vulnerability to grab the front of my gas mask and used it beat my head against the door. he switched to pulling it off my head, the straps stretching against my skull and straining my neck. he never uttered any words i recognized but opted instead for guttural screams. i remember him foaming at the mouth. he also put his cell phone in the mouth so he had both hands free to assault me. eventually he succeeded in stripping away my gas mask and a new rush of exposure to oc spray hit me. the mob were coordinating their efforts shouting heave hoe and crushed me further against the metal door frame. the man in front of me grabbed my baton and in my state i was unable to retain my weapon. he bashed my head and face rupturing my lip and adding
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additional injury to my skull. at this point i knew i couldn't sustain much more damage and remained upright. at best i would collapse and be a liability to my colleagues at worst be dragged out into the crowd and lynched. unable to move or other wise signal the officers behind me, i did the only thing that i could do and screamed for help. thankfully my voice was heard over the yells an the blaring alarm. the officer closest to me was able to extricate me from my position and another helped me fall back to the building again. i had found some more water and decontaminated my face as best i could. i don't know how long i waited in the halls for and as soon as i went back on my feet and went to the fight was against until reinforcements arrived every able body made a difference. without my gas mask, i was afraid i would be a liability so
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i took the landing above the west terrace. i found a police line being held much like on the west terrace lower and it appeared most of the mob was content to yell rather than try to break our line again. after some time of guarding the upper landing i saw reinforcement arrive from the south. i'm not sure which law enforcement agency was but i tirned to them and started clapping as a sign of bad illy needed help was finally started to arrive. soon after that, i started feeling the effects of the day taking their toll and went back inside to rest. gratually all of the members of cd 42 gathered if the room known as the capitol crypt. we checked on each other and convalesced, glad to see each other in peace. and we would have fight again as the need would have arisen. as the day went on more and more resources arrived to drive off
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the terrorists. we stayed in the crypt until quite late. and even after we were allowed to leave the grounds, we didn't get to go home. those who needed immediate attention took a van to the hospital while the rest of us parked to the city center until it was deem enough for us. i believe we got the message around 1:00 a.m. the following morning. we drove back to the fourth district and from there went home. thank you for letting me testify. >> thank you very much for your testimony. i now recognize officer dunn to summarize his testimony. >> chairman thompson, members of the select committee, thank you for the opportunity today to give my account regarding the events of january 6, 2021.
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from my firsthand experience as a capitol police officer, directly involved in the events, i'm still hurting from what happened that day. i'm providing this testimony solely on my personal capacity and not as a representative of the united states capitol police. before i begin, before i begin, i would like to take a moment of my time to ask for a moment of silence for my fallen colleague officer brian sicknick who died from injuries he sustained in the line of duty defending the capitol of our beloved democracy. thank you. i reported for duty at the capitol as usual early on the morning of january 6. we understood that the vote to certify president biden's
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election would be taking place that day and protests might occur outside of the capitol. but wed any demonstrations to be peaceful expressions of first amendment freedoms just like the scores of demonstrations that we had observed for many years. after roll call, i took my over watch post on the east front of the capitol standing on steps that led up to the senate chamber. as the morning progressed, i did not see or hear anything that gave me cause for alarm. but around 10:56 a.m., i received a text message from a friend forwarding a screen shot of what appeared to be the potential plan of action very different from a peaceful demonstration. the screen shot bore the caption, january 6, rally point, lincoln park and said the objective was the capitol. it said amongst other things
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that trump has given us marching orders and to keep your guns hidden. it urged people to bring your trauma kits and gas masks to link up early in the day in six to 12-man teams. it indicated there would be time to arm up. seeing that message caused me concern. to be sure looking back now, it seemed to foreshadow what happened later. at the time, though, we have not received any threat warnings from our chain of command. i had no independent reason to believe that violence was headed our way. as morning progressed and the crowd of protesters began to swell on the east side of the capitol, many displaying trump flags, the crowd was chanting slogans like stop the steal, and
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we want trump. but demonstration was still being conducted in a peaceful manner. earlier that afternoon, capitol police dispatch advised all units over the radio that we have an active 10-100, at the republican national committee nearby. that is police code for suspicious package such as a potential bomb. that radio dispatch got my attention and i started to get more nervous and worried, especially because of the crowds on east front of the capitol were continuing to grow. around the same time i started receiving reports on the radio about large crowd movements around the capitol coming from the direction of the ellipse to both the west and east fronts of the capitol. then i heard urgent radio calls for additional officers to respond to the west side and an exclamation, a desperate voice
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that demonstrators on the west side had breached the fence. now it was obvious there was a direct threat to the capitol. i quickly put on a steel chest plate which weighs approximately 20 pounds, and carrying my m-4 rifle sprinted around the north side of the capitol to the west terrace and the railing of the inaugural stage. where i had a broad view of what was going on. i was stunned by what i saw. and what seemed like a sea of people, capitol police officers and metropolitan police officers, mpd, were engaged in desperate hand to hand fighting with rioters across the west lawn. until then, i had never seen anyone physically assault capitol police or mpd, let alone witness mass assaults being perpetrated on law enforcement officers. i witnessed the rioters using all kinds of companies against
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officers including flagpoles, metal bike racks that they had torn apart and various projectiles. officers were being bloodied in the fighting. many were screaming and many were blinded in coughing from k chemical irritants being sprayed in their faces. i gave de contamination to officers and soon i heard attention all units, the capitol has been breached. and that rioters were in various places inside of the building. at that point i rushed into the capitol with another officer going first to the basement on the the senate side where i heard an mpd officer needed a defibrillator. after returning outside to the west terrace to assist officers, i went back into the capitol and up the stairs toward the crypt.
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there i saw rioters who had invaded the capitol carrying a confederate flag, a red maga flag and i don't tread on my flag. i decided to stand my ground there to prevent any rioters from heading down the stairs to the low west terrace entrance because that's where officers were getting aid and were particularly vulnerable. at the top of the stairs i confronted a group of insurre insurrectionists -- warning them not to go down the steps. one of them shouted keep moving patriots. and another displayed what looked like a law enforcement badge and told me we're doing this for you.
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[ no audio ]
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[ technical difficulties ] we're here to stop the steal. joe biden is not the president. nobody voted for joe biden. i'm a law enforcement officer. and i do my best to keep politics out of my job. but in this circumstance, i responded. well i voted for joe biden. does my vote not count, am i nobody? that prompted a toronto of racial epithets, one woman in a pink maga shirt yelled, you hear that guys. this -- voted for joe biden. then the crowd, perhaps around 20 people, joined in screaming, boo, tucking --. no one had ever, ever called my a niger while wearing the uniform of a capitol police
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officer. in the days following the attempted insurrection, other black officers shared with me their own stories of racial abuse on january 6th. one officer told me he had never in his entire 40 years life being called a niger to his face and that streak ended on january 6. yet another officer later told me he had been confronted by insurrectionists in the capitol who told him put your gun down and we'll show you what kind of -- you really are. to be candid, the rest of the afternoon is a blur. but i know i went throughout the capitol to assisted officers who needed aid and helped expel for insurrectionist. in the crypt, i encountered sergeant gonel giving assistance to an unconscience woman who had been in the crowd of rioters. i helped to carry her to the area of the house majority
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leaders officer where she was administered cpr. as the afternoon wore on, i was completely drained both physically and emotionally. i went to retowna to recover with other officers and share experiences with what happened that afternoon. representative rodney davis was there offering support to officers and when he and i saw each other, he came over and he gave me a big hug. i sat down on a bench and i became very emotional and began yelling. i began sobbing and officers came over to console me. later on january 6th, after
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ordering security had been restored on the capitol, through the hard work and sacrifices of law enforcement, members took the floor of the house to speak out about what had happened that day. among them was house minority leader kevin mccarthy. who along with my fellow officers, i had protected that day, and will protect today and tomorrow. i had protected that day and will protect today and tomorrow. and minority leader to his great credit said the following to the house. the violence, destruction, and chaos we saw earlier was unacceptable, undemocratic, and unamerican. it was the saddest day i've ever had serving in this institution, end quote.
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members of the select committee, the minority leader was absolutely right. how he described what took place in the capitol and for those of us in the capitol police who serve and revere this institution and who love the capitol building, it was the saddest day for us as well. more than six months later, january 6th still isn't over for me. i've had to avail myself of multiple counseling sessions from the capitol police employee assistance program and i'm now receiving private counseling therapy for the emotional trauma of that day. i've also participated in many peer support programs with fellow law enforcement officers from across -- around the united states. i know so many other officers continue to hurt both physically and emotionally. i want to take this moment to speak to my fellow officers about the emotions they are continuing to experience from the events of january 6.
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there is absolutely nothing wrong with seeking professional counseling. what we went through that day was traumatic and if you are hurting, please take advantage of the counseling services that are available to us. i also respectfully ask that this select committee reviewed available services available to us and consider whether they are sufficient enough to meet our needs. especially with respect to the amount of leave that we are allowed. in closing, we can never again allow democracy to be put in peril. as it was on january 6th. i thank the members of select committee for your commitment to determine what led to this disaster at the capitol on january 6th, what actually took place that day and what steps should be taken to prevent such an attack on our democracy from
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ever happening again. also want to thank and acknowledge my brothers and sisters in blue who fought alongside me on january 6 to protect our democracy, each of us have a hero and it is my honor to serve with you each and every day. i would like to thank the american people for all of the support that they have provided these past several months to me and my fellow officers. lastly, to the rioters, the insurrectionists and the terrorists of that day, democracy went on that night. and still continues to exist today. democracy is bigger than any one person and any one party. you all tried to disrupt democracy that day and you all failed. thank you again for the opportunity to testify and i would be happy to answer any questions that you may have. >> thank you very much. i thank all of the witnesses for
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their testimony. the rules we established allowed you the opportunity to tell your story. there is no question about it. you've done it in your own words. we appreciate it. and so what we will do now is began our questioning of you. i now recognize myself for questions. at the time of the attack on capitol, i was in the gallery observing the proceedings on house floor while members of congress were being protected by the police. you, the patriots, protecting the capitol in our very democracy would -- were being attacked. i want to learn more about what you did and what you witnessed. officer fanone, as a narcotics officer, you weren't supposed to bep at the capitol on january 6, is that right?
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>> yes, sir, that is correct. >> what prompted you to come to the capitol? >> um, i mean i was listening to the radio transmissions specifically those coming from now commander robert glover who was the on scene commander, if you listen to those transmissions, he identified himself as cruiser 50. i heard things that i had never heard before in my law enforcement career. in addition to the numerous distress calls or 1033s that i heard, which are while not commonplace, also not uncommon in policing. i heard things like, you know, the declaration of a citywide 1033. which in my career, to my recollection, has only been utilized in addition to 9/11 attacks on the navy yard attack.
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and so i found that particularly distressful. also you could hear the tone of the individual officers voices. they were scared. they were, you know, clearly outnumbered and being violently assaulted. >> thank you. so basically the radio traffic, the 1033 signal on the radio and your basic law enforcement instincts said your fellow comrades needed help and therefore you made your way along with your friend to the capitol? >> yes, sir. >> so, um, so you went anyway. and let me thank you for that. and i understand a number of other people did the same. officer hodges, we've seen the harrowing video of you being crushed in a doorway as you
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bravely fought to keep the mob from breaching the capitol. many of your fellow officers acts of heroism were not captured on video and are not therefore known to the public. could you please share with the committee other acts of heroism by your colleagues on january 6 that you're aware of? >> absolutely. one miff of my sergeants on the west terrace was struck by a rioter and fractured and receiverler lassar ating his right index finger. he kept in the fight for several more hours after that. he put some tape on it and a napkin and went back to work. he was there for several hours before finally accepting medical evac. he ended up having to have the tip of his finger removed. another officer who was out
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there in the fight with us, he much like myself, he had a large heavy object thrown and struck his head. and he wasn't as lucky as me. he has suffered lost time from that day. and he remained still out on medical leave even today he has not returned to work. but at the time he was still fighting. another officer, he was on the west terrace and into the tunnels, streetal to the defense after being soaked with the spray was shocked several times by a cattle prod. one of the terrorist brought with them. when i went over my opening statement before, i mentioned that we were attacked outside of the secondary defense line on the west terrace and after we rallied there, we continued on ward. i know that another officer found a capitol police officer
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was being dragged out into the crowd and he was unable to signal to us what was going on. so he charged in there by himself and got that officer back out of there. and in the process, hyper-extended his knee and took several other injuries. i, um, you know, "the washington post" and carnegie mellon university have estimated there were by 9400 terrorists out there and i would say we have about 150, 175 officers. so any one of them could tell you any amounts of heroic acts or injuries they sustained but these are just a few that i know of. >> thank you very much. officer gonel, you talked about your tour in iraq and what have you and thank you for your service. could you give the committee a
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sense of comparing that -- those two experiences with what you experienced on january 6th? >> sure. back when i was in iraq and sometime on combat mission to provide mutual support or taking care packages and what not to all of the units and in detachment and what not, we went to roadside bomb, infesting ied, convoys, and mine field were minimal around that time. it was not as constant. i know we knew at that time that we could go over, run over an ied and that was it. but at least we know that we were in a combat zone. here in our country, in the
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capitol, we are being attacked. and not once, but multiple times. we had -- >> you could pull the microphone to you just a little bit. >> sorry. not only were we attacked one time but with multiple times over and over. different people. they hit us and then they got tired of hitting us and then they switch. somebody else rotating in and out. and as my colleagues also had said, we were at the lowest tunnel and we didn't have a chance to rotate ourselves after an hour and a half later. so whoever was there, we were fighting for our lives. we were fighting to protect all of you in our mind, at that time, at that entrance, that was it. that was the point of breach.
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and we were not letting them in. they tried to convert us. they tried to persuade us to let them in. yelling and then once they saw that they were not doing that, they continued to attack us even more. and it was nonstop. so my time compared to iraq, totally different. this is our own citizens. people who we sworn an only to protect but yet they are attacking us. with the same flag that they claim to represent. it was bad. >> thank you. officer dunn, you talked about being called the n-word. you talked about being talked
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about like you've never heard before. and you talked about sharing comments from the other colleagues as a well as the seeing of the confederate flags and other things carried through the capitol. as an african-american law enforcement officer, can you give us this committee and those who are watching, how you felt defending the capitol on that day being called that and seeing the symbols of the confederacy going through the capitol at the same time. >> yes, sir, thank you for your question. to be frank, while the attack was happening, i didn't view it -- i wasn't able to pros it as a racial attack.
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i was just trying to survive that day and get home. when i did have a moment to process it, i think that is in the rotunda where i became so emotional because i was able to process everything that happened. and it was just so overwhelming and it is so disheartening and disappointing that we live in a country with people like that. that attack you because of the color of your skin. just to hurt you. those words are weapons. thankfully at the moment it didn't hinder me from doing my job. but once i was able to process it, it hurt. it hurt just reading it now. and just thinking about it. that people demonize you because of the color of your skin. when my blood is red, i'm an american citizen.
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i'm a police officer. i'm a peace officer. i'm here to defend this country. defend everybody in this building, not just the members or the staff. guests, and everybody. it just hurts that we have people in this country that result to that regardless of your actions and what you desire to do and to make a difference out there is disheartening so -- >> thank you, but because of your heroism on that day, lives were saved and our democracy was preserved in large part because you gave the all, all of you, for that day on january 6. i assure you this committee will ensure there is a comprehensive account of your acts of that day and your testimony this morning is an essential part of that
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record. thank you for your service to this country and for coming before us today. the chair now recognizes members for questions. they may wish to ask the witnesses. the gentle woman from wyoming, miss cheney is recognized. >> thank you very much, mr. chairman. and again thank you to all of the witnesses for your heroism and your bravery that day and also for being here today and telling your story. and i certainly join the chairman and every member of this committee in our commitment to making sure we get to the truth and that those who did this are accountable. officer gonel, i would like to ask you, you describe in your testimony that it was -- you said it was like a medieval battlefield. that what you were subjected to that day was something like a medieval battlefield. you said we fought hand to hand and inch by inch to prevent an invasion of the capitol by a violent mob intent on subverting
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our democratic process. and is it the case that as you were fighting there, you were not aware that the capitol had been breached elsewhere, i believe you said that you really thought that was -- you were the last line of defense, is that right? >> that is correct, ma'am. >> and so officer gonel, when you think about that and share with us the vivid memory of the cruelty and the violence of the assault that day, and then you hear former president trump say, quote, it was a loving crowd, there was a lot of love in the crowd. how does that make you feel? >> it's upsetting. it is a pathetic excuse for his behavior for something that he himself helped to create this monstrosity. i'm still recovering from those hugs and kisses that day that he claimed that so many rioters,
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terrorists, were assaulting us that day. if that was hugs and kisses, then we should all go to his house and do the same thing to him. to me, it is insulting, it is demoralizing because everything that we did was to prevent everyone in the capitol from getting hurt. and what he was doing, instead of sending the military, instead of sending the support or telling his people, his supporters to stop this nonsense, he egged them to continue fighting. i wasn't in the lowest west terrace fighting along the officers and all of them were telling us trump sent us. nobody else, there was nobody else, it was not antifa, or black lives matters, it is not the fbi, it was his supporters that he sent them over to the capitol that day. and he could have had done a lot
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of things. one of them was to tell them to stop. he talks about sacrificing, sacrifices, well the only thing that he has sacrificed is the institutions of the country and the country itself all for his ego because he wants to continue to -- he wants the job, he doesn't want to do the job. and that is a shame on him, himself. >> thank you. officer fanone, you talked in your testimony about the fact that the line that day was the seat of american democracy. was the seat of our government. can you talk about as you think now about what was under threat, first of all, did you have a sense at the time as you were going through the battle before the horrific violence happened to you, of the nature of the gravity of the threat that we were facing, that the line was
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in fact the seat of american democracy. >> well, my response that day really was based off of my obligation as a police officer to not only protect the lives of the members of congress and their staff, but also to my fellow officers. the politics of that day didn't play floor my response at all. >> thank you. officer hodges, in your testimony you talk about when you were at the ellipse and you mentioned the significant number of men dressed in tactical gear attending the gathering, wearing ballistics vests and helmet and goggles. when you saw that, was that something that you anticipated at all and could you tell us more about that crowd there at the ellipse, the extent to which you saw people who clearly were
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in military or para military garb. >> it was a source of concern. like i said, they had vests designed to carry ballistic shielding, helmets, goggles, face masks, backpacks filled with unknown objects. and that i couldn't get a counts and we couldn't stop and search everyone. but so i don't know how many there were. but i know that there was obviously concern of mine. >> thank you very much. and then finally officer dunn, you mentioned the text message that you received. and you expressed some surprise. you mentioned that you had not seen any intelligence that would have led you to believe that we should expect that kind of violence. can you elaborate on that a little bit? >> yes, ma'am. so, we were expecting civil
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disobedience as we do at the capitol, at least that was what relayed to us. a couple of arrested, name calling, you know, unfriendly people. but nowhere near the level of violence, or even close to it that we experienced. when i received the text message, it made the hairs on my neck rise, but since our chain of command had not told us to prepare for any of these levels of violence, i was just like, okay, whatever. i've been here. i started here 14 of november and dealt with hundreds of protests where people get arrested and for peaceful first amendment protests. everybody has the right to protest. okay. do what you do.
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and you know, we'll arrest if you if you break the law and we'll go home later that night. it was a lot different than that. i was not alerted to the level of violence like the text message i got foreshadowed that, looking back. but i was not -- we were not prepared for what we faced that day. >> thank you. and mr. chairman, without objection, i would like to epntr that complete text message into the record. >> without objection. >> and i would like to express hi deep gratitude for what you did to save us and it won't be forgotten and we'll get to the bottom of this. and thank you very much and with that i yield back. >> chair recognizes gentle woman from california, mrs. lofgren. >> thank you to each one of you and your colleagues for what you did. i was on the floor of the house, helping to defend the voters of
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arizona to a challenge to their electors while you were out trying to keep a violent mob from invading the capitol. so i really do want to thank you for your tremendous courage and stamina and heroism. not just for myself, i chair the house administration committee and i know how many others work in this capitol not only the staff to the members of congress, but the food service workers who were present and clerical staff, you saved them as well. and so they also owe you a debt of gratitude. i do realize that ultimately the rioters breached the capitol. but the time that you kept them out really made a tremendous difference. you saved the day. you saved the constitution. and it made a tremendous
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difference for our country. and officer dunn, i did hear you about the need for additional help and i want to pledge to you that we will work with the capitol police to make sure that the resources and the mental health unit has the resources that officers need. i'll make that pledge to you right now. i would like to ask sergeant gonel, and how everyone knew that you were fighting in the hallway near the lower west terrace on january 6. can you tell me what you went through on that hallway and then while you were there metropolitan police arrived for -- to help you out. what difference did that make? >> sure, ma'am. before i start, by no means am i suggesting that we go to his house. i apologize for my outburst.
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after we re treated to the lower west terrace entrance, it was rough. it was terrible. everything that was happening to us, it was -- and we didn't have a lot of support. we had probably like 50 officers at most when we went back in. and once we were there, we decided to say to ourselves, this is the entrance, where they're going to try to breach. we're going to hold the line. and we're going to do everything possible coordinating among ourselves. the people, the few officers that were still carrying shields, we automatically assumed position in the front. some of the shields were taken, ripped apart from the officers hand, some of the officers also
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got concussed because they were hit with the same shields they were holding because that was so violently taken from them that they couldn't -- they were concussed. we did multiple struggles in terms of fighting. my shield was round and i was able to get some strikes. but because we were so close quarters, it was hard for us to even do that. the only thing we were allowed to do was push forward. whoever had shields, stay in the front, and whoever was behind the people with the shield, then they were striking those officers -- those rioters. at some point i fell on top of the floor on the floor with db on top of some shields trying to help and assist some of the officers. and i got pulled to the crowd.
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luckily i was able to free myself and stand up. later on the second time i went back to the front, that is when i, officer hodges was getting trampled. i was getting trampled because just the mere force of the rioters pushing forward and police officer pushing out, we were getting trampled in the middle. so it was very terrible that happened to us there. >> also, fanone, before i ask you a question, i would to show a brief video clip, some of what you went through today. i realize this could be difficult to watch. but i think it is important for the public to see. [ crowd chanting ]
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>> i got you. >> push them back. >> ahhh! >> ahhh!
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>> mike, stay in there, buddy. mike, it's jimmy. i'm here. >> almost all of that was from your body camera footage. can you walk us through what we've just seen, officer fanone. >> well i believe the first portion of that video began, that was my body worn camera footage from the crypt area of the capitol rotunda. it was there i first heard the 1033 or distress call come out from the lower west terrace
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tunnel which at the time was only a few hundred yards away from where i was at. i told my partner jimmy albright who was there with me that there was a 1033 coming out from the lower west terrace. we tried to get our bearings and figure out which way that might be. we asked a group of capitol police officers and they directed us down a set of stairs. from there jimmy and i walked down to the lower west terrace tunnel. the first thing i remember was seeing a buddy of mine, sergeant big bogner, what is a administrative sergeant, he used to work in my district, now he works over at the academy. and he was unable to see, he had been spayed in the face with bear mace. [ no audio ]
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i guys that were just beyond that set of double doors had been fighting there for i believe he said about 30 minutes and i don't think he realized what time it was because they had been fighting since around 1:00 p.m. it was 3:00 so those guys had been there fighting for two hours unrelieved. i remember looking up through the set of double doors, there was glass panes and you could see the cs gas white powder still lingering in the air. it was at that point that i realized i probably should have brought my gas mask. so i went through the double doors and i saw ramey kyle who is at the time a commander with
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our criminal investigations division overseeing all of the detectives units. like many other officers, sergeants, lieutenants, captains that day, he self deployed and found himself commanding a group of about 30 or 40 officers there in the lower west terrace tunnel. commander kyle was having a difficult time breathing. i remember i followed him back out through the seventy of double doors into that initial hallway as he kind of cleared himself, straightened himself up. i described it before, i thought he looked like george paton. i remember he put his hat back on and walked right back out through the doorway into the tunnel and i followed him. it was at that point that i think when i start add approaching that group of officers there defending the doorway that i realize the
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gravity of the situation. my initial thought was these guys look like -- they look beat to hell. and, you know, maybe i could try to get in there and get some guys some help. so i told jimmy that we needed to get in there and try to offer assistance and that is what we did initially. we started making our way through the crowd of officers, yelling who identified other colleagues who were in need of help. -- and handed me that officer, hands him off to jimmy and told him to get him to the back. and i continued to make my way up to the front, front lines. one i got up there, it was first time i really came face-to-face
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with these terrorists. they were dressed in you know clothing adorned with political slogans, make america great again, donald trump, 2020, things of that nature. they were wearing military-style clothing, kevlar vests and kevlar helmets. many of them had gas masks. and quite a few had schilds which they had taken away from law enforcement officers. they were using them to beat us at the front line. the first thing i told them was, hey, man, we have to get these doors closed. we have injured officers in here. and that really seemed to pis those guys off. they became incredibly violent and that is when that surge that you watched in some of the video
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began and you had a large group at the mouth of that tunnel entrance trying to push their way through the officers who were fighting to defend it. and i believe had they done so or had they accomplished that, they would have trampled us to death. you would have had police officers killed. i fought there at the front for some time. i was yelling out, you know, trying to inspire some of the other officers that were up there that were tired, telling them to dig in and push. and we started to make some progress. we pushed those guys out of the tunnel out through the initial
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thresh way, threshold and i remember thinking to myself, man it is good to get some fresh air. it was at that point that i was pulled off the line. that initial period of time where i was pulled, you know, off that line, was kind of a blur. i just remember getting violently assaulted from every direction. and eventually found myself out probably about 250, maybe 300 feet away from the mouth of tunnel where the other officers were at. and i knew that i was in -- i was up -- creek without a paddle. i was trying to push giuys off f me create some space all the while i recognized fact that there were individuals that were trying to grab ahold of my gun.
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and i remember one of them distinctly lunge at me time and time again trying to grab my gun and i heard people in the crowd yelling, get his gun. kill him with his own gun. and words to that effect. i thought about using my weapon, i believed that there were individuals in the crowd whose intentions were to kill me. and i came to that conclusion because of the fact that separated from these other officers who were only trying to defend the capitol, i no longer posed any type of threat, nor was i an impediment to them, you know, going inside of the building. but yet they tortured me. they beat me. i was struck with a taser device at the base of my skull. numerous time.
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and they continued to do so until i yelled out that i have kids. and i said that hoping to appeal to some of their -- some of those individuals' humanity. and fortunately a few did step in and intervene on my behalf. they did assist me back towards the mouth of the tunnel entrance and other officers were then able to rescue me and pull me back inside. but at that point i was unconscious and based off of the body worn camera footage, it is believed that i was unconscious for approximately four minutes. >> thank you officer. and thanks to each one of you. our country is lucky, really, blessed that you were as
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patriotic and brave as you are. i yield back, mr. chairman. >> gentle lady yields back. chair recognizes the gentleman from illinois, mr. kinzinger for however long he chooses. >> thank you, mr. chairman. and thank you my colleagues on committee. thank you to our witnesses. i never expected today to be quite as emotional for me as it has been. i've talked to a number of you and gotten to know you. i think it is important to tell you right now, though, you guys may like individually feel a little broken, because you all talked about the effects you have to deal with and you talk about the impact of that day. but guys won. you guys held. in a democracy are not defined by our bad days.
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we're defined by how we come back from bad days. how we take accountability for that. and for all of the overheated rhetoric surrounding this committee, our mission is very simple. it is to find the truth, and it is to ensure accountability. like most americans i'm frustrated that six months after a deadly insurrection breached the united states capitol for several hours on live television, we still don't know exactly what happened. why? because many in my party have treated this as just another partisan fight. it is toxic and it is a disservice to the officers and their families, to the staff and the employees on capitol complex to the american people who deserve the truth and to those generations before us who went to war to defend self governance. because self governance is at stake. and that is why i agreed to service on this committee.
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i want to know what happened that day. but more importantly i want all americans to be able to trust the work this committee does and get the facts out there free of conspiracy. this cannot continue to be a partisan fight. i'm a republican. i'm a conservative. but in order to heal from the damage caused that day, we need to call out the facts. it is time to stop the outrage and the conspiracies that fuel the violence and division in this country and most importantly, we need to reject those that promote it. as a country, it is time to learn from our past mistakes. rebuild stronger so this never happens again. and then we can move on ward. and serving on this committee i'm here to investigate january 6 not in spite of my membership in the republican party, but because of it. not to win a political fight. but to learn the facts and defend our democracy. here is what we know. congress was not prepared on
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january 6th. we weren't prepared because we never imagined that this could happen. an attack by our own people fostered and encouraged by those granted power through the very system that they sought to overturn. that is a lesson, that is not a conspiracy theory or a counter narrative. we don't blame victims. we go after the criminals. some have concocted a counter narrative to discredit this process on the grounds that we didn't launch a similar investigation into the urban riots and looting last summer. mr. chairman, i was called on to serve during the summer riots as an air national guardsman. i condemn those riots and destruction of property, but not once did i ever feel that the future of self governance was threatened like i did on january 6th. there is a difference between
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breaking the law and rejecting the rule of law. between a criminal even grave crimes and a coup. as we begin our work today i want to call this committee as tension to the oath of office, not to a party or to an individual but to a constitution that represents all americans. every in elected office knows how hard it could be sometimes to keep that oath. to preserve and protect the constitution of the united states in the forefront of our minds with the political pressures and re-elections always around the corner. but mr. chairman, our witnesses today like every law enforcement officer across the country took the same oath we did and on january 6th, the temptation to compromise those oaths didn't come in the form of a campaign check or a threat for leadership an all caps tweet. it came in the form of a violent mob. while we on the dais were whisked away from the danger, heroes like those here stood
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their post before it and paid the price. and we are only here now because you guys were here then. therefore it is all together fitting that we begin our investigation of the january's lawless attack against the constitution with these four men who made sure that at tack did not succeed. with those that helped to ensure that democracy held. and think it is important to remember that you are for w-- four with stories but there are huc hundreds that you represent where you sit. officer fanone, i know your passion is to make sure that d.c. metro gets the credit it is due. i know you represent the hundreds of officers like officer hodges that responded to -- does this feel like old history to any of the four of you? sometimes i get we hear out there it is time to move on. it is been six whole months.
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time to move on. >> there can be no moving on without accountability and no healing until we make sure this can't happen again. >> i echo that. how do you move on without correcting what happened. >> let me ask you all, what are the narratives out there and officer fanone, it triggered something in your testimony when you said it, so there has been this idea that this was not an armed insurrection, as if somehow that is justification for what happened. we know the hugs and kisses, we know that it was blm and antifa, right. and then you want to investigate that if that is the case. now we've heard maybe the fbi actually started this. but one of the ones that has
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always held was that this was not an armed insurrection. officer dunn, you mentioned that those that stormed the capitol were organized and trained and let me ask you and i'll ask to all four of you, and officer hodges, i know this was part of your job initially before you got -- responded to the capitol. if in the middle of that melee you see somebody with a gun in that crowd, would you be able to go out apprehend and arrest them and read them their rights and go through that process or was the mission at the moment survival and defense of the capitol? so i'm asking is it possible that people maybe had guns an we've seen that actually there were. but this idea that, well, people weren't arrested with guns, at the time this was raw survival. i'll start with, we could just start on the left. let me ask you, what is your response to that? >> for those people who continued to downplay this
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violent attack on our democracy, and officers, i suggest them to look at the videos and the footage. because common things were used as weapons like a baseball bat, a hockey stick. a rebar, a flagpole. including the american flag. pepper spray, bear spray. so you name it. you had all of these items and things that were thrown at us and attacked and used to attack us. those are weapons. number -- if it is a pen, the way that they were using these items, it was to hurt officers. it was to hurt police officers. that their intent was not to say, hey let me go and find the republicans or the democrats in there. or the independences. it was every single body that was here in this building in the
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capitol that their intent was to get them out and hurt them. it had been a much different outcome had we not stopped them. especially at the lower west terrace entrance. even though we at that time, we didn't know that that was the -- there that there were other breaches in the capitol. our in tent was to stop where it was trying to come in through that door and those weapons that were used, those were common items from the way they were using it was as weapons. >> let me ask and kind of my final moments, sergeant gonel, officer hodges, you were virginia guardsman, i believe. fellow guardsman? >> yes, sir. >> at any time in your service in the military, as you know i'm an air guardsman, and sergeant gonel, you mentioned your time in iraq. at any time in your military
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service did you change how you defended the person that your left or right or how you trained on them based or their political affiliation or anything? >> no. >> no, sir. the way i view it at that time, it was i'm an american and the person next to me is an american and i will do everything possible for me to defend him and the country at that time. >> you guys did that. you did in nat blue. >> yes, sir. >> and i want to say that is the mission of this committee. we may have our deep differences on other policy issues but we're all americans today and we thank you for that holding that line. >> congressman, if i may, if i may respond to congressman -- when you asked about the armed part, when the officers assumed officers showed me what appeared to be a police badge, i don't
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know too many police officers and this is just me being a police officer for 13 years, that carry their badge and don't carry a gun with them so i looked, we look on their hips and you see a print, i didn't see that it was a gun, but a reasonable police officer would believe that that is a gun on their hip, so. >> and just to quickly be specific, a print is what looks like the outline of a gun. >> that is correct. >> thank you mr. chairman and thank you witnesses. >> gentleman yields back. chair recognizes the gentleman sfr california, mr. schiff. >> thank, mr. chairman. i was on house floor from the beginning of the joints session until the attack and evacuation by the capitol police and i want to thank you. i'm convinced that one of the lives that you saved that day might very well have been my own. we are all greatly in your debt. you're all heroes. sergeant gonel, representative
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lofgren asked you about your experience and i won't ask you to repeat that. i would like the public to see from your perspective some video if you're comfortable with my showing it. >> yeah, that is fine. >> if the clerk could roll the video, please. >> you're going to die tonight. >> you're -- the shields. you, the shields. hold the shields. >> go >> back up. no. stop. stop. stop.
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stop. >> sergeant, in that video one of the first things you hear is someone saying you're going to die tonight. you described in your opening statement being crushed by rioters. thinking this is how you thought your life was going to end, trampled to death while defending the capitol. it's difficult for any of us to understand what you went through even though we were there. it's harder for people around the country to understand what that was like. can you tell us what you were thinking when you were losing oxygen and thought that might be the end? >> my rushing out there, the way i was thinking was we can't let these people in no matter what. even if it costs my life. the bloody hand you saw, that's
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me in there. both my hands were pleading bad, and at no point in time did i stop to consider stop, because the attacks were so relentless that all we had to do was -- i was thinking i need to survive this, if possible, but i'm willing to sacrifice myself to prevent this, the attack, attackers from coming in. i swore an oath, and to protect the public, the members of congress and the united states constitution. that's what i was doing that day. regardless of my personal safety along with everybody else that was there that day. they were calling us traitors. even though they were the ones
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committing the treasonous act that day. it was devastating and demoralizing for people, whoever party it is, to call this attack and continue to minimize it. like nothing happened. it was an attempted coupe that was happening at the capitol that day. and if it had been another country, the u.s. could have had sent help. and people need to understand that it's a variety of in the event that was -- the magnitude of what was happening this day. we were all fighting a day to give you guys a chance to go home to your family, to escape, and now the same people who we helped, the same people who we gave them the time to get to
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safety, now they are attacking us. they are attacking our characters. they are attacking officer harry's character. people who never served in the military or as a law enforcement. this is a disgrace. my actions that day was to save you guys. regardless of my personal safety. and i still continue to want to do that. today, tomorrow, and as long as i'm paying to do it. and if it is demanded of myself to do that in the future. >> sergeant, this obviously had a deep impact on you, all of you, but it's also had a big impact on your family. you described how when you got home you couldn't even hug your wife because you had chemicals all over you. you wanted to go back, it seems like no sooner had you gotten home, you wanted to go back. >> yes, sir. >> i think i read you said you
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felt guilty. did your wife want you to go back? >> no. >> why did you go back, and what was your conversation with her about that? >> after i took a shower, i spent about ten minutes hugging her and my son. i told her i got to get some sleep, because i got to go back to work. and she said no, you're not. you're hurt. i said no. i'm still able to continue to carry out my duties, and by 8:00 i was already on my way back despite her concerns and for my safety. my sense of duty for the country, for the constitution, at that time, it was bigger than even my love for my wife and my son. i put that ahead, and for me,
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it's confounding that some people who have sworn an oath, elected officials, including people in the military, that i seen at the lower stairs fighting against me. this was an oath, and they are forgetting about their oath. they're not putting the country before the party. and that's what bothers me the most. because i as a former soldier, i know what that inherits, that oath. and i was willing and still do willing to do that. and we are people -- we have people right now in front of the justice department asking to release some of the very same people to be released. even though we are testifying about the agony, everything that happened to us. it's pathetic. and they shouldn't be elected
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officials anymore. >> officer dunne, you described talking to your fellow black officer about what you went through and experiencing those racial epithets. you asked a question, i think, that i've been haunted by ever since. is this america? and i'm very interested to know your thoughts on the answer to that question. is this america? what you saw? >> well, thank you for your question. you know, i -- i said this -- i've done a few interviews before about what my experience was that day, and i said that it was a war that we fought, and a war is composed of a bunch of different battles, and everybody
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even sitting at this table fought a different battle that day, but it was all for the same war, and as black officers, i believe we fought a different battle also. and the fact that we had our race attacked and just because of the way we look, you know, to answer your question, frankly, i guess it is america. it shouldn't be, but i guess that's the way that things are. i don't condone it. i don't like it, but i mean, if you'd look at our history of american history, things are -- countries existed because they beat -- they won a war, or colonies in state lines and boundaries exist because of violence and wars like -- so i guess it sounds silly, but i guess it is american, and it's so -- but it's not the side of
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america that i like. it's not the side that any of us here represent. we represent the good side of america, the people that actually believe in decency, human decency, and we appeal to just the good in people, and that's what we want to see, whether we disagree with how they vote on a bill about infrastructure. everybody wants the right thing. people to do okay. so that's why i'm glad to see this committee composed of republican members also. so i -- that's encouraging. it's encouraging, so that's the side of america that i say yes, this is america. this is the side that i like and the side that i acknowledge. >> officer, thank you. i believe in this country, and i believe in it because of people like you. who understand what the flag
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means and what our constitution means, and risk their lives to defend it. i'd like to think as amanda gorman eloquently said, that we're not broken. we're just unfinished, because if we're no longer committed to a peaceful transfer of power, we deem elections illegitimate because they didn't go our way rather than trying to do better the next time, god help us. if we're drien by bigotry and hate -- then -- then god help
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us. but i have faith because of folks like you. and i didn't expect this to be so emotional today, but this must be an adam thing today, but i'm so grateful to all of you. with that, mr. chairman, i yield back. >> gentleman yields back. chair recognizes the gentleman from california. >> thank you, mr. chairman. and members of the committee. gentlemen, like my colleagues, i was -- i want to extend my gratitude and appreciation for your service on january 6th, and since then which you've had to go through. i was on the house floor like my colleagues on the sixth when i was told a violent mob breached the capitol. it's because of your service. it's because of you and your colleagues, that we're here today. because you were literally the last line of physical defense laying your life on the line for
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democracy. my time will be limited, so i'll be asking questions of officer hodges and sergeant ganell primarily about the weapons you observed and how they were used. officer hodges, you were in a unique position because you were down constitution. you were closer to the white house to start as you indicated in your testimony. during the morning and the early afternoon on the 6th, what did you hear specifically about guns and explosives that had been discovered by your fellow officers? >> i was listening to the gun recovery unit. we try to wait for the crowd to disperse so we don't set off a riot. i think they might have identified people of interest that they never got a chance to address, and they were working
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the crowd to try and confirm reports of firearms on certain people, but it's difficult to do given the nature of the crowd and how many there were. when i heard reod confirm the existence of a device, there was only one thing it could be. you know? explosives. and -- in 42 we had our own objective, our own mission. we couldn't really -- we scanned the crowd, but these people, they know how to conceal their weapons, so on a big avenue like constitution, you can't really -- it's difficult to detect the print or if it's in a backpack, there's not much you can do, but we -- we continue to scan the crowd, and find what we could. but mostly it was up to our other units to make those discoveries.
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>> you talked about it in response to representative cheney. you talked about the gear that the individuals were wearing so combined with what you saw visually with what you had heard on the radio about guns, that all kind of led you to give pause about the next few hours. correct? >> absolutely. you know, once we got to the capitol and we were fighting, i was wondering, you know, how many more bombs are there? what's the trigger? is it going to be a cell phone? is it on a timer? how many guns are there in this crowd? if we start firing, is that the signal to them to set off the explosives? however many there are in the city? is that the signal for them to break out their firearms and shoot back? that's the reason why i didn't
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shoot anyone, and i imagine why many others didn't, because like i said before, there were over 9,000 of the terrorists out there with an unknown number of firearms and a couple hundred of us maybe. so we could not -- if that turned into a fire fight, we would have lost, and this was a fight we couldn't afford to lose. >> i want to play a video, and i'd ask that everyone watching pay attention specifically to the weapons the rioters were using. you can hear someone yell get your machete. you can see officers being attacked with flag poles, and canter centers. >> the crowd is using things against us. they are spraying the crowd. >> let's go get them.
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in the video we saw someone throw a large speaker. was that directed in any way? >> that was further inside. that was the end of the -- before they got clear. when they threw the speaker at me and -- i was further inside the tunnel.
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>> what type of officers did you see used? >> police baton, hammers that you saw on that video. flag poles. tasers. pepper spray, bear spray. rebars. bats. pvc pipes, copper pipes, rocks, table legs, breaken down. furniture broken down. the guardrails entrt integration stage, cones. four by four. any weapons. any items they could get their hands on. >> you were further down the corridor, but the speaker was thrown at you, and it hit your
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foot. is that correct? >> correct, sir. >> we have a photo -- >> it was thrown my way, and then when it landed, it hit somebody else and then my foot. >> i think we have a photo of your foot we'd like to show. >> that's correct. >> can you tell me how you're doing? you mentioned in your opening statement about your continued physical therapy related to the foot. can you tell me how you're doing? >> the foot, i had several conditions that were -- one is a fusion on number one metatarsal. then there was a hammer toe that -- as a result of the hit, and then the second and third digit also got damaged. and in order to fix one, they needed to correct the big toe to
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stabilize, if not, i would have later on in the future had the same problem returning. it is very painful. it is -- with a lot of patience and determination, i still had the same problems in terms of pain and stiffness when the doctor last week on tuesday told me i'm going to need surgery on my shoulder because i have a tear that hasn't healed even six months later and possibly my rotator cuff is also going to need some work. you're talking about eight months to a year more of physical treatment and rehab. >> sergeant, you're an immigrant from the dominican republic, a naturalized u.s. citizen. you mentioned how individuals
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zeroed in on your race that day. >> yes, sir. >> can you tell me how that made you feel? >> when we were -- before or right after npd just arrived with the fluorescent mountain bike unit, they got there, i was in the front lines, and they apparently saw in through my mask, saw my skin color and said you're not even an american. regardless, what -- whether i was in the military, they don't know that. but they are yelling and saying all these things to me. i mean, when i heard that, i wasn't even thinking about any racial stuff. i was like okay, you don't know that. and even detaining that. but it's -- it's like officer
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harry dunne. it takes time for you to process that. and you only realize what was happening after you go back and see it from a different point in time, because i only saw that recently, but for me, i wasn't even thinking of that. i'm there to stop them regardless. and i'm not thinking what they were yelling in terms of my skin color or my race. and i know i'm an american former soldier and police officer. i didn't take that into account when i was defending all of you guys. >> officer hodges you characterize the attack as a white nationalist insurrection. can you describe the label for the attack? >> the crowd was overwhelmingly
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white males. some older some younger. i saw two women and two asian males. everyone else was white males. they didn't say anything especially zen xenophobic to me to my black colleagues and to anyone who is not white. and some of them would try to recruit me. one came and said are you my brother? there are many known organizations with ties to white supremacy. they had a presence there. 3%ers of keepers, this kind of
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thing. everyone i've ever -- people who associate with donald trump are more likely to prescribe to that kind of belief system. >> i want to thank the four of you for taking the difficult step of sharing your stories and your recollections of the threats, violence you endured. no one should have to experience what you went through. in this committee, it will continue the work to give a complete accounting of what happened to protect further officers and to amplify the stories you've shared today. thank you for being here. i yield back. >> thank you. the gentleman yields back. the chair recognizes the gentle lady from florida for five minutes. >> thank you, mr. chairman. and thank you to the witnesses for your testimony today, for your bravery on january 6th. and for your service to our
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country. i know all of you endured a great deal on january 6th, and i know we've watched a lot of difficult video in the testimony so far. but i hope it's okay with you if i show a brief video of what officer hodges experienced that day. can you please cue the video? >>
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>>. >> i know that must have been difficult to watch, but i really think it's important for the american people to see that, because that's the beginning of the kind of accountability that this committee is committed to in order for us to do what you said moving forward as a country. you know, january 6th was an attack on our democracy. it was an attack on the peaceful transfer of power. and it was an attack on this capitol building. but it was also an attack on
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real people, and most people don't know this, and i don't think even you know this. but your actions had a profound impact on me. so at 3:00 p.m. on january 6th while you were holding back the mob at the lower west terrace entrance, i was holed up with congress congresswoman kathleen rice about 40 paces from the tunnel you were in. that's from the distance from i'm sitting to the back wall. and from that office in close proximity to where you all held the line, i listened to you struggle. i listened to you yelling out to one another. i listened to you care for one another, directing people back to the makeshift eye wash station at the end of our hall, and then i listened to people coughing, having difficulty
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breathing, but i watched you and heard you all get back into the fight. and i think congresswoman rice and i were the only members of congress to be down there on that lower west terrace. you know, we had taken refuge in that office because we thought for sure being in the basement at the heart of the capitol was the safest place we could be, and it turned out we ended up at the center of the storm. and officer, you said you were 250 feet off of that tunnel, and you felt certain that they were going to kill you. imagine if they had caught the two members of congress that were just 40 feet from where you all were. and i know sergeant and officer, you both said that you didn't realize that other parts of the capitol had been breached, but you really felt like you were the last line of defense. well, i'm telling you that you were our last line of defense.
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and during the exact period of time officer hodges in that video where you were sacrificing your body to hold that door, it gave congresswoman rice and i and the capitol police officers sent to extract us the freedom of movement on that hallway to escape down the other end of the hallway, and i shudder to think about what would have happened had you not held that line. you know, i have two young children. i have a ten-year-old son and a seven-year-old daughter, and they're the light of my life. and the reason i was able to hug them again was because of the courage that you and your fellow officers showed that day, and so just a really heart felt thank you. i think it's important for everybody, though, to remember that the main reason rioters
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didn't harm any members of congress was because they didn't encounter any members of congress. and they didn't encounter any members of congress because law enforcement officers did your jobs that day, and you did it well. i think without you, what would have been a terrible and what was a terrible and tragic day would have been even more terrible and more tragic. so just very grateful for all of you. and now i'd like to talk a little bit about that video. you've talked a little bit about it in your opening statement. can you walk us through what is happening in that scene? my understanding is that is a mix of your body camera as well as video from other vantage points. >> that's correct. at the beginning you see me walking into the capitol after we were driven off the west terrace. and then you see me spit on the floor, unfortunately, i was trying to clear my lungs and
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mouth of all the cs and oc. you see me preparing my gas mask, dawning it, ready to get back out there. and i follow the noise to the tunnel where it was just wall to wall people packed, fighting with everything they had. it was full of oc and cs gas at the time. and i believe that the thickest smoke was from a fire extinguisher. you could see the residue on the officers who were there. it's like i said before, you know, we -- they had -- theyout numbered us 50 something to one. it didn't matter how many we defeated. we just had to -- we had to hold on. we couldn't let anyone through, and they always had a relative -- you know,
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essentially an infinite number of replacements. they'd say we need fresh pa patriots up here and there would be more. so we just had to hold until someone came to help. and like i said, once i got to the front, i didn't want anymore pressure on the officers behind me. so i tried to insert myself to where i could use the door frame, brace myself, and push forward so i could take back more territory. unfortunately that backfired. so once we lost ground, i was unable to retreat. i was crushed up against the door frame. and then i lost -- my most vulnerable moments, the man in front of me took advantage and beat me in the head, ripped off
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my gas mask, straining my neck, skull, split my lip open, just everything he could. and at that point i recognized that if i stayed there, then i was going to pass out from lack of oxygen or get dragged out in the crowd and end up like finone, so i called for help. i tried to make it clear that my passion was untenable. i had to fall back, and thankfully the other officers heard that and were able to get me out of there, and to the back where i recuperated as best i could before i got back out there again. >> well, it's clear that you suffered immense pain from the assault. it's clear that you were outnumbered and yet, you just said you got back out there again.
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tell me what is worth all of that pain? what was worth it? what were you fighting for that day? >> democracy. you were 40 feet away. 40 yards, whatever. if -- especially with the raiser thin margins on democrats and republicans, if any -- that would effect the outcome of legislation, and all your duties for years to come. and if -- that's just one person. what if more than one person, the difference would be even greater than what should be and will be. and for obviously for each other. you know, you -- your immediate concern is the well being of your colleagues. the other officers who were
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there fighting beside me. i think i can speak for everyone when i say we worry about each other more than ourselves. that's just in our nature. it's part of why you become a police officer. so like when an officer said he was trying to figure out who needs help and no one would volunteer. that's the example of that find of mind set that we have. so it was -- it was for democracy. it was for men and women of the house and senate. it was for each other, and it was for the future of the country. >> thank you, officer hodges, and thank you all for defending democracy and i appreciate your testimony, and i appreciate your continued service. with that, i yield back. >> gentle lady yields back. we recognize t-- >> thank you.
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officers and sergeant, you are great law enforcement officers and heros. you're great public servants. you're a hero to public servants across the country. you're great americans and heros to all of america, and long after you're gone, you will be remembered as heros to our country along with your fellow officers. and those who attacked you and beat you are fascist traitors to our country and will be remembered forever as fascist traitors. now, officer dun, i've got to start with you. you're my constituent. and you are the pride of maryland today. because of the way you to do up for the capitol and for the congress and for our democracy. but you said something fascinating in your testimony. you said you never had seen anybody physical assault a single officer before in your 13 years on the force.
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much less thousands and thousands of people attacking hundreds of officers. so how did you experience that when it first happened? >> so with regards to the seeing officers attacked and people resisting arrests, but to clarify, it's never been an assault on the scale we've seen like that before. i just want to clarify that. can you repeat your question? >> well, actually, it leads to my next one, actually. you made a really interesting point. you said you'd seen protests for many, many years. you'd seen even civil d disobedience for many years. there's an effort today to portray the events of january 6th like some kind of resurrection of dr. king's march on washington in 1963. you know, and i've seen a lot of protests here too. i've seen the march for our lives that the young people did
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about gun violence. i see people marching for d.c. st statehood, arguing for their rights for representation in congress. i've seen civil disobedience. was this like any of those, and if not, how was it different? >> the protests you specifically talk about, i'll go further and talk about the not so -- the ones that had the potential to be not so peaceful. you had the million man march rally, the 20th anniversary of it. it was a lot of opposition to that. you had the klan that came up here. you had people that were pro guns that wanted to come up here. so all of those had the potential to be very violent and frankly, quite deadly. but they did not. this wasn't the first time
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that -- if i can use a quote, that the maga people came up here to the capitol before. they were in d.c. before. there were some skirmishes, but never the attempt to overthrow democracy. i they this was maybe their second or third time they came up on january 6th. and even then, as belligerent as they were, it didn't account to this violence. so the only difference that i see in that is that they had marching orders, so to say. when people feel emboldened by people in power, they assume they're right. like, one of the scariest things about january 6th is that the people that were there, even to this day, think they were right. they think they were right. and that makes for a scary recipe for the future of this
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country. i think that's why it's important that you all take this committee seriously and get to the bottom of why this happened and let's make it never happen again. >> thank you. also, officer, i think given hour committee on marching orders today, which is to hold the line, you held the line and now we've got to hold the line. i want to thank you for that. if we show a fraction of the courage that you all demonstrated on january 6th, then we will hold the line in this committee. >> there are people saying the insurrectionists were unarmed. i wonder about your reaction.
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what is your reaction. . . . . handguns and such. some nether regions of the
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internet, it's being said that you, officer, maybe were mistaken for ante fa and that's why you were nearly beaten to death that day and carried in the crowd. is there any way you think you were mistaken for antifa. >> i was in full uniform. i was like i said, wearing a uniform shirt adorned with the metropolitan police department patch. i had my badge on until somebody ripped it off my chest. i don't believe i was mistaken for a member of antifa. >> you mentioned in your testimony there's some people who would prefer that all of this go away, that we not have an investigation. let's get by gones be by gones. you seem determined to get the country to focus on this. why is that so important to you? >> well, first and foremost, because of the actions of officers who responded there that day. specifically from my department, but also from the u.s. capitol
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police and some of the surrounding jurisdictions. you know, down playing the events of that day is also down playing the officer's response. and like the sergeant said, some of the officers, part of the healing process from recovering from the traumatic events from that day is having the nation accept the fact that that day happened. >> some people are saying that as public servants, you all should not be speaking out. that cops, firefighters, teachers, should just serve the public but should not speak out. >> i've been outspoken throughout my career never to this magnitude as an undercover officer and a narcotics officer, i preferred obscurity in the public eye. however, this event is something
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that we have not experienced in our lifetimes. >> officer hodges, i read your testimony carefully. i hope every american reads your testimony. i noted you referred to terrorists or terrorism 15 times to describe the people who were assaulting officers, dragging them through the crowd, stealing their weapons, smashing them over the head, gouging eyes and so on. however, some of our colleagues have been calling the violent insurrectionists not terrorists but tourists. why do you call the attackers terrorists and what do you think about our colleagues who think we should call them tourists? >> well, if that's what american tourists are like, i can see why foreign countries don't like american tourists.
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er i can see why someone would take issue with the title of terrorist. it's gained a lot of notoriety in our vo bab lair. we like to think that couldn't happen. no domestic terrorism, no home grown threats. but i came prepared. u.s. code title 18 part one, chapter 113, section 2331. the term domestic terrorism means activities that involve acts dangerous to human life that are a violation of the criminal laws of the united states or of any state, and b, appear to be intended to intimidate or coerce a civilian population or to influence the policy of a government by intimidation or coercion, or to effect the conduct of a
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government by mass destruction, assassination, orc kidnapping within the jurisdiction of the united states. >> well, thank you for that. and i had one final question for the sergeant. it looks like my time is up. i yield back to you. >> chair will give the gentleman an opportunity to ask a question. >> thank you for your indulgence, mr. chairman. are there questions, sergeant, that you hope we can answer as a committee about the causes of the attack, the nature of the attack, and what happened in the weeks prior to january 6th? as we develop our work plan moving forward? >> i think we need to get to the bottom of who brought the people here. why the people were made to believe that the process was
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along those lines. but going back to what i just said, i had in my 15 years of service, i had given thousands of -- i had given tours to thousands of people at the capitol as an officer, as a sergeant, and even in plain clothed uniform. and at no point in time did i ever get attacked. i don't know how you call an attack on police officers a tour when you see me bleeding, my hands and other officers getting concussions, getting maimed, getting fingers shattered. i got gouges. it's undescribable. you're defending the
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undefensible. and you're demoralized not just the rank and file, but the future, the future recruits that we are trying to get. what do you think people consider becoming law enforcement officers think when they see elected leaders down playing this? why would i risk my life for them when they don't even care? they don't care what happens to the public. they don't care what happens to the officers, all they care is their job. their precision. if they're not -- if they don't have the courage to put their job on the line because they want to feed some lies or not to feed somebody's ego or -- that's not putting the country first. we are willing to risk our life. police make it worth it. we are trying -- we do that
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regardless whether you're a republican, democrat, independent. we don't care. when there's a call, radio call, a dispatch to call, we don't ask hey, by the way, before i treat you, before i take care of you, are you a republican or democrat or independent? we don't. we just respond. and normally in under any other circumstances, we just stay shut. we don't talk about politics. we don't talk about what happened to us. but this is bigger than that. you are down playing an event that happened to the country itself. to the democracy, to the rule of law. you're talking about people who claim that they are pro law enforcement, pro police, pro law and order. in the year when they have the chance and the opportunity to do something about it. to hold people accountable.
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you don't. you pass the bucket. like nothing happened. and so -- devastating for recruiting. yes, we need body right now. but this makes it harder. especially when you're trying to get the talent we need. people willing to risk their lives to protect you guys. >> well, thank you very much. and mr. chairman, you know, the question was asked by officer dunne is this america? i think these gentlemen embody the spirit of america, and we must do justice to their sacrifice in the work of our committee. i yield back. >> no question about it. the chair recognizing the gentle lady from virginia. >> thank you, mr. chair. and i want to say to the four officers here today that i'm grateful for your service. for sharing stories and your willingness to speak to the members of this committee.
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to the american people about about the horrific things you experienced on january 6th. truly experienced in defense. >> to join the army, to serve as an officer to the capitol police force. and officer hodges, you mentioned as well as a national guardsman, and as a police officer, and you know, myself, something i can't share with you the horrific experiences that you had that day. i took it when i joined the navy. when you mentioned this and compared this to the experiences you had in iraq, that in a war
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zone, you didn't feel like you felt that day. can you share that with us in a little more detail what was going through your head, your thoughts about what you had experienced. defending our nation on foreign soil and being here in the heart of our nation and capitol and being assaulted the way you were. >> it is very disappointing when you see when i was -- the worst terrorists. i saw many officers fighting for their lives against people, rioters, our own citizens, turning against us. people who had the thin blue line on their chest, or a -- another rioter would have a hat that says veteran, or -- any other type of military person.
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and then they are accusing of us betraying the oath. they're the one betraying the oath. when i was in iraq, the sense of camaraderie, it didn't matter whether you were white, black, spanish, middle eastern. we all knew what we were fighting for. and my experience there was the -- there were times that i was yes, i was scared of going on convoys or doing my supply mission to local iraqi population, because i need to -- we were at the point where we were possibly ambushed or getting shot at. we knew the risks. but here was -- it was over and over and over, our own citizens. while they were attacking us because we're defending the very institution that they are claiming they're trying to save.
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>> well, thank you for sharing that, and i know it's been difficult today as we've watched these images from the capitol, but i did want to share one more video, but this time i would ask people, you could even close your eyes and listen without watching. just listen to what's being said as the brave men were being overrun. >> you're on the wrong side of freedom. >> you can't even call yourself
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american. you broke your nose today. 1776. >> officer, i wanted to turn to you and when you heard the rioters chanting things in the video, things like f-the blue, you can't even call yourself an american, you're on the wrong side of freedom, can you share how that makes you feel? >> again, i think when i -- my response to that day. at no point that day did i ever
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think about the politics of that crowd, even the things that were being said did not resonate in the midst of that chaos. but what did resonate was the fact that thousands of americans were attacking police officers who were simply there doing their job. and that they were there to disrupt members of congress who were doing their job. you know, in retrospect now, thinking about what was said, the it's disgraceful members of our government, i believe were responsible for inciting that
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behavior and then continue to propagate those statements, things like this was the 1776, or that police officers who fought risked their lives in some who gave theirs wore red coats. and traitors. to me those individuals are representative of the worst that america has to offer. >> thank you, and thinking about the events that happened on january 6th and thinking about what led up to that day, i was
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reminded of a quote, a quote that i frequently heard used from hemmingway that asks you know, how do these things happen? how do things like this happen? and that quote, it's very short. it just says gradually and then suddenly. and i think that our founders understood that our republic was very fragile, and it would be tested, and it was tested here on january 6th. you know, in 20 years i don't want to look back on this moment and think that we saw these things coming gradually, that these were signs that we ignored that signs that people thought were just isolated incidents or signs of things that we thought could never happen, and i don't want to say to my daughter or sergeant ganel, to your son or officer, to your four daughters.
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i don't want any of us to say this happened gradually and then suddenly. and that some were just too worried about winning the next election to do something about it or too cowardly to seek the truth. that's the task before this committee. i'm sure that we'll be attacked by cowards, by those in the arena. those only in the stands. and that we'll be attacked by people who are more concerned about their own power than about the good of this country. but my oath, your oath, all of our oaths here today to protect and defend the constitution against all enemies foreign and domestic will be our guiding light for this investigation. as officer dunne said earlier, you said we can never again allow our democracy to be put in peril. so i will say that we will
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persevere. we will do what is right. and our nation is truly ever grateful to you who held that line. your actions on january 6th could very well have been what saved our democracy. and we thank you. >> i yield back. >> thank you. >> the gentleman from maryland has a question in terms of what you would expect this committee to do in our body of work. the sergeant, when they responded, but we didn't give the other 30 members an opportunity to kind of tell us based on the last 202 days of
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your life what would you task this committee in this body of work, what would you like to see us do? officer, i'll start with you. >> while i understand there have been investigations into the events of january 6th, my understanding is those have addressed some of the microlevel concerns that being the immediate security of the capitol building itself. also the forced mobilization of officers that day, planning and preparation, and training and equipment concerns. a lot of events in the days proceeding, i guess it's
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interesting from a law enforcement perspective as a police officer, a lot of these events happen in plain sight. we had violent political rhetoric, the organization of a rally whose title was stop the steal. and that that rally occurred on january 6th with -- which i don't believe was a coincidence that on january 6th members of congress, you hear in the room today, were charged with tallying the electoral votes and certifying the election of our president. and in the academy we learn about time, place, and circumstance. and so the time, the place, and the circumstances of that rally,
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that rhetoric, and those events to me leads in the direction of our president and other members not only of congress and the senate but that is what i am looking for is an investigation into those actions and activities which may have resulted in the events of january 6th, and also whether or not there was collaboration between those members, their staff, and these terrorists. >> thank you very much. officer hodges. >> i think fa known hit the nail on the head there. >> as patrol officers, we can only deal with the crimes that happen on the streets, the misdemeanors and occasionally
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the violent felonies, but you guys are the only ones we've got to deal with crimes that occur above us. i need you guys to address if anyone in power had a role in this. if anyone in power coordinated, rated or vetted or tried to down play, tried to prevent the investigation of this terrorist attack. because we can't do it. we're not allowed to. and i think the majority of americans are really looking forward to that as well. >> thank you. >> officer dunne? >> all right. thank you, chairman.
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this is a sentiment going around that says everybody is trying to make january 6th political. well, it's not a secret that it was political. they literally were there to stop the steal. so when people say it shouldn't be political, it is. it was and it is. there's no getting around that. telling the truth shouldn't be hard. fighting for -- fighting on january 6th, that was hard. showing up january 7th, that was hard. the 8th, the 9th yarks the 10th until today, that was hard. when the fence came down, that was hard. we lost our layer of protection that we had and the fence came down and still nothing has changed. everything is different, but nothing has changed.
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liz cheney and adam kenzinger are being lauded as courageous heros and while i agree with that notion, why? because they told the truth? why is telling the truth hard? i guess in this america it is. us four officers, we would do january 6th all over again. we wouldn't stay home because we knew it was going to happen. we would show up. that's courageous. that's heroic. what i ask from you all is to get to the bottom of what happened, and that includes like i echoed the sentiments of the other officers sit hting here, use an analogy to describe a hit man. is a hit man is hired and kills somebody, the hit mangos to jail.
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but not only does the hit man go to jail, but the person who hires them cause. there was an attack on january 6th, and a hitman sent them. i want you to get to the bottom of that. thank you. >> well, thank you. very powerful comments, by the way. >> if i may, i would also for you to give us a tour, or at least the things we need to continue to protect you guys. i think that's essential. for you to provide us what what you need. i don't know how that process works, but --
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>> we were desperate. if we had that, that would have been a big difference on january 6th. i know people want to keep this place open to the public as much as possible. there are things we could do to remediate that and also to reinforce entrances. it's hard, but it takes will. i know -- i could tell the capital had revelation. but the time passed. we still have security measures from 20 years ago that had to go. we need to reinvent the wheel and change that, but only you guys have the power to authorize that. they wouldn't do it unless you guys do. the same -- the other thing is we still only are operating on turning things that we could
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adjust. things that we were doing back when 9/11 happened. we are still doing it today. even six months after the attack on the capitol. but only you, perhaps with the chief of police, the new chief of police, which he seems receptive to some of these things, perhaps. that would change, but we took -- just like officer dunne said, we still don't think that prior to january 6th we were doing and we're still doing it today. i think that should change. thank you. >> well, okay. i thank all of you for your testimony, and obviously you are -- it is opinion that helped preserve this democracy. the time you gave for reinforcements to finally get to the capitol made the difference.
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so for that, we thank you. but you carried out your duties at tremendous risk. now we are on this committee and have a duty. however, a far less dangerous one, but an essential one. to get to the bottom of what happened that day. we cannot allow what happened on january 6th to happen again. we owe it to you and your colleagues and we will not fail, i assure you, in that responsibility. thank you again to our witnesses as well as our distinguished colleagues of the committee. any closing remarks? >> without objections, members will be permitted ten business days to submit statements for the record including opening remarks and additional questions
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for witnesses. to appropriate staff at all meetings of the select committee. without objection, the committee stands adjourned. good afternoon. i'm jake tapper. you're been listening to gripping emotional and frankly, gut wrenching testimony from four police officers who defended the u.s. capitol and were beaten by a pro trump mob. the very first hearing to investigate the deadly january 6th insurrection. two capitol police officers, two metropolitan police officers told people about the physical, verbal, sometimes racist attacks they endured that day from trump-supporting criminals. one officer repeatedly characterized them as terrorists. another officer capitol police officer said using an analogy to describe a hitman. a


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