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tv   Stephanie Ruhle Reports  MSNBC  July 27, 2021 6:00am-7:00am PDT

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they're going to get their say. their words are going to go out there and america's going to learn the truth. the truth that so many republicans in washington, d.c., don't want you to hear, that's a shame, because i know there are a lot of good republicans that do want the truth out there, and two of them fortunately are on this committee. that does it for us this morning. team coverage with andrea mitchell and hallie jackson starts right now. >> good morning. i'm andrea mitchell in washington, along with my colleague, hallie jackson, and we are bringing you our special coverage on msnbc. in just half an hour, the house select committee on the january 6th attack on the capitol will hold its first hearing. we'll bring it to you live. and it's expected to be an emotionally charged day.
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here is what we're watching. open statements from benny thompson and congressman liz cheney, one of just two republicans on the panel. >> there are some in my party who continue to act as though this is about partisan politics. i think it's really sad. >> chairman thompson saying this hearing will set the tone of their investigation, his opening statement set to include video from the riots, some of which has never been seen before publicly. democrats warn it is graphic. it is disturbing and uncensored. >> we're also expected to hear testimony from four police officers, who endured some of the worst of at tack, like a pro-trump mob. these officers were punched and trampled, crushed, sprayed with chemicals, called racial slurs and threatened with their own weapons. >> and the pushback from republicans. kevin mccarthy insisted this is
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about playing politics but democrats and the gop committee members say this is essential to put a face on what happened january 6th, and to counter disinformation from republicans who have downplayed the riot. >> more accurately described as a mob of misfits. >> the truth is being censored and covered up, as a result the doj is harassing peaceful patriots across the country. >> if you didn't know the footage was a video from january the 6th, you'd think it was a normal tourist visit. [ chants of "usa" ] >> here to begin our coverage as we wait for the hearing to begin, just 30 minutes from now, you'll watch it live here on "msnbc reports." sahil kapur and leigh ann caldwell on capitol hill and
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carmen best, msnbc law enforcement analyst, jeremy bash, former cia chooef of staff and msnbc national security and cedric alexander an msnbc law enforcement analyst. good morning to all of you on a big morning right here. >> sahil, let's talk first what we expect today from the hearing which has a heavy focus on the emotional impact of the january 6th attack on the witnesses and also on the members of congress on the floor. >> in just moments the january 6th select committee will begin the law enforcement experience hearing. it will have a heavy focus on the four police officers, two from capitol police, two from d.c. metro police who will speak directly what they saw, what they heard and what they experienced as they sought to defend the capitol complex when it was overrun by a violent mob of supporters of former president trump. i expect from the democratic appointee, the seven of them and the two republicans a
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celebration of law enforcement and its role. i expect them to talk about the magnitude of the moment, the peaceful transfer of power, the continuation of democracy, what was at stake and how grave a threat that was, the continuation with the peaceful handoff of power from one president to the next. liz cheney a prominent republican spoke about that earlier today. i want to play some of what she had to say. >> the american people as i said deserve to know what happened every minute of that day. they deserve to know about every phone call that was made in and out of the white house. >> that could include subpoenas for mr. mccarthy and former president trump? >> it could. >> reporter: one thing we won't hear today is some of that counter narrative that you
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played from the republicans who were downplaying that attack, the seven democratic appointees and the two republicans are strongly, have strongly pushed back on that misinformation, as lies and conspiracy theories. they are determined to figure out they say what happened that day and they are determined to start off as they're trying here on a non-partisan note. andrea, hallie? >> sahil, thanks. it is the emotional tone setting here for the rest of the length of the collect committee expected to go on as adam schiff said yesterday way past the end of this year. today day one is about bringing in that human face, it's about talking about the heart of what happened on january 6th with the emotion we're going to see. >> we've already heard from the senate rules committee that joint panel and heard from various investigators and heard from general honorare. we've heard interviews and
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testimony, from the police officers directly affected. this is not a legalistic hearing, not an investigation as to who caused it. it's what happened that day. >> it's the emotional piece of it. we'll talk about the four officers in a second. leigh ann, i want to go to you. this is also strategical intended to combat what we have heard from republicans in this morning in the last 60 minutes who continue to acuse nancy pelosi of playing politics here. no surprises from the gop but what might be interesting, leigh ann, is the way we will see i think some of these officers take aim pretty directly at these accusations of politics when it comes to the insurrection. we heard that in some of the interviews the officers have done separately aside from congress. talk us through what you're hearing from your side. >> reporter: that's right, hallie, and because of this politics of it, the leadership of the republican party is
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walking this very fine line. they opened a press conference just moments ago, praising the police officers who were there that day, but they are trying to distract from the larger issue. they are talking about security failures and specifically they are blaming speaker nancy pelosi for those security failures and what happened on january 6th. let's listen to the leaders of the republican party at this point, and we'll talk about it on the other side. >> speaker pelosi will only pick on people, on to the committee that will ask the questions she wants asked, that becomes a failed committee and a failed report, a sham that no one can believe. >> clearly they're not searching for the truth. they're searching to get a narrative out that speaker pelosi has already written. >> she doesn't want a fair or bipartisan investigation. she wants a political one. >> reporter: one thing we did not hear from any of those republicans is any mention of the former president, donald
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trump, in any possible responsibility that he might bear leading up to january 6th, despite me asking the leaders and also other reporters asking as well, but you're going to hear this rhetoric from republicans, blaming speaker pelosi over and over again, so i want to get into it just a little bit. the reason they are saying that is because they are implying that she is the one who had a major role in the security decisions of that day. that is simply not the case. that is not how security works around here. there is a capitol police board that determines security from a day-to-day basis, but i will say sometimes they are in consultations with leaders offices, so if speaker pelosi had any sort of role or conversations that we should know about, then that would also be the same for senate leader mitch mcconnell, who was majority leader at the time, also having similar discussions about the security posture leading up to that day.
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i asked the republicans if mcconnell should also be questioned, another reporter followed up with that same question, and the republican leaders in the house did not answer and they walked away from that question. this is the line that you're going to hear from republicans, trying to distract and redirect the message away from the former president to speaker pelosi, but the hearing today is going to, you know, play a much bigger role especially since republicans, mccarthy, a lot of republicans are not in the room. they're going to have to have this message from the outside. hallie, andrea? >> and just to point out that the two sergeants at arms had been appointed by republicans, one from boehner, one from mcconnell, holdovers even though the democrats had taken over. they were the people in charge nommally as well as the capitol police chief, all of them either fired or left office shortly
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after january 6th. i want to bring in jeremy bash. the other piece of this leigh ann mentioned missing donald trump not mentioned by the republicans and the pentagon leadership. defense chief mark esper had been fired. there was the new acting defense chief miller and he was in the chain of command also. why wasn't the national guard? that's the other piece. jeremy, in addition to being chief of staff and in addition to being cia chief of staff, you also were a house staffer. you worked for the house intel committee. you know how the whole system works and also how the white house works. speak to that chain of command as they try, the republicans try to redirect the blame against speaker pelosi. >> no doubt, andrea, one of the most important questions that this committee has to answer is what was the federal response in that, on that day? what were the warnings that the federal agencies received and why weren't federal agencies properly postured to repel that
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violent mob? as a former congressional investigator myself, and i've been talking to some of the congressional investigators close to this committee, the other big question here is how does an armed, violent, domestic terrorist attack occur without any organization, without anybody arranging travel? without anybody arranging lodging, transportation. so the question i think that is looming over this hearing is, was this domestic terrorist incident, and this was domestic terrorism, no doubt, five people lost their lives and this was a violent armed attack on the capitol, the most significant one since the 1800s, was this domestic terrorist attack spontaneous, was it merely inspired by the big lie or was it somehow organized, were the individuals trained, equipped, somehow sent there to conduct this operation and again, when you put it in the context of a domestic terrorism investigation, there are a lot of facts that this committee has to follow and at this hour, i
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don't think we yet know the committee assembled a world class investigative staff, led by former cia inspector general dave buckley to lead this investigation. he's one of the best of the best law enforcement investigators i've ever worked with and this will be a consequential, important task for the united states congress. >> so let's talk more about that. you see on the left side of your screen a live shot of the hearing room where this is set to begin. obviously still the setup process, we're about 19 minutes away from the beginning of this and what is going to be critical here is understanding who we will be hearing from. cedric and carmen, let me bring you in, more about the four officers who will be testifying this morning. one of them capitol police officer harry dunn. he said attackers yelled racial slurs at him, pass hushd for public accountability and he was surprised republicans voted down setting up an independent commission, some of the officers are unafraid to go after the political piece of this here and also aquilino gonell, iraq war
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veteran, he needed surgery after the attack. he said he feels "insulted and betrayed, the sacrifices we made it feels like it was for nothing." metropolitan police officer michael fanone was dragged down the steps, shocked with a stun gun and beaten. doctors told him his heart stopped beating during the attack and what is striking and i thought this was significant, he said "everybody else has moved on." his world stopped january 7th and everybody else's kept going. he has thoughts about that. >> he talked about that openly, he contributed when we were sitting next to each other the ptsd that he feels all the time, the nightmares. >> the fourth officer is daniel hodges. you'll remember him, the officer beaten and crushed between two doors in that horrific video that emerged in the hours after january 6th.
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we'll show it to you this one time, that is one of the officers who will be testifying today. he thought he was going to die. he thought this could be the end or i could not get out of this completely intact. those are the people we will hear from today, the people who will be testifying. carmen, let me go to you and cedric, we want you weigh in as well. talk about what it means to have the officers who are in positions of law enforcement here to be speaking so openly and publicly about not just the physical trauma but frankly the mental trauma they suffered as well. >> it's critically important. when i see the videos and pictures of what happened to the officers and hear their account, i find it very frustrating, very angry about it, and it's highly disappointing to hear the distractions from others not focusing on the truth of the matter. these officers who have committed to public safety were attacked, they were assaulted, they were degraded, and it is horrible to watch and horrible to see. i think it's very compelling to hear from these people who are
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on the front lines about what happened and what from my view again all the details will come out looks like a coordinated attack on police, and on the capitol, and not just something that was impromptu and people died, more people could have died, and the psychological trauma these officers may hold onto forever is very real. it will be very compelling to hear from them today. >> cedric, your thoughts? >> well, i certainly do concur with my colleague and everything she just said, but let me say a couple of things here. car miles per hour and myself have chiefed police departments in this country and understand the responsibility that comes with making sure your men and women are taken care of. its a disheartening, painful for me, her and many others across this country to have witnessed what we saw, what happened to those police officers on january 6th. it is troubling. it is painful to watch, but i
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will also tell you as a former practicing clinical psychologist, is that the pain internally, emotionally that is associated with that day, not only impacted those four officers that we're going to hear from that day, but it impacted all the rest of those hundreds of officers who were on the scene, who had to fight to defend the capitol and our democracy on that day, and that doesn't include the thousands of men and women across this country who had that experience of having to stand there and all of us watching from our televisions, watching fellow officers being beaten, stomped into the ground, beaten with american flags, "blue lives matter" flags. it is horrible in that regard. the testimony we're going to hear today is going to be powerful. it's going to be truthful, and i believe they're going to speak from the heart and you are also going to hear their pain that's going to be associated with the fact that there are people in this country, elected officials
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who did not stand with them, who did not provide them the type of support that they needed whenever anyone goes through something as dramatic as this. so i'm looking forward to this testimony, and what's going to come out of it and i think we're going to have a lot to talk about here this morning. >> and sahil, let me bring new on the political impact on this. republicans have always been since richard nixon supposedly the law and order party. i can see them deflect to nancy pelosi today some shifting of the blame. how do they writ large once the public sees these police officers and again sees some of this video and some which we have not seen yet, how do they escape responsibility for how these police officers were being treated? >> andrea, it is an awkward dichotomy, as you point out. the republican party that sought to align itself with law enforcement present itself as
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the party of law enforcement and not only that, accuse democrats of being anti law enforcement. it is a democratic-led committee that will be hearing directly from these officers, celebrating them and their role in trying to defend that capitol complex. the politics of this of course are going to be complicated. you're not going to hear criticism of republicans toward those capitol police officers, but the single biggest imperative for speaker pelosi and her appointees especially the democratic appointees on this committee is to continue to present a nonpartisan face throughout the duration of this hearing, to stick to her theme, her message and her promise that this will simply be about finding the facts leading wherever the facts go and not about politics in any way. republicans or on the outside not the inside as leigh ann pointed out trying to car this and attack this committee as a political exercise. it is the onus is on the appointees of this committee, starting with the chair bennie
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thompson and everyone else to prove them wrong and to present a set of facts, present a version of events. on the deadly day that the country can trust. that is why the speaker was so eager to have that nonpartisan 9/11 style commission to begin with and once that was filibustered in the senate, led by a republican filibuster, she fell back on creating this more tilted party line tilted committee toward the democrats, still they want to convey desperately that this is not about politics. andrea? hallie? >> leigh ann, i want to make clear what we'll see in 11 minutes from now when this begins. opening statements, we'll hear from officers in this hearing. on the opening statements, chairman thompson will deliver one and congresswoman cheney, is not technically the ranking republican but she is the most senior republican on that committee, so she will be delivering an opening statement as well. do we have any sense, leigh ann,
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of what she might say? there's been some reporting out there on this front. what can you share? >> reporter: hallie, we know that the facts that liz cheney is delivering this second opening statement which is usually odd. sometimes in many committees they have every single member of the committee deliver an opening statement. just today it's going to be two, representative thompson as you said and liz cheney, and that is an indication of how much respect and prominence democrats on the committee want to put in liz cheney. they don't agree with her on hardly any policy issue, the size of government, national security, intervention overseas, but on this issue, they all agree, and so we can expect liz cheney to probably be the toughest questioner and the toughest demander of what happened on that day, and you know, as far as what we are told
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on the role of liz cheney, what's also going to be interesting is in most committee hearings you have republicans and democrats sparring. this committee, republicans and the democrats, are on the same team. they have the same agenda, and they want to get to the same outcome, which they all say is the truth. so the dynamic will be extremely different today, and as far as the capitol police officers, the metropolitan police officers, they're not going to be able to give us insight into what happened in the white house on that day, but they can tell their personal stories of what happened, and that's going to be perhaps the most powerful testimony that we've heard at any committee hearing so far. >> indeed. sahil kapur and leigh ann caldwell, carmen best, jeremy bash, sedrick alexander, thank you. most of you will be standing by, because before the hearing begins, let's look at where the investigation stands right now, as of this morning. >> nearly 570 people so far have been charged, at least five
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agreed to cooperate with the government, two have been sentenced and in just the past 24 hours a northern illinois couple became the latest suspects charged in the insurrection. joining our special coverage now, justice correspondent pete williams, katie brenner, for the "new york times," frank the former assistant director for fbi counter intelligence and clint watts is a former fbi special agent. pete developing news that i know is coming in to us this morning and it relates to former trump administration officials now apparently being able to testify to the justice department in the separate and concurrent investigation. why is this significant? >> well, katie was the first to report this, candidly, but we confirmed the justice department sent letters. my understanding is as people are asked to testify, former administration officials asked the justice department what the position is, and the government has been sending them letters saying yes, you can testify.
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but i would defer to her on that question. >> let's defer to her then. >> talk about where the investigation is parallel investigation is going. >> absolutely, there are parallel investigations, house oversight committee, senate judiciary looking into the final days of the trump administration, what was going on with trump officials that led to the january 6th insurrection and what's happening with donald trump and his other officials pressuring the justice department to try to overturn results of the election. former justice department officials as pete said have been asked to testify, going to the justice department to see whether or not they can and now doj has said yes. this does set up a potential court battle between donald trump and these former officials, because if he decides that he wants to pressure them not to testify and he believes that he has an executive privilege argument that would bar them from testifying, he will take that to the courts. it could drag on for a really long time. >> to you and pete, we know for two years, congress fought to
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get don mcgahn, former white house counsel, to testify. finally he got approval, but it took two years. they certainly do not have two years for this politically within the framework so they have to make some decisions about how this committee is also going to get people in, whether they're going to claim executive privilege, we can think of people in the white house, who were advising the president in the oval office, and suggesting to him that he do something and call in the national guard. pete? >> well, executive privilege claims do take a long time and seldom is there a clear winner. remember, the mcgahn thing was ultimately an agreement of the congress and the white house, about his testimony. if the white house is hard over on it, if the trump people are hard over on it, it would take a long time to resolve. >> and what about the possibility, katie, that these two investigations could compete with each other? we saw what happened with oliver north when he was given immunity and then that interfered with him being able to be prosecuted.
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>> absolutely. to your point, there are a lot of considerations that need to be worked on, in order for investigations to be as impactful as possible. these are the public-facing investigations, don't forget there is in the background a quiet private investigation being run by the inspectors general of the justice department, defense department, department of homeland security, and the department of the interior to also put together their narrative of the events leading up to january 6th. they are focused on the agencies knew and could have done or could have done better. even though that is an investigation that will have a lot of information in it running quietly in the background. problematically for them is the public investigations that will set the tone and either reinforce or impair the credibility of the information that ultimately comes out in the next 8 to 18 months. >> clint, i want you to jump in on the developing news katie and pete have been reporting on here about trump officials being allowed by the doj to testify.
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could you talk through for our viewers and for us why that is significant, and how you read that moving forward. >> yes, it's pretty fascinating because the real gaffes aren't on the lower level in temples of people that were responding, those that were sending forces forward. the fbi director testified several times. it's really everything above that level at the elected leader level, what was going on in congress, and what was going on at the department of justice. it's also important because department of justice has a very special role in terms of maintaining law and order in the district of columbia because it's not a state, we don't have a governor and it's that relationship with the mayor of washington, d.c. so it's an interesting point that surfaced where a lot of the gaffes and questions are. we've seen general honorare's review around the capitol. that was straightforward and known. we've seen a senate report and department of justice what the
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fbi can and can't do preempting an insurrection or event like this. it was left wanting. they sort of passed the buck on that. these were the officials that day making the decisions and it will be important to get their testimony to really figure out what was the entire situation and who were the decision-makers that day. >> i want to point out what you're seeing live on screen right now, it is likely obvious if you're seeing it, if you were listening to it, those are the witnesses, of course, those four officers who were arriving in the room as we are just minutes away from the beginning of this, the first hearing as part of the january 6th select committee. they are being seated. you can see the photographers in the room. this is a familiar sight. it has become familiar sight over the last several years, folks coming in to talk about what they have seen, what they have witnessed as it related to the then trump administration that was in office. >> and significantly, they're all wearing uniform. you would expect that. >> that's right. >> the visual impact of four men in uniform sitting there a diverse group of men, law and
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order, you know, just sort of symbolically achieved in that image of the four of them, and we will contrast that of course as the videos are played with some of these individuals we've talked about what happened with officer hodges that awful picture, but there is going to be a video component of chairman bennie thompson's opening statement, and that we are told by adam schiff will be the longest of the videos. we haven't seen the committee members yet. >> that's bennie thompson walking in the hallway now. i think that's adam schiff. it's a little bit dark. our fabulous photographers are working to see who is down the hall. you can see liz cheney there as well. andrea, what is striking as we look at this scene, i am reminded of what happened during the impeachment hearing the most recent, the impeachment trial when the videos were played. for those in the room january 6th, for example the officers today, it was incredibly
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traumatic for them. we heard over and over again how they were reliving the pain of that moment, and it brought them back to a pretty scary and dark place, and so you have to think about how that is going to affect the officers who are at this hearing now as we are minutes away from its start, i would expect as soon as they walk in, they'll get settled and go. frank, before that begins, your thoughts here. >> one of these officers today will expose the lie that this was largely a peaceful day at the capitol, like another tourist day and that there were only small handful of people engaged in violence. that is the power behind these statements today and then just moving forward, i am so focused like a laser on something that clint watts mentioned, which is what about the fbi rules and regulations needs to change to allow them to get out ahead of this, so that they're not cleaning up the wreckage afterwards, but that they're proactive and preventative. we need answers to that
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question. >> and we could see adam schiff, the other members shaking hands with the witnesses, as they go down the aisle. they have not sat down, as we haven't heard the gavel yet, but this is some of the people of course jamey raskin, and adam schiff that we've seen from the first impeachment and second impeachment. >> the two faces coming up now, the two republicans here, that is significant. >> oh, that is hugely significant. adam kinzinger has his war experience, his military credentials. liz cheney of course, republican credentials. >> pete williams, let me bring you into the conversation here. go ahead. >> you're going to talk about these four officers who have some of the most harrowing stories to tell you about a remember that there are many other officers who were also injured that day. >> yes. >> the government has already charged 130 people with assaulting police officers and some of it ranges from merely
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shoving officers trying to get them out of the way to some amazing stories of people repeatedly beating police officers with flagpoles, with metal bars, with wooden, pieces of wood. one man was just charged in the last couple of days with bringing in a whip to attack police officers with. they were sprayed with chemicals. so of the total of roughly 570 people who have been charged, many, frankly, were just people who walked into the capitol and took a selfie and smoked a joint and left. there is a hard core of people who were seriously committing violence on a whole bunch of police officers, many of whom still have the injuries that they received on january 6th. >> those we've lost of course, several to suicide, of course officers sicknick, there is also the mourning for those who are not with us to even witness the accounting. >> we want to remind you again, we are playing videos we are about to see in chairman
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thompson's opening statement in full and uncensored. we warn our viewers you might find that disturbing. >> and profanity as well. >> -- testimony on the law enforcement experience on january 6th. without objection, the chair is authorized to declare the committee in recess at any time. i 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 run up to that tragic day, and what has taken place since. that's what we are charged to do by house resolution 503. there's no place for politics or partisanship in this investigation. our only charge is to follow the facts, where they lead us, and
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while we have a lot to uncover, there are a few things we already know. we know that the insurrection on january 6th was a violent attack 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 and more than 140 police officers suffered injuries. we know that efforts to subvert our democracy are ongoing, and a major part of the select committee's work will find ways to eliminate that threat. we also know that the rioters came dangerously close to succeeding. if not for the heroism of the united states capitol police and the metropolitan police department, many more lives might have been lost, and the
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rioters could have accomplished what they set out to do, up-end american democracy. it's an honor to have four of these heroes sitting before us today. we welcome them appearing here and more importantly for your heroism on january 6th. 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, and it won't be easy, but history will remember your names and your 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
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want to understand the significance of what happened on january 6th, and 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 its jobs, laid out in the constitution, after a deadlock in the electoral college, this body cast 36 ballots and ultimately settled 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've been torn apart and brought back together. we've struggled across generations to make our country's great vision a reality for all americans. we won victories and we've suffered failures, but the peaceful transfer of power has stood as the pillar of our
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democracy. 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 upheavals we endure, we can rest easy knowing that when the moment comes, our system guaranties that one party will hand the reins to another, if that's the will of the people, and while our institutions endured, and while joe biden is the legitimately 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 toward 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 that they weren't there to commit violence but that, 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 the clear intentions of stopping the certification of the election and when they encountered the police, sworn to keep us safe, they went on their attack with bear spray, knives, tasers, hockey sticks, even flagpoles fashioned in 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 sat in the building. they would race through the hallways chanting "hang mike pence. where's nancy?" they stormed onto 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 mind to grab the physical electoral ballots for safekeeping. these rioters were organized. they were ready for a fight, and they came close to succeeding. it's frightening to think about how close we were, a few inches of wood and glass, an officer turning left instead of turning
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right. 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, but please, be advised that it contains graphic images and strong language, which many may find d
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>> take the ballots! >> [ expletive ] police!
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>> get your hands off. >> what the [ expletive ]. >> take your hands off. [ bleep ] >> this is our house! [ bleep ] >> this is the government. >> my government.
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>> where the [ expletive ] are they? >> cruiser 50, we're flanked. 10-33, i repeat west front of the capitol. we've been flanked. >> get the [ expletive ] out! >> the shield, walk them together. walk in together. >> u.s. patriots! >> get to the back. get him to the back. get up to the back. let's get some fresh faces up front.
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>> argh! uh! >> heave-ho! heave-ho! >> all right, let me out! >> hold that line! hold that line! >> can i speak to pelosi? yeah, we're coming, [ expletive ]. mike pence we're coming for you, too [ expletive ]. >> we want pence! we want pence! >> they've got the gallows set up outside the capitol building. it's time to start. . [ expletive ] using them. >> start making the list and we hunt them down one by one!
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mobilize in your own cities, your own counties, storm your own counties, and take down every one of these mother [ expletive ]. >> we [ expletive ] need 30,000 guns. >> he'll be back, he warns us. 'just chilling. i thank god for our democracy and our republic that withstood 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, whitewash it, turn the insurrectionists into the martyrs but the whole world saw the reality of what happened on january 6th, the hangman's
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gallows sitting out there on our nation's mall, the flag of that first failed and disgraced rebellion against our union being paraded through the capitol, the hatred, the bigotry, the 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 chairman of this committee, i will not give that lie any fertile ground. we need to understand how and why the big lie festered. we need to know minute by minute how january 6th unfold. we need to understand how the rotten lie behind january 6th has 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, but i have
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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, but the house of representatives did its job to give this country its first peaceful transfer of power and we will do our job now to make sure the peaceful transfer 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, ms. cheney, is not the ranking member of this select committee but because its investigation is 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
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to each of the 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 owes you our undying gratitude. every american i hope will be able to hear your testimony today and will watch the videos, showing the unbelievable violence and the inexcusable and intolerable cruelty that you all faced and people need to know the truth. i want to reflect briefly on the investigation that we're launching today. everybody on the dais voted for and preferred these matters investigated by an independent, nonpartisan commission composed of five prominent americans selected by each party and modeled on the 9/11 commission.
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although such a commission was opposed about i my own leadership in the house it overwhelmingly passed with the support of 35 republican members and defeated by republicans in the senate and that leaves us where we are today. we cannot leave the violation 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. with must also know what happened every minute of that day in the white house. every phone call and 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 conservative republican since 1984, when i first voted for ronald reagan. i've disagreed sharply on policy and politics with almost every democratic member of this committee, but in the end, we are one nation, under god. the framers of our constitution recognized 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
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protect the constitution. when a threat to our constitutional order arises, as it has here, we are obligated to rise 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 objective 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 thereafter, almost all members of my party recognized the events of that day for what they actually were. one republican, for example, said, "what is happening at the u.s. capitol right now is unacceptable and un-american. those participating in the lawlessness and violence must be
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arrested and prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law." no member of congress should now attempt to defend the indefensible. obstruct this investigation or whitewash 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 costs. until january 6th, we were proof positive for the world that a nation conceived in liberty could long endure, but now january 6th threatens our 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
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transition of power? 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 can 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 gonell of the united states capitol police, a 15-year veteran of the capitol police,
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he's assigned to a first responder unit in the united states capitol police's uniformed services bureau. before joining the capitol police, sergeant gonell served eight years in the united states army and spent 545 days in iraq, where his base was under constant mortar, rocket and indirect fire by insurgents. he's received multiple awards and commendations for his military service. we also are 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 and special units force focusing on narcotics investigation and violent criminals. officer daniel hodges is a member of the civil disturbance
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unit 42 in the d.c. metropolitan police department, where his responsibilities include riot response. prior to his service on the metropolitan police department, he served six years in the 116th infantry regiment, 3rd battalion as an indirect fire infantryman. u.s. capitol police officer harry dunn is a 13-year veteran of the united states capitol police, and a member of its first responder unit. his responsibilities include ensuring the integrity of the perimeter around the capitol building. officer dunn has been among the first capitol police officers to describe what happened to law enforcement on january 6th. i will now swear in our witnesses. the witnesses will please rise and raise their right hand. do you swear or affirm that the
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testimony you are about to give is the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth, so help you god? thank you. you may be seated. let the record reflect the witnesses answered in the affirmative. without objection the witness' full statement will be included in the record. i now recognize sergeant gonell 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, a painful firsthand experience what happened that terrible day at the capitol. providing this testimony solely
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in my personal capacity, and not as a representative of the u.s. capitol. it is imperative that the events of january 6th are fully investigated in the congress and the american people know the truth of what actually occurred and all those responsible are held accountable, particularly to ensure the horrific and shameful event in our history never repeats itself. i applaud you for pursuing this agenda. even though there is overwhelming evidence to the contrary, including hours and hours of videos, photographic coverage, there is a continued shocking intent 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 mistakenly reveal, an attack on our democracy by a violent
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domestic extremist and a stain on our history and our moral standing here at home and abroad. as a child from the dominican republic, i looked up to the united states as the land of opportunity and a place to better myself. from that moment i landed at jfk, 1992, have tried to pursue that 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
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opportunity to become anything 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 while in the army, when i was promoted during my naturalization ceremony, my reenlistment in the army, when i joined the united states capitol police lastly when i was promoted to sergeant three years ago. i have always taken 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 did not recognize my fellow citizens who stormed the capitol on january 6th or the united states they claim to represent. when i was 25 years old, then a sergeant in the army, i had deployed to iraq, "operation iraqi freedom." from time to time i volunteered to travel on ied infested roads to conduct supply missions for u.s. and allied forces in local iraqi population as well. on january 6th, for the first time, i was more afraid to work at the capitol in my entire deployment to iraq. in iraq, we expected armed violence because we were in a war zone but nothing i experienced in the army or as a law enforcement officer prepared
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me for what we confronted on january 6th. the verbal assaults, and disrespect we endure from the rioters were bad enough. i was falsely accused of betraying my oath, of choosing my paycheck, choosing my paycheck over my loyalty to the u.s. constitution, even as i defended the very democratic process that protected everyone in the hostile crowd. while i was working with my fellow officers to prevent the breach and restore order, the rioters called me "traitor," a disgrace, and shouted that i, i, an army veteran and a police officer, should be executed. some of the rioters h


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