Police officers testifying at Jan. 6 commission meeting blame Trump, Republicans for inciting, downplaying Capitol riot

Police officers testifying at Jan. 6 commission meeting blame Trump, Republicans for inciting, downplaying Capitol riot
Jim Lo Scalzo/Pool via AP
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Members of the Capitol Police and D.C. Metropolitan Police forces who were on duty at the Jan. 6 riot on Capitol Hill testified before Congress on Tuesday, blaming former President Donald Trump and Republicans loyal to him for allegedly inspiring, and then downplaying, the incident. The officers asked members of the House select committee investigating the events of the day to find out the extent of their culpability.

The committee was fielded by Democrats hand-picked by House Speaker Pelosi and was not hostile towards the officers. The only two Republicans on the committee — Reps. Adam Kinzinger and Liz Cheney — were selected by Pelosi, rather than House Republicans. Republicans withdrew other appointees to the committee after Democrats blocked two for being too closely aligned with Trump.

As detailed by Fox News, committee members, led by Chairman Bennie Thompson, aimed to emphasize the violence on Jan. 6 to push back against the claims that the attack was like a “normal tourist visit” as some video footage from within the Capitol building appeared to depict, while other parts of the Capitol saw violent clashes between police and intruders. 

"You guys are the only ones we've got to deal with crimes that occur above us," Metropolitan Police Department (MPD) Officer Daniel Hodges said, reports Fox News. "I need you guys to address if anyone in power had a role in this. If anyone in power coordinated, or aided, abetted or tried to downplay, tried to prevent the investigation of this terrorist attack."

"The mob of terrorists were coordinating their efforts… shouting ‘heave, ho,’ as they synchronized pushing their weight forward crushing me further against the metal doorframe," Hodges said. "A man in front of me grabbed my baton… he bashed me in the head and face with it, rupturing my lip and adding additional injury to my skull." 

Metropolitan Police Department Officer Michael Fanone told the hearing that he was “electrocuted again and again and again with a taser. I am sure I was screaming, but I don’t think I could hear my own voice.” 

Kinzinger and Democrat Rep. Adam Schiff made a show of the hearing by appearing to tear up on television during the testimonies.

Asked what he would like the committee to accomplish, Officer Fanone said that he wanted them to ask more fundamental questions about the event, well beyond the security failures that enabled it to happen, as these topics had already been extensively covered.

"While I understand there have been investigations [on] the events of Jan. 6, my understanding is that those have addressed some of the micro-level concerns," he said. "We had violent political rhetoric. We had the organization of a rally whose title was ‘Stop the Steal’ and that rally occurred on Jan. 6, which I don't believe was a coincidence. The circumstances of that rhetoric and those events leads in the direction of our president and other members... of Congress and the Senate."

"What I am looking for is an investigation into those actions... and also whether there was collaboration between those members, their staff, and these terrorists,” he added. 

USCP Private First Class Harry Dunn told the committee to hone in on the political causes of the attack. 

"It's not a secret that it was political. They were literally there to ‘stop the steal,’" Dunn said. "Telling the truth shouldn't be hard."

It is unclear for how long the committee will hold hearings over the Jan. 6 investigation, but it is expected to go on for months before they arrive at a recommendation. Another hearing could happen as early as next month, with more witnesses to testify.

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  • By Ezra Levant

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