A Riveting Day of Jan. 6 Testimony

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The House select committee’s first hearing Tuesday to investigate the Jan. 6 insurrection at the United States Capitol was as personal as it was probing.

Sober verbal accounts from four police officers who came under physical and psychological attack that day were combined with raw video footage of rioters shouting epithets and using physical force against law enforcement.

The panel hearing the testimony was unusually united — especially for present-day Washington. It included seven Democrats and two Republicans all handpicked by Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.).

All were critical of former President Trump, who was impeached for inciting a mob to attack the Capitol. No defenders of Trump were present after Pelosi rejected two of House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy’s (R-Calif.) choices.

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Here are five takeaways from the day.

Democrats picked their witnesses carefully

Each of the four officers selected to testify before the committee had previously shared gripping accounts of their experiences with various news outlets.

Each of the four officers selected to testify before the committee had previously shared gripping accounts of their experiences with various news outlets.


Racism on Jan. 6 takes center stage

Capitol Police Officer Harry Dunn, who is Black, gave bracing testimony about rioters calling him the N-word, saying it was the first time he’d ever been labeled that while in uniform.

Asked by Rep. Bennie Thompson (D-Miss.) how that made him feel, Dunn said he at first didn’t process what happened as a racist attack but later called it “overwhelming” and “disheartening.”

“Those words are weapons,” Dunn said.


The panel likely knew what it was getting on Tuesday, and what a nation watching on cable television received was dramatic, stark and personal.

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“On Jan. 6, for the first time, I was more afraid working at the Capitol than during my entire Army deployment to Iraq,” said Aquilino Gonell, a Capitol Police sergeant and Army veteran.

Metropolitan Police Officer Daniel Hodges repeatedly called all of the rioters “terrorists” and offered a definition to back up his statements when asked about his use of the word by Rep. Jamie Raskin (D-Md.).

There was also plenty of criticism of GOP lawmakers who have downplayed the violence.

Hodges, questioned about a Republican lawmaker who compared the rioters to “tourists,” joked that if they were tourists, no wonder U.S. visitors to other countries are so unpopular.

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“I need you guys to address if anyone in power had a role in this,” he added on a much more serious note. “If anyone in power coordinated or aided or abetted or tried to downplay, tried to prevent the investigation of this terrorist attack. Because we can’t do it. We’re not allowed to.”

Metropolitan Police Officer Michael Fanone, in a moment of anger, slammed his fist on the table, saying: “The indifference being shown to my colleagues is disgraceful.”

Fanone previously shared how rioters threatened to kill him with his own gun and used his taser to repeatedly shock him into submission.AMIBC® - VOTE! BE COUNTED! BE HEARD!

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