The House Select Committee to Investigate the Jan. 6 Attack on the United States Capitol opened a landmark set of hearings on Thursday, June 9 with four subsequent hearings through June 23. The House Committee is expected to take a short break from holding public hearings, but will pick them back up in July.
According to Nielsen ratings, close to 20 million viewers tuned into the committee's first primetime hearing, but viewership has since waned.
However, according to the Washington Post, the hearings have dominated front pages, figured prominently in network and cable TV news coverage, and people are discussing them widely on social media. While the question is no longer about Donald Trump’s role in the attempted coup, the country is avidly debating whether there is sufficient evidence of Trump’s corrupt intent to prosecute him for it.
An ABC News-Ipsos poll released on Sunday found that 58 percent of Americans think Trump should be charged criminally, up about six points from a similar poll in April.Embed from Getty ImagesEmbed from Getty ImagesEmbed from Getty Images
Committee Chairman Bennie Thompson said earlier this week, "We're going to show how Donald Trump tapped into the threat of violence, how he summoned the mob to Washington, and how, after corruption and political pressure failed to keep Donald Trump in office, violence became the last option."
Thompson noted the select committee's investigation is "ongoing." The committee's five public hearings thus far "have spurred an influx of new information" that Thompson said committee investigators "are working to assess."
"We are committed to presenting the American people with the most complete information possible. That will be our aim when we reconvene in the coming weeks," Thompson said Thursday as the committee wrapped its fifth day of hearings, reports Newsweek.Embed from Getty Images
Amid these hearings, the Brookings Institution, a nonprofit public policy think tank based in Washington, DC, has released a new report: Trump on Trial: A Guide to the January 6 Committee Hearings and the Question of Criminality as a comprehensive guide to the proceedings.
According to Brookings, the report covers the Committee’s work to date, the key players in the attempt to overturn the election, the known facts regarding their conduct that are expected to be covered at the hearings, and the criminal law applicable to their actions. The report goes beyond prior analyses to provide the first in-depth treatment of the voluminous publicly available evidence and the relevant law, including possible defenses.
The Brookings Institution states that President Joe Biden legitimately won a fair and secure 2020 presidential election—and Donald Trump lost. This historical fact has been uncontroverted by any evidence since at least November 7, 2020, when major news outlets projected Biden’s victory. But Trump never conceded. Instead, both before and after Election Day, he tried to delegitimize the election results by disseminating a series of far-fetched and evidence-free claims of fraud. Meanwhile, with a ring of close confidants, Trump conceived and implemented unprecedented schemes to—in his own words—“overturn” the election outcome. Among the results of this “Big Lie” campaign were the terrible events of January 6, 2021—an inflection point in what we now understand was nothing less than an attempted coup.
Click below for the webpage as well as a PDF of its full report.
Trump on Trial: A Guide to the January 6 Hearings and the Question of Criminality (Brookings Institution)