No more foreplay, kids! The day of consummation is finally upon us, with the first hearings of the House January 6 Select Committee set to start at 8 p.m. ET this evening. Of course Your Wonkette will be liveblogging, so come hang with … oh, hey, it’s me!
The Guardian‘s Hugo Lowell seems to have a hotline to the committee, and he was first to publish a breakdown of the agenda for this first hearing. Apparently Chair Bennie Thompson and Vice Chair Liz Cheney will offer opening remarks and lay out the plan for the six Watergate-style hearings taking place tonight and on June 13, 15, 16, 21, and 23.
“We will reveal new details showing that Jan. 6 was the result of a coordinated, multi-step effort to overturn the results of the 2020 election,” a committee aide told reporters yesterday, adding that “Donald J. Trump was at the center of that effort.”
After Thompson and Cheney speak, they’ll turn the reins over to Timothy Heaphy, the former US Attorney for the Western District of Virginia and an extremely experienced trial lawyer. Heaphy has conducted many of the witness interviews, and this evening he will focus on the Proud Boys and their role in instigating the violence.
In March, six of these “Western chauvinist” face-lickers, including their leader, the infamous Afro-Cuban white nationalist Aladdin aficionado Enrique Tarrio, got indicted on conspiracy charges. And on Monday, five of them got bumped up to seditious conspiracy charges after their buddy Charles Donohoe, the head of the North Carolina chapter, took a plea deal and started cooperating with prosecutors. These brain geniuses seem to have a fundamental misunderstanding of the “Stringer Bell Rule,” taking copious notes on every aspect of their criminal fucking conspiracy.
“Are we a militia yet?” messaged one Proud Boy to the group chat as the Capitol was breached on January 6.
“Yep,” Tarrio responded. “Make no mistake… We did this.”
At the same time, Tarrio posted to his public social media, “Don’t fucking leave.”
But that poor judgment pales in comparison to the decision to allow British documentary filmmaker Nick Quested to embed with them in the weeks leading up to the Capitol Riot. Quested and his crew were even allowed to record the infamous meeting in the basement of a parking garage on January 5 between the Proud Boys and their fellow freak travelers the Oath Keepers, who also took a lot of notes on their criminal fucking conspiracy and are facing sedition charges.
Quested, who is appearing under subpoena, will offer an opening statement and then face questioning by Heaphy, interspersed with footage of the day’s events.
The select committee is then expected to focus on the moment that Joseph Biggs, a member of the Proud Boys charged with seditious conspiracy on Monday, had a brief exchange with a man in the crowd near the statue just before the march morphed into the Capitol attack.
Biggs’ exchange with that man, Ryan Samsel, is widely seen as the tipping point that precipitated the riot. Samsel, who has been charged with attacking police, then walks up alone to the barricade and confronts US Capitol Police officers before pushing it over.
Quested will be followed by US Capitol Police officer Caroline Edwards, the first law enforcement officer injured in the attack. Here’s how the New York Times described the moment the crowd overran the Capitol:
A sergeant standing closer to the Capitol looked over just in time to see a bike rack heaved up and onto Edwards, whom he recognized by her tied-back blond hair. She crumpled to the ground, head hitting concrete, the first officer down in what would prove to be a bloody, bruising battle, the worst assault on the Capitol since 1814, when the British burned the building. The crowd howled and roared, rushing past the barricade as that sergeant started screaming into the radio orders to lock all Capitol doors.
Literally yesterday, Rep. Troy Nehls said, “I think the Capitol Police didn’t have the National Guard here because maybe they just wanted it to happen.” Seems likely that Officer Edwards’s testimony will rebut that. And for the record, Nehls was one of Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy’s nominees to sit on the House January 6 Select Committee, and not one of the ones Speaker Nancy Pelosi rejected.
In the next two weeks, we’ll hear live testimony from Mike Pence’s chief advisor Greg Jacob, who fended off the increasingly aggressive calls from Trump and his campaign for the vice president to unilaterally reject swing state electors and deny Joe Biden a victory. In the alternative, they wanted Pence to lob them back to the states, where Republican legislatures could use false allegations of fraud as a pretext to overturn the will of the voters and “recast” the electoral votes for Trump. Look for the cosplay electors and the campaign’s role in assembling them to play a big role in these hearings, since they were the linchpin of the plot to overturn the election.
We may also hear from former acting Attorney General Jeffrey Rosen and his top deputies about the attempt to use the Justice Department to announce non-existent investigations of the, again, non-existent fraud as a reason to claw back the Biden electors. And the committee has hours and hours of recorded testimony, including from Ivanka Trump and high-ranking White House and campaign officials.
See you at 8 — be there or be square.
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