Republican Rep. Adam Kinzinger choked up when he spoke to the officers who testified about what happened that day
Republican Reps. Adam Kinzinger and Liz Cheney took center stage in Tuesday’s hearing on the January 6th MAGA riot, with Kinzinger tearing up as he thanked the police officers for their service and Cheney warned America could face a riot every four years if those behind that day are not held accountable for their actions.
‘I never expected today to be quite as emotional for me as it has been,’ Kinzinger said, sniffling as he choked back tears. He noted how he got to know many of the officers in the aftermath of the riot.
Both he and Cheney hugged a few of the officers at the beginning of the hearing.
‘I think it’s important to tell you right now though,’ Kinzinger continued. ‘You guys may like individually feel a little broken.’
But, he added: ‘You guys won.’
Rep. Liz Cheney warned America could face a riot every four years if those behind the January 6th MAGA riot are not held accountable for their actions
Cheney’s opening statement, made during the first hearing of the committee charged with investigating what happened that day, contained cautionary words of what could happen after future presidential elections. She called January 6th a ‘cancer’ on the Constitution.
‘If those responsible are not held accountable and if Congress does not act responsibly, this will remain a cancer on our 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 6 every four years,’ she said.
Six months after the riot, where Donald Trump supporters stormed the Capitol to try and stop the certification of Joe Biden’s presidential victory, 590 people have been charged. More than 300 suspects are still wanted by law enforcement. In the aftermath of the riot, five people died.
It also contained harrowing testimony from four offices at the Capitol that day, who recounted being physical beaten by the rioters, being called obscenities, and fearing for their lives.
The video footage was filled with rioters shouting obscenities. It showed the rioters throwing objects and gas canisters at police officers, screaming and shouting as they broke the Capitol’s windows to breach the building.
Police officers are heard on the radio, begging for help as the rioters overwhelmed them.
And the rioters are heard making their own threats.
‘Can I speak to Pelosi? We’re coming b***h,’ one rioter is seen saying of Speaker Nancy Pelosi.
‘Hang Mike Pence,’ the crowd is heard shouting about the then-vice president.
In her opening statement, Cheney called on those officials who served in Trump’s White House with knowledge of the day to step forward and testify.
‘We must know what happened here at the Capitol. We must also know what happened every minute of that day in the White House – every phone call every conversation every meeting, leading up to during an after the attack. Honorable men and women have an obligation to step forward,’ she said.
Cheney and Kinzinger are the only two Republicans on the House Select Committee to Investigate the January 6th Attack on the United States Capitol. Both serve at the invitation of Speaker Nancy Pelosi.
Kinzinger, a GOP lawmaker from Illinois, slammed his fellow Republicans who dismissed what happened on January 6th.
‘Like most Americans, I’m frustrated that six months after a deadly insurrection breach the United States Capitol for several hours on live television,’ he said. ‘We still don’t know exactly what happened. Why? Because many in my party have treated this as just a another partisan fight. It’s toxic and it’s a disservice to the officers families.’
He added: ‘I’m here to investigate January 6 not in spite of my membership in the Republican Party, but because of it, not to win a political fight, but to learn the facts and defend our democracy. Here’s what we know. Congress was not prepared. On January 6 we weren’t prepared because we never imagined that this could happen.’
Cheney said the committee’s investigation will be nonpartisan, countering charges from Republican leadership that the hearing is a ‘sham’ with its outcome pre-determined.
‘When a threat to our constitutional order arises as it has here, we are obligated to rise above politics. This investigation must be nonpartisan,’ Cheney, a Republican lawmaker from Wyoming, said.
The video footage was shown to emphasize Democrats’ point that the rioters were trying over throw the government.
‘A peaceful transfer of power did not happen this year. It did not happen. Let that sink in. Think about it. A violent mob was pointed at the Capitol and told to win a trial by combat,’ Democratic Rep. Bennie Thompson, the chair of the panel, said in his opening statement.
‘These rioters were organized, they were ready for fight, and they came close to succeeding. It’s frightening to think about how close,’ he added.
Sgt. Aquilino Gonell of the US Capitol Police, Officer Michael Fanone of the DC Metropolitan Police, Officer Daniel Hodges of the DC Metropolitan Police and Private First Class Harry Dunn of the US Capitol Police are sworn in before the House Select Committee investigating the January 6 attack on US Capitol
Rep. Adam Kinzinger hugs U.S. Capitol Police officer Aquilino Gonell
Rep. Liz Cheney hugs Michael Fanone, officer for the Metropolitan Police Department
U.S. Capitol Police sergeant Aquilino Gonell wipes tears as he watches footage from Jan 6
Chairman Rep. Bennie Thompson, D-Miss., greets Washington Metropolitan Police Department officer Michael Fanone
The hearing played new footage and audio from police officers on the day of the riot
At Tuesday’s hearing, the lawmakers heard from four police officers who were at the Capitol on January 6th, when a mob of Trump supporters stormed the building, leaving five people dead and a trail of destruction.
The officers are:
- Harry Dunn, Private First Class, U.S. Capitol Police
- Aquilino Gonell, Sergeant, U.S. Capitol Police
- Michael Fanone, Officer, Metropolitan Police Department
- Daniel Hodges, Officer, Metropolitan Police Department
Democratic Rep. Stephanie Murphy told the officers that she and fellow Rep. Kathleen Rice were hiding in a room 40 feet away from the tunnel where Hodges, Fanone and other officers pushed rioters back.
‘You were our last line of defense,’ she said. ‘I shudder to think what would have happened had you not held that line.’
She recalled hearing the officers’ coughing, helping one another, and then going back out to fight.
Murphy said the two women took refuge in that room because they thought they would be safe in the Capitol basement.
‘It turned out we ended up at the center of the storm,’ she said. ‘Imagine if they had caught the two members of Congress that were just 40 feet from where you all were.’
She told the officers their actions gave her and Rice time to escape with a group of US Capitol Police officers sent to extract them.
She noted she has two young children: a 10-year-old son and a seven-year-old daughter.
‘And the reason I was able to hug them again, was because of the courage that you and your fellow officers showed that day. And so just to really heartfelt thank you,’ she said.
She noted not a single lawmaker was captured or hurt during the riot.
‘I think it’s important for everybody though to remember that the main reason rioters didn’t harm any members of Congress was because they didn’t encounter any members of Congress, and they didn’t encounter any members of Congress because law enforcement officers did your jobs that day, and you did it well. I think without you, what would have been a terrible and what was a terrible and tragic day would have been even more terrible and more tragic. So just very grateful for all of you,’ she added.
Hodges told her he had no doubt that the rioters wanted to kidnap or kill a lawmaker.
In his testimony, Gonell slammed Trump for his false claim that the rioters were ‘hugging and kissing’ the rioters that day.
‘I’m still recovering from those hugs and kisses that day,’ said Gonell, who was attacked by rioters with a flag pole.
Under the questioning from Cheney, Gonell had more strong words against the former president, saying ‘we should all go to his house and do the same thing to him. To me, it’s insulting, it’s demoralizing.’
‘All of them were telling us, Trump sent us,’ he said. ‘It was not Antifa. It was not Black Lives Matters.’
He later apologized and said he was not suggesting anyone go to Trump’s home.
In his testimony, Gonell recounted how the ‘rioters call me traitor.’
‘The rioters were vicious and relentless. We found ourselves in a violent battle,’ he said of that day.
He described his experience ‘like something from a medieval battle. We fought hand to hand, inch by inch, to prevent an invasion of the Capitol by the mob intend on subverting our democracy.’
Most of the officers grew emotional watching the footage from January 6th. At one point, Fanone got up to offer comfort to Gonell.
Fanone, who suffered a heart attack from his injuries on January 6th, recounted how he was repeatedly tasered and threatened with his own gun by the rioters.
‘I was aware enough to recognize I was at risk of being stripped of and killed with my own firearm. I was electrocuted, again and again and again with a taser,’ he said.
The committee showed footage from Fanone’s body camera, where his fellow officer and friend, Jimmy Albright had come to support US Capitol Police.
The feed from his camera showed the ceiling, as Fanone laid on the ground after suffering his heart attack.
‘Mike it’s Jimmy. I’m here,’ Albright is heard saying. ‘Mike stay in there buddy.’
Fanone said he was unconscious for about four minutes.
He described how he and his fellow officers held the line in one of the underground tunnels that lead from the Capitol to the lawmakers’ personal office buildings, holding back the mob so they could not break through.
‘The narrowness of the hallway provided what was probably the only chance of holding back the crowd from entering your personal offices, the House and Senate chambers,’ he said.
He became visibly emotional, saying ‘what makes the struggle harder and more painful’ is seeing lawmakers ‘downplaying or outright denying what happened,’ even after he ‘went to hell and back’ for them.
‘Being an officer, you know your life is a risk whenever you walk out the door. Even if you don’t expect otherwise law abiding citizens take up arms against you. But nothing – truly nothing – prepared me to address those elected members of our government, who continue to deny the events of that day. And in doing so, betray their oath of office,’ Fanone said.
‘The indifference, shown to my colleagues is disgraceful,’ he said, banging on the table.
Fanone recounted how some in the crowd helped him, when he worried he would die and told them about his daughters.
‘I thought about using my firearm on my attackers, but I knew that if I did, I would be quickly overwhelmed in that in their minds would provide them with the justification for killing me,’ he said.
‘So I instead decided to appeal to the any humanity they might have. I said as loud as I could manage: I’ve got kids. Thankfully, some in the crowd stepped in and assisted me. Those few individuals protected me from a crowd and injure me toward the Capitol, until my fellow officers could rescue me,’ he said.
In his testimony, Hodges repeatedly called the rioters ‘terrorists.’
‘It was clear the terrorists perceive themselves to be Christians. I saw the Christian flag directly to my front. Another read Jesus as my Savior, Trump is my president, another Jesus is King,’ he recalled.
He also said the attack was conducted by white supremacists.
‘They would – some of them – would try to try to recruit me,’ Hodges testified. ‘One of them came up to me and said: are you my brother?’
He said the rioters were three percenters and Oath Keepers, group with known ties to white supremacists.
Footage from January 6 shows Hodges with his head caught between a door and being beaten with his own gas mask by rioters.
‘A man seized the opportunity of my vulnerability to grab the front of my gas mask and used it beat my head against the door,’ he said.
He also noted some of them carried the blue flag that symbolizes support for the police.
‘To my perpetual confusion, I saw the thin blue line flag, symbol of support for law enforcement, more than once, being carried by the terrorists as they ignored our commands and continued to assault us,’ he said.
Dunn described how the rioters called him a ‘n******.’
‘No one had ever called me a ‘n*****’ while wearing the uniform as a Capitol Police officer,’ said Dunn, the only black officer testifying. He said other black officers told him they were called the same.
Dunn described putting on a 20 lb. steel chest plate and carrying his rifle to the West Front of the Capitol, where the stage for Joe Biden’s inauguration was being built.
‘I had a broad view of what was going on. I was stunned by what I saw and what seemed like a sea of people, Capitol police officers and metropolitan police officers were engaged in desperate hand to hand fighting with the rioters across the West lawn,’ he said.
‘I witnessed the rioters using all kinds of weapons against officers, including flagpoles, metal bike racks that they had torn apart, and various kinds of projectiles. Officers were being bloodied in the fighting. Many were screaming, and many were blinded and coughing from chemical irritants being sprayed in their faces,’ he said.
He said he made his way to the Speaker’s Lobby in the Capitol, which is outside the House chamber. He said the rioters wore MAGA hats and Trump 2020 t-shirts.
‘I told him to just leave the Capitol. And their response they yelled, no man. This is our house. President Trump invited us here. We’re here to stop the steal. Joe Biden is not the president. Nobody voted for Joe Biden,’ he said.
he ended his testimony with a message to the rioters: ‘To the rioters, insurrectionists and terrorists of that day, democracy went on that night. It still continues to exist today. Democracy is bigger than any one person or any one party. You all tried to disrupt democracy that day, you all failed.’
The committee showed footage from officer Michael Fanone’s body camera, where his fellow officer and friend, Jimmy Albright had come to support US Capitol Police. The feed from his camera showed the ceiling, as Fanone laid on the ground after suffering his heart attack. ‘Mike it’s Jimmy. I’m here,’ Albright is heard saying. ‘Mike stay in there buddy.’
DC police officer Michael Fanone, who suffered a heart attack from his injuries on January 6th, recounted how he was repeatedly tasered and threatened with his own gun by the rioters
U.S. Capitol Police Sgt. Aquilino Gonell wipes his eye as he watches a video from Jan 6
Metropolitan Police Department Officer Daniel Hodges testifies during the hearing
US Capitol Police Officer Harry Dunn testified that the rioters called him and other black officers ‘n******’ during the riot
Democratic Rep. Stephanie Murphy told the officers that she and fellow Rep. Kathleen Rice were hiding in a room 40 feet away from the tunnel where Hodges, Fanone and other officers pushed rioters back
Michael Fanone, officer for the Metropolitan Police Department, embraces Aquilino Gonell, sergeant of the U.S. Capitol Police
Rep. Adam Kinzinger, R-Ill., wipes his eyes during the officers’ testimony
Rep. Liz Cheney greets Sgt. Aquilino Gonell as Rep. Adam Kinzinger embraces DC officer Michael Fanone before their testimony
Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA), Rep. Jamie Raskin (D-MD), Rep. Liz Cheney (R-WY) and Rep. Adam Kinzinger (R-IL) arrive for the House Select Committee hearing on Jan 6
THE CAPITOL RIOT SELECT COMMITTEE: SEVEN DEMOCRATS, TWO REPUBLICANS
• Chair Bennie Thompson: Chair of Homeland Security Committee
• Chair Zoe Lofgren: Chair of Committee on House Administration
• Chair Adam Schiff: Chair of House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence
• Rep. Pete Aguilar, House Administration and Appropriations Committees
• Republican Rep. Liz Cheney, Armed Services Committee
• Rep. Stephanie Murphy, Armed Services Committee
• Rep. Jamie Raskin, Oversight and Judiciary Committees
• Rep. Elaine Luria, Navy veteran, Armed Services and Homeland Security Committees
• Republican Rep. Adam Kinzinger, Iraqi veteran, Energy and Commerce and Foreign Affairs Committees
Meanwhile, House Republican Leader Kevin McCarthy on Tuesday slammed the committee as ‘a sham that no one can believe.’
His comments ahead of the hearing as Republicans tried to get their talking points in before the officers testified.
‘Speaker Pelosi will only pick on people on 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. If you want to do answers, do not be afraid of the questions that will get asked,’ McCarthy said a press conference with Republican leaders.
Pelosi’s office fired back.
‘McCarthy and House Republicans have desperately tried to undermine and prevent a real investigation into the events of January 6th from the start. Now that the bipartisan Select Committee is beginning its work, the only tools left in House Republicans’ arsenal are deflection, distortion, and disinformation,’ the speaker’s office said in a statement.
Pelosi doesn’t direct the DC National Guard, which is actually under the purview of the White House. She does not oversee day-to-day operations in the Capitol and is not in charge of its security.
Republicans left out that Mitch McConnell, the Senate GOP Leader, was also in leadership on that day as they repeatedly tried to tie the lack of proper security preparation back to decisions made by Pelosi in the run up to January 6.
McCarthy dismissed questions about Trump’s role on that day, a question the House Select Committee to Investigate the January 6th Attack on the United States Capitol will examine as part of its probe.
Instead, the Republicans, who were trying to set the stage before the committee gaveled its hearing to order later Tuesday morning, tried to keep the focus on the speaker and berated her for removing Republican Reps. Jim Jordan and Jim Banks from the panel.
Rep. Steve Scalise, the Number 2 in House GOP Leadership, charged Pelosi with ‘canceling’ the two lawmakers.
‘They got canceled by this new cancel culture that we see moving throughout the country led by Speaker Pelosi and a lot of our socialist allies here in Congress, where they want to shut out voices that raise tough questions that they don’t want to be asked or answered,’ he said.
The GOP leadership also complained they would have none of their people asking questions at the hearing. But Pelosi, who said she vetoed Banks and Jordan to protect the ‘integrity’ of the investigation, accepted McCarthy’s other three picks. He pulled them in response to her veto of his other two lawmakers.
House Republican Leader Kevin McCarthy slammed the committee investigating the January 6th riot at the Capitol as ‘a sham that no one can believe’
Cheney and Kinzinger – both of whom voted for Trump’s second impeachment and who have been vocal critics of the former president’s – give the panel the veneer of bipartisanship.
McCarthy has combined his attacks on Pelosi with hits on his two wayward GOP lawmakers.
‘She’s broken Congress. Then it just makes the whole committee sham and the outcome predetermined,’ McCarthy told reporters at the White House on Monday of Pelosi.
He also slammed Cheney and Kinzinger as ‘Pelosi Republicans.’ McCarthy, facing pressure from some conservatives in his GOP conference to punish the two lawmakers, merely told DailyMail.com ‘we’ll see’ about any possible consequences.
In response, Cheney and Kinzinger called McCarthy ‘childish’ as they met with the seven Democrats serving on the committee in the Capitol Monday as part of their prep session.
The four cops testifying on January 6th MAGA riot
At Tuesday’s hearing of the House Select Committee to Investigate the January 6th Attack on the United States Capitol, the lawmakers on the panel will hear from four police officers who were at the Capitol on that day, when a mob of Trump supporters stormed the building, leaving five people dead and a trail of destruction.
The officers are:
- Harry Dunn, Private First Class, U.S. Capitol Police
- Aquilino Gonell, Sergeant, U.S. Capitol Police
- Michael Fanone, Officer, Metropolitan Police Department
- Daniel Hodges, Officer, Metropolitan Police Department
Dunn is the only black officer scheduled to appear before the committee and he has been outspoken about how he and his fellow black cops were treated that day.
‘I was directly called the n-word,’ Dunn told The Washington Post. ‘At the time, my mind didn’t process it, that I was being attacked because of my race.’
Private First Class Harry Dunn, U.S. Capitol Police
Dunn has come under attack from some on the right, including Fox News host Tucker Carlson who claimed, without evidence, that Dunn ‘is an angry, left-wing political activist.’
‘Dunn will pretend to speak for the country’s law enforcement community, but it turns out Dunn has very little in common with your average cop,’ Carlson said on his show last week.
Dunn’s lawyers fired back.
‘Fox News allowed its host Tucker Carlson, who has not served a day in uniform, whether military or law enforcement, to criticize the heroism and service of African-American US Capitol Police Officer Harry Dunn,’ attorneys David Laufman and Mark Zaid said.
‘Our client has served 13 years in law enforcement and on January 6, 2021, fought against an insurrectionist violent crowd — no doubt many of them Carlson’s supporters — to protect the lives of our elected officials, including Vice President Pence,’ they wrote.
Officer Aquilino Gonell was attacked with a flag pole and chemical spray the day of the riot. He also had his hand sliced open.
He told CNN he thought he was going to die.
Sergeant Aquilino Gonell of U.S. Capitol Police
‘They called us traitors. They beat us. They dragged us,’ he said. ‘And I could hear them, ‘We’re going to shoot you. We’re going to kill you. You’re choosing your paycheck over the country. You’re a disgrace. You’re a traitor.”
He has watched footage from that day to try and help the FBI to identify rioters. He told The Post he is seeing a therapist to help with post-traumatic stress disorder.
Gonell emigrated from the Dominican Republic to the United States at the age of 12, eventually enlisted in the Army Reserve and was deployed to Iraq in 2003. He joined the Capitol Police in 2008.
Michael Fanone had become the most out-spoken police officer from that day.
He was beaten with a flagpole and repeatedly tased with his own Taser. Rioters stole his badge and grabbed at his gun. When they said they should ‘kill him with his own gun,’ Fanone told them, ‘I have kids,’ according to footage from that day.
Officer Michael Fanone of DC Metro Police
He suffered a mild heart attack because of the attack.
In the days after the riot, he sought a meeting with House GOP Leader Kevin McCarthy and expressed his disappointment in the leader after it was over, saying McCarthy declined his request to publicly chastise Republican lawmakers who down played what happened on January 6.
‘I asked him specifically for a commitment to denounce that publicly. And he said that he would address it at a personal level, with some of those members. But again, I think that as a leader of the House Republican, or I’m sorry, as the leader of the House Republican Party, it’s important to hear those denouncements publicly,’ he said.
‘This experience for me is not something that I enjoy,’ he said of meeting with lawmakers on Capitol Hill. ‘I don’t want to be up here on Capitol Hill — I want to be with my daughters. But I see this as an extension of my service on Jan. 6.’
Daniel Hodges was crushed in a doorway between a massive press of rioters and the police line on January 6th, writhing and screaming in pain.
Officer Daniel Hodges of DC Metro Police on the day of the riot
The video of his struggle shows one of the rioters grabbing at Hodges’ helmet and trying to rip it off.
He didn’t suffer any broken bones or internal bleeding, but said he walked like a 90-year-old man for a week.
‘I had conspiracy theorists and everyone you could think of yelling at me, saying, ‘Why are you doing this, you’re the traitor,” he said of that day. ‘We’re not the traitors. We’re the ones who saved Congress that day, and we’ll do it as many times as necessary.’
The House committee also won’t hesitate to subpoena Trump or anyone who had conversations with him that day, which could include McCarthy.
‘Anybody who had a conversation with the White House and officials in the White House while the invasion of the Capitol was going on is directly in the investigative sights of the committee,’ Democratic Rep. Bennie Thompson, the chair of the panel, told The Wall Street Journal on Monday.
‘I don’t want to name him, but what I will say is that in the conversations we’ve had as a committee, there’s been no reluctance whatsoever to go where the facts lead us,’ he said when asked specifically about Trump.
He also noted the panel would subpoena any necessary records or phone records as part of their investigation.
The Justice Department notified former Trump administration officials this week that they could testify to the various committees investigating the riot, according to a letter obtained by The New York Times.
Cheney said on GMA on Tuesday morning that Trump and McCarthy could be subpoenaed.
‘It could,’ she said of the possibility. ‘The committee will go wherever we need to go to get to the facts.’
Democratic Rep. Bennie Thompson, the chair of the panel, didn’t rule subpoenaing Donald Trump to testify – above Trump speaks to his supporters outside the White House on the morning of January 6th
Pro-Trump protesters clash with D.C. police officer Michael Fanone on January 6th
Thousands of Donald Trump supporters swarmed the Capitol on January 6th
Trump has denied any wrong doing. He spoke to his supporters at a rally outside the White House on January 6th and spent the weeks after the November election falsely claiming he won and was the victim of voter fraud.
He was impeached a second time on charges of he incited an insurrection at the Capitol. He was acquitted by the Senate.
McCarthy said Republicans will launch their own investigation of January 6th.
Republicans opposed Pelosi’s original call for a 9/11-style bipartisan commission. McCarthy opposed it in the House where it passed with Democratic support. But the bill died in the Senate once Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell announced he would not support it.
Republicans wanted the commission to have a larger scope – and not just study what happened on January 6, but other acts of so-called ‘political violence’ including last summer’s Black Lives Matter protests.
US Capitol riots: Hearing plays radio calls of police begging for help on January 6