Political ponderings

Summer recap: The January 6 Committee Hearings

Toby Mohr

More stories from Toby Mohr

Political Ponderings
September 26, 2022
Political Ponderings

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Political Ponderings

Many different political events made headlines over the summer of 2022 and multiple new issues rose through the political busyness to the top of the public interest. 

This new column will cover national, state and local political news and events starting with recapping this past summer and going through the Midterm elections in November.

The summer recap will spend the next few weeks covering four main events in depth; the January 6 investigation committee hearings, the Supreme Court overturning Roe v. Wade to end federal protection of abortion rights, the FBI raid of Former President Donald Trump’s home in Mar-a-Lago and the August primary elections in Wisconsin and across the country. 

The House Committee investigating the January 6 attack held eight public televised hearings over the summer to release their ongoing findings.

In order to maximize viewership, the committee hired James Goldston, former president of ABC News, to turn the boring and procedural hearings into “made-for-TV specials,” according to New York Times reporter Jeremy Peters. The hearings featured cliff hangers, dramatic reveals and surprise testimonies to keep the viewers, and the country, on their toes.

The hearings took a focus on Trump and his cabinet leading up to the Capitol attack. They also spent the entire July 21 hearing focused on what Trump did — and didn’t do — in the 187 minutes the Capitol was under siege. 

Throughout the eight public hearings several pieces of evidence were revealed:

Trump and his advisors knew he had lost the election but continued to make claims of election fraud.

“I repeatedly told the President in no uncertain terms that I did not see evidence of fraud, you know, that would have affected the outcome of the election,” Bill Barr, Trump’s Attorney General, said. “And frankly, a year and a half later, I haven’t seen anything to change my mind on that.”

Trump knew some of his supporters were armed when he told them to “march down Pennsylvania Avenue” to the Capitol building. 

In her testimony to the committee, Cassidy Hutchinson, an assistant to Trump’s Chief of Staff, said he was informed by the secret service that many supporters with weapons were stopped outside his Stop the Steal Rally.

“I overheard the President say, ‘I don’t (obscenity) care that they have weapons. They’re not here to hurt me. Take the (obscenity) mags (metal detectors) away. Let my people in. They can march to the Capitol from here,’” Hutchinson said.

Trump responded to “Hang Mike Pence” chants with “Maybe our supporters have the right idea,” according to a statement by Liz Cheney, Republican congresswoman from Wyoming and committee Vice Chair.

While the committee hearings laid out hours worth of evidence, their effectiveness remains unclear with only 8 percent of Americans polled in August saying the hearings changed their mind about January 6. 

Trump published a 12 page response to the hearings in which he denies the committee’s validity and dismisses the hearings as a “smoke and mirror show to deceive the American people.”

“If they had any real evidence, they’d hold real hearings with equal representation,” Trump wrote.

Polls conducted in August after the hearings found the public opinion mostly unchanged and the hearings ineffective in changing anybody’s minds. 

The August Monmouth University Poll found 38 percent of Americans believed Trump was responsible for the events of January 6, relatively unchanged from 42 percent in June. 29 percent of Americans, including 61 percent of Republicans, believed President Joe Biden only won the election due to voter fraud. Those numbers were unchanged from June.

The committee is planning to reconvene with a hearing on September 28 and continue to meet through December of this year. 

Mohr can be reached at [email protected]