Thompson, Cheney Expose Trump Guilt During Opening Statements

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For 187 minutes, three hours and seven minutes of Capitol Police attempting to push back against a mob who beat and bear-sprayed them and lawmakers ran for shelter to hide from the violent mob, the president of the United States did nothing. In the 8th hearing by the Jan. 6 Committee, those 187 minutes are the focus.

The hearings began with an opening statement by committee chair Rep. Bennie Thompson (D-MS), who tested positive for COVID-19 earlier in the week and gave his statement via satellite. Thompson said that Donald Trump lied, bullied, and betrayed his oath in an attempt to thwart democracy and overturn a democratic election. For his final act of betrayal against his country, he summoned a violent mob to attack the Capitol Building and hunt down his own vice president, Mike Pence.

Thompson also noted that Trump’s allies, aides, the victims of the attack, nor his own family’s pleas would not move him to act. Instead, he sat at his dining room table in the White House watching the attack unfold on television. He made targets out of his vice president and those officers, tweeting hateful messages about Pence to his supporters during the attack to continue to inflame them.

Vice chair Liz Cheney (R-WY) said that the committee has detailed a seven-part plan by Trump to overturn the election, steps that included pressuring state officials, weaponizing the Department of Justice, and the incitement of an attack against lawmakers. She showed video of Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) in the hours immediately after the attack saying that “a mob assaulted the Capitol in [Trump’s] name…it was obvious that only Trump could stop it.” Trump did not, choosing to sit back and watch his supporters fight for him, safe from the White House.

Most importantly, both Thompson and Cheney said that the committee will spend August gathering more evidence, with new witnesses coming forward every day. More hearings in which the committee will present its findings to the American people will air in September.