The first in a series of hearings on the storming of President Donald Trump’s supporters on the Capitol on January 6, 2021, took place before the House of Representatives committee. Among the testimony was Caroline Edwards, a policewoman on that day. She described the riots in which five people died and several dozen were wounded as “massacre and chaos”.
During the interrogation, broadcast by most major American television stations, Caroline Edwards, who was among the officers protecting the Capitol from the advancing crowd on January 6, called the attack “a massacre, a scene like from war and chaos.” burns from chemical spraying by the participants of the riots, she also got concussions and lost consciousness.
– I couldn’t believe my eyes. The policemen were lying on the ground, they were bleeding and vomiting. (…) I was slipping in the blood of people. In my wildest dreams, I did not think that as a policewoman, as a law enforcement officer, I would be in the middle of a battle. I’m trained to stop a few people and deal with crowds, but I’m not trained to fight. And that day it was hours of hand-to-hand combat – she said.
Democratic House of Representatives chairman Bennie Thompson and Republican Vice-President Liz Cheney also interviewed British documentary filmmaker Nick Quested, who filmed the strike of the far-right paramilitary group Proud Boys on the Capitol.
Quested told, among others on interviews with group leader Enrique Tarrio, accused of conspiracy over the riots, and with Stewart Rhodes, leader of the anti-government militia Oath Keepers. – I documented how the crowd changed from protesters to rebels and insurgents. I was surprised by the size of the group, its anger and vulgarity – he said in relation to the Proud Boys.
In a video, commission investigator Marcus Childress explained how the Proud Boys planned and coordinated the attack on the Capitol in response to Trump’s call after his contested defeat in the presidential election.
First of six committee meetings
During the committee meeting, recordings of the testimonies of leading representatives of the administration and the ex-president’s family as well as video footage of the riots were also shown. Among the collected materials were statements by the daughter of the then president – Ivanka Trump. Contrary to her father, who keeps pushing for the idea that the election has been stolen, she believes and accepts the Justice Department’s position that there has not been enough fraud to invalidate the election. Also, then-attorney general William Barr was to tell Trump that he had lost the election.
It was the first of six scheduled public committee meetings intended by democratic legislators to prove that the former president was at the center of “a coordinated, multi-step effort to overturn the 2020 election results.”
The head of the commission, Bennie Thompson, warned that US democracy was under threat. – The conspiracy to frustrate the will of the people is not over yet. (…) There are people in this country who want power, but do not like or respect what makes America great: devotion to the constitution, fidelity to the rule of law, our common path to build a more perfect union – he assessed.
Cheney emphasized that for the first time ever USA the president did not hand over power peacefully. – (As the then-in-office – editor) President Trump appealed to the crowd, gathered them and lit the flame of this attack – she argued.
Main photo source: JIM LO SCALZO / PAP / EPA