Politics

Jan 6 Committee — Which Claims Not To Be Political — Wants To Turn Probe Into Prime Time TV

(Photo by OLIVIER DOULIERY/AFP via Getty Images)

Michael Ginsberg Congressional Reporter
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The Select Committee investigating the Jan. 6 Capitol riot is considering holding prime-time hearings with witnesses to reveal what it has learned about the planning of the riot.

“The Select Committee views upcoming hearings as one of its most important opportunities to lay out facts and provide answers to the American people about the January 6th attack and its causes,” a committee aide reportedly told Axios. “[W]e want to tell a story… reaching as many people as we can. The Select Committee’s business meetings so far have been held in the evening, and that’s certainly an option … for future hearings.”

The committee has only held one public hearing so far, featuring four law enforcement officers who protected the Capitol. However, it has collected more than 300 witnesses and collected more than 35,000 pages of documents, according to the Associated Press. It has also moved to hold in contempt former White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows and former White House chief strategist and media personality Steve Bannon for refusing to cooperate with subpoenas.

WASHINGTON, DC – NOVEMBER 15: Former Trump Administration White House advisor Steve Bannon waves after speaking to the press on his way out of federal court on November 15, 2021 in Washington, DC. Bannon was charged on Friday with two counts of contempt of Congress after refusing to comply with a subpoena from the House Select Committee investigating the January 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol. (Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images)

Most congressional hearings are conducted during normal business hours, and streamed on C-SPAN, so the decision to hold an evening hearing could be viewed as unusual.

Chairman Bennie Thompson, a Mississippi Democrat, told Bloomberg that the committee could hold a “series of hearings,” adding that doing so would allow viewers “to hear from people under oath about what led up to Jan. 6th, and to some degree, what has continued after Jan. 6.” (RELATED: Jan. 6 Committee Issues First Subpoenas To Four Trump Aides, Allies)

In addition to the riot, the committee has investigated former President Donald Trump’s broader efforts to overturn the 2020 election results. It released notes and documents taken and viewed by advisors to Trump, as well as federal officials, detailing ways to stop the counting of electoral votes. It has also reviewed an alleged effort to pressure Vice President Mike Pence into refusing to count certain states’ votes.

Most Republicans have opposed the committee’s activities, with Indiana Rep. Jim Banks arguing that it is illegitimate under House rules due to Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi’s removal of him and Ohio Rep. Jim Jordan from the committee. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, on the other hand, has said that “what [the committee is] seeking to find out is something the public needs to know.”