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explainer

The House committee investigating the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol is going public with its findings starting June 9, in an attempt to show the “harrowing story” of the deadly violence that erupted that day. With never-seen-before video, new audio and a mass of evidence, it runs alongside the backstory of the defeated president, Donald Trump, trying to overturn Joe Biden’s election victory.

Nearly a year since its inception, the House committee investigating the attack has issued more than 100 subpoenas and more than 1,000 interviews have been conducted. Meanwhile, the Justice Department has arrested and charged more than 800 people for the violence that day, the biggest dragnet in its history.

David Shribman: Unprecedented prime-time hearings on Jan. 6 riot echo Watergate drama

The series of hearings that will take place over the next several weeks begin with a prime-time session Thursday night in which the nine-member panel plans to give an overview of its 11-month investigation. More than 1,000 people have been interviewed by the panel, and only snippets of that testimony have been revealed to the public, mostly through court filings.

“People are going to have to follow two intersecting streams of events – one will be the attempt to overturn the presidential election, that’s a harrowing story in itself,” Rep. Jamie Raskin, D-Md., a member of the committee, said in an interview.

“The other will be the sequence of events leading up to a violent mob attack on the Capitol to stop the counting of Electoral College votes and block the peaceful balance of power,” he said.

President Donald Trump arrives to speak during a rally protesting the electoral college certification of Joe Biden as President in Washington, Jan. 6, 2021. Members of the House committee investigating the events of Jan. 6 will hold their first prime time hearing Thursday, Jan. 9.Jacquelyn Martin/The Associated Press

Here’s what you need to know ahead of the start of the hearing:

When will the Jan. 6 commission be broadcast?

The first of six hearings is set to go live at 8 p.m. EDT on Thursday, June 9 and is expected to last until late June. The prime-time hearing will be both an overview of the investigation and a preview of the hearings to come.

Where to watch the Jan. 6 committee hearings in Canada

The committee hearing will take place in a large House office building in the U.S. Capitol complex. Lawmakers plan to have witnesses testify and to display a series of never-before-seen images and exhibits relating to the lead-up to the insurrection and the attack itself.

In Canada, the hearing will likely be covered by major broadcast networks and is available to stream online on C-SPAN’s YouTube page.

In the United States, it’s expected most networks – with the notable exception of Fox News Channel – will carry the first hearing live in its prime-time slot. Fox News, the country’s the most-watched cable network, will cover the first in a series of House Select Committee public hearings as “news warrants,” it said in a release, otherwise leaving its regular lineup intact.

Other major broadcast networks and cable news channels, which will be covering the 8-10 p.m. EDT hearing in whole, include CNN (anchored by Jake Tapper and Anderson Cooper) and MSNBC (hosted by Rachel Maddow, Nicolle Wallace and Joy Reid), as well as David Muir anchoring for ABC, Lester Holt for NBC and Norah O’Donnell for CBS.

Television crews and technicians prepare the Cannon Caucus Room for Thursday night's hearing by the House select committee investigating the attack of Jan. 6, 2021, at the Capitol in Washington, June 7, 2022.J. Scott Applewhite/The Associated Press

Who is expected to testify during the televised commission?

The committee will open with eyewitness testimony from the first police officer pummeled in the mob riot, U.S. Capitol Police Officer Caroline Edwards.

It will also feature the committee’s accounts from Trump’s aides and family members, interviewed behind closed doors, of the deadly siege that Democrats and others say put U.S. democracy at risk.

Documentary maker Nick Quested, who filmed the Proud Boys storming the Capitol – and a pivotal leadership meeting with another extremist group, the Oath Keepers, the night before in nearby parking garage – will also appear Thursday.

In photos: See how the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol unfolded

Leaders of both the Proud Boys and the Oath Keepers, along with some members, have since been indicted on rare sedition charges over the military-style attack.

Along with the eyewitness testimony, the panel will unveil multimedia presentations, including previously unreleased video and audio, and a “mountain of evidence,” said a committee aide who insisted on anonymity to preview the hearing.

Information from Trump’s daughter Ivanka Trump, who urged her father to call off the rioters, is likely to be shared from her private appearance before the committee.

What will first hearing entail?

The first hearing is expected to be a table-setter for the rest of the subsequent hearings. The committee plans to lay out several areas of information it has gathered throughout its investigation.

The panel’s probe has so far been divided into a series of focus areas:

  • the efforts by former President Trump and his allies to cast doubt on the election and halt the certification of President Joe Biden’s victory
  • the financing and organizing of rallies in Washington that took place before the attack
  • security failures by Capitol Police and federal agencies
  • the actions of the rioters themselves

Violent insurrectionists loyal to President Donald Trump storm the Capitol, Jan. 6, 2021, in Washington.John Minchillo/The Associated Press

What is expected to happen after the June 9 hearing?

In the weeks ahead, the panel is expected to detail Trump’s public campaign to “Stop the Steal” and the private pressure he put on the Justice Department to reverse his election loss – despite dozens of failed court cases and his own attorney general attesting there was no fraud on a scale that could have tipped the results in his favor.

The proceedings are expected to introduce Americans to a cast of characters, some well known, others elusive, and to what they said and did as Trump and his allies tried to reverse the election outcome.

The public will learn about the actions of Mark Meadows, the president’s chief of staff, whose 2,000-plus text messages provided the committee with a snapshot of the real-time scramble to keep Trump in office. Of John Eastman, the conservative law professor who was the architect of the unsuccessful scheme to persuade Vice President Mike Pence to halt the certification on Jan. 6. Of the Justice Department officials who threatened to resign rather than go along with Trump’s proposals.

Lawmakers have also been caught up in the probe, including House GOP leader Kevin McCarthy, who defied the committee’s subpoena requests for testimony.

Trump is not expected to appear at any of the hearings.

Will there be new details about the insurrection?

Several members of the committee have promised new and explosive information to arise from the public hearings, but it remains unclear what that will entail.

The hearings are expected to be exhaustive but not the final word from the committee. It plans to release subsequent reports on its findings, including recommendations on legislative reforms, ahead of the midterm elections.

This combination of photos shows the members of the House Select Committee tasked with investigating the Jan. 6 attack. Top row from left, Rep. Jamie Raskin, D-Md., Rep. Zoe Lofgren, D-Calif., Chairman Rep. Bennie Thompson, D-Miss., Rep. Elaine Luria, D-Va., and Rep. Pete Aguilar, D-Calif. Bottom row from left, Rep. Adam Kinzinger, R-Ill., Rep. Stephanie Murphy, D-Fla., Rep. Liz Cheney, R-Wyo., and Rep. Adam Schiff, D-Calif.The Associated Press

Who is on the Jan. 6 commission?

Seven Democrats and two Republicans – both shunned by their party – make up the committee.

They are: Jamie Raskin (D-Md.), Zoe Lofgren (D-Calif.), Bennie Thompson (D-Miss.), Elaine Luria (D-Va.), Pete Aguilar (D-Calif.), Adam Kinzinger (R-Ill.), Stephanie Murphy (D-Fla.), Liz Cheney (R-Wyo.) and Adam Schiff (D-Calif.).

The nine-person panel has faced obstacles from its start. Republicans blocked the formation of an independent body that could have investigated the Jan. 6 assault the way the 9/11 Commission probed the 2001 terror attack.

Instead, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi ushered the creation of the 1/6 panel through Congress over the objections of Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell. She rejected Republican-appointed lawmakers who had voted on Jan. 6 against certifying the election results.

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