PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — The Capitol assault hearing Thursday evening was the first of many scheduled throughout June and July. Like many, local politics professor Jim Moore was tuned into the first of the Jan. 6 hearings and says there’s still so much to learn from those who were directly involved that day.
“I say this to my Republican colleagues who are defending the indefensible – there will come a day when Donald Trump is gone, but your dishonor will remain,” said Rep. Liz Cheney (R-Wyo.), one of two Republicans on the panel. It was a powerful start to the series of hearings planned over the next few weeks as the House Committee investigating the Jan. 6 riots makes their findings public.
“Usually, congressional hearings are almost shambolic affairs with people asking questions from all angles. Because there are no opposition lawmakers on this panel, this was really, really focused,” said Moore, who teaches politics at Pacific University. “Liz Cheney, the ranking Republican on the panel was the one who really made the case against President Trump.”
In the first hearing, the public heard from the committee on what they learned in the last year, including never-before-seen video from the riots and testimony from one of the Capitol Hill officers injured. Moore says while many Proud Boys and others there came on their own accord, it also brings new questions of what went on behind the scenes — and if we may learn those findings in future hearings.
“They came because the President called them,” said Moore, referring to those who came on their own to the Capitol. “There’s a lot of coordination and a lot of almost infrastructure that we’re now beginning to see a lot more clearly that would require a lot of money to get going and were these the people that were truly organizing what was going on. That will be a big question as we move forward.”
KOIN 6 also spoke with Multnomah Co. Commissioner Sushella Jayapal, whose sister, Washington Congresswoman Pramila Jayapal, is seen on video taking cover in the Capitol during the siege. Pramila Jayapal was present for the hearing.
“The Jan. 6 hearings aren’t only about the Jan. 6 insurrection, or only about holding former President Trump and all others who participated accountable,” said Commissioner Jayapal. “They are about a concerted, intentional, coordinated effort to overthrow a free and fair election – the bedrock of our democracy. In other words – they aren’t only about an assault on our Capitol; they are about an assault on our democracy. Our response will determine whether and how that democracy survives.”
As the committee prepares for hours of more hearings, Moore says it’s reminiscent of the Watergate hearings nearly 50 years ago, with one thing to look out for.
“Are there going to be any bombshells?” asked Moore. “Are there going to be things where a witness says something that the committee didn’t quite know about and it goes off in an interesting direction?”
The committee plans to hold several more hearings running into next month. The next hearing is scheduled for Monday, June 13, starting at 7 a.m. PT.