Trump supporters mobs attacked police officers, threatened their lives and hurled racial slurs as they stormed the Capitol, law enforcement witnesses said Tuesday at the first hearing of the special committee’s special committee on the riot.
“I was grabbed, beaten, and fooled while being labeled a traitor to my country,” said Michael Fanone, a Metropolitan Police Department officer.
“I was in danger of getting undressed and killed with my own gun when I heard chants, ‘Kill him with his own gun.'”
Washington Metropolitan Police Department official Michael Fanone listens during the House of Representatives Special Committee hearing on the attack on Capitol Hill in Washington, the United States, July 27, 2021.
Andrew Harnik | Reuters
The testimony of the four officials painted the picture of a vicious, weapon-wielding mob poised to attack the police in order to accomplish its goal of preventing Congress from confirming Joe Biden’s election victory over then-President Donald Trump that went on for weeks falsely claiming that Wahl had been stolen from him.
“They were literally there to stop the theft,” PFC Harry Dunn told the Capitol Police, referring to a phrase Trump used repeatedly after his loss to Biden, including at a rally shortly before the invasion began.
Dunn, who is Black, also described being cursed with racial slurs by a group of Trump supporters when they found out he had voted for Biden.
Washington Metropolitan Police Department official Harry Dunn listens to the House of Representatives Special Committee hearing on the January 6 attack on Capitol Hill in Washington, the United States, on July 27, 2021.
Andrew Harnik | Reuters
“A woman in a pink ‘MAGA’ shirt yelled, ‘You hear that folks, these N —– voted for Joe Biden!’ Then the crowd, maybe around 20 people, joined in and yelled ‘Boo! F —— n —–!’ “He said.
Dunn later testified that he “could not process it as a racial attack” at the time. “I was just trying to survive that day and get home,” he said.
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Rep. Bennie Thompson, D-Miss., Who heads the panel and chairs the House Homeland Security Committee, and Rep. Liz Cheney, R-Wyo., Emphasized at the beginning of the hearing that the problems that led to the invasion had not been resolved .
“This threat has not gone away. It hovers over our democracy like a dark cloud,” said Thompson.
Early Tuesday, Cheney suggested the investigation could summon Trump and House GOP Leader Kevin McCarthy. “It could,” Cheney told ABC News. “The committee will go where we need to go to get the facts.”
Metropolitan Police Department officer Daniel Hodges testifies during the opening hearing of the House of Representatives (Select Committee) responsible for the attack on the U.S. Capitol on Jan.
Jim Bourg | Reuters
Some of the officials also expressed disbelief at ongoing efforts to downplay the attack, including by lawmakers who were present on January 6th.
“We have all fought for our lives to give you guys a chance to go home to your families and escape,” said Capitol Police Sgt. Aquilino Gonell told lawmakers, “And now the same people we helped are attacking have, the same people we gave them borrowed time to get to safety now attacking our characters. “
Gonell also described being crushed by a group of rioters who broke into the building.
“I could feel myself losing oxygen and remember thinking, ‘This is how I will die to defend this entrance,'” he said.
U.S. Capitol Police Sgt.Aquilino Gonell looks down and covers his eyes during the House Special Committee hearing on the January 6 attack on Capitol Hill in Washington, the United States, July 27, 2021.
Andrew Harnik | Reuters
Officials also spoke from Trump’s White House after the panel’s lawmakers called for more factual and accountability.
Investigators need to find out “what happened every minute of that day at the White House – every phone call, every conversation, every meeting before, during and after the attack,” said Cheney, one of two Republicans on the nine-member panel.
“Honorable men and women have a duty to move forward. If those responsible are not held accountable and Congress does not act responsibly, it will remain a cancerous growth for our constitutional republic and undermine the peaceful transfer of power at the heart of our democratic society. “System,” Cheney said.
US Representative Liz Cheney (R-WY) listens to testimony from Metropolitan Police Department officer Daniel Hodges, who remembers himself being killed during the attack on the US Capitol on Capitol Hill 6 in Washington, USA, July 27, 2021.
Jim Bourg | Reuters
Before the mob broke into the Capitol, Trump held a rally outside the White House, putting pressure on Republicans, including Vice President Mike Pence, to challenge the results of the Key State Electoral College. He admonished the crowd to march to the Capitol and told them, “If you don’t fight like hell, you will have no more land.”
When hordes of rioters broke the ranks of law enforcement officers and poured into the Capitol, Trump first hit pence on Twitter for refusing to reject votes. Pence “didn’t have the courage to do what should have been done,” tweeted Trump.
He later posted a video urging the insurgents who tried to go home, adding, “We love you. You are very special.”
The House Committee, whose members were all appointed by Democratic House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, was created after the Republicans in the Senate established an independent 11th-style commission.
US MP Adam Kinzinger becomes emotional as he speaks during a hearing of the House Special Committee investigating the January 6 attack on Capitol Hill in Washington, USA, on July 27, 2021.
Oliver Contraras | Reuters
Cheney and Illinois Rep. Adam Kinzinger, both vocal critics of Trump after Jan. 6, are the only Republicans on the panel. Republicans in the House of Representatives voted to remove Cheney from her leadership role in the House of Representatives after she refused to stop criticizing Trump for spreading the lie that the 2020 elections were rigged to favor President Joe Biden.
McCarthy proposed five Republicans to join the select committee, but withdrew all of their names after Pelosi rejected two of his proposals. One of those denials, Rep. Jim Jordan of Ohio, could be a key witness in the investigation, Cheney said last week.
For the first few minutes of the hearing, Thompson played a video stitching footage from and around the Capitol during the siege. The video showed rioters attacking the police, shooting with sprays and throwing objects, breaking windows and other property, threatening the legislature by name and demanding that the election results be withdrawn.
Some of the officers looked away from the video being played.
In his closing remarks, Dunn compared the insurgents to hired murderers.
“If a hit man is hired and kills someone, the hit man goes to jail. But not only the hit man goes to jail, but also the person who hired him. It was an attack on January 6th and a hit man dispatched them. I want you to get to the bottom of this. ”