An experiment begins this Thursday in Washington. The investigative committee in the US House of Representatives into the storming of the Capitol starts its public hearings – broadcast live at prime time at 8 p.m. (local time).
The big question is: will Americans listen? A year and a half after the uprising on January 6, 2021, will the US Democrats succeed in raising public awareness of how close America came to catastrophe?
The six planned hearings will probably not be boring. The nine committee members (seven Democrats, two Republicans) and their investigators have hired former ABC News President James Goldston as an advisor.
In a combination of live testimonials, recorded interviews and other, sometimes drastic video material, the attempt by Donald Trump’s supporters to overturn the 2020 presidential election is to be traced.
This will be similar to the only public hearing in July 2021 and the impeachment proceedings against Trump – the “best of” the findings so far will be shown. The committee conducted more than 1,000 interviews and reviewed over 140,000 documents, and a final report is due in September.
It should bang right at the beginning. According to media reports, excerpts from the interview with Trump’s daughter Ivanka Trump will be shown this Thursday. In it, she is expected to describe how she tried in vain for two hours to convince her father to persuade his followers to give up.
At the time, Trump was in the White House watching the mob. He had rioted in the Capitol to prevent Joe Biden’s November 2020 election victory from being officially confirmed. Five people died, including a police officer. At a previous rally, Trump baited his supporters with the false claim that the election was stolen.
The committee doesn’t have much time to convince the public of Trump’s guilt and the importance of the day. If the Democrats lose their majority in the House of Representatives in November’s congressional elections, the committee would likely be discontinued.
The vast majority of Republicans boycott the investigators’ work, claiming it is partisan-motivated. She also supports Trump in making her supporters believe that Biden’s victory was not right. According to surveys, fewer and fewer believe that Trump is responsible for the riots: Only 45 percent of Americans still say yes – in January 2021 52 percent were still of this opinion.
Therein lies the greatest task of the committee: It has to get the Americans’ attention, make it clear to them how dramatic January 6, 2021 was – and thus initiate a change of mood.
Can this work? The Democrats are counting on it. Democratic committee member Jamie Raskin announced, “The hearings are going to tell a story that will really blow the roof off the House.”
Liz Cheney, the only Republican on the panel alongside Adam Kinzinger, said, “People need to look at this, and they need to understand how easily our democratic system can collapse if we don’t defend it.”
Cheney is one of the few conservatives to publicly criticize Trump – which could cost her the loss of her mandate. Out of revenge, Trump supports one of her opponents in the Wyoming internal party primaries on August 16.