And with that, the hearing is adjourned for the day. They’ll have 10 days to submit reports and additional questions.
No exaggeration, that was probably the most intense three hours I’ve ever seen. Watch it. Tell your friends and families to watch it.
It’s barely one Avengers movie long and a million times more important, just watch it.
Didn’t see a liveblog up yet, starting one for those who are interested. I’ll take mine down if a staff one shows up.
Opening remarks were made by the chair, along with a chilling video of the most graphic moments of the attack: the insurrectionists and their rage juxtaposed with the law enforcement panicked response to hold the line in spite of them.
The chair has recognized Liz Cheney, stating how important it is both parties are heard here today. Cheney speaking now, talking about the importance of the committee and its work.
Watch live here:
Cheney delivering some excellent remarks about the gravity of the moment. Police officer witnesses being introduced by Rep. Thompson.
Sgt. Gonell, an immigrant from the Dominican Republic, giving a summary statement. Talking about the efforts to destroy the truth and whitewash what happened. “Violent domestic extremists”.
Talking about his hopes when coming here, his journey from immigrant, to soldier, to police officer.
Sgt. Gonell proving a very powerful witness. Hearing the story of this man becoming a citizen, serving in Iraq, the importance and seriousness with which he took his oaths, all paints a picture of him as the best kind of American. Hearing his reaction to the mob calling him a “traitor” is very emotional, you can tell how deeply insulting and terrible it was for him to endure their treatment.
Sgt. Gonell describes the attack as something “like a medieval battle…we fought inch by inch”. He’s staying composed, but it’s clear this experience left a deep emotional impact on this brave man.
Recalls thinking to himself: “this is how I’m going to die: defending this entrance”.
Heart-wrenching anecdote about arriving home at 4 AM after things were finally under control, and having to push his wife away when she tried to hold him because the chemicals had soaked into his uniform.
Mentions going back to work in spite of injuries because he wanted to defend the Capitol.
Sgt. Gonell calls out the difference in response between 1/6 and the BLM protests of 2020. Had all they needed for BLM, but were abandoned for a long time on 1/6. “Why the different response?”
“We’re not asking for medals, recognition. We just want justice, accountability”
Officer Fanone now up after Sgt. Gonell finished his incredibly emotional and powerful testimony.
Officer Fanone mentions his career starting in DC, at the time of 9/11.
Officer Fanone describes his long career, seen dicey things, worked undercover, but still calls 1/6 unlike anything he had ever seen or could have imagined possible.
Recalls how he was abused, attacked, nearly killed with his own gun that day. Still can hear shouts of “kill him with his own gun!”. Says the attack was nothing his extensive training could have prepared him for.
Describing the heroism of the officers that day, the dedication of them and their efforts to hold the line in spite of all they endured.
Talks about the things that went through his mind that day, and now the struggle for both him and his family to deal with the ongoing trauma from that day.
Calls the treatment of him and his fellow officers by those denying or downplaying the attack “disgraceful!”. This flash of anger really underscores how disgusted he is by the whitewashing that has been attempted.
Officer Fanone wraps up with a call for this to be investigated without regards to partisanship, the importance of this investigation.
Officer Hodges now speaking.
Officer Hodges starts off by talking about the way some of the group in the speech crowd were dressed: tactical gear, BDUs, makes it clear they sounded more like soldiers or cops than simple spectators.
One of them asked him if they thought they had enough manpower to stop them all. Hodges and his colleague were dumbfounded by the question.
Recounts hearing about that a bomb was discovered, last thing he heard before putting on protective gear and moving in to defend the Capitol, the hostile reaction they got from the mob when they arrived.
Hodges does not refer to them as “rioters” when discussing how they were attacked, but as “terrorists”. He talks of how the “terrorists” trying to take their weapons, beating them, trying to overwhelm them. All this before they even got to the worst of it, where they were heading in the first place.
Describes his “perpetual confusion” at seeing the Thin Blue Line flag being flown by terrorists who attacked them, ignored them, sprayed them with poison, and so on.
Proof it’s never really been about supporting the cops.
Officer Hodges adding his experiences falling back, regrouping, moving back to defend the building and thinking they were the last line of defense.
Having heard the testimony so far, this sounds more and more like actual combat. To anyone who thinks describing it as an “insurrection” is going too far, you can shut up forever. These cops sounded like they were fighting a war for the Capitol, and weren’t sure if they’d win.
Truly awful stuff so far. These officers giving their first-hand accounts of living through it brings the horror of what we saw to a whole new level. It was so much worse than we thought, and we thought it was terrible.
Officer Dunn speaking now. Starts with a moment of silence for the fallen officer.
Officer Dunn describes hearing about the possible bomb, the nervousness on hearing that and seeing the crowds swelling, radio reports of more people coming, calls for more officers needed, and the breach in the fence.
Officer Dunn describing seeing “insurrectionists” (good to hear them use these terms), and his decision to stand his ground, as the only one standing between them and officers recovering from the attack.
“No one had ever called me a n****r while wearing the capitol uniform”.
More tales of racial epithets against fellow officers.
Tell me again how these people aren’t bigots, just economically anxious.
Wrapping up, tells his fellow officers to seek counseling if they need it, and asks the committee to look into making sure they have the support they need to recover from this trauma.
Leaves with a final statement to the “rioters, insurrectionists, and terrorists”:
“Democracy went on that night, and still continues to exist today. Democracy is bigger than any one person and any one party. You tried to disrupt democracy that day, and you failed.”
Chair Thompson moves on to questions.
Chair asks Sgt. Gonell to compare his experiences in Iraq to the attack on 1/6. Good question, the attack sounded so much like combat, hearing how it compares to an actual war zone is important.
Sgt. Gonell mentions the dangers they faced in Iraq, but “at least [they] knew” it was a war zone. Describes how they fought for their lives to defend Congress.
Cheney up to ask questions. I am so happy it’s her and Kinzinger we’re going to hear from, not more shouting and table-pounding from Jordan.
Cheney starting with the attack being like “a medieval battle”. Asking Gonell about his experience thinking that he was the last line of defense, and then hearing Trump call it a “loving crowd”.
Gonell on the loving crowd: “I’m still recovering from the ‘hugs’ and ‘kisses’ we received that day…it’s insulting and demoralizing.”
Stresses that Trump did this, it was his supporters, and he did nothing. Emphasizes it wasn’t BLM or Antifa.
Officer Dunn speaking on how unprepared they were: they were anticipating civil disobedience, a few arrests, some harsh words.
Says the text he got made the hair on his neck rise, says that message only foreshadowed what came, they were not prepared at all for what came.
Rep. Cheney has the text message in question added to the record.
Rep. Lofgren now up for questions. Starts by thanking the officers for their bravery. It’s clear the committee has a deep respect and feeling of gratitude for these brave officers. Lofgren assures Officer Dunn that the officers will have the resources and support they need.
Sgt. Gonell starts answering her question by apologizing for his “outburst”, where he said if Trump thought that was a loving crowd they should go to his house to show him a loving crowd.
He’s a better man than I; I’d stand by that opinion.
Rep. Lofgren precedes her next question with a video showing some of the worst of the violent shoving matches to overrun police lines. She apologizes for the distress of showing it to them, but says the public needs to see it.
It’s a lot of bodycam footage, gives a very frightening look at what those cops went through. Ends with the officer being carried by his fellow officers, calling for medics, EMTs, urging the officer to stay with them.
Truly horrific stuff.
Officer Fanone’s experiences show how lucky we are: many officers, like him, “self-deployed” to reinforce the cops defending the Capitol.
Thank God, in all sincerity, we had so many cops who took their oaths seriously and heroically put themselves in danger to protect our republic. Without them, we almost certainly would have lost it that day.
Rep. Kinzinger up now after some intense testimony from Officer Fanone.
Kinzinger clearly upset and emotional over this, both by the attack and his party’s efforts to sweep it under the rug. He calls out his own party on their partisanship. Kinzinger was a damn good choice to put on this committee.
Kinzinger gives a very forceful opening statement. Directly confronting the story about this being a unarmed protest, wanting to completely dismantle the myth about the crown being unarmed.
Kinzinger finished, and now we’re on to Rep. Schiff. After Kinzinger’s amazing words, this is shaping up to be a solid block of congress’ best.
If I was Mitch McConnell, I’d be starting to regret shooting down the bipartisan compromise option. This committee is sober, serious, focused, and deeply emotionally invested in their work. This will not be a quick cover-up, and there will be no table-pounding antics for Fox to focus on instead. The outrage in the room is palpable.
Sgt. Gonell calls it a disgrace how the people they have defended (read: the Republicans not in this room) have responded.
Talking about his desire to protect the members of congress, even after he had just gotten home. Says the partisan holdouts are not honoring their oaths, and that refusal to honor their oaths of office is what bothers him most.
Schiff choking up during his closing remarks. “God help us”.
Rep. Aguilar is up now. I bet McCarthy feels pretty stupid for not taking his three picks when he could.
Officer Hodges talking about the difficulty in spotting weapons and apprehending individuals when you’re dealing with crowds of this scale and attitude.
As an aside, it’s nice to see racism being brought to the fore and addressed openly. White nationalism and bigotry are an inextricable part of the American fascist movement that is forming, and it needs to be called out and investigated. The questions here make me believe they’ll be a focal point throughout the hearings.
Rep. Aguilar now showing a video to make it clear how prevalent weapons were; they are systematically destroying the argument it was an unarmed, mostly peaceful demonstration.
A photo of Gonell’s injured foot is shown, and it looked terrible.
He’s describing the extent of his injuries. Putting as much humanity into the stories of violence is important, to show how serious this was.
Sgt. Gonell recounting the bigotry he experienced that day now. Says it takes time to process those events, wasn’t thinking about racism in the moment, was doing his duty.
He echoes his fellow officer: it’s only after, on reflection, that you realize that aspect. This is why trauma can take so long to show up, and explains why Officer Dunn is so adamant about them getting the help they need.
Now Officer Hodges talking about the whiteness of the crowd and white supremacist groups present that day.
Aguilar finishes up, Rep. Murphy now recognized.
Another video, bodycam footage from one of the witnesses. Shows him gearing up, moving in, the cloud of gas, officers fighting to hold the line in the thick of it.
My internet crapped out for about 10 minutes, I missed nearly all of Rep. Murphy’s time.
Rep. Raskin is now starting, calls the insurrectionists “fascist traitors”. Finally, the “f” word goes on the record. Raskin starts with Officer Dunn, calls him the Pride of Maryland.
Officer Hodges responds to the allegation that the mob were all tourists: “If these were tourists, I can see why other countries don’t like American tourists”, gets some laughs before he moves on to a serious reply.
Hodges understands the resistance to using the label “terrorists”, then procedes to explain, by the book, why the label is apt. The follow-up question closes Raskin’s time.
Sgt. Gonell answering with a powerful statement about why this refusal to get to the bottom of the attack, opposing it is “defending the indefensible”, explains how demoralizing it is not just to the cops on duty but also to the recruits considering joining them.
Stresses the non-partisan nature of officers like him, and the hypocrisy of those who claimed to defend them but won’t support the investigation now, how it makes it hard to get people willing to risk their lives to defend a Congress that won’t act to do justice by them.
On to Rep. Luria.
Another video, Rep. Luria encourages people to at least listen to it if they can’t watch it. Footage of the insurrectionists hurling verbal abuse at officers.
The level of hate and anger is unreal.
Officer Fanone takes a long moment, struggling to find the words to describe how it felt to be subject to that level of abuse that day.
These officers are making for some truly powerful witnesses. Dunn already delivered a line that should become part of our nation’s history on the same level as Nathan Hale’s “I regret I have but one life to live…”, Fanone’s passionate fist-slam, and the choking, emotional testimonies from the officers, history is clearly being made today.
Perhaps Rep. Luria senses that too; she just quoted Hemingway (earns a digital tip of the hat from me).
Rep. Luria calling out the cowardice of putting re-election over their oaths of office, praising the heroics of the officers, in some really incredible language.
I know this was said a lot in the impeachment hearings, but Democrats are just so, so good at this. Rep. Luria’s powerful closing remarks follows with a question from Rep. Thompson, asking them to describe what they feel is the committee’s duty, what their objective should be.
I honestly gave up trying to pick one thing from any of the officers so far. Each one has been more gripping than the last.
Officer Dunn delivers another history-worthy line, asking why Reps. Kinzinger and Cheney are being called heroes: “Why, because they told the truth?” The outrage, the madness of their decision to put country over party being that controversial, is impossible to miss.
Ends with an analogy to someone hiring a hitman needing to be caught.
Sgt. Gonell speaking now.
This is a Creative Commons article. The original version of this article appeared here.