President Joe Biden on Friday said the high-profile summer hearings of the House select committee investigating the January 6, 2021, insurrection are “about democracy itself,” stressing that it’s important for Americans to understand what transpired.
“It’s important the American people understand what truly happened and to understand that the same forces that led January 6 remain at work today,” Biden – who has said he has not yet watched Thursday’s first prime-time hearing himself – asserted at the top of his remarks at the Port of Los Angeles.
The President also said the hearings show “how the battle for the soul of America has been far from won.”
“But I know together … we can unite and defend this nation, Democrat and Republican, allow no one to place a dagger at the throat of our democracy,” he continued. “That’s what those hearings are all about. You’re gonna hear a lot more.”
On Thursday, Biden called actions taken on the day of the insurrection a “flagrant violation of the Constitution.”
“I think it was a clear, flagrant violation of the Constitution. I think these guys and women broke the law – tried to turn around a result of an election and there’s a lot of questions, who’s responsible, who’s involved,” Biden said, but added that he would not make a “judgment” on who was involved.
During Thursday evening’s public hearings, the House select committee investigating the January 6, 2021, US Capitol attack detailed their panel’s findings, playing new video from closed-door depositions of members of former President Donald Trump’s team and depicting the violence at the Capitol.
Videos showed in Thursday’s hearing displayed how some of Trump’s allies and family members in the administration didn’t believe Trump’s claims that the election was stolen. One video showed Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Mark Milley telling the panel that then-Vice President Mike Pence was the one who ordered National Guard troops to respond to the violence on January 6, but that he was told by the White House to say it was Trump. And another clip showed staffers in House Republican Leader Kevin McCarthy’s office rushing out after the Capitol breach.
The committee also heard live testimony from a documentary filmmaker, Nick Quested, and a US Capitol Police officer, Caroline Edwards.
Edwards was injured during the insurrection and Quested documented the far-right extremist group known as the Proud Boys and their actions leading up to and on the day of the attack.
Thursday’s hearing was the first in a series this month that will highlight the findings of the panel’s investigation, which included interviews with more than 1,000 people about how Trump and his team tried to overturn the results of the 2020 election on multiple fronts.