2022 January 6th Committee Hearings
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2022 January 6th Congressional Hearings refers to a series of congressional hearings held by the United States Congress in June 2022. The goal of the hearings is to investigate the January 6th storming of the U.S. Capitol and determine who planned it and who should be held responsible for it. Over the course of the hearings, members of the January 6th Select Committee questioned former members of the Trump administration and others about the violence, how it was planned and how the administration responded. Two groups, in particular, were highlighted during the hearings, the Proud Boys and Oath Keepers, which both had members indicted for conspiracy in early 2022. The hearings became a contentious topic online after beginning in June 2022, inspiring viral debates between users and many prominent politicians.
After his loss in the 2020 Presidential Election President Donald Trump repeatedly claimed election fraud, despite no evidence supporting his allegations. These claims were later rejected by courts, state governments and members of his own administration. On January 6th, 2021, as Congress sought to ratify the election results and officially declare Joe Biden the next President, a mob of people including Trump supporters and members of right-wing organizations, such as the Proud Boys and Oath Keepers, moved toward the United States Capitol, past police barriers and then broke into the building. Trump had given a speech to a large crowd a little under two hours before and told them “We will never give up. We will never concede,” among other statements discussed in the hearings, after which many in the crowd began moving towards the Capitol. After the Capitol was breached, police and protestors clashed, resulting in the deaths of four people and dozens of injuries. Both branches of Congress were evacuated.
A few hours after the breach of the Capitol, Trump issued a video through Twitter asking people to leave the building, and they did. Later, Congress continued counting votes and affirmed that Joe Biden would be the lawfully elected President.
In the aftermath of the insurrection, a number of congresspeople called for investigations into what happened and demanded consequences for those responsible. Trump was impeached (but not removed from office) and a large FBI investigation went after citizens who had taken part in the attack on the Capitol.
In spring 2021, a Congressional Committee was formed to investigate the events of the January 6th insurrection and was joined by 10 Democrats and two Republicans, Adam Kinzinger and Liz Cheney, both of whom were censured by the Republican party afterward. The Congressional Hearings were led by the chair of the committee, Democrat Bennie Thompson, and Liz Cheney.
First Hearing June 9th, 2022
On June 9th, 2022, the first Congressional hearing for the January 6th attack began.
On the morning before the June 9th hearings, Hillary Clinton posted a tweet (seen below) receiving more than 93,000 likes in 24 hours criticizing the fact that Fox News chose not to cover the hearings.
In liberal quarters, many highlighted the seriousness and significance of the hearings. For example, Tom Nichols sent a tweet (seen below) about how “everything is on the line” on the night of June 9th, 2022, immediately following the hearings and received over 7,000 likes and 1,600 retweets in less than 24 hours, one of which was from Senator Brian Schatz.
@CalltoActivism posted (seen below) on the afternoon of June 10th, comparing the relatively muted reaction to the Congressional Hearings to the hype around the Heard vs. Depp trial just a few weeks prior. They received 3,449 likes in the day following the tweet.
Donald Trump posted (seen below) in the early morning of June 10th on his own platform Truth Social to doubt the fairness of the hearings and rebuff them, receiving over 46,000 likes in less than a day. There were reports in the days following the first hearing on June 9th that accounts on Truth Social which posted about the hearings were being shut down.
During the first day, video testimony (seen below) from Jared Kushner, Trump's son-in-law and former advisor, gained significant attention because of Kushner's characterization of White House Counsel Pat Cipollone's threats to resign because of election denial as "whining."
Former Trump White House Senior Advisor Jared Kushner tells the Jan. 6th Committee he believes repeated threats by White House Counsel Pat Cipollone to resign amounted to "whining" https://t.co/YjEvScXAAd pic.twitter.com/1DN0ZL5FQr— Bloomberg (@business) June 10, 2022
Podcast host and former Obama advisor Tommy Vietor, along with others, posted a tweet (seen below) on the evening of June 9th criticizing Kushner, which received over 14,200 likes and 990 retweets over the next few days.
Second Hearing June 13th, 2022
The second hearing set up a case that Donald Trump and people close to him were aware the 2020 election was legitimate and fundraised off claims of election irregularities anyways. Following the election, Trump reportedly raised over $250 million by claiming the election was stolen. The committee established that much of that money went to Save America PAC (which runs Trump's current operations) rather than to fighting election fraud.
Congresswoman Liz Cheney began the proceedings on June 13th by speaking about events on Election Night, contending that "Trump followed the course recommended by an apparently inebriated Rudy Giuliani to just claim he won." Jeff Yang quote-tweeted an MSNBC video of Cheney's remarks, gaining 276 likes on the afternoon of the 13th.
One shouldn’t even take advice from a sober Rudy Giuliani https://t.co/EYrzrDMmkq— Jeff Yang (@originalspin) June 13, 2022
Many mocked Giuliani for being "apparently inebriated," producing memes about the former Mayor of New York and Donald Trump's attorney. @TheUSASingers posted a meme making fun of Giuliani (seen below) on the 13th, which gained over 1,500 likes that day.
The June 13th hearing also featured footage of former Attorney General Bill Barr dismissing claims of election fraud, and laughing at the Dinesh D'Souza film 2000 Mules, which made allegations of fraud. On the 13th, Adam Klasfeld tweeted about the Barr clips (seen below) reaching almost 4,000 likes over the course of the day.
Bill Barr laughs uproariously about the supposed evidence of election fraud "2000 Mules" -- and explains why it's bunk. pic.twitter.com/MHvHIcXnyJ— Adam Klasfeld (@KlasfeldReports) June 13, 2022
Third Hearing June 16th, 2022
The third hearing of the January 6th committee was originally scheduled for the 15th but was delayed a day to give the video-production team more time to prepare. The committee has made heavy use of video footage of the January 6th insurrection, as well as of video depositions of public figures.
The third hearing focused on the legal side of plans made by Trump and others to undo Joe Biden's election victory. A tweet posted by the committee's official Twitter account in advance of the hearing and receiving laid out the line of argument for the day and received over 17,400 likes.
Trump knew he lost the 2020 election, so he oversaw a scheme to overturn the will of the American people. When the Vice President refused to go along with it, he unleashed a violent mob against Pence at The Capitol.— January 6th Committee (@January6thCmte) June 16, 2022
Hearing today at 1pm ET. pic.twitter.com/xbUrAldayy
Goaded on by law scholar John Eastman, Trump and his camp latched onto a fringe interpretation of the Constitution's 12th amendment which would allow Vice President Mike Pence to reject electors from swing states on January 6th, when the electoral votes would be officially counted and certified. The 12th amendment, which describes the electoral college process and the counting of votes, only gives the Vice President (in their capacity as 'President of the Senate') authority to open and count electoral votes, not to reject or change them. Eastman, recognizing the probable illegality of his plans, petitioned Trump for a pardon in the days following January 6th. A different federal judge has already found in a civil case that Trump and Eastman likely committed felonies, and called their plans "a coup in search of a legal theory."
The most talked-about witness at the third hearing was J. Michael Luttig, a conservative judge who refuted Eastman's theory. Many pointed out that Luttig may have been specially selected because of his centrality in conservative legal communities, including Robert Maguire, who tweeted in the middle of the hearing about how Luttig had been Ted Cruz's mentor, earning over 42,500 likes.
Luttig's slow and deliberate speech was also mocked and joked about, including by Sam Stein, who tweeted about it mid-hearing and earned 1,800 likes.
Many objected to the mocking of Luttig's speech, pointing out that the judge reportedly suffered a stroke recently which may have led to changes in his speech.
Footage of Representative Barry Loudermilk (R-GA) on January 5th giving an hours-long tour of the Capitol, including areas of the building and security checkpoints usually of no interest to tourists, was also publicized by the committee ahead of the third hearing. Some people in Loudermilk's tour, including a man who took pictures and video of the Capitol, later took part in the storming of the building. Loudermilk denies that he helped people reconnoiter the Capitol, but many of his colleagues did not believe him. A tweet posted by Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio Cortez (D-NY) on June 15th showing footage of Loudermilk giving the tour earned over 124,000 likes.
Fourth Hearing June 21st, 2022
The fourth hearing of the January 6th committee focused on state election officials in Arizona and Georgia who had been pressured by Trump and others to overturn the results of the 2020 election.
Arizona Republican State House Speaker Rusty Bowers described the pressure he faced to change votes.
Yikes. Arizona Republican House Speaker Rusty Bowers says Rudy Giuliani told him: “We’ve got lots of theories, but we just don’t have the evidence.” pic.twitter.com/9AC88rbb2c— MeidasTouch.com (@MeidasTouch) June 21, 2022
The testimony of Georgia poll workers who faced a campaign of harassment from Trump supporters following the election also received considerable attention online.
"I've lost my name, and I've lost my reputation. I've lost my sense of security -- all because a group of people… scapegoat[ed] me and my daughter, Shaye, to push their own lies about how the Presidential election was stolen."— January 6th Committee (@January6thCmte) June 21, 2022
- Ruby Freeman, former Georgia election worker pic.twitter.com/jEVvW85ZJX
Fifth Hearing June 23rd, 2022
The fifth hearing of the House Committee focused on President Trump's attempts to use the Department of Justice to help undo the results of the election. The hearings told the story of how Trump considered replacing Acting Attorney General Jeffrey Rosen with a loyalist named Jeffrey Clark, who would assist him in turning the election his way.
Clark, Trump and others came up with a plan to ask states to overturn the results of the election and use the investigative muscle of the FBI to try and find election fraud. Officials across the Justice Department threatened to resign if Trump replaced Rosen with Clark, which ultimately led to the plan's failure.
At the end of the hearing, the committee revealed the names of members of Congress who requested pardons from President Trump, including members of Congress Mo Brooks, Jim Jordan, Louie Gohmert, Marjorie Taylor Greene, Andy Biggs, and Matt Gaetz. Gaetz's request was especially memed, especially for its phrasing: the Congressman, who has been implicated in prostitution scandals for paying for sex with teenagers, reportedly asked for a pardon that would cover "any and all things" from the "beginning of time" onwards. Comedian Patton Oswalt commented on Gaetz's phrasing, earning over 74,000 likes over the course of a day.
Gaetz retorted that the investigation was politically motivated and sought to discredit it, earning almost 10,000 likes that same day.
Congressman Eric Swalwell (D-CA) tweeted about the pardon requests on June 23rd, earning over 111,000 likes in less than a day.
Sixth Hearing June 28th, 2022
On the evening of June 27th, the January 6th Committee announced a sudden and previously unscheduled hearing on the next day, during which they would hear testimony and newly emerging evidence from an unnamed witness. The announcement on the Committee's official Twitter earned over 20,000 likes in the course of a day (seen below). Prior to the announcement, the sixth hearing was scheduled for mid-July.
Commentators and social media posters speculated wildly about who the surprise witness might be, with many bringing up names such as former Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy and former First Lady Melania Trump, leading various names to trend on Twitter that evening. The tweet below was typical of the type of speculation which abounded. It received over 8,600 likes over the course of 24 hours.
Late in the evening of the 27th, it was revealed that the surprise witness would be Cassidy Hutchinson, an aide to Trump's Chief of Staff Mark Meadows and a member of the administration's inner circle.
Cassidy Hutchinson took the stand at 1 p.m. EST and was questioned by Liz Cheney. Hutchinson claimed that Donald Trump was aware the crowd on January 6th possessed weapons including spears and AR-15s before he took the stage at a rally and purportedly encouraged them to go to the Capitol. A video shared by the committee of this part of Hutchinson's testimony received almost 11,000 likes in two hours.
Trump was furious the Secret Service was screening people at his rally for weapons.— January 6th Committee (@January6thCmte) June 28, 2022
"They're not here to hurt me. Take the F'ing mags away. Let my people in. They can march to the Capitol from here." pic.twitter.com/YEQGkbjuiM
Hutchinson also described hearing of an incident on January 6th where President Trump purportedly physically assaulted a Secret Service agent and attempted to grab the wheel of the Presidential limousine. A video clip of this part of Hutchinson's testimony, shared by the committee, earned over 8,400 likes in two hours. Some online later refuted these claims as false or unproven, including journalists like Glenn Greenwald, who tweeted such a statement on June 29th, receiving over 8,700 likes and 2,700 retweets in three hours.
"I’m the F’ing President. Take me up to the Capitol now." pic.twitter.com/LWg2sdFtTi— January 6th Committee (@January6thCmte) June 28, 2022
Many memes were made about the President's alleged carjacking attempt of the presidential limo (aka the Beast), with several Trump-supporting commentators sharing a diagram of a vehicle they claimed the President must have been riding in, showing that he could not reach to the steering wheel. Controversial rightwing influencer Jack Posobiec changed his username to reference the video game Grand Theft Auto. A Posobiec post showing the diagram, seen below, earned around 10,000 likes on the evening of the 28th. Footage from January 6th which was viewed at the hearing, however, showed that Trump was not in the Beast but in a more conventional-type vehicle.
Hutchinson also claimed that Trump allegedly threw his lunch at the wall of the White House on January 6th and she helped clean up a ketchup smear, an incident many joked about afterward. She also mentioned that in the wake of January 6th, she had heard of discussions among the Cabinet about invoking the 25th Amendment, which would have removed Trump from the Presidency and placed Mike Pence as acting President. Further, she claimed that her former boss Mark Meadows asked for a pardon following the events of January 6th.
At the close of the hearing, chairman Bennie Thompson shared that the Committee was aware of messages received by anonymous former Trump officials that seem to indicate attempts to pressure witnesses and encourage them to "do the right thing" in their testimony. While the Committee has yet to make a determination, these alleged attempts to influence testimony could be seen as obstruction of justice. Thompson closed the hearing by encouraging those who had not come forward or who had not been entirely truthful with the committee to come forward and share what they knew.
The committee shared two screenshots of the messages that same day (seen below). A tweet depicting the messages, following the televised hearing, received over 15,000 likes in an hour.
A handwritten note (seen below) authored by Hutchinson, in which she took dictation of remarks that Meadows thought Trump should make, was also shown during the hearing.
In the hours after, Donald Trump shared his commentary about Hutchinson's handwriting on Truth Social, receiving over 10,000 likes and over 2,000 ReTruths in the course of four hours.
Seventh Hearing July 12th, 2022
The seventh hearing of the January 6th Committee focused on the role played in the insurrection by rightwing paramilitary organizations like the Proud Boys and Oath Keepers. The Committee sought to investigate any coordination that may have happened between these groups that breached the Capitol and members of President Trump's team or party.
The Committee showed a tweet (seen below) from Trump's drafts urging people to march to the Capitol, which he did not post. The committee itself posted Trump's draft tweet on July 13th, earning over 5,500 likes in a little over an hour.
The committee also cited video from people like Tim Pool and Alex Jones saying that tweets and remarks Trump made in December inspired them to come to Washington, D.C. on January 6th. The committee made a montage of these clips (seen below) and posted it to Twitter on July 12th, receiving almost 7,600 likes over 24 hours.
It also showed a text conversation (seen below) between Brad Parscale, Trump's former campaign manager, and another staffer, in which Parscale expressed remorse about the events of January 6th and said Trump's "rhetoric killed someone." Journalist Alayne Greene posted screenshots of the texts on July 12th, right after the hearing, which earned over 18,000 likes in the course of a day.
A stunning text exchange between former Trump campaign manager Brad Parscale and former campaign official Katrina Pierson pic.twitter.com/v8S6pkGY5D— Alayna Treene (@alaynatreene) July 12, 2022
The Committee also detailed a December 18th meeting in the White House between Trump and some of his aides who most strongly supported his false election claims. To tell this story, the Committee showed a deposition of Sidney Powell, one of Trump's attorneys, who was recorded with a can of Dr. Pepper (pictures below). Some, like comedy writer Ben Wexler, who posted a tweet about Powell that received over 10,000 likes in 22 hours, found her manner of drinking soda odd.
A remark made by John Bolton, Trump's former National Security Advisor, was also highly memed. CNN's Jake Tapper asked him about coups, and Bolton confessed casually to having planned some. A tweet posted by John Baragona (seen below) which included a video of Bolton's claim received over 30,000 likes and 13,000 retweets in a day.
Jake Tapper: "One doesn’t have to be brilliant to attempt a coup."— Justin Baragona (@justinbaragona) July 12, 2022
John Bolton: "I disagree with that. As somebody who has helped plan coup d’etat, not here, but other places, it takes a lot of work." pic.twitter.com/REyqh3KtHi
 NPR – A Timeline Of How The January 6th Attack Unfolded
 The Guardian – January 6 hearings: who are the key players on the House committee?
 Twitter – @HillaryClinton
 Twitter – @CalltoActivism
 Twitter – @themaxburns
 Truth Social – @realDonaldTrump
 Twitter – @RadioFreeTom
 Reuters – Trump's false claims debunked
 NY Times – Jan 6 Hearings
 Twitter – @TVietor08
 Twitter – @originalspin
 Twitter – @TheUSASingers
 NPR – Jan. 6 panel says Trump fleeced his base and 5 other takeaways from the 2nd hearing
 Twitter – @KlasfeldReports
 CBS News – Jan. 6 committee postpones hearing scheduled for Wednesday
 The New York Times – Here are 4 takeaways from Thursday’s Jan. 6 hearing
 Congress.gov – Constitution of the United States
 The New York Times – Federal Judge Finds Trump Most Likely Committed Crimes Over 2020 Election
 Twitter – @January6thCmte
 The Guardian – Man who took part in Capitol riot was given tour of building by Republican on January 5
 Twitter – @RobertMaguire_
 Twitter – @January6thCmte
 Twitter – @January6thCmte
 CBS News – 6 takeaways from the fifth Jan. 6 select committee hearing
 Slate – How Trump’s Plot to Make an “Effin’ A-hole” Attorney General and Steal the Election Almost Came to Fruition
 Twitter – @pattonoswalt
 Twitter – @RepMattGaetz
 Twitter – @RepSwalwell
 Twitter – January 6th Committee
 Twitter – @7Veritas4
 Twitter – January 6th Committee
 Twitter – January 6th Committee
 Twitter – January 6th Committee
 Truth Social – @realDonaldTrump
 Twitter – @JackPosobiec
 Twitter – @ggreenwald
 NPR – Live updates: Jan. 6 rioter, former Oath Keepers spokesman testify in seventh hearing
 Twitter – Janaury 6th Committee
 Twitter – January 6th Committee
 Twitter – @AlaynaTreene
 Twitter – @NotLennyBruce
 Twitter – @mrbenwexler
 Twitter – @justinbaragona
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