U.S. Capitol Police Sergeant Aquilino Gonell sits to testify for the opening hearing of the US House (Select) Committee investigating the January 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol on Capitol Hill in Washington, USA, on July 27, 2021.
Jim Bourg | Reuters
Trump supporters mobs attacked police officers, threatened their lives and hurled racial slurs as they stormed the U.S. Capitol, law enforcement witnesses said Tuesday at the first attempted riot committee hearing.
“I was grabbed, beaten, and pocketed while being labeled a traitor to my country,” Metropolitan Police Department officer Michael Fanone told the special committee investigating the Capitol invasion.
“I was in danger of getting undressed and killed with my own gun when I heard chants, ‘Kill him with his own gun,'” Fanone said.
The testimony of the four officials painted the picture of a vicious, weapon-wielding mob poised to attack the police in an effort to achieve its goal of preventing Congress from confirming Joe Biden’s election victory over then-President Donald Trump that went on for weeks falsely claiming the election had been stolen from him.
Rep. Bennie Thompson, D-Miss., Who heads the panel on Jan. 6 and heads the House Homeland Security Committee, and Rep. Liz Cheney, R-Wyo., Emphasized at the beginning of the hearing that the problems leading to the invasion was not resolved. “This threat has not gone away. It hovers over our democracy like a dark cloud,” said Thompson.
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Early Tuesday, Cheney suggested the investigation could summon Trump and House GOP Leader Kevin McCarthy. “It could,” Cheney told ABC News on Tuesday morning. “The committee will go where we need to go to get the facts.”
Sgt.Aquilino Gonell of the US Capitol Police described that he was 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,'” said Gonell.
Another USCP witness, Pvt. First Class Harry Dunn said a group of Trump supporters hurled racial slurs when they found out he voted for Biden.
“A woman in a pink ‘MAGA’ shirt yelled, ‘You hear that folks, these N —– voted for Joe Biden!’ Then the crowd, maybe twenty or so, joined in and yelled, “Boo! Fucking n —–! “
DC Metropolitan Police Department officers Michael Fanone (L) and Daniel Hodges (R) come to testify before the House Select Committee that launched the January 6th attack on the U.S. Capitol on July 27, 2021 at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, DC investigated.
Jim Lo Scalzo | Getty Images
Law enforcement 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.
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.
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.
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