WE have watched the videos live on TV and saw with our own eyes how a mob of armed Trump supporters breached the Capitol last January 6. This was to stop the Constitutionally mandated certification of the Electoral College votes by members of Congress that would make official the victory of Joe Biden over Donald Trump in the 2020 presidential elections.
We saw thousands of rioters storming the Capitol, attacking law enforcement officers, and vandalizing the august chambers of Congress and the offices of our Representatives. They were ready to hurt and kill the members of Congress to stop them from declaring Biden as the duly elected 46th President of the United States.
“Rioters at the Capitol were targeting former Vice President Mike Pence, who refused to help his boss, former President Donald Trump, subvert the results of the 2020 election,” PBS reported.
A video showed at Trump’s second impeachment trial, rioters chanted “Hang Mike Pence!” and “Bring out Pence!” as they roamed the halls searching for the former vice president and other lawmakers. Outside, the mob set up a makeshift gallows on the field near the Capitol, PBS chronicled.
Jim Bourg, a Reuters picture editor in Washington, posted on Twitter: “I heard at least three different rioters at the Capitol say that they hoped to find Vice-President Mike Pence and execute him by hanging him from a Capitol Hill tree as a traitor. It was a common line being repeated. Many more were just talking about how the VP should be executed.”
On Tuesday, July 27, we watched the gut-wrenching testimonies of four Capitol police officers of what really happened on January 6, 2021 in the nation’s Capitol.
“Trump sent us. All of them were saying: Trump sent us,” the four Capitol Police officers said about the insurrectionists, who were not the Antifa, not Black Lives Matter. They were in fact people who came from across America, who, as the Associated Press reported, “were summoned by President Donald Trump to March on Washington on January 6, in support of his false claim that the November election was stolen and to stop the congressional certification of Democrat Joe Biden as the victor’.
We heard the police officers’ voices, saw the tears in their eyes, and the agony in their faces as they recounted under oath, blow by blow, how they risked their own lives just to defend our democracy from the rioters, who the officers referred to as “terrorists” engaged in an “attempted coup.”
We would think defending our democracy and our Constitution is a sacred duty of every American, just as these officers did on the frontlines on January 6. As Reuters reported, these police officers told lawmakers they were beaten, taunted with racial insults, tasered, heard threats including “kill him with his own gun” and thought they might die as they struggled to defend the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6 against a mob of then-President Donald Trump’s supporters. More than a hundred police officers were injured.
We would think that our elected public officials — Democrats, Republicans and Independent — who all raised their hand when they took their oath of office, would all unite to investigate and reveal the truth. We would expect that they would want to do the hearings in public and be accountable to us as this is an attack on OUR democracy, which is an attack on us — We, the People.
Unfortunately, this was not the case. The Republican Party leadership blocked nonpartisan investigations in the Senate, and has been discrediting and sabotaging the House investigations of the Democrat-lead House of Representatives, projecting their own desperate political motivation. What have they been trying to hide from the American people?
Thankfully we have an honorable man and woman in the Republican Party who have chosen to side with the American people in our quest for the truth by being part of the Houses’ Select Committee on January 6th Attack — Rep. Liz Cheney and Rep. Adam Kinzinger.
Pelosi appointed Cheney and Kinzinger to join five Democrats, and rejected two of House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy’s appointments for the committee — Rep. Jim Jordan and Jim Banks — both of whom are outspoken supporters of Trump and his conspiracy theories. McCarthy pulled his own appointments from the committee and used this as an arsenal to attack the investigation and the hearings.
“I think it’s a disgrace,” Cheney said, rebuking Republican leaders who now aren’t acknowledging what happened during the Capitol insurrection.
Kinzinger pointed out during the hearing ahead of his questioning: “This cannot continue to be a partisan fight,” he said. “I’m a Republican. I’m a conservative. But in order to heal from the damage caused that day, we need to call out the facts. It’s time to stop the outrage and the conspiracies that fuel the violence and division in this country. And, most importantly, we need to reject those that promote it.”
Rep. Liz Cheney said in her opening statement before the hearing on Tuesday: “We cannot leave the violence of January 6th – and its causes – uninvestigated. The American people deserve the full and open testimony of every person with knowledge of the planning and preparation for January 6th. We must know what happened here at the Capitol. We must also know what happened every minute of that day in the White House – every phone call, every conversation, every meeting leading up to, during, and after the attack.”
“Honorable men and women have an obligation to step forward. If those responsible are not held accountable, and if Congress does not act responsibly, this will remain a cancer on our Constitutional Republic, undermining the peaceful transfer of power at the heart of our democratic system. We will face the threat of more violence in the months to come, and another January 6th every four years.”
“The question for every one of us who serves in Congress, for every elected official across this great nation, indeed, for every American is this: Will we adhere to the rule of law? Will we respect the rulings of our courts? Will we preserve the peaceful transition of power? Or will we be so blinded by partisanship that we throw away the miracle of America? Do we hate our political adversaries more than we love our country and revere our Constitution? I pray that that is not the case. I pray that we all remember, our children are watching, as we carry out this solemn and sacred duty entrusted to us. Our children will know who stood for truth, and they will inherit the nation we hand to them – a Republic, if we can keep it.”
Toward the end of the hearing, Rep. Bennie Thompson, the chairman of the House select committee, asked the four officers testifying at the hearing today what they want the committee to uncover in their investigation. As CNN reported:
“DC Metropolitan Police Officer Michael Fanone asked the committee to investigate the organizing of Donald Trump’s “stop the steal” rally and the “violent political rhetoric” leading up to and during the event.
He said that “the time, the place, and the circumstances of that rally, that rhetoric, and those events to me leads in the direction of our president,” referring to former President Trump, “and other members” of Congress and the Senate.
He called for the committee to conduct “an investigation into those actions and activities which may have resulted in the events of Jan. 6,” and whether or not there was “a collaboration between those members, their staff, and these terrorists.”
DC Metropolitan Police Officer Daniel Hodges said: “As patrol officers, we can only deal with the crimes that happen on the streets, the misdemeanors and occasionally the violent felonies, but you guys are the only ones we’ve got to deal with crimes that occur above us. I need you guys to address if anyone in power had a role in this.”
US Capitol Police Officer Harry Dunn said: t “There was an attack carried out on Jan. 6, and a hitman sent them. I want you to get to the bottom of that.”
Finally, US Capitol Police Sgt. Aquilino Gonell asked the members of the committee to give law enforcement the “tools” to prevent future attacks like Jan. 6. “We still have security measures from 20 years ago that had to go. We need to reinvent the wheel and change that, but only you guys have the power to authorize that,” he told the committee.
The rage we are feeling hearing the testimonies of these police officers was expressed by Fanone who slammed his fist on the table and called the indifference of some lawmakers to the attack disgraceful, the Washington Post reported.
“Nothing, truly nothing, has prepared me to address those elected members of our government who continue to deny the events of that day. And in doing so, betray their oath of office.”
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The opinions, beliefs and viewpoints expressed by the author do not necessarily reflect the opinions, beliefs and viewpoints of the Asian Journal, its management, editorial board and staff.
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Gel Santos Relos has been in news, talk, public service and educational broadcasting since 1989 with ABS-CBN and is now serving the Filipino audience using different platforms, including digital broadcasting, and print, and is working on a new public service program for the community. You may contact her through email at [email protected], or send her a message via Facebook at Facebook.com/Gel.Santos.Relos.