The storming of the Capitol was the “culmination of an attempted coup”. The parliamentary commission of inquiry led by the Democrat Bennie Thompson delivered, on the night of Thursday to Friday, its conclusions on the events of January 6, 2021. For the nine elected officials who make it up (seven Democrats and two Republicans), it There is no doubt: Donald Trump was at the center of a “plot” aimed at keeping him in power when he had just been beaten in the presidential election by his Democratic rival Joe Biden.
For nearly a year, elected officials have heard more than 1,000 witnesses (including two children of the former president) and combed through 140,000 documents to shed light on the specific actions and actions of Donald Trump before, during and after this event that shook American democracy. This “is always in danger. The plot to counter the will of the people is not over”, alerted Bennie Thompson, while millions of supporters of Donald Trump remain convinced that the 2020 election was marred by frauds. And this despite the overwhelming evidence to the contrary.
“You will see that Donald Trump and his advisers knew that he had in fact lost the election”, explained Liz Cheney, the vice-president and one of the rare elected Republicans who agreed to sit on this commission. “But despite this, President Trump engaged in a massive effort to spread false and fraudulent information to convince a huge swath of the American public that fraud had stolen the election. President Trump called and assembled the crowd and lit the fuse for this attack.” To support its conclusions, the panel broadcast unpublished and extremely violent images of the day when thousands of supporters of Donald Trump had gathered in Washington to denounce the result of the presidential election.
These videos show a flood of people storming the headquarters of Congress, attacking police officers, calling to “hang” Vice President Mike Pence, and a protester reading tweets from Donald Trump through a megaphone in the middle of a delirious crowd. “It was in no way a tourist visit to the Capitol”, launched Bennie Thompson, in allusion to this argument brandished by certain Republicans. The commission chiefs also said they have evidence that members of Donald Trump’s cabinet discussed invoking the 25th Amendment to remove him from office.
The commission also received testimony from a police officer, Caroline Edwards, who was one of 150 law enforcement personnel who were injured by the rioters that day. “What I saw was a scene of war,” she explained. “I saw officers on the ground. They were bleeding. They were vomiting. I was slipping on people’s blood. It was carnage…Chaos.”
Not enough to disturb the main interested party. Thursday, Donald Trump once again praised the day on his social network Truth Social, assuring that the assault on Capitol Hill was the “greatest movement in history to make America great again”. Whoever qualifies this investigation as a “witch hunt” accused, at the end of the hearing, the parliamentary commission of being biased. He reiterated his allegations of electoral fraud. The majority of Republicans also reject the work of the commission “the most political and least legitimate in the history of the United States”, in the words of the leader of the conservatives in the House of Representatives, Kevin McCarthy. His party has already promised to bury these conclusions if it were to take control of the Chamber during the mid-term legislative elections in November.
The images of this first two-hour hearing were broadcast live by many American news channels, but shunned by the most conservative media, a new illustration of the deep political fault line which divides the United States.