What Happened During the First Jan. 6 Commission Hearing

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The select committee formed by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi held its first hearing Tuesday to investigate the Capitol riot on Jan. 6 that delayed the certification of President Joe Biden's election victory.

The hearing featured testimony from four law enforcement officers who were present at the Capitol that day as a mob of then-President Donald Trump's supporters breached the building.

The officers each spoke of the violence and fear they experienced as they attempted to defend the building from descending crowds. One officer, Sgt. Aquilino Gonell recalled rioters attacking law enforcement with "any items they could get their hands on," such as flagpoles, tasers, rocks and pepper spray.

Michael Fanone, an officer from the DC Metropolitan Police Department, said that he was beaten unconscious by the crowds and suffered a heart attack, a traumatic brain injury and concussion from the injuries they caused.

Harry Dunn of the U.S. Capitol Police force said that as a Black man trying to quell the crowd, he had to contend with additional assault of racial slurs the crowd yelled at him. In contrast, Daniel Hodges, a white officer from the DC Metropolitan Police Department, said that some of the mob attempted to recruit him, saying "you're on the wrong team."

Seven Democrats are serving on the committee, including California representatives Pete Aguilar, Zoe Lofgren and Adam Schiff, as well as Virginia Rep. Elaine Luria, Florida Rep. Stephanie Murphy and Maryland Rep. Jamie Raskin.

Rep. Bennie Thompson of Mississippi is chairing the committee. Wyoming Rep. Liz Cheney and Illinois Rep. Adam Kinzinger, both Republicans, are also serving on the commission.

Despite some other Republican lawmakers criticizing their involvement in the commission, Cheney and Kinzinger both used their positions on the panel to stress the need for the truth and a bipartisan investigation into the insurrection.

"In serving on this Committee, I am here to investigate January 6th--not in spite of my membership in the Republican Party, but because of it--not to win a political fight, but to learn the facts," Kinzinger said at the hearing.

The hearing began at 9:30 a.m. (EDT) and wrapped around 1 p.m. Thompson and Cheney gave opening statements, but all members of the panel were given the opportunity to question the officers.

In a press conference after the hearing, Thompson said that the panel hasn't yet scheduled additional hearings, but planned to discuss next steps over the next few days.

The live updates for this event have ended.

First Jan. 6 Commission Hearing
Law enforcement witnesses provided testimonies of their experiences battling the Jan. 6 insurrection during the Tuesday's select committee hearing on the riot. The officers rise to be sworn in as the Congressional Jan 6th commission hearing begins on July 27, 2021 in Washington, DC. From left are USCP Ofc. Harry Dunn, Metropolitan Police Department officer Daniel Hodges, Metropolitan Police Department officer Michael Fanone, and U.S. Capitol Police officer Aquilino Gonell. Bill O'Leary/Pool/Getty Images

Capitol Officer Stresses That Rioters Were 'Terrorists'

After referring to the Jan. 6 insurrection and rioters as "terrorism" or "terrorists" approximately 15 times in his testimony, Officer Daniel Hodges stressed the accduracy of defining what happened that day as an act of domestic terror.

Hodges read from U.S. Code Title 18, which defines domestic terrorism as involving "violent acts or acts dangerous to human life that are a violation of the criminal laws of the United States or of any State." The actions must "appear to be intended" to "intimidate or coerce a civilian population," "influence the policy of a government by intimidation or coercion" or "affect the conduct of a government by mass destruction, assassination, or kidnapping."

Hodges stated that he believes the intention of the rioters was to influence the certification of the 2020 presidential election and possibly harm members of Congress, which aligns with the stipulations of the code.

Officer Hodges Braced Himself in Door as Multiple Congress Members Were 40 Feet Away

Florida Rep. Stephanie Murphy, a member of the Jan. 6 commission, was being extracted by law enforcement 40 feet away as Officer Daniel Hodges braced himself in a door to prevent rioters from entering.

Hodges ended up being crushed in the frame from the force of the crowd, and a video played by Murphy of this moment showed the officer screaming in pain.

Despite severely outnumbering law enforcement, Murphy said that the reason rioters weren't able to successfully harm members of Congress was because of officers like Hodges who didn't allow them to "encounter any members of Congress."

Rioters Used Flagpoles, Rocks, Table Legs to Beat Officers

Sgt. Aquilino Gonell said that some of the weapons rioters used to beat law enforcement officers included flagpoles, tasers, pepper spray, pipes, rocks, table legs, furniture, guard rails, cones and "any items they could get their hands on."

A speaker thrown at Gonell landed on his foot, which caused him to sustain injuries that warranted surgery and continuing rehabilitation.

Additionally, Daniel Hodges of the DC Metropolitan Police Department said that he wasn't sure how many of the rioters had guns. For that reason, he held back on shooting his own gun in case it triggered the mob, which he approximated to be around 9,000, to begin shooting theirs.

"If that turned into a firefight we would have lost, and this wasn't a fight we could afford to lose," Hodges said.

Officer Daniel Hodges Testifies
DC Metropolitan Police Department officer Daniel Hodges testifies before the House Select Committee investigating the January 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol on July 27, 2021 at the Canon House Office Building in Washington, DC. Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

Illinois Rep. Adam Kinzinger Tears Up Before Questioning Officers

Illinois Rep. Adam Kinzinger teared up while speaking about the Jan. 6 insurrection before beginning his questioning of the testifying Capitol officers.

He condemned the riots, and expressed his strong gratitude for the work of the officers in holding back the crowds.

Like Wyoming Rep. Liz Cheney, the only other Republic chosen to serve on the Jan. 6 commission, Kinzinger stressed the importance of a bipartisan investigation into the insurrection and the necessity to "call out the facts" about that day.

He added that he joined the committee not in spite of being a Republican, but because he's a Republican.

Rep. Adam Kinzinger Tears Up
U.S. Rep. Adam Kinzinger (R-IL) teared up while he spoke before his opportunity to question the testifying officers. Kinzinger wipes his eyes during a hearing by the House Select Committee investigating the January 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol on July 27, 2021 at the Cannon House Office Building in Washington, DC. Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

Capitol Officer Said Law Enforcement Was 'Not Prepared' For What They Faced

U.S. Capitol Police Officer Harry Dunn said that law enforcement was "not prepared for what we faced that day" as a mob of pro-Trump rioters stormed the building.

Dunn said that he'd dealt with hundreds of protestors before and authorities were expecting some "civil disobedience," such as name calling and "unfriendly people." However, they didn't anticipate anything to the caliber of what occurred.

Rioters Yelled Racial Slurs At Black Capitol Officer, Wore MAGA Apparel

Harry Dunn of the U.S. Capitol Police force said that rioters yelled racial slurs at him while attempting to breach the building and he saw Confederate and MAGA flags in the crowd, as well as shirts that said "Trump 2020."

Some rioters were dressed like members of a militia group, wearing tactical vests, body armor and cargo pants. He recalled that one said "President Trump invited us here."

Officer Harry Dunn Testifies
Members of law enforcement testified about the attack by supporters of former President Donald Trump on the U.S. Capitol. According to authorities, about 140 police officers were injured when they were trampled, had objects thrown at them, and sprayed with chemical irritants during the insurrection. U.S. Capitol Police officer Sgt. Harry Dunn testifies before the House Select Committee investigating the January 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol on July 27, 2021 at the Canon House Office Building in Washington, DC. Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

Rioters Told Police Not to Attack Them Because 'We're Not Black Lives Matter': Hodges

Daniel Hodges of the DC Metropolitan Police Department said some rioters told law enforcement not to "attack" them because "we're not Black Lives Matter," referring to the protests against police brutality that took place in the summer of 2020.

"As if political affiliation is how we determine when to use force," Hodges said

Hodges repeatedly referred to the rioters as "terrorists" and said some were carrying "Christian flags" and wearing Q-Anon hoodies.

Rioters Yelled "You Will Die On Your Knees" at Law Enforcement

Daniel Hodges, another member of the DC Metropolitan Police Department who fought rioters at the Capitol on Jan. 6, said one member of the mob yelled "you will die on your knees" at him and other law enforcement officers.

Hodges said that some rioters attempted to build rapport with him and other officers to get their aid in overtaking the Capitol, and some shouted "you're on the wrong team."

Others beat Hodges and sprayed him with pepper spray. One rioter attempted to gouge out his eye, and he had to wrestle a man who attempted to steal his baton.

Officer Michael Fanone Was Electrocuted 'Again and Again' By Rioters

Michael Fanone, an officer from the DC Metropolitan Police Department who helped defend the Capitol on Jan. 6, said that while law enforcement attempted to hold back the mob of rioters, some grabbed him and began beating him with their fists and other objects.

They stripped away some of his equipment and attempted to take his gun, some egging others to "kill him with his own gun." While they weren't able to get his gun, they electrocuted him "again and again and again with a taser."

Fanone was beaten unconscious and suffered a heart attack and traumatic brain injury. He was also diagnosed with post traumatic stress disorder.

Sgt. Aquilino Gonell Thought 'This Is How I'm Going to Die' As Mob Crushed Him

While recounting his experience defending the Capitol building on Jan. 6, Sgt. Aquilino Gonell said that he thought "this is how I'm going to die" as rioters crushed him and other law enforcement officers.

At one point during the riot, Gonell fell to the ground on top of a dropped shield and a rioter began trying to drag him into the crowd. His "survivalist instincts kicked in" and he tried calling other officers for help, but "they could not help me because they were also being attacked," he said.

Gonell had to receive surgery on his foot due to injuries from the insurrection and needs further rehabilitation treatment.

Testifying Officers in Tears as Jan. 6 Commission Plays Riot Footage

As the Jan. 6 commission played previously unseen footage from the Capitol Riot, one of the testifying officers, Sgt. Aquilino Gonell, was seen dabbing at his eyes with a tissue.

The officer was also visibly distressed and in tears while recounting his experience that day, stating that he didn't recognize his fellow citizens who called him a "traitor" and said he should be "executed."

Aquilino said he needed surgery after rioters beat him with a flagpole. He was also sprayed by chemicals from the mob.

"The physical violence we experienced was horrific and devastating," he said.

Sgt.  Aquilino Gonell Testifies
U.S. Capitol Police sergeant Aquilino Gonell wipes away tears while watching Jan. 6 footage. The officer is testifying for the opening hearing of the U.S. House (Select) Committee investigating the January 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol, on July 27, 2021 at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, DC. Jim Bourg/Pool/Getty Images

Jan. 6 Select Committee 'Obligated to Rise Above Politics': Cheney

During her opening remarks at Tuesday's Jan. 6 commission hearing, Wyoming Rep. Liz Cheney said that the committee is "obligated to rise above politics" and the investigation "must be non-partisan."

She also stated that no member of Congress should attempt to "defend the indefensible."

Jan. 6 Footage Shows Rioters Chanting 'Hang Mike Pence,' Gallows Erected Outside Capitol

During Mississippi Rep. Bennie Thompson's opening remarks on Tuesday's select committee hearing, footage from the Jan. 6 Capitol riot that was previously unseen by the public showed part of the mob repeatedly chanting "hang Mike Pence."

The footage also revealed that rioters had erected gallows outside of the Capitol building.

Thompson called the footage "chilling" and stated that the rioters came "dangerously close" to succeeding in their efforts to "upend American democracy."

Liz Cheney Says 'American People Deserve the Truth' Ahead of Hearing

During an appearance on ABC's Good Morning America Tuesday and ahead of the first Jan. 6 commission hearing, Wyoming Rep. Liz Cheney said the "American people deserve the truth."

"You know, this is absolutely not a game. This is deadly serious. There are some in my party, including Leader McCarthy, who continue to act as though this is about partisan politics. I think it's really sad. I think it's a disgrace," Cheney said.

Cheney has taken heat from other GOP lawmakers for her role in the committee, some even dubbing her a "Pelosi Republican."

"I am a conservative Republican. I always have been, and I think that this is certainly not the time for name-calling.

Officers' Testimony to be Accompanied by Unseen Jan. 6 Footage

The testimony of four law enforcement officers at the Jan. 6 commission hearing Tuesday will be interwoven with video footage from the Capitol riot that was not previously shown to the public, NBC News reported.

This is also the first time they will speak of their experience under oath, recounting the day a mob of former President Donald Trump's supporters overwhelmed the Capitol, Politico reported.

They will appear in front of the committee dressed in their uniforms.