5 Key Moments from the Jan. 6 Capitol Riot Hearing, from Never-Before-Seen Video to Ivanka Trump's Testimony

"As you will see in the hearings to come, President Trump believed his supporters at the Capitol, and I quote, 'were doing what they should be doing,' " Committee Vice Chair Liz Cheney said in opening remarks Thursday

The opening hearing by the U.S. House committee investigating the riots of Jan. 6, 2021 on Thursday night featured new revelations about the events leading up to the attacks and how former President Donald Trump and his allies responded.

In opening remarks, Vice Chair Liz Cheney — the top Republican on the House committee — offered a preview of the investigation.

"As you will see in the hearings to come, President Trump believed his supporters at the Capitol, and I quote, 'were doing what they should be doing,' " Cheney said. "This is what he told his staff as they pleaded with him to call off the mob, to instruct his supporters to leave." Here are five key moments from the first hearing:

capitol coup
Rioters at the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021. Samuel Corum/Getty

1. Donald Trump Allegedly Endorsed 'Hang Mike Pence' Chants

Cheney described how testimony gathered by the House committee included that of "more than a half-dozen former White House staff in the Trump administration, all of whom were in the West Wing of the White House on January 6th."

Cheney said that testimony revealed that Trump " 'didn't really want to put anything out,' calling off the riot or asking his supporters to leave. You will hear that President Trump was yelling, and 'really angry at advisors who told him he needed to be doing something more.' "

She continued: "And, aware of the rioters' chants to 'hang Mike Pence,' the President responded with this sentiment, 'maybe our supporters have the right idea.' Mike Pence 'deserves' it."

Earlier reports by both Politico and the New York Times back up the claims that Trump approved of the chants to "hang" his own vice president.

Trump's chief of staff at the time, Mark Meadows, told other officials at the White House that the president complained about the vice president being escorted to safety, according to a witness who appeared before the House committee investigating Jan. 6, according to Times.

2. Ivanka Trump and Jared Kushner Testify

Among the testimonies shown Thursday were pre-recorded interviews with Trump's elder daughter, Ivanka Trump, and her husband, Jared Kushner.

In her testimony, Ivanka said that she "accepted" that the election results showed her father had lost to Joe Biden. The reason, she added, was that former Attorney General Bill Barr — who called Trump's claims that the election had been stolen "bulls---" in his own testimony — explained to her the results.

"It affected my perspective. I respect Attorney General Barr, so I accepted what he said," Ivanka testified.

The former president, meanwhile, has since disputed that his daughter was even familiar with election results, despite the fact that they are public.

"Ivanka Trump was not involved in looking at, or studying, Election results. She had long since checked out and was, in my opinion, only trying to be respectful to Bill Barr and his position as Attorney General (he sucked!)," Trump wrote on his social media platform, Truth Social, after the hearings aired.

Ivanka's husband, Jared, was also seen in Thursday's hearing. In his pre-recorded testimony, Jared spoke about threats from former-White House counsel Pat Cipollone to resign ahead of the Jan. 6, 2021, riots.

"I kind of, like I said, my interest at that time was on trying to get as many pardons done," Kushner testified. "And I know that, you know, him and the team were always saying, 'Oh we're going to resign, we're not going to be here if this happens, if that happens,' so I kind of took it up to just be whining, to be honest to you."

capitol riots
Rioters at the Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021. youtube

3. Stunning Video Offers a Window into How the Events Unfolded

A video montage of the moments before and during the riot offered a look into what transpired — and just how violent the rioters became.

The never-before-seen footage shows clashes between police officers and rioters — who, seemingly emboldened by the former president's cries to "show strength" in a rally held hours prior — eventually overtook the building, forcing the evacuation of lawmakers inside.

In one striking moment, a rioter can be seen reading Trump's tweets about Pence before others begin chanting "Hang Mike Pence." A makeshift gallows erected near the Capitol grounds could then be seen in the footage.

Elsewhere in the footage, rioters can be seen breaking into the Capitol building crypt, breaking windows and roaming the halls shouting "Nancy, Nancy" outside House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's office, just moments after she was evacuated.

4. Capitol Police Officer Testifies About Violence on the Ground

Among the most striking testimonies shown Thursday was that of U.S. Capitol Police Officer Caroline Edwards, who shared a harrowing account of being under attack from her fellow Americans during the riots.

"What I saw was just a war scene," said Edwards, 31, in testimony that aired in primetime.

"It was something like I had seen out of the movies," she said. "I could not believe my eyes. There were officers on the ground. They were bleeding. They were throwing up. I saw friends with blood all over their faces. I was slipping in people's blood. I was catching people as they fell. It was carnage. It was chaos."

Describing it as "hours of hand-to-hand combat," Edwards described how she was knocked to the ground and lost consciousness, regaining it to see that her fellow officers — including Officer Brian Sicknick, who would later die from the injuries he sustained during the riots — were also struggling to protect themselves.

caroline edwards
Caroline Edwards. Bill Clark/CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty

"All of a sudden, I see movement to the left of me. I turned, and it was Officer Sicknick with his head in his hands and he was ghostly pale, which I figured at that point, he had been sprayed and I was concerned," she said. "My cop alarm bells went off. Because if you get sprayed with pepper spray, you're going to turn red. He turned just about as pale as this sheet of paper."

5. Republicans Allegedly Requested Pardons Following the Riots

According to Cheney's opening statement, "multiple" Republican lawmakers contacted the Trump administration seeking presidential pardons in the wake of the attacks. Among them, she added, was Republican Rep. Scott Perry, who "has refused to testify here."

"As you will see, Rep. Perry contacted the White House in the weeks after Jan. 6 to seek a presidential pardon," Cheney said, adding: "Multiple other Republican congressmen also sought presidential pardons for their roles in attempting to overturn the 2020 election."

A Perry spokesperson told Axios that the allegation that Perry sought a pardon was, "Laughable, ludicrous and a thoroughly soulless lie."

According to testimony and documents obtained by the lawmakers investigating the riots, Perry texted former chief of Staff Meadows days prior to the riots, writing: "Mark, just checking in as time continues to count down. 11 days to 1/6 and 25 days to inauguration. We gotta get going!"

Related Articles