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A rioter hangs from the balcony in the Senate Chamber on Jan. 6. Photo: Win McNamee/Getty Images

The Jan. 6 select committee will paint a haunting picture of what unfolded during the attack on the Capitol during its first public hearing on Tuesday, Axios is told.

Why it matters: The nine-member panel will not only hear from four police officers on the grounds that day, but show graphic video footage similar to the chilling 13-minute video Democrats aired during Donald Trump's second impeachment trial.

  • The goal, committee aides say, is to make clear how violent the events were, and to leave viewers with no doubt that what happened was a vicious attack on American democracy.
  • The opening presentations and testimony will set the stage for a monthslong probe into the worst assault on the Capitol since the British torched it during the War of 1812.

What to expect: Rep. Bennie Thompson (D-Miss.), chairman of the committee, and Rep. Liz Cheney (R-Wyo.), one of two Republican members, will deliver opening statements at the outset of the hearing — a sign the committee wants to emphasize its bipartisan composition.

  • Cheney's remarks will focus heavily on how the riots threatened the peaceful transfer of power between administrations, making clear Jan. 6 “was an assault on the Constitution," a source familiar with her statement tells Axios.
  • “It’ll be similar to what she spoke about in her op-ed in May,” the source said, referring to a piece Cheney wrote for the Washington Post.

The witnesses, including two officers from the Capitol Police protection squad and two from the Metropolitan Police, will be prompted to go into detail about what they experienced.

They'll also be asked to give a thorough account of who the rioters were, what their perceived goal was, and what violence the officers personally experienced, Axios is told.

  • “Hearing from law enforcement first is critical as we piece together what happened on Jan. 6 and the run-up to that fateful day," Rep. Stephanie Murphy (D-Fla.) told Axios.
  • In addition, members of the panel plan to press the officers on their preparedness — or lack thereof — following a damning Senate report detailing a series of failures made by Capitol Police in the weeks leading up to the attack.
  • Members of the committee want the officers to help piece together a precise timeline of not only what took place between the Nov. 3 election and the Jan. 6 riots, but also who knew what and when — something the Senate report did not examine, committee aides say.

Behind the scenes: The committee members have held a series of phone calls.

  • They also have met in House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's (D-Calif.) office at least three times — including Monday afternoon — in preparation for Tuesday's hearing.

What to watch: Two key members of the committee — Reps. Adam Schiff (D-Calif.) and Jamie Raskin (D-Md.) — will be essential.

  • Both served as lead impeachment managers during former President Trump's first and second impeachment trials, and they were largely seen by their Democratic colleagues as having performed well.
  • Schiff held out the possibility Monday of calling former members of the Trump administration to testify — and said he expects the committee will eventually issue subpoenas.
  • He said some suspects "will be reluctant to testify and need to be compelled."

Go deeper

Updated Sep 24, 2021 - Politics & Policy

Biden unlikely to shield Trump White House records from Capitol riots probe

Photos: Anna Moneymaker and Brandon Bell via Getty Images

President Biden is unlikely to invoke executive privilege to shield any Trump White House records from the House investigation of the Capitol insurrection, Press Secretary Jen Psaki said Friday.

Why it matters: Though Psaki said they would evaluate on a case-by-case basis, it puts a dent in former President Trump's plan to block requests for Jan. 6 information by claiming executive privilege, a legal theory that can allow presidents and their aides to sidestep congressional scrutiny, per the Washington Post.

10 Black female officers sue D.C. police over alleged discrimination

Photo: Sarah Silbiger/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Ten Black female police officers filed a class-action lawsuit against the Metropolitan Police Department (MPD) Wednesday, alleging they were discriminated against, NBC News reports.

Why it matters: The women said they were subject to a culture of race and sex discrimination, a hostile workplace and retaliation when they complained. They also said that the problems have persisted for more than two decades under at least three police chiefs, per the Washington Post.

Sep 24, 2021 - Politics & Policy

Democrats release full text of Biden's $3.5T reconciliation package

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi. Photo: Alex Wong/Getty Images

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) on Friday unveiled the full text of President Biden's $3.5 trillion social spending package.

Why it matters: Democrats are racing to finish negotiations and get the bill on the floor as soon as possible so Pelosi can fulfill her promises to both House centrists and progressives about the timing and sequencing of passing the party's dual infrastructure packages.