Although it wasn't immediately clear what the country could expect, the Jan. 6 select panel's presentation of its findings was a start, the Thursday night prime-time hearing had a lot of new information and was presented in a calm, cogent manner.
With behind-the scenes footage and close-up video, the committee took the audience back to Jan. 6. The committee also proved that Donald Trump, the former president, was the main character behind what happened. This was supported by on-camera testimony of many close to him, including Ivanka, his daughter, who broke off with him over his lies about the election being stolen.
It wasn't stolen and those closest to Trump knew that it was aEUR". Despite Republican leaders once criticizing Trump's role in quickly changing course to curry political favor with Trump.
"Tonight I say this to my Republican co-workers who are defending what is indefensible," stated Liz Cheney (R-Wyo), vice chair of the committee. "Donald Trump will eventually be gone but your dishonor will not.
The committee hopes that it all comes through with the majority of Americans, particularly as fewer Americans are blaming Trump for the insurrection now than they were immediately after it. With partisan gaps growing wider and the conservative media trying to downplay the findings and circle Trump, the committee is hoping it all works.
These are the four main takeaways of the hearings' first day:
1. We have new facts and information
2. The videos and production were very effective.
It is difficult to keep an audience's attention during prime time for a congressional hearing (or even the NHL playoffs). We won't be able to tell how many people watched the video until later, but it was powerful.
It effectively cut between Trump’s Jan. 6 speech to show how the crowd was being egged on. The use of stable overhead cameras to show the overwhelming force of the crowd against law enforcement as well as body camera footage from law enforcement and radio conversations was strong. It revealed that the rioters were operating against the law aEUR", which Trump frequently holds in reverence.
Video also showed Trump tweets. It was effective because it featured militant members of the crowd. They needed a mob to get fired up and read Trump's tweets from a bullhorn almost like marching orders. Trump said just five days later that these were peaceful people.
The video showed McCarthy's staff moving quickly for the exits. McCarthy had originally criticised Trump and asked him to stop the crowd "aEUR", but he changed his mind when he realized that the House speakership was on the horizon. He also needed Trump's support base.
Mick Mulvaney (Trump's former chief staff officer) said that it was efficient, calling it "stunning."
3. Trump was portrayed by the committee as a dangerous and rogue president.
Cheney and the committee made a strong case for Trump's threat to democracy.
However, Trump was surrounded by people who knew the truth. They couldn't control or tame him. This included his attorney general, his daughter and Fox's Hannity.
McEnany is told by Hannity in new textual statements that he has spoken since Jan. 7: "No more stolen elections talk" and that there was a 25th Amendment option for Trump's removal from the Cabinet.
McEnany sees it as sound advice and says, "Love this." We are grateful. This is the guideline. "THANK YOU FOR ALL YOUR HELP."
Cheney argued that Trump did not want to end the riot. He claimed that he was angry at his advisers for telling him to do more and was just watching TV to see rioters shouting "Hang Mike Pence!"
What was Trump's reaction to this? Cheney says that "Maybe our supporters are right in their thinking." Mike Pence deserves it."
4. People who don't believe in or operate from a common set of facts continue to be the greatest problem in this country.
It was eye-opening to see this hearing on a split screen with Fox News and everyone else.
Fox aired the hearing live on its cable news channel, unlike every other network. According to Media Matters, a left-leaning group that tracks conservative media, Fox didn't cut off during Tucker Carlson's entire broadcast, making it less likely that its viewers would switch channels to view the hearing.
Fox instead spun narratives that furthered Trump's lies while downplaying the evidence. Fox's audience was treated with narratives casting doubts on the committee's work as well as a cast Trump supporters like Sen. Mike Lee from Utah and ex-White House officials such as Stephen Miller, former White House chief of staff Reince Priebus, and Kash Patel, the controversial former chief of staff.
Ironically, Hannity was the one who had been texting Trump and telling him to stop the election lies. He was on TV Thursday night, with banners on the screen. Hannity claimed that there were false narratives from the hearing. It was an "anti-Trump show trial" orchestrated by a "sham probe".
It is a fact that a large portion of the country aEUR", and many of those who are most affected by what occurred on Jan. 6, aEUR", have not heard the primary evidence, making it difficult for Americans on the same page to understand what really happened that day.