Meet the Select Committee Members Investigating the January 6 Uprising


The House Select Committee investigating the Jan. 6, 2021, Capitol insurrection is holding its first prime-time public hearing on Thursday and is expected to outline its findings from the past year.

The hearings are expected to shine a spotlight on the nine-member committee, which includes seven Democrats and two Republicans. Here is who they are:

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Democratic Representative Bennie Thompson of Mississippi is the chairman of the House Select Committee investigating the Jan. 6 attack. Thompson is also chairman of the Homeland Security Committee, the first Democrat to hold that position.

As chairman of the Homeland Security Committee, Thompson introduced and oversaw the House’s passage of legislative recommendations after the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.

Thompson is a civil rights pioneer who began his political career by registering his fellow African Americans to vote in the segregated South. His first political victory was being elected as the first black mayor of his hometown of Bolton, Mississippi. He is the only Democrat to sit in the Mississippi delegation.

Thompson sees the work of the January 6 committee in the same vein as his work in the fight for civil rights.

“Our democracy is at stake,” he told CNN. “We must defend our democracy. We must defend our government.

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GOP Rep. Liz Cheney of Wyoming serves as vice chair of the committee. Cheney is one of two Republicans on the panel nominated by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, a Democrat from California, after House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy withdrew his five selections because Pelosi would not accept two of his choices.

Cheney was a vocal critic of former President Donald Trump and was one of 10 House Republicans to vote to impeach him. House Republicans punished her for her public opposition to Trump by removing her from their party’s conference chair in May last year and she faces a Trump-endorsed challenger in the GOP primary in his candidacy for re-election. This primary is in August.

Cheney told CBS in an interview that aired over the weekend that she believed the Jan. 6 attack was a conspiracy, saying when asked, “Yes. It is extremely wide. It is extremely well organized. It’s really chilling.

She even went so far as to say that Trump’s inaction to intervene as the attack unfolded was a “dereliction of duty.”

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Representative Adam Schiff is a Democrat from California. Schiff is also chairman of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence.

He was the top impeachment official representing the Democrats in Trump’s first impeachment trial.

“January 6 will be remembered as one of the darkest days in our country’s history. Yet, more than a year later, the threat to our democracy is greater than ever. January 6 was not an isolated day, but the violent culmination of multiple efforts to overturn the last presidential election and interfere with the peaceful transfer of power for the first time in our history,” Schiff said in a statement to CNN.

“The former president and his allies have spent every day since January 6 trying to rewrite the history of this bloody attack on our nation’s Capitol. That’s why these public hearings are so essential — to show the American people exactly how January 6 happened, who is responsible and, above all, what we can and must do to prevent another attack on our democracy.

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Rep. Jamie Raskin is a Democrat from Maryland who previously served as the lead impeacher for Democrats in Trump’s second impeachment trial.

In the days leading up to the Capitol insurrection, Raskin announced the death by suicide of his 25-year-old son, Tommy, on New Year’s Eve 2020. Raskin reflected on the tragic loss of his son and his experience of the attack on the Capitol, in his book “Unthinkable: Trauma, Truth and the Trials of American Democracy”.

Raskin said becoming the House’s chief impeacher last year served as a “lifeline” in the wake of his son’s death, describing to David Axelrod on “The Ax Files” podcast how Pelosi had asked him to lead the second responsible for impeachment.

“And then she said, ‘And I wish you were the main impeacher,’ and I also agreed to that immediately, but realized shortly after that she had thrown a lifeline at me. rescue, because I wasn’t sure if I would ever be able to do anything again,” Raskin to Axelrod.

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Representative Elaine Luria is a Virginia Beach-area Democrat who represents a community with a significant number of military-related voters. Luria is a Navy veteran. She served 20 years as an officer on Navy ships, retiring as a commanding officer. She attributed her military background to her motivation to serve on the Jan. 6 committee and shed light on what happened that day.

Of the nine committee members, Luria faces the toughest general election of the fall midterms. His district, already considered competitive, became more Republican after the redistricting. While other committee members, like Rep. Stephanie Murphy and Rep. Adam Kinzinger, decided not to run for re-election, Luria rose to the challenge. She announced her intention to seek a third term on January 6, 2022, the exact minute she and her staff were forced to evacuate her office due to a pipe bomb scare.

“I hope people learn how fragile our democracy is and how close we were to losing it on January 6. If some people weren’t in the right places on January 6, we would be looking at a very different and maybe another country,” Luria said of the significance of the upcoming hearings.

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Rep. Pete Aguilar is a Democrat from Southern California. Before coming to Congress, he served as mayor of Redlands, California.

Aguilar is considered a rising star in the House Democratic Caucus. As vice-chairman of the House Democratic Caucus, he is the most senior Latino member in the congressional leadership.

In addition to his role on the January 6 committee, Aguilar has several high-level committee assignments. He was also a member of the House Appropriations and House Administration Committees.

Aguilar believes the committee’s most important job is to create a full and complete record of what led to the January 6 violence.

“We will be giving the American public a full account of what transpired on the day of the vicious attack on the US Capitol, an attack that was intended to overthrow the will of voters and resulted in the deaths of five police officers,” he said. he declared. . “These hearings will present the facts in an informative, accessible and compelling way. I hope this will be a time for the country to come together and rally around our shared values. Those responsible for the violent attack must be held accountable.

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Rep. Zoe Lofgren is also a California Democrat who was impeached in the first impeachment trial against Trump. Lofgren is also chairman of the Committee on House Administration. Lofgren was first elected to Congress in 1994. She also served as a staffer on Capitol Hill for eight years.

Lofgren is trained as an immigration lawyer and has made immigration law reform a key part of her portfolio as a congresswoman. She also represents much of Silicon Valley and as a result has had a strong focus on technology-related issues.

She is a longtime ally and friend of Pelosi. The duo served together on the California congressional delegation for nearly three decades and both represent different parts of the Bay Area in Northern California.

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Rep. Stephanie Murphy is a Democrat from Florida. Murphy is the first Vietnamese American woman elected to Congress. Prior to serving in Congress, Murphy was a national security specialist in the office of the US Secretary of Defense.

Murphy said the challenge for committee members is to translate the mountains of information learned through the investigation into a digestible narrative for the American people.

“The select committee has obtained a large amount of testimony and documentation,” Murphy said in a statement to CNN.

“Our goal – and our challenge – is to use public hearings to distil this information down to its essence, to tell an accurate and easy-to-understand story about the reasons for January 6, and to provide actionable recommendations on how our country can prevent something like this from happening again.Our audience is made up of Americans from all political backgrounds who are committed to securing our democratic institutions and processes.

Murphy announced in December 2021 that she would not be seeking re-election.

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Representative Adam Kinzinger of Illinois is one of two Republicans on the committee and broke with his party by accepting Pelosi’s nomination.

Kinzinger, once seen as having a bright future in GOP politics, has been heavily criticized by his colleagues for his criticism of Trump. He blamed much of the responsibility for inciting violence that day on Trump and his allies.

Kinzinger is one of 10 Republicans who voted twice to impeach Trump after the Capitol uprising. He also voted for the bipartisan independent commission investigating the riot.

His willingness to take on Trump led the former president to personally pledge to back a primary opponent. Instead of facing the prospect of a comeback challenge from Trump, he opted to step down from Congress at the end of his current term.

Kinzinger served as a pilot in the US Air Force. He has served in Iraq and Afghanistan and was stationed in Iraq twice. He is currently a lieutenant colonel in the Air National Guard. As Kinzinger’s time in the House of Representatives draws to a close, he has teased a future political race and recently launched a national leadership PAC to raise funds to support like-minded candidates and causes.

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