Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA) is promising bombshell new revelations, the panel has hired a former ABC television producer to quarterback the made-for-TV event, and committee member Rep. Jamie Raskin (D-MD) is lobbying members to use the findings to change the way presidents are elected. But David Axelrod, once a top adviser to former President Obama, said Democrats should stick to presenting the facts and let the public decide.
“If I were a member of the 1/6 committee, stories like these, casting the hearings as a political cudgel, would make me very unhappy,” Axelrod wrote. “Conversely, Rs, who hope to dismiss damning findings as partisan, will seize on them. Let facts speak for themselves.”
If I were a member of the 1/6 committee, stories like these, casting the hearings as a political cudgel, would make me very unhappy.
Conversely, Rs, who hope to dismiss damning findings as partisan, will seize on them.
Let facts speak for themselves. https://t.co/akQ827sAPD
— David Axelrod (@davidaxelrod) June 7, 2022
Over the last year, the committee of seven Democrats and two Republicans — both estranged from the party — has interviewed 1,000 witnesses and assembled 140,000 documents on the Capitol riots that came two weeks before President Joe Biden’s inauguration. The panel intends to present its findings in as many as eight prime-time hearings to air live on multiple networks, starting Thursday at 8 p.m. ET. Raskin promised that the hearings would “blow the roof off the House.”
It is not known who will be called to testify during the hearings, as the committee has not released the names of any witnesses.
Democrats are seeking to pin the riots on former President Donald Trump, who contested Biden’s election and encouraged a crowd attending his speech earlier in the day to “peacefully” walk over to the Capitol. When riots erupted, Trump was urged by members of both parties to call for his supporters to stop, but he hesitated before doing so.
Schiff, the California Democrat who repeatedly claimed during the Mueller investigation to have seen powerful evidence that former President Trump colluded with Russia to steal the 2016 election only to see Trump cleared of the charge, said the public should brace for shocking revelations this week.
“Our goal is to present the narrative of what happened in this country, how close we came to losing our democracy, what led to the violence,” Schiff said. “Americans I think know a great deal already — they have seen a number of bombshells already [and] there’s a great deal they haven’t seen. But perhaps the most important is the public has not seen it woven together, how one thing led to another.”
Raskin, who Axios reported wants to use the hearings as a basis for getting rid of the Electoral College, said the hearings will help viewers understand who was really behind the riots.
“The select committee has found evidence about a lot more than incitement here, and we’re gonna be laying out the evidence about all of the actors who were pivotal to what took place on Jan. 6,” the Maryland lawmaker told the Washington Post.
Republicans claim the slick production is aimed at whipping up Democrat support in the November midterms and say the panel is partisan. Reps. Liz Cheney and Adam Kinzinger are the only Republicans on the committee. Kinzinger was drawn out of his district in Illinois, and Cheney faces a tough primary in her home state of Wyoming. Both have found themselves at odds with the GOP leadership since joining the panel.
“The sham January 6th committee is grasping at straws, just like the two failed impeachments,” Indiana Republican Rep. Jim Banks told The Daily Wire Monday. “They’re trying to turn their investigation into a taxpayer-funded TV special, instead of getting to the bottom of January 6th because they don’t want to uncover inconvenient truths about Speaker Pelosi’s role in the security failure at the Capitol.”