While this is the first in a series of hearings, it’s also the biggest and most important of them all, as it will set the stage for the rest of them and air while people are, typically, watching television at night.
With that import in mind, I have four questions that I am hoping the committee is able to get answers — or at least clues — to tonight.
1. What did Donald Trump know and when did he know it?
The central question is what did Trump do in the roughly three hours between concluding his speech at the rally around 1 p.m. and his tweet after 4 pm? Was he aware of how out of control things had gotten? Did he play a role in helping them get out of hand? Who did he talk to? What did they talk about?
2. What really happened in the phone call between Kevin McCarthy and Trump?
In a January 2022 interview with Fox News, McCarthy described the call this way: “What I talked to President Trump about, I was the first person to contact him when the riots was going on. He didn’t see it. What he ended the call was saying — telling me, he’ll put something out to make sure to stop this. And that’s what he did, he put a video out later.”
Those two versions of that critical phone call are irreconcilable. Both can’t be true. So, which one is?
3. Was the riot planned in advance?
Everyone in Trump world has gone out of their way to insist that the riot was an unplanned and unfortunate offshoot of what was planned to be a peaceful protest.
“In weeks of behind-the-scenes interviews that have reached deep into Trump’s West Wing, the committee has sought to establish, for example, the level of planning of the Capitol riot on January 6, 2021, and whether there were direct links between the ex-President’s circle and partisan groups like the Proud Boys.”
4. What did Jared Kushner and Ivanka Trump tell the committee?
On the eve of the committee hearing, The New York Times published a story laying out how Kushner and Ivanka Trump worked to distance themselves from Trump’s election lies and the what happened on January 6.
Given that context, it’s possible — but not probable — that Kushner and Ivanka Trump used their testimony in front of the January 6 committee to further distance themselves from the actions of the former President and his inner circle (of which they once were a part). If that happened, it will be HUGE news.