Anti-Trump Republicans slam party for trivialising Capitol attack

US Capitol attack updates

Republican lawmakers critical of Donald Trump slammed their party for refusing any serious probe of the January 6 attack on the US Capitol, during an emotional hearing that featured wrenching testimony from the police who defended Congress.

“Many in my party have treated this as just another partisan fight. It’s toxic,” Adam Kinzinger, a Republican member of the House of Representatives from Illinois, said on Tuesday, holding back tears as he addressed a select committee set up to investigate the assault by a pro-Trump mob.

“It’s a disservice to the officers and their families, to staff and employees of the Capitol complex, to the American people who deserve the truth, and to the generations who went to war before us to defend self-governance,” he added.

The panel’s first hearing came after months of wrangling between Nancy Pelosi, the House speaker and a Democrat, and Kevin McCarthy, the Republican House leader, over the merits of an investigation and the composition of the committee.

Kinzinger was selected as a Republican member by Pelosi along with Liz Cheney, another Republican House member who is fiercely critical of Trump. McCarthy had tried to appoint members of his party who downplayed the assault and voted against the certification of Joe Biden’s election victory that day.

During Tuesday’s session, Cheney lambasted her party for their attitude towards the events of January 6, which has been heavily influenced by Trump’s lack of regret for stoking the riot and continuous insistence that the 2020 election was rigged.

“We must know what happened here at the Capitol. We must also know what happened every minute of that day in the White House — every phone call, every conversation, every meeting leading up to, during and after the attack,” Cheney said.

Some of the most moving testimony came from police officers at the scene, who spared no criticism of members of the Republican party dismissing the inquiry.

“The indifference shown to my colleagues is disgraceful,” said Michael Fanone of the Washington DC police. “Nothing, truly nothing, has prepared me to address those elected members of our government who continue to deny the events of that day, and in doing so, betray their oath of office.”

Fanone also described how during the riot he was beaten and, fearful of dying, pleaded for mercy. “I was aware enough to recognise I was at risk of being stripped of and killed with my own firearm. I was electrocuted again and again and again with a taser,” he said.

“I said as loud as I could manage, ‘I’ve got kids’,” he added.

Both Kinzinger and Cheney praised the officers of the Capitol and Washington DC police for defending the halls of Congress on the day. “You guys may like individually feel a little broken . . . but you guys won. You guys held,” Kinzinger said.

Top Republican lawmakers aligned with Trump appeared unfazed. Elise Stefanik, who replaced Cheney as House Republican conference chair, blamed Pelosi for the attack.

“It is a fact the US Capitol Police raised concerns and rather than providing them with support and the resources that they needed and they deserved, she prioritised her partisan political optics over their safety,” she wrote on Twitter.

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