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CNN Live Event/Special
Attack On Democracy: The January 6th Hearings; Documentarian Testifies About Actions Of Proud Boys Around January 6; Capitol Police Officer Injured On January 6 Testifies; January 6 Committee Presents Findings In First Prime-Time Hearing. Aired 9-10p ET
Aired June 09, 2022 - 21:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Absolutely. That's why we showed up today.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We're coming in, if you don't figure out. You back up.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Officer down. Get him up.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: USA.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (Inaudible).
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I need backup.
DONALD TRUMP, 45TH U.S. PRESIDENT: They were peaceful people. These were great people. The crowd was unbelievable and I mentioned the word, love, the love, the love in the air. I've never seen anything like it.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
REP. BENNIE THOMPSON (D-MS): Pursuant to the order of the Committee of tonight, the Chair declares the committee in recess for a period of approximately 10 minutes.
JAKE TAPPER, CNN HOST: An absolutely devastating film of footage, some of which, much of which we had never seen before. And in fact, some of the officers who served so valiantly that day, we're watching that film, you just watched that 12 minute film from inside the committee room and it was emotional, an emotional moment for them as they watched this horrifying spectacle.
Before that film, we saw a presentation from the Chairman of the Committee Bennie Thompson of Mississippi and a more, even more powerful presentation from the Vice Chair, Republican Liz Cheney who have offered firsthand testimonies with videos and texts from Trump administration officials and Trump family members and Trump loyalists all offering a trail of footprints leading directly from that horrific insurrection. This attack on the Capitol, this attack on democracy, footprints traced all the way back to Donald Trump.
Let's talk about this Dana, because this was about Donald Trump. This presentation,
DANA BASH, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: No question about it, especially the very lengthy, very powerful presentation from Liz Cheney that can be summed up in one of her quotes where she says, there's no room for debate, those who invaded our Capitol and battled law enforcement for hours were motivated by what President Trump had told them. And then she said, President Trump summoned the mob, assembled the mob and lit the flame of this attack. That is perhaps the best summary that she gave up all of the incredible, really unbelievable details that she not only showed the clips that she played, the quotes that she gave, about the way that the former president seemed to have not listened to the people who were telling him that's not true.
TAPPER: Yes. And Jamie, we heard Attorney General Barr used the terms and I'm quoting here so, apologies, but bullshit, crazy and nonsense describing Trump's election claims and those of supporters and we heard Ivanka Trump, the President's daughter, his favorite child talking about how credible she found Bill Barr,
JAMIE GANGEL, CNN SPECIAL CORRESPONDENT: Right. And Marc Short as well. I want to talk about Bill Barr for a minute. I think he's a key witness. He is the highest ranking former Trump official. And the fact that he came out and gave this, I'm told is a key part of the Committee's evidence. They say he's one of their strongest witnesses. We also heard from Marc Short there, the Chief of Staff for Mike Pence. I think what was so striking for me was the testimony was very sober and compelling.
GANGEL: The Committee had said that this was made for TV, that didn't feel as if it was made for TV.
LAURA COATES, FORMER FEDERAL PROSECUTOR: No, this was made for the court of law. And I'll tell you why, because of Bill Barr, up until now, we have had this question of whether you can prove what Donald Trump knew and when he knew it. Did he have the criminal intent? If they're right, if they can prove the statements that they have said, he had consciousness that his lie was in fact a lie, he was aware that what he was professing to the American public was not only going to lead to the obstruction of ceding, but also was going to lead to violence and he knew it on the lips. That's huge.
ABBY PHILLIP, JOURNALIST: One thing that that we shouldn't forget in what Liz Cheney said that connects to that horrific video we just saw. The White House was receiving intelligence at the time as it was ongoing that the riot was getting violent. And they were receiving that. Trump tweets at 2:24, attacks on Mike Pence. That tweet is read by a bullhorn on the steps of the Capitol.
TAPPER: Never seen that before.
PHILLIP: Attacking pence.
PHILLIP: Those rioters then chanted hang Mike Pence and continued on into the Capitol, it's chilling,
TAPPER: Connected dots.
JOHN KING, CNN CHIEF NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: And the Committee Liz Cheney made clear wants to prove to Laura's point criminality that the President of the United States knew. He knew he had lost. He knew what he was saying was a lie. He continued to use the levers of power to try to keep power. And she exposed I think, what is the other biggest fraud of the Trump presidency; he lied to his own people. He lied to his own people. There are people from 47 states. 823 people have been charged so far who came here based on his lie, and it's clear she wants to use Bill Barr, Ivanka Trump and all the other people in Trump's circle to say, this is his team. He lied to you.
TAPPER: Yes, absolutely. The hearing is going to resume soon with live witnesses from two key witnesses to the insurrection. A wounded Capitol police officer and a documentary filmmaker who was there recording the actions of the Far Right extremist group the Proud Boys. We're going to squeeze in a quick break. We'll be right back.
TAPPER: Tonight's extraordinary hearing of the January 6th Select Committee is about to resume with the first live testimony of the evening. We're going to hear from two witnesses who had an up close view of the mob that stormed the Capitol. They are U.S. Capitol Police Officer Caroline Edwards. She was one of the first people injured during the siege. The other is documentary filmmaker Nick Quested, who had unique access to the Far Right extremist group, the Proud Boys who took part in the attack. And we should note that the Proud Boys, members of the Proud Boys, leaders of them were indicted earlier this week for a very serious charge seditious conspiracy.
You might also recall, the Proud Boys from the presidential debate when Chris Wallace asked Donald Trump to condemn the Proud Boys and he told them to stand back and stand by your words to those effect. The Proud Boys and the Oath Keepers and other Far Right paramilitary group involved in the attack. Let's listen in.
THOMPSON: The committee will be in order. I want to thank our witnesses for being with us this evening to share their firsthand accounts of that terrible day. I know that some of the witnesses from our first hearing are in the room with us, along with some of the family members, friends and widows of the officers who lost their lives as a result of the attack. Thank you all for being here for us and the American people. Officer Caroline Edwards has been with the United States Capitol Police since 2017. On January 6th, Officer Edwards was assigned to the first responder unit, which serves as the first line of defense at the Capitol Complex. She also served as a member of the Civil Disturbance Unit; a special subset of the uniformed division trained to respond to mass demonstration events. Officer Edwards is a graduate of the University of Georgia, and currently is working on a Master's degree in intelligence analysis from John Hopkins University.
Nick Quested is an acclaimed filmmaker who credits include documenting stories from war zones in Afghanistan, Syria, and Iraq. On January 6th, Mr. Quested was working on a documentary about, why Americans are so divided when Americans have so much in common.
During that day, Mr. Quested interviewed and documented movements of the people around the Capitol, including the first moments of the violence against the Capitol Police, and the chaos that ensued.
I will now swear in our witnesses, the witnesses will please stand and raise your right hand. Do you swear and affirm under penalty of perjury that the testimony you're about to give is the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth, so help you God? Let the record reflect the witnesses answer in the affirmative. Without objection, the witness's statement will be included in the record.
Pursuant to Section 5C8 of House Resolution 503, I recognize myself for questioning. As you saw, just a few minutes ago, the Proud Boys instigated the first breach of the Capitol, just before 1 o'clock PM, where rioters pushed over barricades near the Peace Circle at the foot of the Capitol.
Our two witnesses tonight were both there at the time of that first breach. Officer Edwards was standing with other officers behind a line of bike racks that marked the perimeter of the Capitol grounds. She bravely tried to prevent an angry crowd from advancing on the Capitol. Unfortunately, she was overrun and knocked unconscious as the crowd advanced on the Capitol.
Mr. Quested was a few yards away from officer Edwards, taking footage of the Proud Boys as part of his work on a documentary film. Most of his footage has never been shown publicly before we shared it this evening. Officer Edwards, I'd like to start by asking if you could tell us why you believe it's important for you to share your story this evening with the Committee and the American public. Please, your microphone.
CAROLINE EDWARDS, CAPITOL POLICE OFFICER INJURED ON JANUARY 6: Well, thank you, Mr. Chairman. I really appreciate it. And thank you to the committee for having me here to testify. I was called a lot of things on January 6, 2021 and the days thereafter. I was called Nancy Pelosi's dog, called incompetent, called a hero and a villain. I was called a traitor to my country, my oath and my constitution. In actuality, I was none of those things. I was an American standing face-to-face with other Americans asking myself how many times, many, many times how we had gotten here. I had been called names before, but never had my patriotism or duty been called into question. I, who got up every day, no matter how early the hour or how late I got in the night before, to put on my uniform and to protect America's symbol of democracy.
I, who spent countless hours in the baking sun and freezing snow to make sure that America's elected officials were able to do their job. I, whose literal blood sweat and tears were shed that day defending the building that I spent countless holidays and weekends working in.
I am the proud granddaughter of a marine that fought in the Battle of the Chosun reservoir in the Korean War. I think of my papa often in these days how he was so young and thrown into a battle, he never saw coming and answered the call at a great personal cost. How he lived the rest of his days with bullets and shrapnel in his legs, but never once complained about his sacrifice. I would like to think that he would be proud of me. Proud of his granddaughter that stood her ground that day and continued fighting even though she was wounded like he did many years ago.
I am my grandfather's granddaughter, proud to put on the uniform and serve my country. They dared to question my honor. They dared to question my loyalty. And they dared to question my duty. I'm a proud American, and I will gladly sacrifice everything to make sure that the America, my grandfather defended is here for many years to come. Thank you.
THOMPSON: Officer Edwards, your story and your service is important. And I thank you for being here tonight. Mr. Quested, I also like to ask you to introduce yourself. Can you tell us how you found yourself in Washington, DC on January 6, 2021?
NICK QUESTED, DOCUMENTARIAN: Good evening, Chair and Madam Vice Chair, thank you for the introduction. As stated in the winter of 2020, I was working on a documentary. As part of that documentary, I filmed several rallies in Washington, DC on December the 11th and December the 12th and I learned there will be a rally on the mall on January 6th.
So, my three colleagues and I came down to document the rally. According to the permit, the event there was going to be a rally at the ellipse. We arrived at the mall, and observed a large contingent of Proud Boys marching towards the Capitol. We filmed them. And almost immediately I was separated from my colleagues. I documented the crowd turn from protesters to rioters to insurrectionists. I was surprised at the size of the group, the anger and the profanity. And for anyone who didn't understand how violent that event was, I saw it, I documented it, and I experienced it. I heard incredibly aggressive chanting. And I shared - subsequently shared that footage with the authorities. I'm here today pursuant to a house subpoena. Thank you so much. THOMPSON: Thank you, Mr. Quested. The Select Committee has conducted extensive investigative work to understand what led the Proud Boys and other rioters to the Capitol on January 6th. We've obtained substantial evidence showing that the president's December 19th tweet, calling his followers to Washington, DC on January 6th energized individuals from the Proud Boys and others extremist groups. I'd like to play a brief video highlighting some of this evidence.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MARCUS CHILDRESS, INVESTIGATIVE COUNSEL: My name is Marcus Childress and I'm an investigative counsel for the Select Committee to investigate the January 6th attack on the United States Capitol.
TRUMP: What do you want to call him? Give me a name, give me a name.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: White supremacist.
TRUMP: Go ahead, who would you like me to condemn.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Proud Boys.
TRUMP: Proud Boys, stand back and stand by.
CHILDRESS: After he made this comment, Enrique Tarrio, then Chairman of the Proud Boys set on parlor standing by, sir. During our investigation, we learned that this comment during the presidential debate actually led to an increase in membership from the Proud Boys.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Would you say that Proud Boys numbers increased after the stand back, stand by comment?
JEREMY BERTINO, PROUD BOY: Exponentially. I'd say tripled probably with the potential for a lot more eventually.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Did you ever sell any stand back and stand by merchandise?
ENRIQUE TARRIO, FORMER LEADER, PROUD BOYS: One of the vendors on my page actually beat me to it, but I wish I would have - I wish I would have made a stand back, stand by shirt.
CHILDRESS: On December 19th President Trump tweeted about the January 6th rally and told attendees be there, we'll be wild. Many of the witnesses that we interviewed were inspired by the president's call and came to DC for January 6th. But the extremists, they took it a step further. They viewed this tweet as a call to arms. A day later, the Department of Justice describes how the Proud Boys created a chat called the ministry of self-defense leadership chat. In this chat, the Proud Boys has established a command structure in anticipation of coming back to DC on January 6th.
The Department of Justice describes Mr. Tarrio coming into possession of a document called the 1776 returns, which describes individuals occupying key buildings around the United States Capitol. The Oath Keepers are another group that the Committee investigated, UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You better get your (inaudible) to DC, folks this Saturday.
STEWART RHODES, FOUNDER, OATH KEEPERS: If you don't there's going to be no more Republic. But we're not going to let that happen. It's not even if, it's either President Trump is encouraged and bolstered strengthened to do what he must do, or we wind up in a bloody fight. We all know that, the fights coming.
CHILDRESS: The Oath Keepers began planning to block the peaceful transfer of power shortly after the November 3rd election and according to the Department of Justice Stewart Rhodes, the Oath Keepers leader said to his followers, that we were not going to get through this without a civil war.
In response to the December 19, 2020 tweet by President Trump, the Oath Keepers focused on January 6th in Washington, DC. In response to the tweet, one member, the President of the Florida Chapter, put on social media. The president called us to the Capitol, he wants us to make it wild. The goal was for the Oath Keepers to be called to duty so that they could keep the president in power. Although President Trump had just lost the election.
The Committee learned that the Oath Keepers set up quick reaction forces outside of the city in Virginia where they stored arms. The goal of these quick reaction forces was to be on standby just in case President Trump invoked the Insurrection Act.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Did the Oath Keepers ever provide weapons to members?
RHODES: I'm going to decline to answer that within the grounds for due process grounds.
CHILDRESS: In footage obtained by the committee, we learned that on the night of January 5th, Enrique Tarrio and Stewart Rhodes met in a parking garage in Washington, DC.
TARRIO: There's mutual respect there. I think we're fighting the same fight and I think that's what's important.
CHILDRESS: The Committee learned that the Oath Keepers went into the Capitol for the East doors in two stack formations. The DOJ alleges that one of the stacks went into the Capitol looking for Speaker Pelosi, although they never found her.
As the attack was unfolding, Mr. Tarrio took credit and documents obtained by the Department of Justice, Mr. Tarrio said in an encrypted chat, make no mistake, and we did this. Later on, that evening, Mr. Tarrio even posted a video, which seemed to resemble him in front of the Capitol with a black cape, and the title of the video was premonition. The evidence developed by the Select Committee in the Department of Justice highlights how each group participated on the attack on the Capitol on January 6th. In fact, the investigation revealed that it was individuals associated with the Proud Boys who instigated the initial breach at the Peace Circle at 12:33 PM.
Within 10 minutes, rioters had already filled the Lower West Plaza. By 2 o'clock, rioters had reached the doors on the West and East Plazas. And by 2:13, rioters had actually broken through the Senate wing door and got into the Capitol building. A series of breaches followed. At 2:25 PM, rioters breached the East side doors to the rotunda.
And then right after 2:40 PM, rioters breached the East side doors near the Ways and Means room. Once the rioters infiltrated the Capitol, they moved through the crypt, the rotunda, the hallways leading to the House Chambers, and even inside the Senate Chambers.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
THOMPSON: Individuals associated with two violent extremist groups have been charged with seditious conspiracy in connection with the January 6th attack. One is the Oath Keepers. They are a group of armed anti-government extremists. The other group is the Proud Boys. They promote white supremacist beliefs and have engaged in violence with people they view as they are political enemies.
Members of both groups have already plead guilty to crimes associated with the January 6th attack. Mr. Quested, as part of the documentary, you've been filming, you gained access to the Proud Boys and their leader, Enrique Tarrio. Your crew filmed them in Washington, DC on the evening of January 5th, and then on January 6th. On January 5th, the night before the attack, you are with the head of the Proud Boys, Mr. Tarrio in Washington, DC. What happened?
QUESTED: We picked up Mr. Tarrio from jail. He'd been arrested for carrying some magazines, some long, some extra capacity magazines. And for the - he took responsibility for the burning of the Black Lives Matter flag that was stolen from the church, on December the 12th. We were attempting to get an interview with Mr. Tarrio. We had no idea of any of the events that were going to subsequently happen. We drove him to pick up his bags from the property department of the police, which is just south of the mall.
We picked up his bags and went to get some other bags from the Phoenix hotel. We encountered Mr. Stewart Rhodes from the Oath Keepers. By the time I'd gone to park the car, my colleague was saying who'd got into the car with Mr. Tarrio that they had moved to a location around the corner, the parking garage of the Hall of Legends, I believe. And so, we quickly drove over there, we drove down into the parking garage and filmed the scene of Mr. Tarrio and Mr. Rhodes and certain other individuals in that garage.
We then continue to follow Mr. Tarrio. There was some discussion about where he was going to go. He ended up going towards a hotel in Baltimore and we conducted an interview with him in the hotel room. And then we returned to DC for that night. And what was interesting that night actually was that was the first
indication that D.C. was much more busy than it had been any other time, we'd been here, because we couldn't get into the hotels we wanted to. And we ended up at a hotel that was not as satisfactory as we would hoped.
THOMPSON: Thank you. So, what you're saying is you found the meeting between Mr. Tarrio, and Oath Keepers leader, Stewart Rhodes, right?
THOMPSON: You couldn't hear what was said. But according to the Justice Department indictment of Mr. Tarrio, a participant referenced the Capitol.
Now, in the morning of January 6, you learn the Proud Boys would gather near the rallies scheduled to take place near the White House. What time did you meet up with the Proud Boys? And what was happening when they met?
QUESTED: We met up with the Proud Boys, somewhere around 10:30 AM. And they were starting to walk down the mall, easterly direction, towards the Capitol.
There was a large contingent, more than I had expected. And I was confused, to a certain extent, why we were walking away from the President's speech, because that's what I felt, we were there to cover.
THOMPSON: So at 10:30 AM, that's early in the day, that's even before President Trump had started speaking. Am I correct?
QUESTED: Yes, sir.
THOMPSON: So how many Proud Boys would you estimate were marching together to the Capitol?
QUESTED: A couple of hundred, potentially, yes. I say a couple of hundred Proud Boys were marching towards the Capitol, at that point.
THOMPSON: At the time, was the area heavily guarded?
QUESTED: No, that was - we met - I remember, we walked past the - we walked down the mall. We walked to the right of the Reflecting Pool, and then north along the road that leads to the Peace Circle.
And as we were walking past the Peace Circle, I framed the Proud Boys to the right of my shot, with the Capitol behind. And we see one sole police officer, at the barriers, which subsequently breached.
We then walk up, and passed a tactical unit, preparing. And there's - you see that in the film, where the man questions their duty and their honor, and you see maybe a dozen Capitol Police putting on their riot gear.
THOMPSON: So, how would you describe the atmosphere at that time? QUESTED: The atmosphere was it seemed to be much darker. I make efforts to create familiarity, between myself, and my subjects, to make them feel comfortable. And the atmosphere was much darker at this day, than it had been, in these other - in these other - in these other days.
And there was also a contingent of Proud Boys that I hadn't met before, from Arizona, who appear to wear these orange hats, and had orange armbands.
THOMPSON: So, when the Proud Boys went back down the Hill, to the Peace Circle, did a larger crowd start to gather?
QUESTED: Well, no. First of all, we went round to the back and down the steps. And we took some photographs on the east side of the Capitol. And then, we went for lunch, we went for tacos.
THOMPSON: So, Mr. Quested, you are a journalist. So, you're careful to stick to things that you have observed. But what you've told us, is highly relevant. Let me highlight a few key facts that you and others have provided the Committee.
First, there was a large group of Proud Boys present at the Capitol. We know that from multiple sources, you now estimate that there were around 250 to 300 individuals that you've testified. They weren't there for President Trump's speech.
We know this because they left that area, to march toward the Capitol, before the speech began. They walked around the Capitol that morning. I'm concerned, this allowed them to see what defenses, were in place, and where our weaknesses might be. And they decided to launch their attack, at the Peace Circle, which is the front door of the Capitol Complex.
It's the first security perimeter that those marching from the Ellipse would have to come to, as they moved toward the Capitol. The Peace Circle walkaway was - walkway was always clear the thousands of angry Trump supporters would arrive, after President Trump sent them, from the Ellipse.
The Proud Boys timed their attack, to the moments before the start of the Joint Session, in the Capitol, which is also where President Trump directed the angry mob, quote, "We fight like hell," end quote. He told them, before sending them down Pennsylvania Avenue, right to where the Proud Boys gathered, and where you are filming.
Now, central question is whether the attack on the Capitol was coordinated and planned? What you witnessed, is what a coordinated and planned effort would look like. It was the culmination of a months- long effort, spearheaded by President Trump.
Mr. Quested, thank you for your eyewitness account, of the lead-up, to the breach of the Peace Circle. This brings us to a point, in time, where you and Officer Edwards, were in close proximity. At this point, I reserve the balance of my time, pursuant to 5(c) Section 8 of House Resolution 503. The Chair recognizes the gentlewoman, from Wyoming, Liz Cheney, for questioning.
REP. LIZ CHENEY (R-WY): Thank you very much, Mr. Chairman.
Officer Edwards, I want to start by thanking you for your service. And thank you for your courage. Thank you for being here, this evening.
I know that it's not easy, to relive, what happened, for you, and for the officers, behind you, and for the family members, of officers, in the audience, this evening. But it's really important for the country, to have a full accounting, and understand what happened.
I want to start, Officer Edwards, with a short clip that shows the horrible moment, when you were injured, as the Peace Circle was breached.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
(PEOPLE CHANTING "USA!")
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: USA! USA! USA! USA!
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Jake (ph).
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: USA! USA! USA! USA! USA! USA! (inaudible) Move! Move!
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CHENEY: Officer Edwards, can you describe the crowd that had assembled, at the Peace Circle, as you and your fellow officers, stood behind, and guarded the bike racks, at the Peace Circle?
EDWARDS: Yes. So, there were about, I want to say, about five of us, on that line. And there were - so, there was our bike rack, and then at the bottom of the Pennsylvania Avenue walkway, or right by Peace Circle, there was another bike rack. And so, the crowd had kind of gathered there.
It was the crowd led by Joseph Biggs. And they were mostly in civilian clothes. There were some, who had military fatigues on. We could see people with bulletproof vests on, things like that. They didn't seem extremely cohesive. But they had gathered there, in their outfits. But they had gathered there together.
And Joseph Biggs started. He had a micro - or a megaphone, and he started talking about, you know, first, it was things kind of relating to Congress.
And then, the tables started turning, once the - what is now that - the Arizona group is what you said, the crowd with orange hats, they came up chanting "F-U-C-K Antifa!" And they joined that group.
And once they joined that group, Joseph Biggs' rhetoric turned to the Capitol Police. He started asking us questions like you've - you didn't miss a paycheck, during the pandemic, mentioning stuff about - our pay scale was mentioned, and started turning the tables, on us.
And I've worked, I can conservatively say, probably hundreds of civil disturbance events. I know when I'm being turned into a villain. And that's when I turned to my sergeant, and I stated the understatement of the century. I said, "Sarge, I think we're going to need a few more people down here."
And so, after that, I think they started conferring. They went a little silent. They started conferring among each other. I saw the person, now identified as Ryan Samsel. He put his arm, around Joseph Biggs, and they were talking. And then, they started approaching the first barricade. They ripped the first barricade down. And they approached our bike racks.
At that time, we started holding on, grabbing the bike racks. There weren't many of us. So, I grabbed the middle between two different bike racks. And I wasn't under any pretense that I could hold it, for very long. But I just wanted to, make sure that we could get more people down, and get our CDU units time to, to answer the call.
So, we started grappling over the bike racks. I felt the bike rack come on top of my head, and I was pushed backwards. And my foot caught the stair behind me. And I - my chin hit the handrail. And then I, at that point, I had blacked out. But my - the back of my head clipped the concrete stairs, behind me.
CHENEY: And you were knocked unconscious. Is that right, Officer Edwards?
EDWARDS: Yes, ma'am.
CHENEY: But then, when you regained consciousness, even with the injuries, you returned to duty. Is that right?
EDWARDS: Yes, ma'am. At that time, adrenaline kicked in. I ran towards the West Front, and I tried to hold the line, at the Senate steps, at the Lower West Terrace.
More people kept coming at us. It just seemed like more and more people started coming on to the West Front. They started overpowering us. And that was right about when MPD's officers showed up.
Their bike officers pushed the crowd back, and allowed our CDU units, as well as theirs, to form that line that you see, that very thin line, between us, and the protesters or the rioters, at that time. I fell behind that line. And, for a while, I started decontaminating people, who had gotten sprayed, and treating people, medically, who needed it.
CHENEY: And then, you were injured again, there, on the West Terrace. Is that right, Officer Edwards? EDWARDS: Yes, ma'am. So, after a while, I got back on the line. I got - it was on the House side, of the Lower West Terrace. And I was holding that line, for a while.
There weren't many of us over there. And Officer Sicknick was behind me, for most of the time, for about 30 minutes to 45 minutes that I was down there. We were just, as the best we could, we were just grappling over bike racks, and trying to hold them, as quick as possible.
All of the sudden, I see movement, to the left of me. And I turned, and it was Officer Sicknick with his head in his hands. And he was ghostly pale, which I figured, at that point, that he had been sprayed.
And I was concerned. My cop alarm bells went off. Because, if you get sprayed, with pepper spray, you're going to turn red. He turned just about as pale as this sheet of paper.
And so, I looked back, to see what had hit him, what had happened. And that's when I got sprayed, in the eyes, as well. I was taken, to be decontaminated, by another officer. But we didn't get the chance, because we were then tear-gassed.
CHENEY: And we are going to play just a brief clip of that moment that you've just described, Officer Edwards.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
(VIDEO - CAROLINE EDWARDS, CAPITOL POLICE OFFICER INJURED ON JANUARY 6)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (inaudible).
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CHENEY: Officer Edwards, I just want to thank you for being here. And I know, again, how difficult it is. I know, that family of Officer Sicknick, as well, who's here tonight.
And one of the things one of the Capitol Police officers said to me, recently, was to ask me whether or not, as Members of Congress, all of us understood that on that day, on January 6, when we were evacuated, from the Chamber, were led to a safe, undisclosed location, whether we knew that that so many of you had rushed out of the building, and into the fight.
And I can assure you that we do know that, and that we understand how important your service is. Thank you for your continued work, with our committee, and the interviews. And thank you very much, for both of you, for being here, this evening.
Mr. Chairman, I yield back.
THOMPSON: Thank you very much.
Miss Edwards, can you give us one memory of that awful day that stands out most vividly in your mind?
EDWARDS: I can. That time, when I talked about falling behind MPD's line, I remember, because I had been kind of shielded away, because I was holding those stairs. So, I wasn't able to really see what was going on over here.
When I fell behind that line, and I saw, I can just remember, my breath catching in my throat, because what I saw was just a war scene. It was something like I had seen out of the movies. I couldn't believe my eyes.
There were officers on the ground. They were bleeding. They were throwing up. They were, you know, they had - I mean, I saw friends with blood all over their faces. I was slipping in people's blood. I was catching people, as they fell.
I was - it was carnage. It was chaos. I can't even - I can't even describe what I saw. Never in my wildest dreams did I think that, as a police officer, as a law enforcement officer, I would find myself in the middle of a battle.
I'm trained to detain a couple of subjects, and handle a crowd. But I'm not combat-trained. And that day, it was just hours of hand-to- hand combat, hours of dealing with things that were way beyond any law enforcement officer has ever trained for.
And I just remember - I just remember that moment, of stepping behind the line, and just seeing the absolute war zone that the West Front had become.
THOMPSON: Let me thank you for your service, and obviously your bravery that you have told the world about, tonight. It's unfortunate that you had to defend the Capitol, from fellow Americans. None of us would ever think that that would have to happen. But it did.
So, let me thank our witnesses, for joining us, tonight, and sharing their experiences, with America.
Throughout my chairmanship of this committee, I've continuously vowed that this committee will ensure a comprehensive account, of the heroic acts, on January 6, and that we will follow the facts wherever they lead. Your testimony is an essential part of that record, and helps us do our job.
Mr. Quested, thank you for sharing your footage, and your account, of the day's events, with us.
The images you recorded, and have shared with the committee, do a better job than any of our words, in reinforcing the violence of January 6. We hope that the power of your footage help encourage all Americans to consider how citizens with such - so much in common, could viciously brawl at deceit of their democratic government.
Officer Edwards, thank you for your brave service, as I indicated, on January 6, and all you did to protect us, and most importantly, our democracy. If you and your fellow officers hadn't in Hill, the line against those violent insurrectionists, we can only imagine the disaster that would have ensued.
Your heroism in the face of danger is admirable. And your will to continue to protect and serve despite your serious injuries should be an inspiration to all of us. We wish you a continued recovery, and look forward to seeing you back in uniform sometime soon.
The members of the Select Committee may have additional questions for tonight's witnesses. And we ask that you respond expeditiously, in writing, to those questions. Without objections, members will be permitted 10 business days to submit statements for the record, including opening remarks, and additional questions, for the witnesses.
The witnesses have just told us what they heard the rioters saying, why they stormed the Capitol, on that day. Now, we're going to hear it from the rioters, themselves.
Without objection, I include, in the record, a video presentation.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We were invited by the President of the United States!
ROBERT SCHORNACK, SENTENCED TO 36 MONTHS PROBATION: What really made me want to come was the fact that I had supported Trump all that time. I did believe that the election was being stolen. And Trump asked us to come.
VOICE OF ERIC BARBER, CHARGED WITH THEFT AND UNLAWFUL DEMONSTRATION IN THE CAPITOL: He personally asked for us to come to D.C. that day. And I thought, for everything he's done for us, if this is the only thing he's going to ask of me, I'll do it.
TRUMP: We're going to walk down to the Capitol.
(AUDIENCE CHEERING WITH "YES!")
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Do you recall President Trump mentioning going to the Capitol, during his speech?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Oh, yes. So that's one of my disappointments. He said he was going to go, go with us that he was going to be there.
JOHN WRIGHT, AWAITING TRIAL FOR FELONY CIVIL DISORDER AND OTHER CHARGES: I know why I was there. And that's because he called me there. And he laid out what is happening in our government. He laid it out.
GEORGE MEZA, PROUD BOY: But I remember Donald Trump telling people to be there, I mean, to support.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: So, you had mentioned that the President asked you. Do you remember a specific message?
DANIEL HERENDEEN, SENTENCED TO 36 MONTHS PROBATION: Basically, yes. For us to come to D.C., big things are going to happen.
VOICE OF MATTHEW WALTER, PROUD BOY: What got me interested is, he said, "I have something very important to say, on January 6," or something like that, is what got, what one - what got me interested, to be there.
SCHORNACK: You know, Trump has only asked me for two things. He asked me for my vote. And he asked me to come on January 6.
THOMPSON: When the committee reconvenes, next week, we're going to examine the lies that convinced those men, and others, to storm the Capitol, to try to stop the transfer of power. We're going to take a close look, at the first part, of Trump's attack, on the rule of law, when he hit the fuse that ultimately resulted, in the violence, of January 6.
Without objection, and with that, the committee stands adjourned.
ANDERSON COOPER, CNN HOST, ANDERSON COOPER 360: You have been watching and listening to close to two hours of testimony, eyewitness accounts, video documentation, as well as statements, by Members of Congress, about the events of January 6. Stunning, at times. Difficult to hear, at times. Sickening, even. But important, nonetheless.
Chris Wallace, a lot to talk about. Just in general, what stands out to you?
CHRIS WALLACE, CNN ANCHOR: Well, we'd seen videos before. I remember that the impeachment - House Impeachment Managers put together a very powerful video, before the second Senate trial.
But this does not lose its capacity, to shock, and to disgust you, and to horrify you, the idea of this mob, coming to the symbol, as it was called the Citadel of our Democracy, breaching the walls, and going in and attacking, talking about "Hang Mike Pence," hunting for Nancy Pelosi, the Speaker of the House.
And there was also some - you look back at some of the things that were said, that Bennie Thompson, the Chairman, this was a sprawling, multi-step conspiracy, to overturn the election, and Donald Trump was at the center of the conspiracy.
Liz Cheney, "Those who invaded the Capitol, were motivated by what Trump told them. Trump lit the fuse for the attack. It was a very powerful, very well-produced, if you will, two-hour presentation."
I still have questions. If you were horrified by the events of January 6, then what we've learned since, you were certainly horrified by what you saw. If you haven't been convinced to that, in the last year and a half, I'm not sure if this or anything will change your mind.
COOPER: One of the things Gloria, though, that Liz Cheney talked about, and was trying to do, I think, in her accounting, of what they have learned, thus far, and we'll obviously learn more in the weeks ahead, as more testimony goes on, is the what - what the President himself knew, and was being told by his inner circle, versus what he was saying, and others around him were saying, publicly.
GLORIA BORGER, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL ANALYST: Right. And that's a way to prove his intent. And everybody was saying to him, "You've lost," you know? And he may not have believed them. We don't know the answer to that. At this point, we can assume. Who knows?
But, they were telling him, including his daughter, who listened to Barr, including, Jason Miller, people saying, "You lost," and he didn't believe them.
I think what we saw tonight, though, I have to say, it's just historic, to me. This was a hearing, unlike any other I have ever seen. And it met the moment in history, I think that we're in. It was a somber hearing. It allowed the videos to kind of play out and reengage the American public.
COOPER: It also - the videos, the way they presented them, and I mean, and as Chris was saying--
COOPER: --most of that was video we had not seen before, from the documentary filmmaker, a lot of that video starts to look alike. It's very chaotic. It's this mob, you don't know what's going on.
They were able to kind of show, minute-by-minute, exactly who was involved, where and what the actual, what the first breach was, and the Proud Boys being involved, in the first breach, and how systematic and important--
COOPER: --that was.
BORGER: And where Officer Edwards, who was there, this evening, where she was, and what happened to her. And, in addition to doing that, I believe that these clips, from their interviews, really changed everything.
Because General Milley - I mean, this sticks out to me, and I don't think I'll ever forget it, because it's so cynical. General Milley talking about, of course, that he received three calls, from Mike Pence, who was very animated. But then, he talked about a conversation, with the White House Chief of Staff, Mark Meadows, and this just struck me, who said to him, "We have to kill the narrative that the Vice President is making all the decisions." That was kind of stunning to me. And we now know, definitively that Milley did not hear from the President of the United States.
COOPER: George Conway, what strikes you?
GEORGE CONWAY, CONSERVATIVE LAWYER, CONTRIBUTING COLUMNIST, THE WASHINGTON POST: Well, I thought the hearing was just stunning. I thought it was compelling. I thought it was chilling, in many respects.
What struck me the most though was Liz Cheney. Her opening statement, she - this was she - I don't think she's a lawyer. But this was an opening statement, of a prosecutor, opening statement that you could have delivered, in a trial, of the United States of America against Donald J. Trump, for conspiracy to defraud the United States, for obstructing a congressional proceeding.