(The Hill) – Rep. Liz Cheney (R-Wyo.) on Thursday laid blame directly on former President Donald Trump for the Jan. 6, 2021 Capitol riot, saying during the House select committee’s hearing that Trump “summoned the mob, assembled the mob and lit the flame of this attack.”
“Those who invaded our Capitol and battled law enforcement for hours were motivated by what President Trump had told them: that the election was stolen, and that he was the rightful president,” Cheney, the vice chair of the Jan. 6 panel, said in her opening statement, which ran longer than 30 minutes.
“President Trump summoned the mob, assembled the mob and lit the flame of this attack,” she added.
The comments came minutes into the panel’s first public hearing as it unveiled findings from its nearly yearlong investigation. The committee has conducted more than 1,000 interviews and obtained upwards of 125,000 documents as part of its probe into the Capitol riot.
The hearing is taking place after nearly 11 months of investigating the incident, and just more than 17 months after a mob of pro-Trump supporters stormed the Capitol building.
Before the riot began, Trump told a crowd of people at a nearby rally “we’re going to have to fight much harder” shortly before supporters marched to the Capitol.
“We’re going to walk down. Anyone you want, but I think right here, we’re going to walk down to the Capitol — and we’re going to cheer on our brave senators and congressmen and women and we’re probably not going to be cheering so much for some of them,” Trump said.
“Because you’ll never take back our country with weakness. You have to show strength and you have to be strong,” he added at the rally.
Cheney on Thursday said Trump, over a number of months, “oversaw a sophisticated seven-part plan to overturn the presidential election and prevent the transfer of presidential power.”
She added that the committee would present “evidence of each element of this plan” throughout the panel’s eight public hearings.
In his opening statement , Rep. Bennie Thompson (D-Miss.), the chairman of the Jan. 6 panel, said Trump “spurred a mob of domestic enemies of the Constitution to march down the Capitol and subvert American democracy.”
The chairman also claimed that Trump “was at the center” of a “multi-step conspiracy aimed at overturning the Presidential election” and “throwing out the votes of millions of Americans… and replacing the will of the American people with his will to remain in power after his term ended.”