Just as the clock struck 8 in the evening on Thursday, the US House committee investigating the attack on the United States Capitol on January 6, 2021, began its first public session.

Chairman Bennie Thompson gaveled in the session and began his introductory remarks by saying that he hails “from a part of the country where people justified the actions of slavery, the Ku Klux Klan and lynching.”

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“I’m reminded of that dark history as I hear voices today try and justify the actions of the insurrectionists on January 6th, 2021,” Thompson stated.

Thompson redirected the attention of the viewers to the fact that all members of Congress took an oath to defend the Constitution “against all enemies, foreign and domestic,” emphasising and repeating the final phrase.

He added that the inclusion of the phrase “domestic” in the oath stemmed from the Civil War, “when American citizens had taken up arms against this country.”

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“That oath was put to the test on January 6th, 2021,” he said.

Once again invoking the oath of office, Chairman Thompson said it was “domestic enemies of the Constitution who stormed and occupied the Capitol” and who “sought to thwart the will of the people, to stop the transfer of power.”

“And they did so at the encouragement of the president of the United States,”  he went on to say, referring to former president Donald Trump. “The president of the United States. Trying to stop the transfer of power. A precedent that had stood for 220 years, even as our democracy has faced its most difficult tests.”

After losing his court challenges to the 2020 election results, Trump engaged in “what became a sprawling, multi-step conspiracy aimed at overturning the presidential election,” Chairman Thompson said. “It was aimed at throwing out the votes of millions of Americans — your votes, your voice in our democracy —and replacing the will of the American people with his will to remain in power after his term ended.”

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“Donald Trump was at the center of that conspiracy. And ultimately, Donald Trump — the president of the United States — spurred a mob of domestic enemies of the Constitution to march down to the Capitol and subvert American democracy,” Thompson added.

“January 6th was the culmination of an attempted coup. A brazen attempt, as one rioter put it shortly after January 6th, ‘to overthrow the government,’” he remarked. “The violence was no accident.  It represented Trump’s last stand, most desperate chance to halt the transfer of power.”