By MARY CLARE JALONICK
WASHINGTON (AP) — “This is however I’m going to die, defending this entrance,” Capitol Police Officer Aquilino Gonell recalled thinking, testifying astatine the affectional opening proceeding of the legislature sheet investigating the convulsive Jan. 6 Capitol insurrection.
Officer Gonell told House investigators helium could consciousness himself losing oxygen arsenic helium was crushed by rioters – supporters of then-President Donald Trump – arsenic helium tried to clasp them backmost and support the Capitol and lawmakers.
He and 3 different officers gave their accounts of the onslaught Tuesday, sometimes wiping distant tears, sometimes angrily rebuking Republicans who person resisted the probe and embraced Trump’s downplaying the day’s unit by supporters who were challenging his predetermination defeat.
Along with graphic video of hand-to-hand fighting, the officers described being beaten arsenic they held disconnected the mob that broke done windows and doors and interrupted the certification of Democrat Joe Biden’s statesmanlike win. The caller committee is launching its probe with a absorption connected the instrumentality enforcement officers who protected them — putting a quality look connected the unit of the day.
Metropolitan Police Officer Michael Fanone, who rushed to the scene, told the committee — and millions watching quality sum — that helium was “grabbed, beaten, tased, each portion being called a traitor to my country.” Doctors aboriginal told him he’d had a bosom attack.
Daniel Hodges, besides a D.C. constabulary officer, said helium remembered foaming astatine the rima and screaming for assistance arsenic rioters crushed him betwixt 2 doors and bashed him successful the caput with his ain weapon, injuring his skull.
Capitol Police Officer Harry Dunn said 1 radical of rioters, possibly 20 people, screamed the n-word astatine him arsenic helium was trying to support them from breaching the House chamber.
Tensions connected Capitol Hill person lone worsened since the insurrection, with galore Republicans playing down, oregon outright denying, the unit that occurred and denouncing the Democratic-led probe arsenic politically motivated. Democrats are reminding radical however brutal it was, and however the instrumentality enforcement officers who were sworn to support the Capitol suffered superior injuries astatine the hands of the rioters.
The officers elaborate the fearfulness of their experiences, their injuries and the lasting trauma arsenic they begged the lawmakers to analyse the attack.
“I consciousness similar I went to hellhole and backmost to support them and the radical successful this room,” Fanone testified.
Pounding his fist connected the array successful beforehand of him, helium said, “Too galore are present telling maine that hellhole doesn’t beryllium oregon that hellhole really wasn’t that bad. The indifference shown to my colleagues is disgraceful.”
The lawmakers connected the committee, too, grew affectional arsenic they played videos of the unit and repeatedly thanked the constabulary for protecting them. Democratic Rep. Stephanie Murphy of Florida told them she was hiding adjacent an entranceway they were defending that time and “I shudder to deliberation what would person happened had you not held that line.”
Illinois Rep. Adam Kinzinger, 1 of 2 Republicans connected the panel, shed tears during his questioning. He said helium hadn’t expected to go truthful emotional.
“I deliberation it’s important to archer you close present that you guys whitethorn individually consciousness a small broken,” Kinzinger told the officers. “You guys each speech astir the effects you person to woody with and you speech astir the interaction of that day. But you guys won. You guys held.”
Wyoming Rep. Liz Cheney, the panel’s different Republican appointed by Democratic House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, expressed “deep gratitude for what you did to prevention us” and raised broader, larger issues.
“The question for each 1 of america who serves successful Congress, for each elected authoritative crossed this large nation, indeed, for each American is this: Will we adhere to the regularisation of law, respect the rulings of our courts, and sphere the peaceful modulation of power?”
“Or volition we beryllium truthful blinded by partisanship that we propulsion distant the occurrence of America?”
The House Republican leader, Kevin McCarthy, withdrew the information of the Republicans helium had appointed past week aft Pelosi rejected 2 of them, saying their “antics” successful enactment of Trump, and his lies that helium won the election, weren’t due for the superior investigation. Monday evening, the House voted against a solution offered by the GOP person to unit his chosen members onto the panel.
McCarthy has stayed adjacent to Trump since the insurrection and has threatened to propulsion committee assignments from immoderate Republican who participates connected the Jan. 6 panel. He has called Cheney and Kinzinger “Pelosi Republicans,” which Cheney has dismissed arsenic “childish.”
Ahead of the proceeding connected Tuesday, McCarthy again called the process a “sham” and said Pelosi lone wanted the questions asked “that she wants asked.”
McCarthy told reporters that Pelosi should beryllium investigated for her relation successful the information failures of the time but ignored questions astir Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell, who had identical authorization implicit the Capitol Police and Capitol information officials.
Chairman Bennie Thompson, D-Miss., said the proceeding would “set the tone” of the probe, which volition analyse not lone Trump’s relation successful the insurrection but the groups progressive successful coordinating it, achromatic supremacists among them.
It volition besides look astatine information failures that allowed hundreds of radical to breach the Capitol and nonstop lawmakers moving for their lives. Some of those who broke successful were calling for the deaths of Pelosi and Vice President Mike Pence, who was hiding conscionable feet distant from the mob.
Outside of a committee mentation league for the proceeding connected Monday, Kinzinger told reporters that “for excessively long, we’ve been pretending that Jan. 6 didn’t happen” and that “when you person lies and misinformation that proceed to thrive, it’s indispensable for america arsenic members of Congress to get to the answers.”
Shortly aft the insurrection, astir each Republican denounced the convulsive mob — and immoderate criticized Trump himself, who told his supporters to “fight similar hell” to overturn his defeat. But galore person softened their code successful caller months and weeks.
And immoderate person gone further, with Georgia Rep. Andrew Clyde saying a video of the rioters looked similar “a mean tourer visit” and Arizona Rep. Paul Gosar repeatedly saying that a pistillate who was changeable and killed by constabulary arsenic she was trying to interruption into the House enclosure was “executed.” Others person falsely claimed that Democrats oregon wide groups were liable for the attack.
The officers testifying person go progressively politically progressive successful caller months, and went from bureau to bureau successful May to lobby Senate Republicans to enactment an extracurricular committee to analyse the insurrection. The Senate GOP yet rejected that effort, though that sheet would person been evenly divided betwixt the parties.
Associated Press writers Eric Tucker, Kevin Freking and Padmananda Rama contributed to this report.