The Jan. 6 committee, in its finale hearing (for this season), drilled down on the theme of Republicans’ fear during the insurrection.
At times, the episodes produced levity amid an otherwise very bleak minute-by-minute account of the attack unfolding.
The committee homed in on Sen. Josh Hawley (R-MO) with punishing precision, flashing onto the screen the now infamous picture of him raising a fist in solidarity with the rioters.
A Capitol police officer there at the time told the committee, in Rep. Elaine Luria’s (D-VA) words, that “Senator Hawley’s gesture riled up the crowd and it bothered her greatly because he was doing it in a safe space protected by the officers and the barriers.”
The committee then showed footage — at one point in slow motion, for optimal effect — of Hawley running out of the Capitol building, away from the crowd he’d just helped incite.
Twitter seized on the moment with glee, with users immediately spouting off “Hawleying ass” jokes, and setting his panicked jogging to various soundtracks. A committee staffer shared a clip of the hearing room bursting into laughter while the videos played.
At other times, the depictions of Republican fear surfaced puzzling details.
In a clip from his recorded interview with the committee, Jared Kushner revealed that while the attack unfolded…he had been taking a shower.
“So, I heard my phone ringing, turned the shower off, saw it was Leader McCarthy, who I had a good relationship with,” Kushner recounted. “He told me it was getting really ugly over at the Capitol. He said, you know, ‘please, anything you could do to help, I would appreciate it.’ I don’t recall specific asks, just anything you can do. Again, I got the sense that, you know, they were — they were — they were scared.”
And some episodes drove home the committee’s primary point: that then-President Donald Trump was so hellbent on keeping power that the fear of his closest allies — entrapped with the violent mob he’d incited — did nothing to induce him to call off the attack.
Committee members and witnesses in clips detailed House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy’s (R-CA) attempts to convince Trump to call off the mob.
McCarthy finally got a phone call through to the then-President himself, as Rep. Jaime Herrera Beutler (R-WA) previously detailed in a recorded clip.
“I asked Kevin McCarthy, who is the Republican leader, about this and he said he called Donald Trump — he finally got through and he said, ‘You’ve got to get on TV. You’ve got to get on Twitter. You’ve got to call these people off,’” she recounted. “You know what the President said to him? This is as it’s happening. He said, ‘Well Kevin, these aren’t my people. You know, these are antifa.’”
“And Kevin responded and said, ‘No they’re your people, they literally just came through my office windows and my staff are running for cover. They’re running for their lives. You need to call them off,'” she continued. “And the President’s response, to me, was chilling. He said, ‘Well, Kevin, I guess they’re just more upset about the election theft than you are.'”
Rep. Adam Kinzinger (R-IL), one of the night’s emcees, put a pin in it.
“Leader McCarthy, one of the President’s strong supporters, was scared and begging for help,” Kinzinger said. “President Trump turned him down.”