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Regional Interests

House Select Committee Hears Compelling Testimony On The Capitol Attack

SARAH MCCAMMON, HOST:

Representative Zoe Lofgren of California is one of the seven Democrats on that select committee investigating the January 6 attack, and she joins us now. Welcome to MORNING EDITION.

ZOE LOFGREN: Good morning.

MCCAMMON: We want to ask you more about what happened yesterday and what comes next. Last night on NPR's All Things Considered, your fellow committee member, Adam Schiff, said the committee will do, quote, "whatever it takes to get the truth about what happened on January 6," even subpoena former President Donald Trump or members of his administration. What is the committee looking to understand from former Trump officials about what happened that day that we don't know already?

LOFGREN: Well, I think officer Dunn said it well - we had the hit man; we need to know who sent the hit man. We need to unwind what happened prior to January 6 to find out who assembled this mob, who paid for it, who incited them and uncover the truth. And we will follow that thread wherever it leads.

MCCAMMON: I want to play a little bit more of U.S. Capitol Police officer Harry Dunn's testimony for you about what led up to that day.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

HARRY DUNN: There's been a sentiment that's going around that says everybody's trying to make January 6 political. Well, it's not a secret that it was political. They literally were there to stop the steal. So when people say it shouldn't be political - it is. It was, and it is. There's no getting around that.

MCCAMMON: Representative Lofgren, what did the committee hope to accomplish by hearing from these four officers, hearing that testimony?

LOFGREN: Well, it was compelling testimony. And honestly, I am so proud of each of them and their colleagues. The country is enormously fortunate that we have men and women of their caliber and patriotism to defend our democracy. We needed to set a baseline - what happened on that day. And now we go backwards from that day on how it happened. I think their testimony made it clear that various stray comments about tourism and that it was just a walk in the park are not correct. These officers were there in a pitched battle. They saved democracy, really. We came within minutes, really, of a very different outcome. And we need to unwind what happened preceding that.

The last statement of the intro video was the voice of one of the terrorists saying, we'll be back with guns. The point of this is not just to hold those who plotted this accountable but also to prevent a recurrence to save our democracy.

MCCAMMON: As you mentioned, there are some Americans, including some of your fellow members of Congress, Republican members of Congress, who have claimed that what happened on January 6 was a tourist visit, that nothing bad happened. Yesterday's testimony refuted that. Representative Lofgren, how are you hoping Americans who were watching some of these hearings will respond, especially those who might be listening to some of these voices, trying to convince them that this wasn't such a big deal?

LOFGREN: Well, all you need to do is open your eyes, open your ears and see what happened. Comments that it was, you know, no big deal look pretty foolish in light of the testimony that we received from these officers yesterday. We know what happened. I'll tell you, I - someone I know pretty well in San Jose, who I consider, you know, an astute person, said I had no idea it was so violent. I think this did summarize in a very compelling way for the American public what happened that day. And now we proceed.

MCCAMMON: And how do you hold the people who are accountable accountable?

LOFGREN: By shining a light, uncovering the steps that were taken, who was involved and shining a light on that. We don't have prosecutorial authority, and we should not. The Department of Justice is doing the prosecutions. But we need to understand, as a country, who in power organized this, what their aim was and shine a light on that.

MCCAMMON: Do you think that is possible, given how politicized this event has become?

LOFGREN: I do think it's possible. We have a very committed group of - bipartisan group of members of Congress who are very serious about this. We don't care about partisanship. We care about the truth. And we're going to follow every lead honestly and impartially and find out what happened and share that with the American people.

MCCAMMON: Democratic Representative Zoe Lofgren of California, member of the House select committee investigating the January 6 insurrection. Thank you so much.

LOFGREN: Thank you. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.