JANUARY 6th COMMITTEE HEARINGS

The violent attack on the Capitol on January 6, 2021, was a brazen, virulent, and deadly manifestation of the concerted effort to undermine our democracy, to overthrow the government, and to negate the votes cast by our communities. The information unveiled through the investigations by Congress’ the January 6th Committee and the U.S. Department of Justice confirms that the violence was foreseeable, and part of a larger planned coup attempt abetted by encouragement or deliberate inaction at the highest levels. 

In a series of public hearings, the bipartisan January 6th Committee has revealed previously unseen details of the machinations leading up to the attack. The hearings have included testimony from state election officials, election workers, and government staff close to former President Donald Trump in the days leading up to the insurrection. 

In May 2022, LDF submitted written testimony to the United States House of Representatives Select Committee to Investigate the January 6th attack on the United States Capitol detailing the relentless campaign to weaken our democracy and the steps Congress must take to protect it.

JANUARY 6th COMMITTEE HEARINGS FAQ

Why are the January 6th Committee hearings important?

No other act of mass violence in modern history has threatened the existence of our democracy more than the insurrection that occurred at the United States Capitol. The goal of the insurrectionists was clear: to effectuate a violent coup, deny the will of the majority of voters, and upend the functioning of our increasingly multi-racial, multi-ethnic democracy.  

The violence on January 6th and the attendant effort to override the valid outcome of the 2020 Presidential election were one concrete form of backlash, and the rash of voter suppression laws introduced and enacted in states across the country, building on a wave of voter similar efforts that preceded the election, was another. Both responses were fueled by a common false narrative rooted in racism and the project of white supremacy.  

How are the hearings connected to racial justice?

The January 6th attack was a manifestation of broad white supremacist backlash against robust democratic participation by people of color. This backlash has been fueled in part by the false narrative that rampant voter fraud occurred in Black and Brown communities, and also by a deep-seated fear that the changing racial and ethnic demographics in the United States and the increasing racial and ethnic diversity of the electorate threaten the existing power structure premised on white supremacy. Moreover, the insurrection was preceded and followed by a rash of racially discriminatory voter suppression laws aimed at Black and Brown Americans and which continue to threaten the integrity of our electoral process.  

What have we learned?

Former President Donald Trump, after losing the 2020 general election, refused to accept the will of the voters and waged both a disinformation campaign and legal attempts at overturning those results.

President Trump laid the groundwork for these false claims of mass election fraud well in advance of the election. He also begin signaling to white supremacists groups that they needed to "Stand back and stand by,” which served as a rallying cry to these violent extremists.

Officials at local, state, federal levels of government found no evidence of fraud—yet the former President continued to repeat those false claims, including encouraging then-Vice President Pence to reject the state-certified results of the Electoral College.

President Trump was told repeatedly that Vice President Pence lacked the Constitutional and legal authority to do what the President demanded he do.

President Trump was told by his own advisors that he had no basis for his stolen election claims, yet he continued to pressure state officials to change the election results, including Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger and Arizona State Representative Rusty Bowers. 

President Trump’s tweet inviting followers to join him at a protest on January 6th reverberated online across social media. His supporters, including far-right media personalities, saw it as a call to action. There were serious concerns among members of Congress at Twitter about anticipated violence that day.

 

What should Congress do next?

The Constitution gives Congress the authority and the responsibility to act to protect our democracy. The Committee has been charged with the responsibility of diagnosing the root causes of the January 6th and prescribing solutions that can heal our democracy. It is critical that Congress view January 6th not as an isolated incident. Only then does the full range of necessary solutions come into view. This includes legislation to protect the right to vote, especially for people of color; and to protect democracy from subversion.

JANUARY 6th COMMITTEE HEARINGS

Rep. Bennie Thompson

Day 1 Opening Statement

June 10, 2022 Hearing

“I’m from a part of the country where people justified the actions of slavery, the Ku Klux Klan, and lynching. I’m reminded of that dark history as I hear voices today try to justify the actions of the insurrectionists on January 6, 2021.”

Shaye Moss and Ruby Freeman

Former Georgia Election Workers

June 21, 2022 Hearing

“I’ve lost my name and I’ve lost my reputation. I’ve lost my sense of security. All because a group of people, starting with number 45 and his ally, Rudy Giuliani, decided to scapegoat me and my daughter Shaye to push their own lies about how the presidential election was stolen.”

LDF 2020 Election Report

Democracy Defended

Democracy Defended captures and analyzes election-related activities undertaken by LDF during the 2020 election season, and details efforts to suppress the vote of Black, Latinx, and other minority-community voters. The report includes state-specific litigation; information on voter issues reported; state and county specific advocacy LDF’s Prepared to Vote and Voting Rights Defender teams.

Democracy Defended also includes solutions for policymakers, election administrators, and community members to implement to ensure fair access to the vote in future elections.

How Voting Rights Legislation Can Protect Voters and American Democracy

As we face mounting attacks on the right to vote and our democracy, federal legislation is essential. The onslaught of laws restricting access to voting disproportionately impact and disenfranchise Black and Brown voters. Federal protections would: curb polling site closures, diminish obstacles to voting by mail, prevent voter intimidation, safeguard Black voters’ voices and political power, and improve accessibility for voters with disabilities.

2020 Election

LDF Voting Rights Cases

NAACP v. USPS

Filed: September 2020

Filed in August 2020, NAACP v. USPS challenged USPS delivery delays and inadequate measures to ensure timely delivery of mail-in ballots for the November 2020 election. Our suit resulted in USPS implementing court-ordered “extraordinary measures” for the timely delivery of ballots. On December 17 2021, LDF and Public Citizen announced a settlement in the historic case. The settlement ensures that it will undertake similar efforts to prioritize the delivery of ballots in future national elections.

On the last day of early voting in Alamance County, North Carolina, marchers and prospective voters walking from a church to a nearby polling site—among them young children, elderly individuals, and those with disabilities— were pepper-sprayed without warning or provocation by police. Some prospective voters were unable to register to vote by the 3 p.m deadline. In November 2020, LDF and co-counsel filed a lawsuit against the City of Graham and Alamance County challenging this unwarranted use of force and intimidation of prospective voters Section 11(b) of the Voting Rights Act of 1965, Section 1985(3) of the KKK Act, and the 1st and 4th Amendments of the U.S. Constitution. In June 2021, LDF and co-counsel reached a settlement in the case. 

LDF filed a lawsuit against President Trump and his campaign challenging their coordinated efforts to disenfranchise Black voters in Detroit, Michigan. LDF later filed an amended complaint challenging similar conduct in other states and adding the Republican National Committee as a defendant. The lawsuit charges that the president and his campaign violated the Voting Rights Act by intimidating, threatening, and coercing state and local elections officials to pressure them not to certify or count votes cast in Detroit. Defendants also encouraged their supporters to stop vote counting,  raised baseless challenges to the validity of legally cast ballots, and engaged media campaigns designed to intimidate and misinform voters and election officials 

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