Lawmakers wiped away tears while hearing testimony and watching videos of the riot on January 6 during a congressional hearing

Rep. Adam Kinzinger, R-Ill., wipes his eyes as he listens to testimony on the Jan. 6 attack.
Rep. Adam Kinzinger, R-Ill., wipes his eyes as he listens to testimony before the House select committee hearing on the Jan. 6 attack on Capitol Hill in Washington, Tuesday, July 27, 2021. Chip Somodevilla/Pool via AP
  • Lawmakers wiped away tears amid emotional testimony and footage of the January 6 riot.
  • The House Select Committee held its first public hearing as part of its investigation into the Capitol insurrection.
  • Video shows House lawmakers, including Reps. Liz Cheney, Adam Kinzinger, and Zoe Lofgren tearing up at the hearing.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

Lawmakers wiped away tears while listening to emotional testimonies and graphic videos of the January 6 riot at a congressional hearing on Tuesday.

The House Select Committee that is investigating the January 6 insurrection held its first public hearing on Tuesday.

Police officers, who were attacked by a pro-Trump mob that descended on the Capitol in an attempt to overturn the election, delivered emotional testimonies of their experiences on January 6, pushing some lawmakers to tears.

Video shows House lawmakers, including Reps. Liz Cheney, Adam Kinzinger, and Zoe Lofgren tearing up at the accounts of the officers who were at the Capitol and at footage of the insurrection. Rep. Ann McLane Kuster, a Democrat from New Hampshire, was also seen wiping away tears as she left the hearing on Tuesday.

One of the witnesses, US Capitol Police Sgt. Aquilino Gonell, appeared during the congressional hearing to share his account of the Capitol insurrection, describing how he was beaten with a flagpole and sprayed with chemical spray. He broke down into tears as a video of the riot played at the beginning of the hearing.

Kinzinger told the four officers who testified that they “won” and assured them that “democracies are not defined by our bad days.”

“We’re defined by how we come back from bad days, how we take accountability for that,” he said during the hearing.

In their opening statements, Cheney and Kinzinger called out their GOP colleagues, pointing to their own conservative beliefs and why other members of their caucus should support the investigation into January 6.

“I’m a Republican. I’m a conservative,” Kinzinger said in his opening statement. “But in order to heal from the damage caused that day, we need to call out the facts.”

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Cheney echoed a similar sentiment, saying she has “been a conservative Republican since 1984 when I first voted for Ronald Reagan,” but “if Congress does not act responsibly, this will remain a cancer on our Constitutional Republic, undermining the peaceful transfer of power at the heart of our democratic system.”

“We will face the threat of more violence in the months to come, and another January 6th every four years,” she said.

Some members of the GOP caucus called for Cheney and Kinzinger to be stripped of their committee assignments amid their participation on the House select committee, to which Kinzinger said “if people want to get petty, that’s fine. I think that reflects more on people than it does on the situation at hand.”

Cheney and Kinzinger are the only two Republicans serving on the House select committee after House Speaker Nancy Pelosi rejected two of House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy’s GOP picks for the panel – Reps. Jim Banks and Jim Jordan, both of whom voted against certifying the 2020 election results in Arizona and Pennsylvania, two states where President Joe Biden won.

“With respect for the integrity of the investigation, with an insistence on the truth and with concern about statements made and actions taken by these Members, I must reject the recommendations of Representatives Banks and Jordan to the Select Committee,” Pelosi said in a statement last week. “The unprecedented nature of January 6th demands this unprecedented decision.”