Here are the questions the Jan. 6 commission should be asking witnesses

Here are the questions the Jan. 6 commission should be asking witnesses
US Capitol Grounds East Plaza off First Street and East Capitol Street, Washington DC on Wednesday afternoon, 6 January 2021 by Elvert Barnes Photography
Pro-Trump website 'TheDonald' confirms detailed plans to storm Capitol and kill members of Congress

As the House Select Committee, developed to investigate the Jan. 6 insurrection on the U.S. Capitol, prepares for its first public hearing, there are concerns about the types of questions they will ask in order for them to uncover the information needed for the full scope of the investigation.

A piece published by Just Security outlines some of the topics that should be explored and questions that need to be answered during the committee's investigation.

"The committee should consider the acts and omissions of executive and legislative branch entities and individuals, up to and including former President Donald J. Trump, his associates, and others involved in the runup to the events of Jan. 6, and the use of disinformation to incite violence."

The publication also outlined the topics of discussion to be expected at the hearing and who will be facilitating those conversations. The public hearing will include: "Intelligence Collection, Threat Assessment, and Information Sharing" provided by Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) director Christopher Wray and former Acting U.S. Department of Homeland Security director Chad Wolf.

Testimonies from onsite responders, statements from expert witnesses, and discussions about the White House and Congressional officials' roles and responses to the insurrection will also be included.

The questions that will be asked are also critical in uncovering much-needed information to properly assess all that transpired at the U.S. Capitol when it was stormed by a mob of angry Trump supporters. Some of the questions are as follows:

  • "Did the FBI conduct a threat assessment of the certification vote at the Capitol in advance of Jan. 6? If not, why not?"
  • "If you knew before Jan. 6 what the FBI knows now about militia group members' conspiring to attack the Capitol, would the government have been able to thwart the attack? Why did the FBI not know this beforehand?"
  • "Do you consider it an intelligence failure that the Parler warnings did not make their way to you before Jan. 6, and have you taken any administrative actions against FBI officials responsible for that failure? Have you made any procedural changes at the FBI to prevent this lapse from occurring again?"
  • "11. Did the FBI share the warnings from Parler with other law enforcement agencies including the U.S. Secret Service? If it did not, why not?"

While many Republican lawmakers have downplayed the severity of the Capitol insurrection, there is evidence that may suggest the incident could have been prevented if the intelligence prior to the incident had been taken seriously. The House Select Committee's first public hearing is set for Tuesday, July 27.

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