House Jan. 6 panel postpones hearing as Hurricane Ian barrels toward Florida
The House committee investigating the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the Capitol has postponed its Wednesday hearing as Hurricane Ian prepares to make landfall in Florida.
“In light of Hurricane Ian bearing down on parts of Florida, we have decided to postpone tomorrow’s proceedings. We’re praying for the safety of all those in the storm’s path. The Select Committee’s investigation goes forward and we will soon announce a date for the postponed proceedings,” Chairman Bennie Thompson (D-Miss.) and Vice Chairwoman Liz Cheney (R-Wyo.) said in a joint statement.
The last-minute shift comes as the panel was gearing up for what could be its final public hearing.
In a departure from prior hearings where one or two members were primarily responsible for walking through evidence and witness questions, in Wednesday’s hearing each member of the panel was slated to have a role.
The district of committee member Stephanie Murphy (D-Fla.) is in the path of the hurricane.
Members of the panel had been tight-lipped about what would be revealed in the final hearing, with many acknowledging they were struggling with how to compile an overwhelming amount of information.
“I think it’ll be potentially more sweeping than some of the other hearings,” Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Calif.) said over the weekend.
The delay comes as Ian is likely to dominate the news cycle.
The panel had scheduled the hearing for 1 p.m. — bypassing the opportunity to seek another prime-time slot in favor of holding an event that would be broadcast on Fox News, which has refused to suspend its evening programming for the committee’s work.
“In the past, Fox News does play our hearings if the hearing is in the daytime,” Rep. Zoe Lofgren (D-Calif.) said during a Sunday night appearance on CNN. “That’s a factor in reaching an audience that is not watching CNN.”
Though the committee did not announce a rescheduled date for the hearing, any delay pushes its work closer to the midterm elections, a concern for a panel that has sought to avoid accusations of using its position for political gain.
Thompson has said the panel would likely issue an interim report sometime before the election, with its final report coming closer to the end of the year.
The hearing on Wednesday was slated to review documentary footage obtained by the panel from two Danish filmmakers who spent three years following Trump ally Roger Stone.
Footage from the documentary obtained by CNN shows Stone condoning violence and stressing the need to claim victory in the election.
“I really do suspect it’ll still be up in the air. When that happens, the key thing to do is to claim victory. Possession is nine-tenths of the law; no, we won,” he’s seen saying days before the election.
“F— the voting, let’s get right to the violence,” he says in another clip shot the day before the election.
According to CNN, the committee secured an agreement with the filmmakers, Christoffer Guldbrandsen and Frederik Marbell, to show some eight minutes of footage at the hearing.
For his part, Stone has disputed “the accuracy and the authenticity of these videos and believe they have been manipulated and selectively edited.” He also said the clips “do not prove I had anything to do with the events of Jan. 6. That being said, it clearly shows I advocated for lawful congressional and judicial options.”
—Updated at 4:27 p.m.