What you need to know about the Jan. 6 hearings

The House select committee investigating the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the U.S. Capitol will hold its first primetime hearing on Thursday night — the first of a series of hearings stemming from its 11-month probe of the events surrounding the deadly riot, including the actions of then-President Donald Trump and his allies.

Who's on the committee?

The nine-member panel — which was formed last June after Republicans rejected the chance to form a 9/11-style commission — is made up of seven Democrats and two Republicans selected by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi. They are:

• Rep. Bennie Thompson, D-Miss., chair

• Rep. Liz Cheney, R-Wyo., vice chair

• Rep. Pete Aguilar, D-Calif.

• Rep. Adam Kinzinger, R-Ill.

• Rep. Zoe Lofgren, D-Calif.

• Rep. Elaine Luria, D-Va.

• Rep. Stephanie Murphy, D-Fla.

• Rep. Jamie Raskin, D-Md.

• Rep. Adam Schiff, D-Calif.

Why are these hearings important?

The committee may reveal new details about actions taken by Trump, who spoke at a rally immediately before the Jan. 6 attack. Trump had told supporters to “fight like hell” in an effort to overturn the 2020 election and stop the certification of then-President-elect Joe Biden’s victory. Trump, who was impeached for a second time by the House for inciting the riot, is likely to run for president again in 2024.

President Trump speaks at the rally just before the Capitol insurrection on Jan. 6, 2021.
President Trump speaks at the rally just before the Capitol insurrection on Jan. 6, 2021. (Eric Lee/Bloomberg via Getty Images)

What will they reveal?

While parts of the panel's investigation have been open to the public, the vast majority of the work has been done behind closed doors. During the past 11 months, the committee has been gathering evidence, including email, phone and other records, issuing subpoenas and conducting interviews with more than 860 people — including Ivanka Trump, Jared Kushner and Rudy Giuliani. In addition to any new testimony, these hearings will be the first time much of the information uncovered by the panel will be revealed to the public.

What has the committee said?

In its press release announcing Thursday’s primetime hearing, the committee said that it will “present previously unseen material documenting January 6th, receive witness testimony, preview additional hearings, and provide the American people a summary of its findings about the coordinated, multi-step effort to overturn the results of the 2020 presidential election and prevent the transfer of power.”

Pro-Trump rioters clash with police outside an entrance to the Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021.
Pro-Trump rioters clash with police outside an entrance to the Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021. (Lev Radin/Pacific Press/LightRocket via Getty Images)

Who will appear at the hearings?

While it’s not entirely clear, Thompson, the committee’s chairman, has said some of the hearings will include people “we haven’t heard from yet.” This could include any number of people, including top officials in the Trump administration and election campaigns, or even sitting members of the House. Just don’t expect to see Trump himself. The former president — who continues to push the baseless conspiracy theory that the 2020 presidential election was stolen from him — has fought tooth and nail to keep documents and other material away from the probe.

What's next?

After Thursday’s primetime event, the panel will reconvene Monday morning for the second of a series of hearings. Following those, the committee will publish a report, probably sometime in early fall, that lays out its findings. The panel could also recommend that the Justice Department pursue criminal cases against those who participated in planning or inciting the riot, possibly including Trump, but reports have indicated that committee members are split on whether to recommend charges against the former president.

The rioters got within two doors of Vice President Mike Pence's office. See how in this 3-D explainer from Yahoo Immersive.