OAKLAND, Calif. - The bipartisan Jan. 6 Committee is prepared to put evidence on the record for the first time Thursday evening, as part of its investigation into the attack by former President Trump's supporters at the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021.
The nine-member committee is made up of seven Democrats and two Republicans. The panel has collected extensive evidence from more than 1,000 witnesses, including testimony from Trump family members and former White House staff.
"They have mountains of documents. They've got emails and memos and all sorts of things. Now all of that material will become part of a public record," said UC Hastings law professor David Levine.
Officers who were battered and taunted by the rioters, are scheduled to testify including U.S. Capitol Police officer Caroline Edwards, who was seriously injured.
"These hearings will be a chance for the country to come together to rally around the truth and unite around the rule of law. We owe it to the officers who lost their lives and the officers who were injured," said Congressman Pete Aguilar, a California Democrat.
Levine says the evidence presented could be used by the Department of Justice to file criminal charges.
"Things like the crime of sedition, the crime of incitement, a conspiracy to commit sedition, those are all criminal terms, and it is possible that we will see some criminal indictments come directly from this material," said Levine.
The Department of Justice already has filed criminal charges of seditious conspiracy against the head of the Proud Boys, Enrique Tarrio, and four other leaders in the group. Hundreds of others have been charged or for attacks on law enforcement officers who were defending the Capitol, as the crowd breached police lines and people forced their way into the Congressional chambers as Congress was certifying the election results. .
The big question the committee is hoping to answer, is whether there was a conspiracy to overturn Biden's legitimate election victory and disrupt the nation's peaceful transfer of power with President Trump's false claim of voter fraud.
"What did Mr.Trump know? What did he participate in? When did he know it?" said Levine, outlining the main questions.
House Republican Leader Kevin McCarthy is one of the witnesses who have defied the congressional subpoena, saying attention should be elsewhere.
"What I wish they would really have a primetime hearing on is inflation, the rise of crime. The rise of crime in this country as well and the border itself," said McCarthy.
"What Congress was doing on January 6, was following the dictates of the electoral Count Act," said Levine, "If people came with the intent to disrupt that, then that in and of itself could be a crime."
The Jan. 6 Committee also is expected to produce evidence in the coming weeks, which claims that Trump applied private pressure on the Department of Justice to reverse his election loss, even though Trump's own Attorney General said there was no fraud that would have swung the election to Trump.
Security has been tight, because law enforcement officers say they've seen an uptick in threats against members of Congress.