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Editorial: We cannot afford to look away from the Jan. 6 committee's work

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The House select committee investigating the Jan. 6, 2021, Capitol riot has painted a detailed picture of the days leading up to one of the worst days in the history of American politics, as well as harrowing details of the attack itself.

We already know the basics. Former President Donald Trump refused to concede, despite evidence provided by his campaign, the Department of Justice, more than 60 court challenges and numerous state and federal officials.

Also in this week's podcast, Ginnie Graham and Bob Doucette talk about how Oklahoma lost Panasonic to Kansas. Are our state's anti-laws deterring businesses from coming?

On the day of the riot, Trump and several of his high-profile supporters gave fiery speeches near the White House, exhorting the thousands to march on the Capitol just as Congress was getting ready to certify Electoral College tallies to confirm Joe Biden’s victory.

The mayhem that followed led to five deaths, numerous injuries, assaults on police, and destruction, defacement and thievery at the Capitol. Hundreds have been charged with crimes.

Attempts to halt the certification were thwarted. But lingering questions about who planned and coordinated the attack remain.

The hearings have clarified many of those questions. The bipartisan panel has interviewed numerous witnesses from within the Trump administration, the Trump campaign, state election officials, state lawmakers and more.

Most of the witnesses have been Republicans, including those who worked closely with the former president and supported his candidacy. They were insiders.

The hearings have shown us that there was no evidence of election fraud. Witnesses explained the intense pressure to prod state officials, the Justice Department and the Vice President Mike Pence to facilitate an illegal overturning of the election.

We’ve learned that Trump knew that many of the Jan. 6 protesters were armed, and that he wished to march with them. We know of his temper tantrums and dismissal of possible violence against Pence and other lawmakers.

In that vein, we know that key White House aides and Trump surrogates were aware in advance that Jan. 6 would likely erupt into violence at the Capitol. Some of them were in contact with extremist groups involved in the violence prior to that day.

The next hearing, scheduled for Thursday, will focus on what Trump did in the hours during the attack.

The Oklahoma delegation’s reaction to the hearings has been muted. U.S. Rep. Markwayne Mullin declared he wouldn’t watch the hearings. Just before the first hearings aired, U.S. Rep. Stephanie Bice said they were “a show trial.” U.S. Sen. James Lankford criticized them as “Hollywood produced” and that he didn’t have time to track their developments.

Aside from U.S. Rep. Frank Lucas, who said he would follow the hearings, the rest of the delegation has been quiet. This has been disappointing.

We’d encourage our delegation and those they represent to pay attention to upcoming testimony and weigh that with the other evidence that’s been presented so far.

We do not want a repeat of what happened on Jan. 6, 2021. Carrying the knowledge of that day will help prevent it from reoccurring in the future. Preserving our democracy demands that we do not look away, and we need to hold accountable those responsible for the damage they inflicted on the nation.


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