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As More Information Comes In, Jan. 6 Panel Plans at Least One Additional Hearing

4 minute read

The House committee investigating the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the U.S. Capitol will have at least one more hearing than the six originally planned, and committee members are considering holding even more hearings beyond that, multiple sources familiar with the matter tell TIME.

The panel initially announced it would have six televised hearings in June, with two in primetime, to provide the most comprehensive accounting of that day and the weeks leading up to it. Over the first three hearings, the committee has tried to captivate the nation while making an unassailable case that there was a coordinated conspiracy behind the violent insurrection—and that former President Donald Trump was at the center of it all.

But since the first hearing on June 9, which garnered almost 20 million viewers, the committee has accrued more information relevant to its findings. “Every day, new stuff is coming out,” Rep. Jamie Raskin, Democrat of Maryland and a member of the panel, told TIME last week after the third hearing.

The new information is a major reason why the committee has begun to consider more hearings, according to people familiar with the matter but not authorized to speak publicly. The proceedings have been the culmination of 10 months of investigatory work, including the collection of more than 130,000 documents and testimony from more than 1,000 witnesses.

Yet the dramatic revelations that have surfaced in each hearing thus far have inspired more people to seek out the committee. “We continue to receive information via our tip line,” a Jan. 6 committee aide says. “This is an ongoing investigation. We continue to take on new evidence every day.” Last week, the committee sent a letter to Virginia “Ginni” Thomas, a conservative activist and wife of Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas, requesting she testify before the committee, after more communications surfaced between her and John Eastman. Eastman, a lawyer, was the architect of Trump’s scheme to nullify Joe Biden’s election victory. On Thursday, the panel showed evidence that he told the president two days before Jan. 6 that his plan was illegal and sought a pardon from Trump in the days after the storming of the Capitol.

The committee currently has seven hearings planned in total, with four remaining. Each hearing will be dedicated to a different theme. Tuesday’s hearing will focus on Trump’s pressure campaign against state election officials to overturn the election results, while Thursday’s session will examine Trump’s efforts to get the Department of Justice behind his attempted coup.

There will also be a hearing that looks at the extremist groups that stormed the Capitol, such as the Proud Boys and the Oath Keepers, and another that deconstructs the 187 minutes of the Capitol riot, but the committee has not yet decided when those sessions will take place, sources say.

In the fall, the committee plans to release a written report which will include some findings that won’t be covered in any of the hearings. The panel is looking for a professional writer who can turn that document into a narrative thriller, much like the 9/11 Commission Report, which quickly became a best-seller.

Members of the committee have likened the hearings to a Netflix series, told in multiple parts. But with more crucial details coming to light, the series may end up being significantly longer than the committee originally envisioned.

“These are like the Watergate hearings for the streaming era,” says Norm Eisen, a Brookings Institute senior fellow who served as special counsel for the House’s first impeachment of Trump. “Because what they’ve recognized is that you need to tell a compelling story.”

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