During a June 9 primetime hearing disclosing its findings after a nearly yearlong investigation, the Democrat-dominated panel investigating the Jan. 6, 2021, breach of the U.S. Capitol showed a series of videos and tweets that had been selectively trimmed or edited to bolster their claims that President Donald Trump was responsible for the breach.
“Jan. 6 was the culmination of an attempted coup,” said Rep. Bennie Thompson (D-Miss.), chairman of the committee, during the hearing in Washington. “A brazen attempt … to overthrow the government. Violence was no accident.”
Those “who stormed the Capitol and occupied the Capitol,” Thompson said later, were “domestic enemies of the Constitution.”
The commission’s decision to selectively edit an array of videos and tweets to back up the claims, however, has drawn criticism.
Edited Video Implies Trump Applauded Violence at the Capitol
In one example, the commission placed comments made by Trump in an interview over video showing the Capitol breach, edited in such a way as to make it appear that Trump was applauding the genuine acts of violence that unfolded at the Capitol.
“They were peaceful people. These were great people,” Trump said in a July 11, 2021 interview with Fox News. “The crowd was unbelievable. And I mentioned the word love. The love—the love in the air, I have never seen anything like it.”
While Trump was in fact referring to the vast majority of protestors who gathered peacefully to hear him speak on Jan. 6, 2021, the commission video leaves the impression that Trump is referencing those who became violent.
On Jan. 6, Trump spoke before a massive crowd that had come to Washington to peacefully encourage Congress to hold off on certification of the electoral slates in states with major concerns of voter fraud.
It was this crowd that Trump was referring to in the out-of-context comments presented by the January 6 panel.
In the full, uncut version of the statement during an interview with Fox New’s “Sunday Morning Futures,” Trump said: “So, there was a big rally called. And, actually, when I say big, who knew? But there was a rally called.
“And a tremendous number of people, the largest [rally] I have ever spoken [at] before, is called by people, by patriots. And they asked me if I’d speak. And I did. And it was a very mild-mannered speech, as I think has been—in fact, they just came out with a report in Congress, and they didn’t mention my name, literally.
“But what they were complaining about and the reason, in my opinion, you had over a million people there, which the press doesn’t like to report at all, because it shows too much—too much activity, too much—too much spirit and faith and love. There was such love at that rally.
“You had over a million people there. They were there for one reason, the rigged election. They felt the election was rigged. That’s why they were there. And they were peaceful people. These were great people.
“The crowd was unbelievable. And I mentioned the word love. The love—the love in the air, I have never seen anything like it.
“And that’s why they went to Washington.”
Bodies of Ashli Babbitt, Roseanne Boyland Left Out of Public Footage
In another instance, British filmmaker Nick Quested, who was present at the Capitol that day, presented video that he shot of the Jan. 6 rally.
However, selectively left out of the video was footage Quested shot showing the dead bodies of two Trump supporters—Ashli Babbitt and Roseanne Boyland.
Babbitt, an unarmed Air Force Veteran, was shot by Capitol Police Lt. Michael Byrd; Boyland was killed after being crushed under a sea of protesters retreating from police who had fired tear gas and was then brutally beaten by a DC Metropolitan police officer while she was still unconscious.
Quested’s graphic footage shows Capitol Police, moments after shooting Babbitt point-blank and killing her, carrying her body down a flight of stairs.
It also shows Boyland unconscious, her face swollen and bruised, receiving desperate attention from other Trump supporters at the rally that day. Boyland was eventually brought into the Capitol, where police began to attempt to revive her using CPR and, videos indicate, a defibrillator. Boyland finally arrived at a hospital nearly two hours later, where she was pronounced dead.
In a past statement to the Epoch Times, Boyland’s father said that while Boyland’s exact time of death is uncertain, they suspect it happened in the timeframe that Quested’s video captured.
Joseph McBride, a top attorney for Jan. 6 defendants, blasted the commission’s selective editing of the video in a June 10 tweet.
“The @January6thCmte edited @nickquested’s footage deliberately to deceive the American public,” McBride wrote. “Footage of protestors trying to save Roseanne Boyland’s life and of their scolding the police for murdering Ashli Babbitt was removed because it doesn’t support the official narrative.”
Cheney Presents Incomplete Trump Text, Says He ‘Did Not Condemn the Attack’
On another occasion, Ranking Member Liz Cheney (R-Wyo.)—one of only two Republicans on the committee who are both virulent Trump critics—referenced a tweet Trump made on Jan. 6.
“[Trump] did not condemn the attack,” Cheney claimed before reading the tweet. “Instead, he justified it.”
Cheney proceeded to read the tweet aloud.
“These are the things and events that happen when a sacred landslide election victory is so viciously and unceremoniously stripped away from great patriots who have been badly & unfairly treated for so long,” Cheney read.
However, she omitted the crucial end of the tweet, when Trump told his supporters, “Go home with love & in peace. Remember this day forever!”
Key Exchange Cut from Recorded Testimony, Former Trump Aide Says
Cheney also misrepresented video testimony from GETTER CEO and former Trump adviser Jason Miller, according to Miller.
“In this clip, Miller describes a call between the Trump campaign’s internal data expert and President Trump a few days after the 2020 election,” Cheney said shortly before playing a video clip showing Miller’s testimony before the panel.
“I was in the Oval Office,” Miller said. “And at some point in the conversation, Matt Oczkowski, who was the lead data person, was brought on, and I remember he delivered to the president in pretty blunt terms that he was going to lose.”
“And that was based, Mr. Miller, on Matt and the data team’s assessment of the sort of county by county state by state results as reported?” investigators asked Miller.
“Correct,” Miller said.
However, Miller said, the video is cut early before Miller begins to explain his reasons for disagreeing with Oczkowski.
In a June 9 Twitter thread, Miller revealed the next moments of the video that were not presented to the public.
“Here’s what came next in my testimony, which Liz Cheney failed to play,” Miller wrote.
“Q: Okay. And what was the President’s reaction then when Matt said to him, ‘Hey, we’ve looked at the numbers, you’re going to lose’?
A: I think it’s safe to say he disagreed with Matt’s analysis.”
“2/ Q: On what basis? Did he give a basis?
A: He believed that Matt was not looking at the prospect of legal challenges going our way and that Matt was looking at purely from what those numbers were showing as opposed to broader things to include legality and election integrity … issues which, as a data guy, he may not have been monitoring.”
These instances are not the first time that the controversial January 6 panel—which, aside from Cheney has only one other Republican, Rep. Adam Kinzinger (R-Ill.)—has been caught misrepresenting, cutting, or even doctoring evidence to bolster its claims.
In one of the boldest examples of misrepresentation, Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Calif.)—who in the past has “leaked” faked emails by Donald Trump, Jr. and fabricated a 2019 transcript between President Trump and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy—was caught presenting doctored text messages.
The messages, exchanged between Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio) and then-White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows, were shortened and had context cut out to make it appear as if Jordan had tersely instructed Meadows to ask Vice President Mike Pence not to certify electoral slates from states thought to have had potential voter fraud.
Because of its track record of misrepresenting data, its tendency to target Trump allies, and the lack of any real opposition on the committee, Republicans have long accused the commission of being little more than a “partisan witch hunt.”
The January 6 commission is expected to have several more public hearings moving forward as it continues to try to make the case that Trump indeed attempted to mount an insurrection against the U.S. government.
Joseph M. Hanneman contributed to this report.