Tonight’s opening statement from Representative Bennie Thompson of Mississippi, chairman of the House committee investigating the Capitol riot, will include the following excerpt:
“We cannot sweep what happened under the rug. The American people deserve answers. So I come before you tonight not as a Democrat but as an American who has sworn an oath to uphold the Constitution. The Constitution does not protect only Democrats or only Republicans.
“It protects us all: ‘We the People.’ And this scheme was an attempt to undermine the will of the people. So tonight, and over the next few weeks, we are going to remind you of the reality of what happened that day.
“But our work must do more than just look back. Because our democracy remains in danger. The conspiracy to thwart the will of the people is not over. There are those in this country who crave power but have no love or respect for what makes America great: dedication to the Constitution, allegiance to the rule of law, our journey common to build a more perfect Union.
“Jan. 6 and the lies that led to the insurrection jeopardized two and a half centuries of constitutional democracy. The world is watching what we are doing here. America has long been expected to be a city shining on a hill. A beacon of hope and freedom. A role model for others — when we are at our best.
“How can we play this role when our own house is in such a mess? We must face the truth with frankness, resolution and determination. We must show that we are worthy of the gifts that are the birthright of every American.