ECU experts explain what to focus on during January 6th hearings

Committee hearings for U.S. Capitol riots begin Thursday night
Published: Jun. 9, 2022 at 7:27 PM EDT
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GREENVILLE, N.C. (WITN) -Some have said the U.S. came close to “losing democracy” on January 6th, and there’s no doubt that what happened that day was significant.

But if you plan to tune into the hearings, ECU political experts recommend watching from an educated perspective.

We asked ECU Political Science Professor Jody Baumgartner about what we should expect heading into the hearings. He first stressed the importance of remembering that the riot on January 6 did nothing to overturn the election.

“This is a country that had elections during the Civil War. This is a country that had elections during World War II. Britain did not,” Baumgartner said. “I think to say that it was a breakdown of the democratic process, or it constitutes an impending or an existential threat to the democratic process is to oversimplify what happened,” explained Baumgartner.

Committee hearings start Thursday night. It will kick off several hearings to investigate the 2021 attack on the U.S. Capitol. Baumgartner said it could reveal what impact the mobs had, regardless of intent.

“It’s absolutely the case that some people who were Trump supporters and who believed that there may have been irregularities in the political process were protesting. It’s absolutely the case that they stormed the Capitol building presumably with the intent of stopping the count of the electoral college vote or the certification of the electoral college vote, but I’m not convinced that’s what was going to happen. We know that mobs don’t necessarily act rationally,” explained Baumgartner.

No matter what party you identify with - if you do plan on watching - Baumgartner said you should do so from an informed perspective.”If you see a member of Congress speaking or questioning somebody, just take your phone out, look them up and find out whether that person is a Republican or a Democrat. It won’t make that person wrong, and it won’t make them right, but you’ll have a better understanding of why they’re taking the approach they’re taking,” Baumgartner explained.

The hearings begin at 8 p.m. tonight, and you can watch live coverage on WITN

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