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Rep. Bennie Thompson, a Democrat representing Mississippi, delivered the opening statement at the Jan. 6 U.S. Capitol Insurrection hearing in the House chambers. Thompson’s blistering words decried the attempted coup allegedly linked to former President Donald Trump and related agents of chaos.

Bennie Thompson, chair of the House Select Committee investigating the Jan. 6 insurrection, delivered his remarks from a prepared statement which we’ll share a portion of below.

We can’t sweep what happened under the rug. The American people deserve answers. So I come before you this evening not as a Democrat but as an American who swore an oath to defend the Constitution. The Constitution doesn’t protect just Democrats or just Republicans.

It protects all of us: ‘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’re going to remind you of the reality of what happened that day.

But our work must do much more than just look backwards. 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 thirst for power but have no love or respect for what makes America great: devotion to the Constitution, allegiance to the rule of law, our shared journey to build a more perfect Union.

Jan. 6 and the lies that led to insurrection have put two and a half centuries of constitutional democracy at risk. The world is watching what we do here.

Thompson also mentioned Trump by name in the remarks, stating that the beleaguered business mogul was “at the center of that conspiracy” and that he “spurred a mob of domestic enemies of the Constitution to march down to the Capitol.”

Rep. Liz Cheney, a Republican representing Wyoming, also delivered remarks regarding the Jan. 6 attacks, standing largely alone from many members of her party that remained stone-faced in the wake of the heinous acts of the insurrectionists.

This was the first of several public hearings to come. The video of Rep. Thompson’s statements can be seen below.

Photo: Getty