The House Jan. 6 committee has revealed truths that have shaken us to our core, as they should to every American.
We’ve learned the lengths to which a sitting president would go to cling to power, even if it meant shredding the Constitution in the process. We’ve learned that the threats to our democracy aren't gone; they’re only waiting for the next opportunity to rear their heads.
We’ve also learned that when it counted the most, Republicans – and especially Republican women – set aside personal consequences and courageously exposed right from wrong to protect our country at our most fragile moment.
Not just Jan. 6 committee Vice Chair Liz Cheney
We must acknowledge the unique and unprecedented role that women from all walks of life have played over the past two months in the committee's public phase.
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Led by the steady, meticulous efforts of Rep. Liz Cheney, R-Wyo., the committee has presented hours of unforgettable testimony from witnesses like Capitol Police Officer Caroline Edwards, whose recollection of the injuries she and her fellow officers suffered at the hands of the mob was harrowing and a scathing indictment of the insurrectionists.
Gladys Sicknick, the mother of fallen Capitol Police Officer Brian Sicknick, had previously urged Congress to form a committee to probe the Jan. 6 attacks.
Americans heard from Georgia election official Shaye Moss, who bravely recounted the death threats she and her closest family members faced from forces seeking to overturn Georgia’s election results. "Be glad it’s 2020 and not 1920,” she was told.
Former White House Deputy Press Secretary Sarah Matthews, who resigned over former President Donald Trump's refusal to peacefully concede, shared her story. And former Chief of Staff Mark Meadows’ executive assistant, Cassidy Hutchinson, testified to the president’s intention to send an armed mob to attack the Capitol, triggering the powerful testimony from White House counsel Pat Cipollone. These are just the women who testified publicly.
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These individuals have faced physical danger, including threats to their lives, unimaginable rhetoric from extremists, intimidation from those in the former president’s orbit and criticism from Trump himself.
We know firsthand what that experience is like; we have been on the other end of feeling unsafe in our homes, receiving bone-chilling phone calls and reprehensible social media messages. Not only are those who testified subject to insidious attempts to influence or silence their testimony, but their very futures and livelihoods are put into jeopardy.
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Nevertheless, time and time again, brave women, Americans, stood up, raised their right hands and spoke truthfully about the events surrounding the Jan. 6 attack. We proudly stand by each of them and commend them for showing that our country is far more important than party.
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Many of the brave witnesses we’ve heard from were Trump appointees. The committee’s hearings have shown in exacting and horrifying detail that despite the fact that Donald Trump and those around him knew the truth, they foisted a dangerous lie on the American people, one that has done unspeakable damage to our country.
As this phase of hearings concludes, Americans cannot afford to forget all we have witnessed. The stakes are too high for us to simply move on. Armed with the facts, we must spring into action as we await the committee’s next move.
While we might not hear from the House committee for several weeks, Americans must remember the lessons all of us have learned during the course of these hearings for both the upcoming election in November and the launch of the 2024 cycle. We must hold those responsible for this attack accountable so we can protect our future elections and national security.
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The simple truth is that the historic hearings have shed light on the challenges facing our country, but they have not made our problems go away.
Accountability and justice in America still matter. If we allow elected officials to skirt consequences for doing wrong, Americans, regardless of political affiliation, will one day wake up to find we no longer recognize our own country.
We of all people know it’s not going to be easy, especially for Republicans. These hearings have revealed dangerous cancer in our institutions, one that will only continue to grow unless removed. It's the only way our party can move on from this terrible illness, brought on by former President Trump, and which will only do more damage if it’s not treated soon.
Olivia Troye served as a homeland security and counterterrorism adviser for Vice President Mike Pence. Former Rep. Barbara Comstock, R-Va., is now a senior adviser at Baker Donelson and is the founder of the Barbara Comstock Program for Women in Leadership.
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This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Jan 6 committee hearings: Republican women lead in uncovering truth