Capitol Officer Harry Dunn says Jan. 6 hearing’s bombshell findings trigger feelings of ‘betrayal’

TheGrio caught up with Officer Dunn and members of the January 6th House Select Committee as the panel continues laying out its evidence against former president Donald Trump.

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Moments after Tuesday’s shocking January 6th House Select Committee hearing, U.S. Capitol Police officer Harry Dunn told theGrio he felt a sense of “betrayal” by former President Donald Trump, who did not initially lift a finger to stop the traumatic event that occurred on Jan. 6, 2021.

Dunn, who courageously defended the Capitol against a violent mob of Trump supporters, said prior to the hearings there was an “assumption” about what Trump did or didn’t do to incite the attack or stop them. “But now that the committee has confirmed it,” Dunn said, it’s no longer a “thought” or “suspicion” given the breadth of evidence and testimony from the committee.

U.S. Capitol Police officer Sgt. Harry Dunn testifies before the House Select Committee investigating the January 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol on July 27, 2021 at the Cannon House Office Building in Washington, DC. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

“It’s confirmed. And that’s just betrayal,” he told theGrio. “That’s one of the toughest feelings I’ve ever had to deal with in my life.”

Republican U.S. Rep. Liz Cheney of Wyoming on Tuesday dropped a bombshell at the seventh and most recent January 6th House Select Committee hearing on Tuesday. 

Cheney, the committee’s vice chair, revealed that Trump placed a phone call to one of the panel’s witnesses. The lawyer for the unidentified witness informed the Select Committee, and in turn, committee officials made the Department of Justice aware of the possible witness tampering.

When asked about the shocking revelation, U.S. Rep. Zoe Lofgren (D-Calif.), a member of the committee, told theGrio after the hearing while walking in the halls of Congress: “Witness tampering is a crime.”

Tuesday’s hearing also detailed how outsiders were willing to substantiate Trump’s falsehoods about the 2020 presidential election results. The non-government officials advised the then-president during a White House meeting on how to frame the effort to overturn the election results that named Joe Biden the 46th president of the United States of America.  

Former President Donald Trump gives the keynote address Friday at the Faith & Freedom Coalition during their annual Road To Majority Policy Conference at the Gaylord Opryland Resort & Convention Center in Nashville, Tennessee. (Photo: Seth Herald/Getty Images)

Retired Army general Michael Flynn, Patrick Byrne, the former CEO of Overstock.com, and attorney Sidney Powell were among the civilians in the president’s ear, pushing him to make the unfounded claims as Trump administration officials — including from the U.S. Department of Justice and the White House Counsel’s Office — told Trump that his efforts to overturn the election were unconstitutional.

Cheney, now an outlier in her own party – which continues to show fealty to Trump – said of the former president during the hearing: “[a] 76-year-old man is responsible for his own actions and own choices.”

She added, “No rational or sane man in his position could disregard that information and reach the opposite conclusion. And Donald Trump cannot escape responsibility by being willfully blind.” 

TheGrio also caught up with the committee’s chair, U.S. Rep. Bennie Thompson (D-Miss.), who said Trump and his allies encouraged “radical right-wing groups to come to Washington and actually invade the Capitol.”

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“It’s clear that what they did was unfortunate, illegal, unconstitutional and our hearings will bear out those facts,” he said. 

When asked if the public can expect high-profile names to be charged by the Justice Department in the agency’s own investigation, Thompson told theGrio, “I think we’ll outline those individuals, some of whom have already been indicted.”

The congressman said there could also be other names referred to the committee. “Our job was to follow the facts and circumstances around what occurred,” said Thompson. 

Evidence and testimony presented at the January 6th committee hearing revealed that Trump was asked by numerous officials to swiftly stop the deadly riot at the Capitol, but he did not. Hours would go by before he sent a tweet to tell his supporters to back down.

After the committee hearing, Stephen Ayres, a now regretful participant of the Jan. 6 Capitol attack, testified that he attended the Trump-led “Stop the Steal” rally and subsequent mob attack because he believed the president told him and thousands of others to do so. 

Stephen Ayres (L), who has pleaded guilty to entering the Capitol illegally on January 6, talks to US Capitol Police Officer Harry Dunn (R) at the conclusion of a full committee hearing on “the January 6th Investigation,” on Capitol Hill on July 12, 2022, in Washington, DC. (Photo by Oliver Contreras / AFP) (Photo by OLIVER CONTRERAS/AFP via Getty Images)

Officer Dunn, who previously testified in a separate House hearing about the trauma he experienced on Jan. 6, told theGrio that he “reluctantly” shook Ayres’ hand during Tuesday’s hearing. 

Dunn, who is Black, remembered being called the n-word by some members of the mob. The Capitol Police officer said he is angered by what transpired on that day. And while Ayres was remorseful and appeared to apologize to Capitol police, Dunn said “he should apologize to every American citizen that was affected by that day.”

He added, “I’m not ready to give out credit or kudos to any of those guys for coming forward [against] Trump.”

Despite all of the revelations that came out of Tuesday’s bombshell hearing, it remains to be seen whether Trump himself will face federal charges for his actions. Regardless, the House January 6th Select Committee plans to continue its diligent work to lay out the facts for the American public and the Justice Department. 

Chairman Thompson told theGrio that he expects the committee’s work to go on for the next three or four months. After the hearings, members will then “do other activities in terms of writing our report and other things.” 

Once that is complete, he said, “our work will probably conclude.” The rest thereafter will be up to U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland.

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