When is the next Jan. 6 hearing? What to know and how to watch

Bill Goodykoontz
Arizona Republic

Wondering how to watch the next House Select Committee hearing investigating the Jan. 6 insurrection?

With bated breath.

If you think of the hearings that have come before as a television show — and you should, because that is precisely how the committee has staged them — then it’s been absolutely must-see TV. Don’t let anyone tell you differently, although plenty of people will try.

The next hearing is scheduled for 10 a.m. Arizona time on Tuesday, July 12. And it’s worth waking up for. You shouldn’t have any trouble finding it, as it’s a safe bet that all the broadcast and cable-news networks will cover it live.

Donald Trump and some Republicans have disparaged the Jan. 6 committee

All of the networks have covered it so far, with the glaring exception of Fox News skipping the initial hearing in June, shunting it off to Fox Business and going instead with non-stop prime-time withering criticism of the committee and the hearings from Tucker Carlson, Sean Hannity and Laura Ingraham.

Surprise, surprise. 

But that predictable trio is not alone in its criticism. Some Republicans, and former President Donald Trump, have tried to either downplay or disparage (or both) the committee, the hearings and the witnesses. They portray it all as much ado about nothing.

Say what? Either they’re not watching or they have the sound turned down or something. Who knows how it’ll all play out politically and legally — what, if anything, the Justice Department does with all this is going to be a huge story — but as TV, there is no denying the hearings’ power and importance. They have been essential to a greater understanding of what went on Jan. 6, and what came before. To suggest otherwise requires burying your head pretty deeply in the sand.

The committee is programming them the way network executives program a TV series, with the hearings rolling out like episodes — a reality show with actual stakes for the future of the country.

We’ve seen the pilot episode, which kicked things off with Rep. Liz Cheney, one of two Republicans on the committee, laying out what the committee would cover. We’ve seen a Mike Pence episode, an election-fraud episode and so forth. There was even an Arizona-themed episode, sort of, with Arizona House Speaker Rusty Bowers taking center stage during one hearing, testifying about the pressure Trump applied in efforts to overturn the 2020 presidential election.

A Washington Post headline proclaimed Bowers as the “most compelling witness yet.”

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Cassidy Hutchinson has been the breakout star of the hearings

That was before Cassidy Hutchinson testified.

The former aide to Mark Meadows, who was Trump’s chief of staff, was called before the committee in a surprise hearing, announced the day before. The committee didn’t say who was going to testify, adding to the drama, but reporters sussed it out fairly quickly. But who was she? What would she say?

She would say plenty. If there has been a breakout star of the hearings, she's it. Various media outlets described her testimony as shocking, bombshell and blockbuster — words typically associated with hyperbole, but not this time. What she said deserved the descriptions.

Hutchinson calmly testified, for instance, that Trump knew the Jan. 6 mob was armed but he didn’t care, because they were “not here to hurt me.” There was plenty more — tales of Trump’s anger expressing itself in various forms. Ketchup dripping down a wall after Trump threw a plate was a particularly colorful image.

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The Jan. 6 hearings are the definition of must-see TV

These kinds of things resonate, in part because of those colorful images, which play big on TV. Trump is a creature of television, coming to power in part by way of reality TV. He understands the medium and what it can do for someone — and what it can do to them.

The committee understands that as well.

We don’t know exactly who will testify on Tuesday yet, though word will probably get out. We’ve seen enough to know that whoever it is, it’s going to be worth watching. The hearings haven’t let us down yet.

And remember, while this is compelling TV, it’s not just TV. It’s history dressed up as a reality show. But it’s history nonetheless. We have been watching a chronicle of an attempt to overthrow democratic government. Any claims some Republicans have made that the attack was really just a jovial tourist visit have been dashed.

We’re also seeing the laying of the groundwork of what comes next. How could you not watch?

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How to watch the next Jan. 6 hearing

10 a.m. Arizona time on Tuesday, July 12. Broadcast and cable-news networks are expected to cover it live.

Reach Goodykoontz at Facebook: Twitter: @goodyk. Subscribe to the weekly movies newsletter.

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