That January day 17 months ago, an alarming email from my daughter said, “They breached the Capitol.” She was at work less than a mile from the symbol of democracy, and it was under attack. From Americans. It was an insurrection. I watched in disbelief while it played out on television.

When the facts emerged, I was angry and wanted justice. Who was the horde that perpetrated the attack? Why? How dare they? We’re a country of law and order. Sane people know that the civilized way to address disapproval with the government is through the courts and the ballot box.

Ironically, the violence was about ballots, who got more and would be certified that day as the 47th president, Joe Biden or his opponent — I no longer use his name. When Russia invaded Ukraine, he said something unstatesmanlike, and I levied the sanction of banning his name from my column.

He Who Shall Not Be Named (He Who, for short) addressed his supporters at a rally and whipped them into a lie-fueled frenzy, with claims that the election had been stolen from him. The sore loser and master manipulator continues to foment dissent and make mischief in the electoral system. What’s scarier is, He Who can run for president again.

Last week brought a reckoning of the January 6 events.

In the first of six televised hearings, the bipartisan House Select Committee investigating the assault on the Capitol described a former president and would-be tyrant who went rogue and tried to hang on to power at all costs. Who executed a seven-part conspiracy to overturn a free and fair democratic election. Who lied to the American people, ignored evidence refuting his false fraud claims and pressured state and federal officials to throw out election results favoring his challenger.

As he clung to power, He Who even pressured Georgia election officials to “find 11,780 votes” for him.

The attempted coup was a brazen attempt, as one rioter put it shortly after January 6, “to overthrow the government.” Rep. Bennie Thompson (D-MS), the chair of the select committee, said, “ The violence was no accident. It represents (He Who’s) last stand, most desperate chance to halt the transfer of power.”

He Who incited a violent mob to storm the Capitol. In his speech at a rally, he told the crowd, “We fight like hell. And if you don't fight like hell, you're not going to have a country anymore.” How does that guy charm supporters into doing his bidding? He was impeached twice and acquitted twice, the second time for his role in the January 6 attack. Even so, the case against him now is far more extensive and expansive, after the committee conducted some 1,000 interviews and obtained more than 100,000 pages of documents.

The committee is trying to prove that this was not a president with reasonable concerns about fraud or a protest that got out of control. The panel is trying to build the case that he was involved in a criminal conspiracy against democracy — that he knew there was no widespread fraud because his own people told him, that he intentionally summoned a mob to stop the transfer of power to Biden and that he sat by and did virtually nothing once the attack commenced.

“We will present the evidence we have gathered through both live testimony and a variety of media, so as to be both highly engaging and deeply informative,” Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA), a member of the committee, said in a statement. “Ultimately, through these hearings and our final report, we will set out the full story about how the tragedy on January 6 came about — an important step to ensuring such an assault on our democracy never happens again.”

Capitol police officer Caroline Edwards testified that the January 6 carnage and chaos was a war scene. She found herself in the middle of a battle doing hours of hand to hand combat. She slipped in people’s blood. She was knocked unconscious, with a traumatic brain injury. She came to and aided fellow officers.

Documentary filmmaker Nick Quested was imbedded with the Proud Boys that day. He testified, “For anyone who didn’t understand how violent that event was, I saw it. I documented it. I experienced it.”

I don’t think the investigative panel will change public views. But committee members are resolved to make sure that they will at least win a conviction with the jury of history.

House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) won't cooperate with the inquiry. He calls it “illegitimate” and said Republicans will conduct their own investigation. That’s great. When? I can’t wait!

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