“This has been stunning in how different it is from a normal congressional hearing. It’s truly been a collaborative effort, and it’s been focused on providing a collective front. Their presentation of new information that the investigation has uncovered has been extremely effective. And I expect that to continue.
“I also think they’ve done an impressive job of reporting to the public and of connecting the dots between all of the events, including before the election to put the plans in place to undermine the democratic process,” she adds. “It hasn’t been perfect, but if you judge the committee on what they were asked to do, they’ve been extremely effective and they’ve shown we face some truly daunting challenges to our democracy. And how close the Jan. 6 attempt came to overturning a democratic election.”
As for the question of how the committee will be perceived, McNally says that depends on how the goal is defined. “People will say this committee is successful only if there are broad, sweeping changes in public opinion, or only if Trump is indicted. I think that’s an unfair standard. This committee put forth an impressive effort in laying out the facts in a way that provides the tools for other people to take up the challenge, whether it be the Department of Justice or the media.”
Much of the credit for the committee’s ability to accomplish its mission, McNally says, should go to chairperson Bennie Thompson (D-Mississippi) and vice chairperson Liz Cheney (R-Wyoming). “It’s rare for members of Congress to agree to put aside their own personal reelection interests, and leadership has a lot to do with that. The closest parallel to this is the Watergate hearings. But that was such a different moment in time.”
The committee is taking a break in August and will resume public hearings in September.