Rep. Pete Aguilar (D-CA), who led the questioning at Thursday’s hearing of the House select committee investigating the Jan. 6 Capitol riot, emerged as something of a star of the proceeding, with his questioning prompting some of the hearing’s most notable revelations.
Aguilar is the only member of the committee who is also a member of House Democratic leadership. The vice-chairman of the House Democratic Caucus was designated lead questioner Thursday, a role Rep. Zoe Lofgren (D-CA) played Monday.
In opening remarks, Aguilar offered words of praise for Pence and a sharp rebuke of former President Donald Trump, telling the room that the former president knew “there was a violent mob at the Capitol when he tweeted at 2:24 p.m. that the vice president did not have the, quote, ‘courage to do what needed to be done.’”
“Let me be clear: Vice President Pence did the right thing that day,” Aguilar added. “He stayed true to his oath to protect and defend the Constitution.”
Aguilar revealed that a confidential Proud Boys informant told the FBI that members of the group would have killed Pence during the attack if they got the chance. He also revealed that rioters came within 40 feet of Pence as Secret Service rushed him to a secure location, posing a real and serious threat to his life.
In one notable moment, Aguilar said Trump posted a tweet criticizing Pence at 2:24 p.m. that day and that the rioters surged forward at 2:25 p.m.
Aguilar even highlighted that Pence opened his day in prayer and closed it by consulting a Bible verse. He asked Greg Jacob, Pence’s former counsel, how his own faith guided him Jan. 6.
Rep. Aguilar: “How did your faith guide you on January 6th?”
Pence former counsel Greg Jacob: “My faith really sustained me through it. Down in secure location pulled out my bible, read through it, took great comfort. Daniel 6 was where I went.”
— Howard Mortman (@HowardMortman) June 16, 2022
Jacob replied that he consulted Daniel 6 from the secure location in which he sheltered with Pence. In that chapter, Daniel refuses an order from the king “and he does his duty consistent with his oath to God.”
Aguilar, 42, was first elected to the House in 2014. Previously, he was a member of the Redlands City Council, in the Southern California Inland Empire, for eight years. Aguilar was mayor of Redlands for his final four years in office, from 2010 to 2014.