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In pictures: The procession of the hearings on January 6 towers over Washington

Written by Javed Iqbal

WASHINGTON – “This is my Super Bowl,” a news anchor said outside the camera during the public hearings held by the House committee investigating the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol. But what is a Super Bowl without any stars, or even fans, I thought. Former President Donald J. Trump and his family would certainly not show up in person. Nor would Rudolph W. Giuliani, even his personal lawyer and former mayor of New York City, or anyone else who would be recognizable to anyone other than a political major.

And unlike last month’s defamation case involving Johnny Depp and his ex-wife, Amber Heard – where the public’s passion for the loose gossip was unmistakable – eager supporters did not appear to be queuing up to cheer or protest.

Outside the building, Washington seemed pristine. Lots of color-coordinated school children trudged from monument to monument, swinging between wonder and boredom.

Sweaty, white-collar men, jackets tucked in their elbow folds, walked between meetings and the Hyatt.

And an ice cream vendor fed hot tourists and hungry pigeons.

But inside the Capitol, TV crews, journalists and photographers were ready.

Journalists lingered in the halls of Cannon House Office Buildings for hours, ready to sprint, iPhones reaching out for committee members.

Photographers pointed their lenses through cracks in the doors in hopes of capturing a rare unorchestrated moment.

Triumph the Insult Comic Dog, working on a segment for “The Late Show With Stephen Colbert,” circled around the Capitol Rotunda, making gross jokes and making an impression on Mr. Trump. Later the doll (or more precisely his master, Robert Smigel) got arrested by the Capitol Police and charged with illegal entry.

Some members of the news media seemed nostalgic over the turbulent days of the Trump administration. President Biden’s tenure, which adheres to the manuscript, has not quite evoked the same passions – or assessments.

“This is the biggest event we’ve had in a long time,” said one photographer.

The hearings themselves were partly conducted by a veteran tv-chef, employed to capture the attention of Americans who are tired of two federal lawsuits and countless news banners. Men Fox News refused to show a hearing in prime time. (It later decided to broadcast the sessions in the daytime, which did not conflict with its flagship opinion broadcasts.)

Washington has had its share of political spectacles over the years, but this one felt both riveting and a little disappointing. The people who were always attentive were engrossed in coverage, but the other side simply switched channels.

As I was walking outside the Capitol, I saw a tourist from Germany wearing the infamous black and yellow Fred Perry shirt, the uniform of the proud boys. Apparently unaware of its symbolism, he smiled broadly at a picture with the Capitol in the background.

I did not have the heart to tell him that.

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Javed Iqbal

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