Capitol riot hearings: Ex-KKK member says 'there are two Americas that are at war with each other'

The role former US president Donald Trump played in the uprising on Capitol Hill will be revealed on primetime TV overnight in America. The Congressional Committee investigating the attack in January last year is holding the first public hearing to present its findings. They have promised they will be revealing "a lot" of new material and evidence. Much of the focus will be on far right groups and how they managed to force their way into the building.

Ahead of the hearings ITV News Correspondent Robert Moore went to the southern US state of Georgia to see the hatred that's still dividing America.

Words by Washington News Editor Alex Chandler

Chris Buckley knows all about the threat from white supremacists and far-right extremism.

When he left the US army after a serious accident he was drawn into their world and ended up a member of the Ku Klux Klan (KKK).

Chris says he was ripe for recruitment by the Klan - he had just the right ingredients to make him susceptible to their message of division and hate.

'They use a very unique us vs. them mentality,' former KKK member Chris Buckley explains the mindset of far-right organisations

He had suffered abuse as a child, repeated trauma during his time in the military, substance abuse and alienation after he left.

Just the kind of damaged person the extremists are looking for.

On January 6, as rioters stormed the US Capitol, Chris recognised something in many of those involved.

Watch ITV News' eyewitness report from inside the US Capitol on January 6, 2021, as Trump supporters stormed the building

Unlike many who have been sucked into the conspiracy theories and extremist views which helped fuel the angry insurrection, Chris made it back.

With the help of his wife, Melissa, and a lot of soul searching he left the Klan behind and now helps other people de-radicalise and de-programme from the extremist views they have adopted.

'I used to be that type... That was the lifestyle we lived, constantly training to fight the tyrannical government' - Chris tells Washington Correspondent Robert Moore

Melissa stood by her husband and says that for so many confronting the same challenge there is a way out.

Chris now works for an organisation creating programmes to address the growth in extremism.

'I know that there's other people out there like me... other spouses that have battled the same thing I have and are just as scared,' Chris' wife Melissa says

Parents for Peace counsels people looking for an exit route from the dark places they have found themselves in. It's a small organisation but it has a proven track record of success.

As a veteran himself, Chris recognises how much work needs to be done in preventing the trend in military personnel finding themselves on a path to extremism.

'There's two different Americas. In a sense, they're at war with each other'

As with so many of America's most intractable problems it comes down to a deeply divided country.

Chris fears the hearings on Capitol Hill - which will lay out for the American people the evidence that months of investigations have revealed - will only serve to deepen the divide, a side show that a partisan country will ignore or use to fan the flames of the culture wars.