December 26, 2022
Declaring that the central cause of the January 6, 2021, attack on the Capitol was “one man,” the House select committee investigating the insurrection delivered its final report on Thursday, December 22—describing in extensive detail how former President DonaldTrump had carried out what it called “a multipart plan to overturn the 2020 presidential election” and offering recommendations for steps to assure nothing like it could happen again, reports The New York Times.
The report—released late on Thursday night—revealed new evidence about Trump’s conduct, and recommended that Congress consider whether to bar Trump and his allies from holding office in the future under the 14th Amendment’s ban on insurrectionists.
The release of the full report was the culmination of the panel’s 18-month inquiry and came three days after the committee—as it referred him to the Justice Department for potential prosecution—voted to formally accuse Trump of:
- Inciting insurrection,
- Conspiracy to defraud the United States,
- Obstruction of an act of Congress, and
- One other federal crime.
While the referrals do not compel federal prosecutors to take any action, they sent a powerful signal that a select committee of Congress believes the former president committed crimes.
“Our institutions are only strong when those who hold office are faithful to our Constitution,” Representative Liz Cheney, Republican of Wyoming and the vice chairwoman of the committee, wrote in the report, adding: “Part of the tragedy of January 6 is the conduct of those who knew that what happened was profoundly wrong, but nevertheless tried to downplay it, minimize it or defend those responsible.”
The report contains the committee’s legislative recommendations, which are intended to prevent future presidents from attempting a similar plot. The panel already has endorsed overhauling the Electoral Count Act, the law that Trump and his allies tried to exploit on January 6 in an attempt to cling to power. The House is scheduled to give final approval to that overhaul on Friday.
Among committee recommendations were a possible overhaul of the Insurrection Act and strengthening the enforcement of the 14th Amendment’s ban on insurrectionists holding office.
The panel also said Congress should consider legislation to bolster its subpoena power and increase penalties against those who threaten election workers. And it said bar associations should consider whether any of the lawyers who aided Trump’s attempts to overturn the election should be punished.
In addition to its focus on Trump’s actions, the report went into great detail about a supporting cast of lieutenants who enabled him. Mark Meadows, his final chief of staff, and the lawyers John Eastman, Rudy Giuliani, Jeffrey Clark, and Kenneth Chesebro were named as potential “co-conspirators” in Trump’s various attempts to cling to power.
Trump bashed the report on his social media site, Truth Social, calling it “highly partisan.”
The committee already had released the report’s executive summary, a lawyerly, 154-page narrative of Trump’s relentless drive to remain in power after he lost the 2020 election by seven million votes.
The report that follows the summary was largely an expanded version of the panel’s widely watched set of hearings this summer—which routinely drew more than 10 million viewers—with its chapter topics mirroring the themes of those sessions.
Those included Trump’s spreading of lies about the election, the creation of fake slates of pro-Trump electors in states won by President Joe Biden; and the former president’s pressure campaign against state officials, the Justice Department and former Vice President Mike Pence. The committee’s report documents how Trump summoned a mob of his supporters to Washington and then did nothing to stop them as they attacked the Capitol for more than three hours.
The committee’s report is the result of an investigation that included more than 1,000 witness interviews and a review of more than one million pages of documents, obtained after the panel issued more than 100 subpoenas.
Research contact: @nytimes