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After roughly 18 months of investigations, the House committee investigating the deadly Jan. 6, 2021, insurrection at the U.S. Capitol has released their full report.
The document, which is more than 800 pages long, recommends the Justice Department pursue criminal charges against former President Donald Trump for his role in the attack. And they say Congress should act to bar Trump, and others involved in the Jan. 6 insurrection, from ever holding federal office again.
A summary of the full report was released Monday after the committee concluded its final public hearing. More documents are still expected to be released.
“As the Select Committee concludes its work, their words must be a clarion call to all Americans: to vigilantly guard our Democracy and to give our vote only to those dutiful in their defense of our Constitution,” House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said in the report.
Despite criminal referrals against him and a mountain of evidence showing otherwise, Trump — now a presidential candidate once again — has continued to post on social media since the report was released to repeat his lie that the 2020 election was stolen from him.
In addition to the criminal referrals to the DOJ, the committee laid out 11 recommendations aimed at better protecting the American democratic system from future attacks. Those recommendations include clarifying that the role of the vice president in the transition of power is purely ceremonial and a new federal law enforcement emphasis on anti-government extremist groups.
What are the committee’s main recommendations?
- Citing the 14th amendment, the committee recommended Trump should be barred from holding federal or state office ever again. They also recommend the creation of a “formal mechanism” to evaluate whether those who took part in the insurrection should be barred from holding future government office on federal and other levels.
- The committee also recommends that Congress should make stronger criminal penalties for those who obstruct a peaceful transfer of power,
- And they recommend federal penalties for those who threaten election workers. The committee’s investigation found that many of the people who refused to be pushed into manipulating election results, including governors, secretaries of state, state legislators, state and local election officials, and frontline election workers, found themselves subjected to spamming, doxing, harassment, intimidation, and violent threats. Some of those threats were sexualized or racist in nature and targeted family members.
- The committee subpoenaed several individuals in the process of their investigation, but their authority to enforce those subpoenas is unclear. The committee recommends the creation of new legislation that would enforce House subpoenas in federal court.
- The committee also recommends more oversight over the Capitol Police. “Congressional committees of jurisdiction should continue regular and rigorous oversight of the United States Capitol Police as it improves its planning, training, equipping, and intelligence processes and practices its critical incident response protocols,” they write. They said there should be joint hearings with testimony from the Capitol Police Board.
What else is in the report?
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The report is broken into eight sections: the former president’s election lies and declarations of victory, Trump’s efforts to “find” additional votes, his pressure campaigns targeting federal and state officials to overturn the 2020 election results and the events of Jan. 6 itself.
Other key details in the report mirror the findings of the committee laid out in previous hearings that took place over the last year:
- Trump planned to declare victory regardless of the outcome. The committee lays out how Trump’s plan to overturn the 2020 election was not spontaneous, but premeditated.
- Trump was aware of the risk of violence when he called on his supporters to march on the Capitol. The report shows how extremist groups like the Oathkeepers and the Proud Boys banded together for the insurrection. “President Trump had summoned a mob, including armed extremists and conspiracy theorists, to Washington, DC on the same day the joint session of Congress was to meet. He then told that same mob to march on the US Capitol and ‘fight.’ They clearly got the message,” the committee wrote.
- Trump was aware of violence at the Capitol for more than three hours before he agreed to intervene. The report calls this period of time “187 minutes of dereliction,” in which they say Trump drank Diet Coke, put off advice from advisers, including his daughter Ivanka, and watched Fox News during the insurrection. The committee laid out a timeline of what happened leading up to and during those three hours, which entailed increasing tension between Trump and Vice President Pence and Trump himself attempting to go to the Capitol to join his supporters.
- Top aides to the president were aware that election fraud investigations would not change the election outcome. The committee argues that Trump and his allies not only lied about election fraud, but ripped-off their supporters by asking for money for lawsuits to fight the election results.
You can read more on NPR’s coverage of the committee’s public hearings here.
What happens now that the report is out?
What will come of the committee’s recommendations is unclear. While lawmakers made recommendations to the Department of Justice, it doesn’t necessarily mean the department has to act.
In their report, the committee also referred four Republican House members — Kevin McCarthy of California, Jim Jordan of Ohio, Scott Perry of Pennsylvania and Andy Biggs of Arizona — to the House Ethics Committee for failure to comply with subpoenas. But in the new year, Republicans will take control of the House of Representatives, which means it’s possible that these four House members don’t face any repercussions.
But at least one point from the committee has taken hold already: an update to the Electoral Count Act, which Congress passed this week in connection to a major spending bill. The updated legislation further clarifies that the vice president’s role in certifying the election is entirely ceremonial.
NPR’s Halimah Abdullah, Claudia Grisales, Giulia Heyward, Eric McDaniel, Muthoni Muturi, Barbara Sprunt, Katherine Swartz and Rachel Treisman contributed to this report.