The Jan. 6 House select committee released its long-awaited final report Thursday, capping an 18-month probe of the 2021 breach of the U.S. Capitol by a violent mob of supporters of former President Donald Trump.
The 845-page report was issued three days after the bipartisan committee voted unanimously to refer Trump to the Department of Justice for criminal investigation and possible prosecution over his efforts to overturn his 2020 election loss to President Joe Biden.
Among the recommendations is that congressional committees with such authority consider creating a “formal mechanism for evaluating whether to bar” Trump from holding future federal office due to evidence that he violated his constitutional oath to support the U.S. Constitution while engaging in an insurrection.
The first chapter of the report is titled “The Big Lie,” a reference to Trump’s repeated false claims that he had won the election. That chapter notes that Trump made efforts even before the election to “delegitimize the election process” by suggesting it would be marred by ballot fraud.
The second chapter, titled “I Just Want to Find 11,780 Votes,” details Trump’s attempt to subvert the Electoral College, the body that actually chooses the winner of presidential elections on the basis of candidates’ popular vote victories in individual states, and portions of two states.
The title refers to what Trump said to Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger in a Jan. 2, 2021, phone call, during which Trump pressured him to take steps that would invalidate Biden’s popular victory in that state.
The next chapters outline how Trump and his allies aimed to get alternate slates of electors for him presented to Congress over the actual slates that Biden won, their efforts to get the Department of Justice to cast doubt on the integrity of the election, and to convince then-Vice President Mike Pence to refuse to certify several states’ Electoral College slates.
The plan to pressure Pence was designed to throw the decision on who would win the election into the House of Representatives. Despite Democrats holding a majority of the seats in that chamber at the time, Republicans could have delivered the victory to Trump because they held the majority of state delegations, which each get a single vote under the system.
The last three chapters focus on the lead-up to the Capitol riot, Trump’s “dereliction” of duty by refusing to call off the mob, and an analysis of the attack on the Capitol.
In its recommendations, the Jan. 6 committee urged the Senate to pass the Electoral Count Act, which the House already has passed. The act would reaffirm that a vice president has no authority or discretion to reject an official slate of presidential electors submitted by the governors of their states.
The panel also said courts and bar disciplinary bodies that regulate conduct by lawyers “should continue to evaluate the conduct of attorneys described in this Report.”
“Attorneys should not have the discretion to use their law licenses to undermine the constitutional and statutory process for peace-fully transferring power in our government,” the report says.
In a recommendation titled “Violent Extremism,” report says that, ‘Federal Agencies with intelligence and security missions, including the Secret Service, should … move forward on whole-of-government strate-
gies to combat the threat of violent activity posed by all extremist groups, including white nationalist groups and violent anti-government groups while respecting the civil rights and First Amendment civil liberties of all citizens.”
The Jan. 6 panel has already begun sharing its evidence with the DOJ, which last month appointed a special counsel to investigate whether Trump or others unlawfully interfered with the transfer of power to Biden.
Without Trump’s encouragement, the Jan. 6 riot, “would have never occurred,” committee Chairman Rep. Bennie Thompson, D-Miss., said in an interview earlier Thursday with MSNBC. “It would have been the normal transfer of power that we do every four years when there is a presidential election.”
“Sometimes you win, sometimes you lose, but under no circumstances do you tear the city hall up or the courthouse up, and, God forbid, the United States Capitol,” Thompson said. “It was just something that I think for most Americans it was beyond imagination … And there are still a lot of people who can’t fathom why our people would do that.”
The report comes weeks after Trump announced that he will seek the Republican nomination for president in 2024.
Both the DOJ and House probe are focused, among other things, on the events of Jan. 6, 2021, when hundreds of Trump’s backers stormed the U.S. Capitol and forced lawmakers and Pence to flee the chambers of Congress.
The invasion disrupted a joint session of Congress that was being held to confirm Biden’s victory in the Electoral College.
Pence, who was presiding over that session, resisted pressure by Trump and others to refuse to accept the Electoral College slates of several swing states that had given Biden his margin of victory.
The House committee conducted more than 1,000 witness interviews, which includes ones with Trump’s White House aides and lawyers, several of his adult children, and his close allies. The panel also compiled hundreds of thousands of documents as part of its investigation.
Trump spread false claims of election fraud before and after the 2020 election and pursued numerous attempts to reverse his loss to Biden in the weeks after Election Day. His public campaign to do so culminated with a rally outside the White House on Jan. 6, 2021, where he urged the crowd to march with him to the Capitol to press Congress to undo the election results.
Trump never marched to the Capitol that, but instead spent hours in the White House as his supporters attacked police officers inside and outside the Capitol, and swarmed through the halls of Congress. Trump did not publicly urged the mob to leave the Capitol until late in the afternoon that day, despite calls by senior officials in the White House that he do so.
“You’re the commander in chief. You’ve got an assault going on on the Capitol of the United States of America, and there’s nothing?” Gen. Mark Milley, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, testified to the House committee.
“No call? Nothing? Zero?” Milley added.
In its vote Monday, the committee referred Trump to the DOJ for potential prosecution for four crimes, including conspiracy to defraud the U.S. and inciting an insurrection.
Separately, a state grand jury in Georgia is collecting evidence for a criminal probe of Trump by the Fulton County District Attorney’s Office for his attempt to get Georgia election officials to undo Biden’s election victory in that state.
Trump also is under criminal investigation by the DOJ for the removal of government documents, some of them highly classified, from the White House when he left office.
This is breaking news. Check back for updates.