What to see as January 6 panel quotes Trump’s ‘coup attempt’

By Farnoush Amiri and Hope Yen | Associated Press

WASHINGTON — The House committee investigating the Capitol riot will make its final public presentation on Monday about Donald Trump’s unprecedented attempt to reverse the results of the 2020 presidential election he lost. The commission called it an “attempted coup” warranting criminal prosecution. of the Ministry of Justice.

That is expected to be the commission’s closing argument as it wraps up a year-and-a-half investigation and prepares to release a final report outlining its findings on the uprising in the nation’s capital on Jan. 6, 2021, as Congress confirmed the presidential victory of Joe Biden. The committee of seven Democrats and two Republicans will be dissolved at the end of this year.

Monday’s meeting will be the commission’s 11th public hearing since it was formed in July 2021. One of the first hearings, on June 9, was watched by more than 20 million people.

Things to watch for at Monday’s meeting at 1 p.m. EST:

Refer a president

The commission is expected to bring both criminal and civil cases against the former president and his allies, whom lawmakers believe have broken the law or committed ethical violations.

The chairman of the committee, Rep. Bennie Thompson, D-Miss., said the references could include criminal, ethical violations, legal misconduct and campaign finance violations. In particular, lawmakers have suggested that their recommended charges against Trump could include conspiracy to defraud the United States, obstruction of official Congressional proceedings, and insurrection.

Rep. Adam Schiff, D-Calif., said Sunday he believes Trump committed multiple crimes. Pointing specifically to insurgency, Schiff said that “when you look at Donald Trump’s actions and compare them to the statute, it’s a pretty good match.”

“This is someone who tried in multiple ways to pressure state officials to find votes that didn’t exist. This is someone who tried to disrupt a joint session, even inciting a mob to attack the Capitol,” Schiff told CNN’s “State of the Trade Union.” “If that isn’t criminal, then I don’t know what is.”

Rep. Jamie Raskin, D-Md., said last week that the commission’s actions will focus on “key players” where there is sufficient or abundant evidence that they have committed crimes.

It will be up to federal prosecutors to decide whether to press charges. While not binding, the committee’s recommendations would increase political pressure on the Justice Department as Special Counsel Jack Smith conducts an investigation into Jan. 6 and Trump’s actions.


Complicit lawmakers?

The committee on Monday could also make ethics references involving fellow lawmakers.

“We will also consider the appropriate remedy for members of Congress ignoring a congressional subpoena, as well as the evidence that was so relevant to our investigation and why we wanted to bring them in,” Schiff said. “We weighed what the remedy is for members of Congress. Is it a criminal reference to another branch of government, or is it better for Congressional police to be their own?”

He said the committee has considered censorship and ethics references and will announce their decision on Monday.

Lawmakers who failed to comply with subpoenas from the January 6 committee included House Republican leader Kevin McCarthy of California, as well as GOP Representatives Jim Jordan of Ohio, Scott Perry of Pennsylvania, Andy Biggs of Arizona, and Mo Brooks of Alabama.


A record for history

Lawmakers have promised Monday’s session will include a preview of the commission’s final report, expected to be released Wednesday. The panel will vote on the approval of the official report, effectively authorizing the publication of the report to the public.

The eight-part report will include hundreds of pages of findings about the attack and Trump’s efforts to undermine democracy, building on what the commission learned through interviews with more than 1,000 witnesses.

It will broadly mirror the series of public hearings the committee held over the summer that detailed the various facets of the investigation, including the role of extremist groups in the Jan. 6 violence, Trump’s attempt to get the Justice Department to and Trump’s coordination with GOP lawmakers to reverse the election results.

Additional evidence, including some of the vast amount of video footage and testimony collected by the commission, is expected to be made public before the end of the year.

Expectations for the final report are high. Book publishers are already offering pre-release versions for sale to the public.


Legislative changes

With the commission meeting one last time, a major legislative response to the uprising could gain momentum.

Lawmakers are expected to review the arcane electoral law that Trump sought to undermine after his 2020 election defeat by incorporating legislative changes into a spending bill at the end of the year.

The proposed revision to the Electoral Count Act is one of many by-products of the January 6 attack on the Capitol. A group of bipartisan legislators have been working on the legislation since the uprising. Trump and his allies tried to find loopholes in that law before congressional certification of the 2020 vote, as the former president tried to reverse his defeat by Biden and unsuccessfully pressured Pence to go along.

If passed, the bill would amend the 19th-century law that, along with the Constitution, governs how states and Congress certify voters and declare presidential election winners, protecting each state’s popular vote from manipulation and preventing Congress from arbitrarily decide presidential elections.

The committee is also expected to publish its own legislative proposals in its final report, outlining ideas for strengthening and expanding the guardrails that protected Electoral College certification in 2021.


Closing arguments

Since its inception, the January 6 commission has sought to build a record for history and help the public better understand what led to the attack on the Capitol and the individuals involved.

“We obviously want to complete the story for the American people,” Raskin said. “Everyone has come on a journey with us, and we want a satisfying close so that people feel like Congress has done its job.”

After conducting thousands of interviews — ranging from Trump cabinet secretaries to members of his own family — and obtaining tens of thousands of documents, congressional investigators say they have provided the most comprehensive look at the worst attack on the Capitol in two centuries.

But the 16-month investigation has also provided a sort of roadmap for criminal investigations, influencing the Trump and Jan. 6 probes that are progressing at the local, state and federal levels.

It is questionable whether the Justice Department will act once Trump is announced as a 2024 presidential candidate. Schiff expressed concern on Sunday that federal prosecutors will be slow to press charges as long as Trump is politically relevant. “I think he should get the same remedy, force of law, that anyone else would get,” Schiff said.

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