Jan. 6 Panel Issues Final Report, Placing Blame for Capitol Riot on ‘One Man’

The report expanded on this summer’s televised hearings, describing in detail what it called former President Donald J. Trump’s “multipart plan” to overturn the 2020 election.

Luke Broadwater and

WASHINGTON — Declaring that the central cause of the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the Capitol was “one man,” the House committee investigating the assault delivered its final report on Thursday, describing in extensive detail how former President Donald J. Trump 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.

It revealed new evidence about Mr. Trump’s conduct, and recommended that Congress consider whether to bar Mr. Trump and his allies from holding office in the future under the 14th Amendment’s ban on insurrectionists.

“The central cause of Jan. 6 was one man, former President Donald Trump, whom many others followed,” the report said. “None of the events of Jan. 6 would have happened without him.”

The release of the full report was the culmination of the panel’s 18-month inquiry and came three days after the committee voted to formally accuse Mr. Trump of inciting insurrection, conspiracy to defraud the United States, obstruction of an act of Congress and one other federal crime as it referred him to the Justice Department for potential prosecution. 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 Jan. 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 has already endorsed overhauling the Electoral Count Act, the law that Mr. Trump and his allies tried to exploit on Jan. 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 Mr. Trump’s attempts to overturn the election should be punished.

In addition to its focus on Mr. 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, Rudolph W. Giuliani, Jeffrey Clark and Kenneth Chesebro were named as potential “co-conspirators” in Mr. Trump’s various attempts to cling to power.

Mr. Trump bashed the report on his social media site, Truth Social, calling it “highly partisan.”

In a statement, Mr. Clark dismissed the committee’s report as a “last gasp” of a panel that is set to dissolve as Republicans take control of the House in January.

“This committee is now largely dead and will be fully dead on Jan. 2, 2023,” said Mr. Clark, whose phone was seized as part of a criminal investigation by the Justice Department in connection with his role in aiding Mr. Trump’s efforts.

The committee had already released the report’s executive summary, a lawyerly, 154-page narrative of Mr. Trump’s relentless drive to remain in power after he lost the 2020 election by seven million votes.

Those included Mr. Trump’s spreading of lies about the election, the creation of fake slates of pro-Trump electors in states won by President Biden, and the former president’s pressure campaignagainst state officials, the Justice Department and former Vice President Mike Pence. The committee’s report documents how Mr. 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.

It documented how, at times, even Mr. Trump did not believe or take seriously some of the outlandish claims about election fraud being promoted by him and his allies. During a conference call two weeks after Election Day, the lawyer Sidney Powell asserted that “communist money” had flowed through countries like Venezuela, Cuba and perhaps China to interfere with the election.

According to testimony provided to the committee by Hope Hicks, a former top aide to Mr. Trump, he “muted his speakerphone and laughed at Powell, telling the others in the room, ‘This does sound crazy, doesn’t it?’”

At the same time, it showed how Mr. Trump encouraged his most extreme supporters to back him as he energized protesters massing in Washington on Jan. 6, with an organizer of his rally that day noting that he “likes the crazies.”

The committee on Wednesday and Thursday also released more than 40 witness testimony transcripts, a few of which provided extensive new detail about the investigation while others showed nearly three dozen witnesses invoking their Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination. More of them will be released before the end of the year.

The nine-member panel was made up of seven Democrats and two Republicans, all of whom gained new prominence through the tightly scripted and highly produced televised hearings, which redefined the way in which congressional investigations could be presented to the public.“Our country has come too far to allow a defeated president to turn himself into a successful tyrant by upending our democratic institutions, fomenting violence and, as I saw it, opening the door to those in our country whose hatred and bigotry threaten equality and justice for all Americans,” Representative Bennie Thompson, Democrat of Mississippi and the committee’s chairman, wrote in a foreword to the report.

 

 

 

 

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