Donald Trump’s role in the January 6, 2021 insurrection was the focus of the House Committee’s highly anticipated 845-page report released Wednesday, which blamed the former president alone for triggering the deadly riots as he attempted to overturn the results of the 2020 election, and recommended the 2024 hopeful be barred from serving in government.
The former president should be barred from public office, the Committee suggested in a series of recommendations, citing Section 3 of the the Constitution’s 14th amendment that says anyone who “engaged in an insurrection” or aided enemies of the constitution “can be disqualified” from holding future office.
Multiple far-right groups were “galvanized” not just to attend, but to incite the unrest by Trump’s tweet weeks before the fateful “Stop The Steal” rally, which read in part: “Big protest on D.C. on January 6th. Be there. Will be wild” —according to the report, a member of Twitter’s Trust and Safety team at the time said that tweet created a “‘fire hose’ of calls to overthrow the U.S. government.”
Trump not only failed to act for 187 minutes during the attack on the Capitol, but blamed then-Vice President Mike Pence for not having the “courage” to interfere with the democratic process, actions the report condemned as a “dereliction of duty.”
Federal and Capitol law enforcement also had intelligence information “predicting violence directed at the Capitol” ahead of the deadly insurrection that “should have been sufficient to warrant far more vigorous” security preparations for the joint congressional meeting on January 6 to certify the results of the election, according to the report.
The seeds for the attack were sown by Trump’s “premeditated” attempts to declare election “victory” and conspiracies to spread misinformation about voter fraud—which have roundly been debunked—encouraged by his advisors including Steve Bannon and a “definitely intoxicated” Rudy Giuliani.
Efforts to overturn the election included “200 apparent acts of public or private outreach, pressure, or condemnation” toward state legislators, the most well-known being Trump’s call to Georgia’s Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger saying he wanted to “find 11,780 votes” to overturn the state’s election results.
The report also found Trump and his advisors privately admitted he “lacked actual evidence” to prove he won the election, with Trump telling his chief of staff Mark Meadows he didn’t “want people to know we lost”—a claim that former White House aide Cassidy Hutchison had made to the committee that was also detailed in a book released in September by New York Times reporter Maggie Haberman.
Much of the report centered on revelations already made public during panel hearings conducted over the past six months, but also included new transcripts and comes days after the panel unanimously recommended Trump face criminal charges from the Department of Justice for inciting the violence.
But it also makes more recommendations aimed at preventing similar attacks in future, including actions to tackle violent extremism, battle disinformation and radicalization, protect election workers and, crucially, urged the Senate to pass reforms to the way election results are certified—that took place on Thursday as lawmakers passed changes to the Electoral Count Act as part of the omnibus spending bill.
The committee had a deadline of December 31 to publish the report before disbanding at the end of the year, aead of Republicans taking control of Congress in January.
“The central cause of January 6th was one man, former President Donald Trump, whom many others followed. None of the events of January 6th would have happened without him,” the panel said in its report.
Trump lashed out at the report on his Truth Social platform soon after it was released, once again peddling false “election fraud” claims: “The highly partisan Unselect Committee Report purposely fails to mention the failure of Pelosi to heed my recommendation for troops to be used in D.C., show the ‘Peacefully and Patrioticly’ words I used, or study the reason for the protest, Election Fraud. WITCH HUNT!”
What We Don’t Know
If, or when, Trump will be criminally charged for his role in the insurrection. The committee, which does not have the ability to bring charges on its own, on Monday recommended Trump, along with his band of advisors central to the events on January 6—ex-chief of staff Mark Meadows and lawyers Rudy Giuliani John Eastman, Jeffrey Clark and Kenneth Chesebro—be criminally charged by the DOJ for inciting or engaging in an insurrection, among other charges. Separately, it was revealed this week the committee is reportedly cooperating with the DOJ, providing transcripts to the authorities, who are also conducting a probe into the insurrection.
What To Watch For
House Republicans are reportedly expected to release a response to the panel’s report this week, Axios reported.
The report is a culmination of an 18-month investigation into the historic day and the role of Trump and his supporters in trying to stop the certification of President Joe Biden’s election win. It spanned more than 1,000 witness interviews and reviews of evidence such as text messages from close Trump aides. It also included bombshell testimony and primetime public hearings from Trump White House officials and aides, despite legal efforts from Trump to stop some key figures from speaking out. One of the most explosive testimonies came from Meadows’ former aide, Cassidy Hutchinson, who described moments of rage and Trump lunging at his driver in attempts to force being driven to the Capitol as the insurrection unfolded.
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