The House select committee investigating the January 6, 2021 attack on the U.S. Capitol heads into a pivotal week as it prepares to make its final filing, release a highly anticipated report outlining the findings of the panel investigation of more than a year and vote on criminal. referrals to Department of Justice.
Votes on criminal references are expected during Monday’s business meeting, marking a significant step for the panel, which has said one of its goals is to prevent what happened on January 6 from happening again.
The closely watched events of the week are the culmination of the committee’s extensive investigation, which began months after last year’s deadly riot and has consisted of nearly a dozen hearings, the testimony of more than 1,000 witnesses and millions of documents.
Here are five things to look for as the committee kicks off a pivotal week:
Committee to vote on referrals Monday
Sunrise at the US Capitol, Monday, December 19, 2022, as the House select committee investigating the January 6 attack on the US Capitol prepares to hold its final meeting in Washington Capitol.
The committee will vote on criminal referrals to the Department of Justice (DOJ) during its last business meeting on Monday.
Multiple points of sale reported Friday that the committee will vote to urge the Justice Department to bring at least three charges against former President Trump, including obstruction of an official congressional proceeding, insurrection and conspiracy to defraud the United States.
The references will be closely watched inside and outside of Washington, but they are also largely symbolic. The DOJ is not required to consider the recommendations of congressional committees and is conducting its own investigation into January 6.
Criminal references probably won’t be the only ones the panel will consider.
Rep. Bennie Thompson (D-Miss.), chair of the committee, previously said the panel was considering “five or six categories” for references. The committee has highlighted behavior that would be within the control of the Justice Department, the House Ethics Committee and professional organizations such as bar associations.
“We focus on key players and we focus on key players where there is sufficient evidence or abundant evidence that they committed crimes, and we are focused on crimes that go directly to the heart of the constitutional order in such a way that Congress cannot remain silent.” Committee member Rep. Jamie Raskin (D-Md.) told reporters last week.
Raskin suggested earlier this month that the five Republican lawmakers who ignored the committee’s subpoenas: House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (California) and Reps. Scott Perry (Pennsylvania), Jim Jordan (Ohio), Andy Biggs ( Ariz.) and Mo Brooks (Alabama) — could be referred to the Ethics Committee.
On Sunday, Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Calif.), a member of the panel, told CNN’s “State of the Union” that the committee has considered censorship and ethics references.
Asked last week if he or any of his fellow Republicans are concerned about being referred for criminal contempt for ignoring subpoenas, McCarthy told reporters “no, not at all, we didn’t do anything wrong.”
The committee could also be looking at the bar association references as a rebuke to lawyers who helped Trump in his quest to challenge the results of the 2020 presidential election.
Panel to publish full report on Wednesday
Representatives sit on the dais as the House select committee investigating the January 6 attack on the US Capitol holds a hearing on Capitol Hill in Washington, on July 12, 2022.
The committee is set to release its report, which will consist of eight chapters outlining the findings of the panel’s months-long investigation, on Wednesday.
those chapters, according to Politico, will closely match the evidence presented at its nine public hearings this year. The committee will also provide an executive summary.
After Monday’s business meeting, the panel is expected to release certain materials, including an executive summary of the report, details on references and additional information on witnesses who appeared before the committee, according to a select committee aide.
But on Wednesday, the public will have access to the full report, including “attachments and a few other things,” according to Thompson. However, the public may have to wait longer to review the transcripts of the witness interviews.
Committee to Publish Legislative Recommendations
Rep. Jamie Raskin (D-Md.) speaks during a House committee hearing on Thursday, Oct. 13, 2022, to focus on former President Trump’s efforts to stay in power following his loss in the 2020 election. .
Monday’s business meeting will also present some legislative recommendations, Thompson told reporters, which are central to the purpose of the Jan. 6 committee.
“Much of our work also focuses on recommendations, legislatively what needs to be done to prevent future coups, insurrections, political violence and election sabotage,” Raskin, who is an expert on constitutional law, said on Capitol Hill last week. .
“And in a sense, that’s the crux of it all because we believe there is a clear, continuing, and present danger to democracy today,” he added.
the chamber already approved a legislative proposal drafted by committee members: The Presidential Election Reform Act, which clarifies the vice president’s role in certifying elections and significantly increases the number of legislators needed to challenge the certification of a state’s voters.
But Raskin told reporters the move was “a minimal first step.”
In September, he presented a long list of areas the committee wanted to address after their investigation.
“We want to strengthen and strengthen the electoral system and the right to vote. We want to do what we can to secure the status of poll workers and keep them safe from violence. We want to solidify states in their determination that private armed militias not operate on behalf of the state. You know, we don’t have any kind of federal law or policy on private armed militias,” the Maryland Democrat said.
It remains to be seen what the scope of the final recommendations will be. And they will be released just as Republicans take control of the House, leaving no time for the Democratic majority to seek legislation.
Asked last week if he regretted that the recommendations came at such a late stage, Raskin told reporters: “I hope they have an impact on congressional thinking going forward.”
DOJ will finally receive the committee’s report on Wednesday
The Department of Justice logo is seen at its headquarters in Washington, DC, Thursday, August 5, 2021, prior to a news conference on a civil rights issue.
The DOJ has spent months requesting evidence from the panel as it conducts its own investigation, and on Wednesday it will finally have its hands on the committee’s final report.
Attorney General Merrick Garland said the department would like to see the transcripts and other materials “so we can use them in the ordinary course of our investigations.”
In June, the Justice Department wrote in a court filing that the committee’s refusal to share information was making its job more difficult.
“The failure of the Select Committee to grant the Department access to these transcripts complicates the Department’s ability to investigate and prosecute those who engaged in criminal conduct in connection with the January 6 attack on the Capitol,” said a letter in the presentation.
“Accordingly, we renew our request that the Select Committee provide us with copies of the transcripts of all interviews it has conducted to date,” it added.
But Thompson told reporters last month that the Justice Department would have to wait for the final report to be published to see the evidence the committee collected throughout its year-and-a-half investigation.
The DOJ will finally get its wish on Wednesday, when the committee’s report is made available to the public, including those who work at the agency.
Cheney, Kinzinger will have final moments in the spotlight
Representatives Adam Kinzinger (R-Ill.) and Liz Cheney (R-Wyo.) are seen during a House committee hearing January 6 on Thursday, July 21, 2022 to focus on former President Trump’s actions during the insurrection.
Monday’s business meeting will also mark a swan song of sorts for Reps. Liz Cheney (R-Wyo.) and Adam Kinzinger (R-Ill.), who will leave Congress at the end of this month after splitting with the GOP. and denounce Triumph.
Cheney, one of two Republicans on the panel, will leave the House after losing re-election over the summer, in part because of his role in the Jan. 6 caucus.
She has become an outspoken critic of Trump, using her prominent position as vice chair of the committee to make the case that the former president was responsible for what happened on Capitol Hill on January 6.
It’s one of the main reasons he lost re-election last year to Wyoming attorney Harriet Hageman, whom Trump selected to challenge Cheney after she voted for his impeachment and joined the committee on June 6. from January.
Kinzinger has also become one of Trump’s leading Republican critics, though he opted not to run for re-election this year.
Despite their departures, the Republican duo have continued their crusade against Trump, criticizing him for recent comments he made on the Constitution and for dining with prominent white supremacist Nick Fuentes.
But Monday’s meeting will likely be the last time they can make the case against Trump with the hearing and platform that comes with being a member of Congress.