Jan. 6 Panel Issues Final Report, Placing Blame for Capitol Riot on ‘One Man’
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, setting out in extensive detail how 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.
The release of the full report was the culmination of the panel’s 18-month inquiry and came three days after the committee voted on Monday 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 Congress believes the former president committed crimes.
“The work of the select committee underscores that our democratic institutions are only as strong as the commitment of those who are entrusted with their care,” Speaker Nancy Pelosi wrote in a forward to the report.
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. The summary identified co-conspirators who aided Mr. Trump, but it said the evidence pointed to one straightforward conclusion: “The central cause of Jan. 6 was one man, former President Donald Trump.”
The committee on Wednesday and Thursday also released more than 40 witness testimony transcripts, which showed nearly two dozen witnesses invoking their Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination. More of them, as well as attachments, will be released before the end of the year.
Understand the Events on Jan. 6
- Timeline: On Jan. 6, 2021, 64 days after Election Day 2020, a mob of supporters of President Donald J. Trump raided the Capitol. Here is a close look at how the attack unfolded.
- A Day of Rage: Using thousands of videos and police radio communications, a Times investigation reconstructed in detail what happened — and why.
- Lost Lives: A bipartisan Senate report found that at least seven people died in connection with the attack.
- Jan. 6 Attendees: To many of those who attended the Trump rally but never breached the Capitol, that date wasn’t a dark day for the nation. It was a new start.
The report was largely an expanded version of the panel’s widely watched set of hearings this summer, with its chapter topics mirroring the themes of those sessions. Those included Mr. Trump’s spreading 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 campaign against 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 report also contains the committee’s legislative recommendations, which are designed 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 include 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 passing legislation to bolster its subpoena power and increase penalties against those who threaten election workers.
The committee’s report is the result of an 18-month investigation, which 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.
The nine-member panel was made up of seven Democrats and two Republicans.
Both Representative Bennie Thompson, Democrat of Mississippi and the committee’s chairman, and Representative Liz Cheney, Republican of Wyoming and the committee’s vice chairwoman, wrote forwards to the report.
“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,” Mr. Thompson wrote.
Likewise, Ms. Cheney focused her remarks on her long-stated goal: ensuring Mr. Trump never gets near the reins of power again.
“No man who would behave that way at that moment in time can ever serve in any position of authority in our nation again,” Ms. Cheney wrote of Mr. Trump’s actions on Jan. 6. “He is unfit for any office.”