Select Committee to Investigate the January 6th Attack on the United States Capitol
Select committee
Defunct
Seal of the United States House of Representatives.svg

United States House of Representatives
117th Congress
History
FormedJuly 1, 2021
DisbandedJanuary 3, 2023
Leadership
ChairBennie Thompson (D)
Since July 1, 2021
Vice chairLiz Cheney (R)
Since September 2, 2021
Structure
Seats9
Political partiesMajority (7)
  •   Democratic (7)
Minority (2)
Jurisdiction
PurposeTo investigate the attack on the United States Capitol on January 6, 2021
Senate counterpartNone
Website
january6th-benniethompson.house.gov

The United States House Select Committee to Investigate the January 6th Attack on the United States Capitol (the January 6th Committee) was a bipartisan select committee of the U.S. House of Representatives established to investigate the U.S. Capitol attack.[1]

After refusing to concede the 2020 U.S. presidential election and perpetuating false and disproven claims of widespread voter fraud, then-President Donald Trump summoned a mob to the Capitol on January 6, 2021. During the House Committee's subsequent investigation, people gave sworn testimony that Trump knew he did not win the election.[2][3][4][5][6] The Committee subpoenaed his testimony, identifying him as "the center of the first and only effort by any U.S. President to overturn an election and obstruct the peaceful transition of power".[7] He sued the committee and never testified.[8][9]

On December 19, 2022, the Committee voted unanimously to refer Trump and the lawyer John Eastman to the U.S. Department of Justice for prosecution.[10] Recommended charges for Trump were obstruction of an official proceeding; conspiracy to defraud the United States; conspiracy to make a false statement; and attempts to "incite", "assist" or "aid or comfort" an insurrection.[11] Obstruction and conspiracy to defraud were also the recommended charges for Eastman.[12]

Some members of Trump's inner circle had cooperated with the committee, while others defied it.[13] For refusing to testify, Steve Bannon was sentenced to prison but remains free on appeal;[14] Peter Navarro was indicted; Congress held Mark Meadows and Dan Scavino in criminal contempt (though the Justice Department said it would not prosecute them);[15][16] and the committee referred four lawmakers—Representatives McCarthy, Jordan, Biggs, and Perry—to the House Ethics Committee.[17]

The Committee interviewed over a thousand people[18] and reviewed over a million documents.[7] On December 22, 2022, it published an 845-page final report[19][20][21] (including the executive summary released three days earlier).[22] That week, the committee also began publishing interview transcripts.[23]

The Committee was formed through a largely party-line vote on July 1, 2021, and it dissolved in early January 2023.[a][24] Its membership was a point of significant political contention. Liz Cheney and Adam Kinzinger, who had both voted in January 2021 to impeach Trump for incitement of insurrection,[25][26] were the only Republicans serving on the committee, and the Republican National Committee censured them for their participation.[27]

History

On May 19, 2021, in the aftermath of the January 6 United States Capitol attack, the House voted to form an independent bicameral commission to investigate the attack, similar to the 9/11 Commission.[28] The bipartisan Bill passed the House 252–175, with thirty-five Republicans voting in favor. The large number of defections was considered a rebuke of Minority Leader McCarthy, who reversed course and whipped against the proposal, after initially deputizing Rep. John Katko to negotiate for Republicans.[28] The proposal was defeated by a filibuster from Republicans in the Senate.[29] In late May, when it had become apparent that the filibuster would not be overcome, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi indicated that she would appoint a select committee to investigate the events as a fallback option.[30][31][32][33]

On June 30, 2021, H.Res.503, "Establishing the Select Committee to Investigate the January 6th Attack on the United States Capitol",[34] passed the House 222–190, with all Democratic members and two Republican members, Adam Kinzinger and Liz Cheney, voting in favor.[35] Sixteen Republican members did not vote.[36] The resolution empowered Pelosi to appoint eight members to the committee, and House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy could appoint five members "in consultation" with the Speaker.[37] Pelosi indicated that she would name a Republican as one of her eight appointees.[38]

On July 1, Pelosi appointed eight members, seven Democrats and one Republican, Liz Cheney (R-WY). Bennie Thompson (D-MS) was appointed committee chairman.[39]

On July 19, McCarthy announced his five selections, recommending Jim Banks (R-IN) serve as Ranking Member, along with Jim Jordan (R-OH), Rodney Davis (R-IL), Kelly Armstrong (R-ND), and Troy Nehls (R-TX).[40] Banks, Jordan, and Nehls had voted to overturn the Electoral College results in Arizona and Pennsylvania. Banks and Jordan had also signed onto the Supreme Court case Texas v. Pennsylvania to invalidate the ballots of voters in four states.[41]

Logo of the committee
Logo of the committee

On July 21, Thompson announced that he would investigate Trump as part of the inquiry into the Capitol attack.[42] Hours later, Pelosi announced that she had informed McCarthy that she was rejecting Jordan and Banks, citing concerns for the investigation's integrity and relevant actions and statements made by the two members. She approved the recommendations of the other three.[43] Rather than suggesting two replacements, McCarthy insisted he would not appoint anyone unless all five of his choices were approved.[44][45] When McCarthy pulled all of his picks, he eliminated all Trump defenders on the committee and cleared the field for Pelosi to control the committee's entire makeup and workings. This was widely interpreted as a costly political miscalculation by McCarthy.[46][47][48]

On July 25, after McCarthy rescinded all of his selections, Pelosi announced that she had appointed Adam Kinzinger (R-IL), one of the ten House Republicans who voted for Trump's second impeachment, to the Committee.[49][50][51] Pelosi also hired a Republican, former Rep. Denver Riggleman (R-VA), as an outside committee staffer or advisor.[52] Cheney voiced her support and pushed for both the involvement of both.[51]

On February 4, 2022, the Republican National Committee voted to censure Cheney and Kinzinger, which it had never before done to any sitting congressional Republican. The resolution formally dropped "all support of them as members of the Republican Party", arguing that their work on the select committee was hurting Republican prospects in the midterm elections.[27][53] Kinzinger had already announced on October 29, 2021, that he would not run for reelection.[54] Cheney lost the primary for her reelection on August 16, 2022.[55]

Members

The committee's chair was Bennie Thompson, and the vice chair was Liz Cheney. Seven Democrats and two Republicans sat on the committee.

Vice Chair Liz Cheney
Majority Minority

In July 2021, Thompson announced the senior staff:[64]

In August 2021, Thompson announced additional staff:[65][66]

In November 2022, Thompson disclosed the existence of a subcommittee to handle "outstanding issues" including unanswered subpoenas and whether to send transcripts of interviews to the DOJ. The subcommittee had been established about one month earlier with Raskin as chair, along with Cheney, Lofgren, and Schiff. Thompson said he selected them because "they're all lawyers".[70][71]

Investigation

The investigation commenced with a public hearing on July 27, 2021, at which four police officers testified. As of the end of 2021, it had interviewed more than 300 witnesses and obtained more than 35,000 documents,[72] and those totals continued to rise. By May 2022, it had interviewed over 1,000 witnesses;[73] some of those interviews were recorded.[74] By October 2022, it had obtained over 1,000,000 documents[7] and reviewed hundreds of hours of videos (such as security camera and documentary footage).[75] During the pendency of the investigation, the select committee publicly communicated some of its information.

The select committee split its multi-pronged investigation into multiple color-coded teams,[76][77][78] each focusing on a specific topic like funding, individuals' motivations, organizational coalitions, and how Trump may have pressured other politicians.[79] These were:

The select committee's investigation and its findings were multi-faceted.

A reform of election certification procedures (as governed by the Electoral Count Act of 1887) was passed in the December 2022 omnibus spending bill.[83][84] Committee members had begun collaborating on this reform in 2021.[85]

The select committee's findings may also be used in arguments to hold individuals, notably Donald Trump,[73] legally accountable.

The committee ultimately referred Trump for four crimes, one of which is incitement of insurrection. Anyone charged and convicted of insurrection would be constitutionally ineligible to hold public office. However, the enforcement mechanism for that provision is unclear.[86][87] In January 2022, lawyers challenged Representative Madison Cawthorn's eligibility to run for reelection,[88][89] and, in March 2022, Representative Marjorie Taylor Greene's eligibility was similarly challenged.[90] The first elected official to be removed from office for participating in the Capitol attack was Couy Griffin, a county commissioner from New Mexico. A judge removed him from office on September 6, 2022, citing the 14th Amendment and ruling that Griffin had participated in an "insurrection".[91] On December 15, 2022, House Democrats introduced a bill that would prevent Trump specifically from running for office again.[92][93]

The select committee's work may also aid the multiple criminal investigations into the attack at both the state and federal levels, including, for example, the State of Georgia's investigation into allegations of Trump relating to solicitation of election fraud and other violations of state and federal election laws. On May 2, 2022, Fulton County's District Attorney Fani Willis opened a special grand jury to consider criminal charges.[94]

Simultaneous investigations by the Justice Department

Main article: Smith special counsel investigation

Further information: United States Justice Department investigation into attempts to overturn the 2020 presidential election

The United States Department of Justice (DOJ) is probing the months-long efforts to falsely declare that the election was rigged, including pressure on the DOJ, the fake-electors scheme, and the events of January 6 itself. Potential charges against Trump include seditious conspiracy and conspiracy to obstruct a government proceeding.[95]

The judicial branch has also made related observations and rulings. In March 2022, federal judge David Carter said it was "more likely than not" that Trump has engaged in a conspiracy with John Eastman to commit federal crimes, and described their attempt as "a coup in search of a legal theory".[96]

On November 18, 2022, U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland announced the appointment of John L. "Jack" Smith as the Special Counsel to oversee the DOJ's ongoing investigations into the FBI investigation into Donald Trump's handling of government documents as well the January 6 investigation.[97] Garland praised Smith's experience and said: "I am confident that this appointment will not slow the completion of these investigations." Smith promised to investigate "independently and in the best traditions of the Department of Justice ... to whatever outcome the facts and the law dictate.”[98]

The select committee is sharing certain information with the DOJ[99] but, as of November 2022,[70] has not yet fulfilled the DOJ's request that it turn over all its interview transcripts. The DOJ had sent a letter on April 20, 2022, asking for transcripts of past and future interviews. Thompson, the committee chair, told reporters he did not intend to give the DOJ "full access to our product" especially when "we haven't completed our own work". Instead, the select committee negotiated for a partial information exchange.[18] On June 15, the DOJ repeated its request. They gave an example of a problem they had encountered: The trial of the five Proud Boys indicted for seditious conspiracy had been rescheduled for the end of 2022 because the prosecutors and the defendants' counsel did not want to start the trial without the relevant interview transcripts.[100] On July 12, 2022, the committee announced it was negotiating with the DOJ about the procedure for information-sharing and that the committee had "started producing information" related to the DOJ's request for transcripts. Representative Thompson told CNN that they would likely "establish a procedure to look at some of the material" later that month.[101]

On December 19, 2022, the House select committee publicly voted to recommend that the DOJ bring criminal charges against Trump[102] (a long-anticipated move)[103] as well as against John Eastman.[102] Some critics had argued against making criminal referrals, as such a recommendation by a congressional committee has no legal force[104] and could appear to politically taint the DOJ's investigation.[105] However, a committee spokesperson had said on December 6 that criminal referrals would be "a final part" of the committee's investigative work.[106] Schiff acknowledged on December 11 that any referral would be "symbolic" but was nevertheless "important"[107] — he had said in September that he hoped the committee would unanimously refer Trump to the DOJ[108] — while Representative Raskin said on December 13, "Everybody has made his or her own bed in terms of their conduct or misconduct."[109]

Information received from Mark Meadows

Donald Trump and Mark Meadows in 2020

In September 2021, the select committee subpoenaed former White House chief of staff Mark Meadows. Meadows initially cooperated but ultimately did not provide a complete set of requested documents[110] and sued to block the two congressional subpoenas. (Meadows did comply with a DOJ subpoena, also related to January 6, in 2022.)[111] On December 14, 2021, the full House voted to hold Meadows in contempt of Congress.[112] The DOJ decided not to criminally charge him,[113] though it said (in a July 15, 2022, amicus brief[114] filed at the request of U.S. District Court Judge Carl J. Nichols)[115] that the House subpoena was justified and that Meadows had only "qualified" immunity given that Trump was no longer in office.[116][117] On October 31, 2022, the judge ruled that the congressional subpoenas were "protected legislative acts" that were "legitimately tied to Congress's legislative functions".[118]

Meadows had routinely burned documents in his office fireplace after meetings during the transition period; Cassidy Hutchinson testified to the committee that she had seen him do this a dozen times between December 2020 and mid-January 2021.[119]

In late 2021, before Meadows stopped cooperating, he provided thousands of emails and text messages[120][110] that revealed efforts to overturn the election results:

Meadows also participated in a call with a Freedom Caucus group including Rudy Giuliani, Representative Jim Jordan, and Representative Scott Perry during which they planned to encourage Trump supporters to march to the Capitol on January 6.[130]

Meadows also exchanged post-election text messages with Ginni Thomas, the wife of Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas, in which they expressed support of Trump's claims of election fraud. On November 5, in the first of 29 text messages, Ginni Thomas sent to Meadows a link to a YouTube video about the election.[131] She emailed Arizona and Wisconsin lawmakers on November 9 to encourage them to choose different electors, exchanged emails with John Eastman, and attended the rally on January 6.[132][133][134]

Some of the communications revealed Trump allies who privately expressed disagreement with the events of January 6 while defending Trump in public:

In mid-2022, CNN spoke to over a dozen people who had texted Meadows that day, and all of them said they believed that Trump should have tried to stop the attack.[137]

One of the most revealing documents provided by Meadows was a PowerPoint presentation[138][139] describing a strategy for overturning the election results. The presentation had been distributed by Phil Waldron, a retired Army colonel (now owning a bar in Texas)[140] who specialized in psychological operations and who later became a Trump campaign associate. A 36-page version appeared to have been created on January 5,[141][138] and Meadows received a version that day.[142][143][144] He eventually provided a 38-page version to the committee.[141] It recommended that Trump declare a national security emergency to delay the January 6 electoral certification, invalidate all ballots cast by machine, and order the military to seize and recount all paper ballots.[142][143] (Meadows claims he personally did not act on this plan.[142]) Waldron was associated with former Trump national security advisor Michael Flynn and other military-intelligence veterans who played key roles in spreading false information to allege the election had been stolen from Trump.[145][140] Politico reported in January 2022 that Bernard Kerik had testified to the committee that Waldron also originated the idea of a military seizure of voting machines, which was included in a draft executive order dated December 16.[146][147] The next month, Politico published emails between Waldron, Flynn, Kerik, Washington attorney Katherine Friess, and Texas entrepreneur Russell Ramsland that included another draft executive order dated December 16. That draft was nearly identical to the draft Politico had previously released; embedded metadata indicated it had been created by One America News anchor Christina Bobb. An attorney, Bobb had also been present at the Willard Hotel command center.[148][149]

Obstacles

Release of documents from the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA)

One of the main challenges to the committee's investigation was Trump's use of legal tactics to try to block the release of the White House communication records held at the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA).[150] He succeeded in delaying the release of the documents for about five months. The committee received the documents on January 20, 2022.[151][152]

Some of the documents had been previously torn up by Trump and taped back together by NARA staff.[153] Trump is said to have routinely shredded and flushed records by his own hand, as well as to have asked staff to place them in burn bags, throughout his presidency.[154][155] Additionally, as the presidential diarist testified to the committee in March 2022, the Oval Office did not send the diarist detailed information about Trump's daily activities on January 5 and 6, 2021.[156]

Trump's phone records from the day of the attack, as provided by NARA to the committee, did not log any calls during the seven-and-a-half hours that the Capitol was under siege,[156] suggesting he was using a "burner" cell phone during that time.[157] He is said to have routinely used burner phones during his presidency.[158] When the committee subpoenaed his personal communication records,[159][7] his lawyers claimed he had no such records.[160]

The committee began its request for the NARA records in August 2021.[161][162] Trump asserted executive privilege over the documents.[163] Current president Joe Biden rejected that claim,[164][165] as did a federal judge (who noted that Trump was no longer president),[166] the DC Circuit Court of Appeals,[167] and the U.S. Supreme Court.[168][169] The committee agreed to a Biden administration request for NARA to withhold certain sensitive documents about unrelated national security matters but continued to litigate until it received the potentially relevant records.[170]

Republicans not testifying

From the beginning of the investigation, Trump told Republican leaders not to cooperate with the committee.[171][172][173][174] While many have testified voluntarily,[175] the committee has also had to issue subpoenas[176] to legally compel certain uncooperative individuals to testify. Some people who were subpoenaed nevertheless refused to testify: Roger Stone and John Eastman pleaded their Fifth Amendment rights, while Steve Bannon and Mark Meadows were found in contempt of Congress. In December 2021, Michael Flynn sued to block a subpoena for his phone records and to delay his testimony, though a federal judge dismissed his suit within a day.[177]

Trump White House aide Cassidy Hutchinson spoke to the committee several times in early 2022 while represented by Stefan Passantino, a Trump ally who wanted her to skirt the committee's questions. She spoke to the committee without Passantino's knowledge; former White House aide Alyssa Farah Griffin was her backchannel connection for the additional testimony.[178][179] She later dismissed Passantino,[178][179] hired Jody Hunt instead, and had another closed-door deposition on June 20, 2022, a week before she appeared at a public hearing.[119]

Bill Stepien, Trump's final campaign manager, was subpoenaed and planned to testify live for the second public hearing on June 13, 2022. However, he canceled his appearance an hour before the hearing started, as his wife went into labor. The select committee instead aired clips of Stepien's previously recorded deposition;[180] the scramble to rearrange the presentation delayed the start of the nationally televised hearing by 45 minutes.[181][182]

On October 21, 2022, the committee subpoenaed Trump for documents and testimony. They requested all his communications on the day of the Capitol attack and many of his political communications in the preceding months.[159][183][184] On November 9, Trump's lawyers wrote to the committee saying he possessed "no documents" relevant to the subpoena. On November 11, they sued to block the subpoena, arguing that the committee could obtain the information from sources other than Trump.[160]

Pence chose not to speak to the select committee, though the committee had long deliberated calling him.[185][186] On January 4, 2022, Chair Thompson told reporters that Pence should "do the right thing and come forward and voluntarily talk to the committee". While acknowledging that the committee had not formally invited Pence to speak to them, Thompson suggested: "if he offered, we'd gladly accept."[187] The committee reportedly considered Pence's testimony particularly important,[188] though, in April, Thompson told reporters they would not bother calling him, especially having already confirmed important information through his former aides Marc Short and Greg Jacob.[189] On August 17, Pence told an audience at Saint Anselm College that he was waiting for the committee to invite him: "If there was an invitation to participate, I'd consider it."[190] He described his experience of the attack on the Capitol in his autobiography, which was scheduled to be published a week after the November 2022 midterm elections.[191] As of late November, Pence was reportedly more interested in testifying before the DOJ.[192] "I think it’s sad that he didn’t want to come to us", Representative Pete Aguilar told CNN in early December 2022.[193]

Secret Service, DHS and Pentagon text messages deleted

Soon after the attack on the Capitol, the Secret Service assigned new phones.[194] In February 2021, the office of Department of Homeland Security Inspector General Joseph Cuffari, a Trump appointee, learned that text messages of Secret Service agents had been lost. He considered sending data specialists to attempt to retrieve the messages, but a decision was made against it.[195] In June 2021, DHS asked for text messages from 24 individuals—including the heads for Trump and Pence security, Robert Engel and Tim Giebels—and did not receive them. In October 2021, DHS considered publicizing the Secret Service's delays.[196][197] On July 26, 2022, Chairman Thompson, in his capacity as Chair of the House Homeland Security Committee, and Carolyn Maloney, Chair of the House Oversight & Reforms Committee, jointly wrote to the Council of the Inspectors General on Integrity and Efficiency about Cuffari's failure to report the lost text messages and asked CIGIE chair Allison Lerner to replace Cuffari with a new Inspector General who could investigate the matter.[198] Additionally, renewed calls to have President Biden dismiss Cuffari have started gaining traction, with Senator Dick Durbin, who chairs the Senate Judiciary Committee requesting Attorney General Garland to investigate the missing text messages. However, as of July 2022, it is unknown if President Biden will fire Cuffari as he made a campaign promise to never fire an inspector general during his tenure as POTUS.

On August 1, 2022, House Homeland Security Chairman Bennie Thompson reiterated calls for Cuffari to step down due to a "lack of transparency" that could be "jeopardizing the integrity" of crucial investigations regarding the missing Secret Service text messages.[199] That same day, an official inside the DHS inspector general's office told Politico that Cuffari and his staff are "uniquely unqualified to lead an Inspector General's office, and ... the crucial oversight mission of the DHS OIG has been compromised."[200] Congress also obtained a July 2021 e-mail, from deputy inspector general Thomas Kait, who told senior DHS officials there was no longer a need for any Secret Service phone records or text messages. Efforts to collect communications related to Jan. 6 were therefore shutdown by Kait just six weeks after the internal DHS investigation began. The Guardian wrote that "taken together, the new revelations appear to show that the chief watchdog for the Secret Service and the DHS took deliberate steps to stop the retrieval of texts it knew were missing, and then sought to hide the fact that it had decided not to pursue that evidence."[201]

On August 2, 2022, CNN reported that relevant text messages from January 6, 2021, were also deleted from the phones of Trump-appointed officials at the Pentagon, despite the fact that FOIA requests were filed days after the attack on the Capitol.[202][203] The Secret Service was later reported to have been aware of online threats against lawmakers before the attack on the Capitol, according to documents obtained by the House select committee.[204]

Trump funding legal defense of Republican witnesses

Trump's Save America PAC has paid hundreds of thousands of dollars to lawyers representing over a dozen witnesses called by the committee. It is not illegal to pay someone else's legal fees, but it raises the question of why Trump would do so and what kind of influence he might have over those people's testimony.[205] On September 1, 2022, Trump said on a right-wing radio show that he had recently met supporters in his office. He said he was "financially supporting" them, adding: "It's a disgrace what they've done to them."[206]

The American Conservative Union is providing legal defense funds for some people who resist the committee. The organization says it only assists people who do not cooperate with the committee and who oppose its mission, according to chairman Matt Schlapp.[207]

Republican National Committee (RNC) claiming committee is illegitimate

Though the Republican National Committee had long insisted that the committee is invalid and should not be allowed to investigate, a federal judge found on May 1, 2022, that the committee's power is legitimate.[208] On November 30, 2022, House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy wrote a letter warning the committee that the incoming Republican-majority House of Representatives planned to investigate the committee's work in 2023.[209]

Public findings

Main article: United States House Select Committee on the January 6 Attack public hearings

2021 public hearings

The House select committee began its investigation with a preliminary public hearing on July 27, 2021, called "The Law Enforcement Experience on January 6th".[210][211] Capitol and District of Columbia police testified, describing their personal experiences on the day of the attack, and graphic video footage was shown.[212]

2022 public hearings

Part of this section is transcluded from Public hearings of the United States House Select Committee on the January 6 Attack. (edit | history)

In 2022, the Committee held ten live televised public hearings[213] that presented evidence of Trump's seven-part plan to overturn the 2020 elections; this included live interviews under oath (of many Republicans and some Trump loyalists),[214][215] as well as recorded sworn deposition testimony and video footage from other sources. An Executive Summary[216] of the committee's findings was published on December 19, 2022; a Final Report[217] was published on December 22, 2022.[218]

During the first hearing on June 9, 2022, committee chair Bennie Thompson and vice-chair Liz Cheney said that President Donald Trump tried to stay in power even though he lost the 2020 presidential election. Thompson called it a "coup".[219] The committee shared footage of the attack, discussed the involvement of the Proud Boys, and included testimony from a documentary filmmaker and a member of the Capitol Police.

The second hearing on June 13, 2022, focused on evidence showing that Trump knew he lost and that most of his inner circle knew claims of fraud did not have merit. William Barr testified that Trump had "become detached from reality" because he continued to promote conspiracy theories and pushed the stolen election myth without "interest in what the actual facts were."[220][221]

The third hearing on June 16, 2022, examined how Trump and others pressured Vice President Mike Pence to selectively discount electoral votes and overturn the election by unconstitutional means, using John Eastman's fringe legal theories as justification.[222]

The fourth hearing on June 21, 2022, included appearances by election officials from Arizona and Georgia who testified they were pressured to "find votes" for Trump and change results in their jurisdictions. The committee revealed attempts to organize fake slates of alternate electors and established that "Trump had a direct and personal role in this effort."[223][224]

The fifth hearing on June 23, 2022, focused on Trump's pressure campaign on the Justice Department to rubber stamp his narrative of a stolen election, the insistence on numerous debunked election fraud conspiracy theories, requests to seize voting machines, and Trump's effort to install Jeffrey Clark as acting attorney general.[225]

The exclusive witness of the sixth hearing on June 28, 2022, was Cassidy Hutchinson, top aide to former White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows.[226] She testified that White House officials anticipated violence days in advance of January 6; that Trump knew supporters at the Ellipse rally were armed with weapons including AR-15s yet asked to relax security checks at his speech; and that Trump planned to join the crowd at the Capitol and became irate when the Secret Service refused his request. Closing the hearing, Cheney presented evidence of witness tampering.[227]

The seventh hearing on July 12, 2022, showed how Roger Stone and Michael Flynn connected Trump to domestic militias like the Oath Keepers and Proud Boys that helped coordinate the attack.[228][229][230]

The eighth hearing on July 21, 2022, presented evidence and details of Trump's refusal to call off the attack on the Capitol, despite hours of pleas from officials and insiders. According to the New York Times, the committee delivered two significant public messages: Rep. Liz Cheney made the case that Trump could never "be trusted with any position of authority in our great nation again", while Rep. Bennie Thompson called for legal "accountability" and "stiff consequences" to "overcome the ongoing threat to our democracy."[231]

The ninth hearing on October 13, 2022,[232][233] presented video of Roger Stone and evidence that some Trump associates planned to claim victory in the 2020 election regardless of the official results.[234][235] The committee voted unanimously to subpoena Trump for documents and testimony.[236][237] A subpoena was issued one week later,[238] although Trump has refused to comply.[239]

The tenth hearing on December 19, 2022, convened to present a final overview of their investigative work to date, and the committee recommended that former President Donald Trump, John Eastman, and others be referred for legal charges. The committee also recommended that the House Ethics Committee follow up on Rep. Kevin McCarthy (CA), Rep. Jim Jordan (OH), Scott Perry (PA), and Andy Biggs (AZ) refusing to answer subpoenas.[240] The votes were unanimous.[241] Immediately after the hearing, the committee released a 154-page executive summary of its findings.[242][243][244]

Criminal referrals

On December 19, 2022, the committee criminally referred Trump to the DOJ for four suspected crimes.

Simultaneously, the committee referred John Eastman to the DOJ for the first two of those same crimes. This move was supported by a June 7, 2022, ruling by Judge David Carter. Carter had decided that one email in John Eastman's possession, sent before January 6, contained likely evidence of a crime and that Eastman must disclose it to the House committee under the crime-fraud exception of attorney-client privilege.[249]

The committee suggested that the DOJ look into two additional charges for Trump: conspiracy to prevent someone from holding office or performing the duties of their office, and seditious conspiracy. It noted that convictions on both of these charges had recently been delivered in the high-profile Oath Keepers trial.

Trump and Eastman were the only individuals the committee criminally referred to the DOJ. Although the committee said that Mark Meadows, Rudy Giuliani, Jeffrey Clark had been “actors” in the plot, it decided it lacked sufficient evidence to refer them, especially given certain individuals' unwillingness to cooperate with the investigation. "We trust that the Department of Justice will do its job", Raskin said.[251]

Witness testimony transcripts

On December 21, 2022, the committee released the first batch of hundreds of witness testimony transcripts.[23] The transcripts detailed testimony from 34 witnesses who mostly invoked the Fifth Amendment and avoided answering questions.[252] These witnesses included former acting Assistant Attorney General for the Civil Division Jeffrey Clark, Trump campaign lawyer John Eastman, conservative attorney Jenna Ellis, former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn, Trump ally Roger Stone, Oath Keepers Founder Stewart Rhodes, Proud Boys Chairman Enrique Tarrio, conservative radio host Alex Jones, Arizona Republican Party Chair Kelli Ward and white nationalist Nick Fuentes.[252] On December 22, 2022, additional transcripts was released which revealed that Cassidy Hutchinson gave additional testimony on September 14 and September 15, 2022, where she claimed she was pressured by Trump allies, such as her "Trump world" attorney Stefan Passantino, not to talk to the committee.[253][254] On December 23, 46 more interview transcripts would be released which included interviews from Trump's daughter Ivanka, former Attorney General Bill Barr, former White House counsel Pat Cipollone, former acting Attorney General Jeffrey Rosen, former White House communications director Hope Hicks, former press secretary Kayleigh McEnany, Trump-backed attorney Sidney Powell, and Marc Short, who was chief of staff to Vice President Mike Pence.[255] On December 30, 2022, it was released a third batch of witness testimony transcripts: according the press, «the committee is racing to make the disclosures this week before it is expected to be disbanded by Republicans when they take over the House of Representatives in four days».[256]

Final report

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY to the Final Report[22]
EXECUTIVE SUMMARY to the Final Report[22]
FINAL REPORT[19]
FINAL REPORT[19]

In October 2022, Representative Lofgren told Nicole Wallace on Deadline: White House that the DOJ would receive the select committee's final report at the same time the public receives it, though the DOJ's version would likely be unredacted.[257] On December 7, 2022, Representative Schiff told NPR that the committee would make its evidence "accessible to everyone", including the public and the DOJ, so that when the Republican-majority House of Representatives is sworn in for the 118th Congress, "they can't cherry-pick certain evidence and mislead the country with some false narrative."[258]

As the committee wrapped up its work in late 2022, the writers of the final report were directed to focus more on Trump's alleged crimes (as researched by the "Gold Team" and revealed in the public hearings) and less on law enforcement's failure to address radicalization, armed groups, and violent threats.[259] Some committee staff expressed concerns that Vice Chair Liz Cheney wanted an anti-Trump report to bolster her own political future. Another person quoted by The Washington Post anonymously rebutted that notion, saying that Cheney intended to produce a compelling narrative and thereby avoid "a worse version of the Mueller report, which nobody read".[260] On November 27, 2022, Representative Schiff said the committee members hadn't yet reached consensus on the report's focus but also were "close to the putting down the pen".[261]

The report was expected to discuss others' responsibility for events between the election on November 3, 2020, and the electoral vote count on January 6, 2021. Topics were expected to include RNC fundraising, what the Secret Service knew, and how the National Guard responded.[193]

Though the committee held public hearings before the November 2022 midterm elections, it did not release any written report by that time.[262][263]

According to the committee's original authorization, it was supposed to terminate 30 days after filing its final report.[264] The 118th Congress convened two weeks after the committee published the report, rendering the 30-day timeframe irrelevant.

Summary

On December 19, 2022, the same day it made the criminal referrals, the committee published an "Executive Summary" as an introduction to its final report. It outlined 17 findings central to its reasoning for criminal referrals.[265]

Full report

On December 22, 2022, the final report was published online.[266] Several publishing houses will print it. Penguin Random House's edition will have a foreword by Schiff, and Celadon Books's edition will have an introduction by David Remnick and an epilogue by Raskin.[267] HarperCollins will also have an edition.[268] The report is considered final because the committee itself expired when the 117th Congress ended.[269][67]

The report placed blame on "one man", former U.S. President Donald Trump, for inciting the riot.[266] It provided detail about a robust, organized campaign to assemble and deliver a bogus slate of electors and named lesser known Trump lawyer Kenneth Chesebro as the plot's architect.[270] According to the final report, Donald Trump made "multiple efforts" to contact witnesses summoned to testify before the House Select Committee.[271] The report accused Donald Trump of engaging in a criminal “multi-part conspiracy” to overturn the results of the 2020 election."[272]

In the two months between the election and the Capitol attack, Trump allies engaged in “at least 200 apparent acts of public or private outreach, pressure, or condemnation” of state election officials. They had 68 communications with those officials (including meetings, phone calls, and texts), and they made 125 social media posts about those officials.[273]

Timeline of proceedings

2021

July 2021

August 2021

September 2021

The committee sought to identify whether the White House was involved in planning the Capitol attack and whether Trump personally had advance knowledge of it.[285] The committee considered issuing subpoenas for call records or testimony of senior Trump administration officials including Meadows, Deputy Chief of Staff Dan Scavino and former Trump campaign manager Brad Parscale.[286]

October 2021

November 2021

December 2021

2022

January 2022

February 2022

March 2022

April 2022

May 2022

June 2022

July 2022

August 2022

September 2022

  1. Requesting testimony from Mike Pence and Donald Trump.
  2. Whether to subpoena other high-profile individuals, including Virginia "Ginni" Thomas, the wife of Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas.
  3. Referring the former president to the Department of Justice (which is expanding its own criminal probe into January 6).[519]
  4. Taking action against the five Republican lawmakers in the House of Representatives who refused to cooperate with subpoenas: Kevin McCarthy (House Minority Leader), Jim Jordan, Mo Brooks, Andy Biggs, and Scott Perry.
  5. Inquiring into the U.S. Secret Service, including the deletion of text messages, as well as allegations that former Secret Service agent Tony Ornato was personally involved in efforts to discredit the testimony of Trump White House aide Cassidy Hutchinson.

October 2022

November 2022

December 2022

Subpoenas

The Select Committee's subpoena power comes pursuant to House Resolution 503, Section 5: Procedures:

"(c) Applicability of Rules Governing Procedures of Committees. – Rule XI of the Rules of Representatives shall apply to the Select Committee except as follows:

According to the Congressional Research Service, the chair (or a person they designate) can initiate and authorize subpoenas without consulting the vice-chair or other committee members.[603]

In the January 6th investigation, some people testified and provided documents voluntarily, while others were legally compelled by subpoenas.[604][176][605] The committee did not always publicly announce the subpoenas it issued.[120]

Notably:

Known subpoenas of individuals and organizations
Name Role Subpoenaed Deposition Outcome
Telecom carriers call detail records for more than 100 people summer/fall 2021[344] N/A Unknown[608]
Mark Meadows former White House chief of staff September 23, 2021 orig. October 15, 2021
November 12, 2021
criminal referral to DOJ; DOJ previously said it would not indict him[16] though he originally did not appear,[329] later cooperated, then stopped[614][342] and sued;[615] the judge dismissed his lawsuit on October 31, 2022[118]
Daniel Scavino former White House Deputy Chief of Staff for Communications September 23, 2021 orig. October 15, 2021
postponed six times[616][423]
DOJ said it would not indict him[16]
Kash Patel Former Chief of Staff to Acting Secretary of Defense Christopher C. Miller September 23, 2021 orig. October 14, 2021
December 9, 2021
appeared[617][618][619]
Stephen Bannon Former White House Chief Strategist and Senior Counselor to President Trump September 23, 2021 October 14, 2021 indicted[330]
Amy Kremer Founder and Chair of Women For America First; Mother of Kylie Kremer September 29, 2021 October 29, 2021[620]
Kylie Kremer Founder and Executive Director of Women For America First; Daughter of Amy Kremer September 29, 2021 October 29, 2021[620]
Cynthia Chafian submitted the first permit application on behalf of WFAF for the January 6 rally, and founder of the Eighty Percent Coalition September 29, 2021 October 28, 2021[605]
Caroline Wren "VIP Advisor" for January 6, per rally permit September 29, 2021 October 26, 2021[605]
Maggie Mulvaney "VIP Lead" for January 6, per rally permit September 29, 2021 October 26, 2021[605]
Justin Caporale Event Strategies, Inc.; "Project Manager" for January 6, per rally permit September 29, 2021 October 25, 2021[605]
Tim Unes Event Strategies, Inc.; "Stage Manager" for January 6, per rally permit September 29, 2021 October 25, 2021[605]
Megan Powers MPowers Consulting LLC; "Operations Manager for Scheduling and Guidance" for January 6, per rally permit September 29, 2021 October 21, 2021[605]
Hannah Salem Stone logistics for rally September 29, 2021 October 22, 2021[605]
Lyndon Brentnall "on-site supervisor" for the rally; owner of a security company September 29, 2021 October 22, 2021[605]
Katrina Pierson national spokesperson for the 2016 Trump campaign September 29, 2021 November 3, 2021[605]
Ali Alexander connected to "Stop the Steal" rally permit October 7, 2021 October 29, 2021[605] reportedly cooperating as of April 2022[621]
Nathan Martin connected to "Stop the Steal" rally permit October 7, 2021 October 28, 2021[605]
Stop the Steal LLC organization; George B. Coleman, "custodian of records", will be deposed October 7, 2021 N/A[622]
Jeffrey Clark former Assistant Attorney General for the Environment and Natural Resources Division October 13, 2021 October 29, 2021[605] criminal referral to DOJ; Fifth Amendment (refused to testify) at February 2, 2022, appearance;[339] previously had invoked executive privilege (refused to testify) at November 5, 2021, appearance[623] and was rescheduled due to illness[624]
William Stepien Trump 2020 Campaign Manager November 8, 2021 December 13, 2021[605]
Jason Miller Trump Campaign Senior Advisor November 8, 2021 December 10, 2021[605]
John Eastman conservative lawyer and former professor November 8, 2021 December 8, 2021[605] criminal referral to DOJ; previously took Fifth Amendment (refused to testify)[625]
Michael Flynn former Trump National Security Advisor November 8, 2021 orig. December 6, 2021
postponed[626][605]
Fifth Amendment (refused to testify) when he appeared March 10, after unsuccessfully suing to invalidate the subpoena[627][607][628]
Angela McCallum Trump Campaign Executive Assistant November 8, 2021 November 30, 2021[605][629]
Bernard Kerik present at the meetings at the Willard Hotel November 8, 2021 December 3, 2021[605] appeared voluntarily on January 13, 2022[630]
Nicholas Luna Personal Assistant to Trump November 9, 2021 orig. December 6, 2021
postponed[626][605]
Molly Michael Executive Assistant and Oval Office Operations Coordinator November 9, 2021 December 2, 2021[605]
Ben Williamson Senior Advisor to Chief of Staff Mark Meadows November 9, 2021 December 2, 2021[605]
Christopher Liddell Deputy Chief of Staff November 9, 2021 November 30, 2021[605]
John McEntee White House Presidential Personnel Office Director November 9, 2021 December 15, 2021[605]
Keith Kellogg National Security Advisor to the Vice President Mike Pence November 9, 2021 December 1, 2021[605] testified[631]
Kayleigh McEnany former White House Press Secretary November 9, 2021 December 3, 2021[605] appeared on January 12[632]
Stephen Miller Director of Speechwriting and Senior Advisor on Policy under Former President Trump November 9, 2021 December 14, 2021[605]
Cassidy Hutchinson Special Assistant to the President and Coordinator for Legislative Affairs November 9, 2021 December 1, 2021[605] testified four times behind closed doors,[633] including February 23 and March 7, 2022,[634] before speaking at the committee's sixth public hearing on June 28, 2022
Kenneth Klukowski Senior Counsel to Assistant Attorney General Jeffrey Clark November 9, 2021 November 29, 2021[605]
Alex Jones InfoWars Host November 22, 2021 December 18, 2021[635] Fifth Amendment (refused to testify)[636]
Roger Stone Republican Operative November 22, 2021 December 17, 2021 Fifth Amendment (refused to testify)[637]
Duston Stockton Stop the Steal Organizer November 22, 2021 December 14, 2021[638]
Jennifer Lawrence Stop the Steal Organizer November 22, 2021 December 15, 2021
Taylor Budowich Trump Spokesman; Communications Director of Save America PAC November 22, 2021 December 16, 2021 testified; sued to block release of financial records, but the committee had already received them[639][640]
Oath Keepers Far-Right Militia organization November 23, 2021[641] N/A
Proud Boys Far-Right Militia organization November 23, 2021 December 7, 2021
Stewart Rhodes Oath Keepers Founder November 23, 2021 December 14, 2021 indicted by federal prosecutors; convicted of seditious conspiracy[642]
Enrique Tarrio Chairman of the Proud Boys and Florida State Director of Latinos for Trump November 23, 2021 December 15, 2021 indicted by federal prosecutors; charged with conspiracy[643] and sedition[644]
Robert Patrick Lewis 1st Amendment Praetorian[645] November 23, 2021 December 16, 2021
Marc Short Pence's Chief of Staff November 2021[646] January 26, 2022[647] testified; may have received a "friendly" subpoena to encourage cooperation[646][648]
Max Miller Associate Director of the Presidential Personnel Office and Special Assistant to Former President Trump December 10, 2021 January 6, 2022[649][650]
Robert “Bobby” Peede Jr. Former Deputy Assistant to Former President Trump and Director of Presidential Advance December 10, 2021 January 7, 2022[649][650]
Brian Jack Trump White House Political Director December 10, 2021 January 10, 2022[649][650]
Bryan Lewis Trump aide who helped plan rally December 10, 2021 January 4, 2022[649][650]
Ed Martin Trump ally who helped plan rally December 10, 2021 January 5, 2022[649][650]
Kimberly Fletcher ties to "Moms for America", helped plan rallies December 10, 2021 January 4, 2022[649][650]
Phil Waldron author of the PowerPoint presentation titled "Election Fraud, Foreign Interference & Options for 6 JAN" December 16, 2021 January 17, 2022[651]
Andy Surabian adviser to Donald Trump Jr. January 11, 2022[640] January 31, 2022[652]
Arthur Schwartz adviser to Donald Trump Jr. January 11, 2022[640] February 1, 2022[653]
Ross Worthington former White House official; helped Trump draft his January 6 rally speech January 11, 2022[640][654] February 2, 2022[655]
Meta, Alphabet, YouTube, Twitter, Reddit Social media companies January 13, 2022[654] N/A
Rudy Giuliani former Trump personal attorney January 18, 2022[656] orig. February 8, 2021
postponed[657][658]
criminal referral to DOJ
Sidney Powell former Trump attorney January 18, 2022[656] February 8, 2022[659] sued to block release of phone records[660]
Jenna Ellis former Trump attorney January 18, 2022[656] February 8, 2022[661]
Boris Epshteyn former Trump advisor January 18, 2022[656] February 8, 2022[662]
Eric Trump son of Trump reported January 18, 2022 phone metadata[663] records obtained[663]
Kimberly Guilfoyle Trump advisor, fiancée of Donald Trump Jr. reported January 18, 2022 phone metadata[663] records obtained[663]
Nick Fuentes Groypers leader, White Nationalist Activist, podcast host January 19, 2022[664] February 9, 2022[665]
Patrick Casey Far-right activist January 19, 2022[664] February 9, 2022[666]
Nancy Cottle Listed as chairperson for Arizona on false slate of Trump electors January 28, 2022[403] February 16, 2022[667]
Loraine B. Pellegrino Listed as secretary for Arizona on false slate of Trump electors January 28, 2022[403] February 16, 2022[667]
David Shafer Listed as chairperson for Georgia on false slate of Trump electors January 28, 2022[403] February 21, 2022[667]
Shawn Still Listed as secretary for Georgia on false slate of Trump electors January 28, 2022[403] February 21, 2022[667]
Kathy Berden Listed as chairperson for Michigan on false slate of Trump electors January 28, 2022[403] February 22, 2022[667]
Mayra Rodriguez Listed as secretary for Michigan on false slate of Trump electors January 28, 2022[403] February 22, 2022[667]
Jewll Powdrell Listed as chairperson for New Mexico on false slate of Trump electors January 28, 2022[403] February 23, 2022[667]
Deborah W. Maestas Listed as secretary for New Mexico on false slate of Trump electors January 28, 2022[403] February 23, 2022[667]
Michael J. McDonald Listed as chairperson for Nevada on false slate of Trump electors January 28, 2022[403] February 24, 2022[667]
James DeGraffenreid Listed as secretary for Nevada on false slate of Trump electors January 28, 2022[403] February 24, 2022[667]
Bill Bachenberg Listed as chairperson for Pennsylvania on false slate of Trump electors January 28, 2022[403] February 25, 2022[667]
Lisa Patton Listed as secretary for Pennsylvania on false slate of Trump electors January 28, 2022[403] February 25, 2022[667]
Andrew Hitt Listed as chairperson for Wisconsin on false slate of Trump electors January 28, 2022[403] February 28, 2022[667]
Kelly Ruh Listed as secretary for Wisconsin on false slate of Trump electors January 28, 2022[403] February 28, 2022[667]
Judd Deere Trump deputy White House press secretary January 28, 2022[404]
Peter Navarro Trump economic advisor February 9, 2022[408] March 2, 2022[668] indicted[16]
Laura Cox Former Michigan Republican Party Chairwoman February 15, 2022[669] March 8, 2022
Kelli Ward Arizona Republican Party Chairwoman February 15, 2022[669] March 8, 2022 Fifth Amendment (refused to answer substantive questions); appeared October 4, 2022[670]
Gary Michael Brown Deputy Director of Election Day Operations for 2020 Trump campaign February 15, 2022[669] March 9, 2022
Douglas V. Mastriano Pennsylvania state senator, planned false slate of Trump electors February 15, 2022[669] March 10, 2022 appeared briefly on August 9, but did not answer questions;[671] complied with request for documents; used campaign donations to pay lawyer;[672] sued[673]
Michael A. Roman Director of Election Day Operations for 2020 Trump campaign February 15, 2022[669] March 14, 2022
Mark Finchem Arizona state legislator, "Stop the Steal" backer February 15, 2022[669] March 15, 2022
Salesforce.com Software company, RNC's fundraising platform February 23, 2022[674] March 16, 2022 the Select Committee dropped its subpoena on Salesforce[516]
Kenneth Chesebro Attorney who worked on efforts to overturn election March 1, 2022[675] March 22, 2022 criminal referral to DOJ
Christina Bobb Attorney who worked on efforts to overturn election, OANN host March 1, 2022[675] March 23, 2022
Kurt Olsen Attorney who worked on efforts to overturn election March 1, 2022[675] March 24, 2022 sued to block subpoena March 24, 2022[676]
Phill Kline Attorney who worked on efforts to overturn election, OANN host March 1, 2022[675] March 25, 2022
Cleta Mitchell Attorney who worked on efforts to overturn election March 1, 2022[675] March 28, 2022
Katherine Friess Attorney who worked on efforts to overturn election March 1, 2022[675] March 29, 2022
Kimberly Guilfoyle Trump advisor, fiancée of Donald Trump Jr. March 3, 2022[411] March 15, 2022[677]
Scott Perry Representative for Pennsylvania's 10th congressional district May 12, 2022[678] May 26, 2022 criminal referral to DOJ
Andy Biggs Representative for Arizona's 5th congressional district May 12, 2022[678] May 26, 2022 criminal referral to DOJ
Jim Jordan Representative for Ohio's 4th congressional district May 12, 2022[678] May 27, 2022 criminal referral to DOJ
Kevin McCarthy House Minority Leader May 12, 2022[678] May 31, 2022 criminal referral to DOJ
Mo Brooks Representative for Alabama's 5th congressional district, spoke at rally May 12, 2022[678] May 31, 2022
Pat Cipollone White House Counsel June 29, 2022[679] July 6, 2022 scheduled for closed-door, videotaped testimony on July 8, 2022[478]
U.S. Secret Service Department of Homeland Security agency;
erased text messages
July 15, 2022[680] N/A
Patrick Philbin White House deputy counsel under Pat Cipollone reported August 3, 2022[681]
Robin Vos Speaker of the Wisconsin State Assembly September 23, 2022[682] September 26, 2022 sued; did not appear[683]
Donald Trump former President October 21, 2022[7] November 14, 2022 (demanded) criminal referral to DOJ; previously sued and said he would not appear[569]

Reactions

Prior to committee formation

According to several reports, Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy had warned Republican members that if they allowed Speaker Pelosi to appoint them to the select committee, they would be stripped of all their other committee assignments and should not expect to receive any future ones from Pelosi. In an interview with Forbes, Republican Rep. Adam Kinzinger of Illinois said "Who gives a shit?" and added, "When you've got people who say crazy stuff and you're not gonna make that threat, but you make that threat to truth-tellers, you've lost any credibility."[684]

House Leader McCarthy called the rejection of his initial recommendations "unprecedented" in a phone call with Pelosi. In a press conference, he labeled her a "lame duck speaker" out to destroy the institution. The Freedom Caucus pushed for McCarthy to file a motion to vacate the speakership, and punish Cheney and Kinzinger for accepting their appointments to the committee.[685][686] McCarthy later dubbed them "Pelosi Republicans".[274][275] Republicans also stated that if they won the House majority in the 2022 midterm elections, they would come after Democratic committee assignments, targeting Eric Swalwell and Ilhan Omar.[686] Steve Scalise stated that Pelosi had removed any credibility from the committee for rejecting their recommended members and opted instead for a political narrative.[686] Republicans Scott Perry, Chip Roy, and Kelly Armstrong expressed their disdain for both Cheney and Kinzinger and questioned their loyalty to the House Republican Conference, pushing for them to be stripped of their committee assignments.[274] Jim Banks and Mike Rogers stated that the two GOP committee members would be stuck to Pelosi's narrative of events.[274] Cheney and Kinzinger both dismissed comments from their colleagues.[274]

After Speaker Nancy Pelosi rejected two of Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy's picks for the committee and appointed Adam Schiff, The Wall Street Journal editorial board criticized her; while acknowledging that McCarthy's picks were partisan, it claimed that Schiff had "lied repeatedly about the evidence concerning the Trump campaign's collusion with Russia". The editorial board posited, "if Mrs. Pelosi thinks the evidence for her conclusion is persuasive, why would she not want to have it tested against the most aggressive critics?"[687] On the other hand, the San Francisco Chronicle editorial board said: "Pelosi's chief mistake was not also rejecting Rep. Troy Nehls of Texas, who, like Jordan, Banks and a majority of House Republicans, voted to overturn the election on the day of the insurrection. No serious investigation of the riot can be undertaken by those who shared the goals of the rioters." It added that "McCarthy and company killed an independent, bipartisan commission to investigate the attack even though the Republicans' top negotiator agreed to the terms."[688]

After committee formation

Some House Republicans—including House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy and Representative Jim Jordan—said they did not watch the committee's first hearing on July 27, 2021. Representative Matthew M. Rosendale said he watched Representative Liz Cheney speak (and was "quite disappointed") but did not watch the police officers' testimony. Republican Conference Chair Elise Stefanik would not say whether she watched.[689]

In late August 2021, after the committee asked telecommunications and social media companies to retain certain records, McCarthy declared that if the companies "turn over private information" to the House committee, then the companies are "in violation of federal law and subject to losing their ability to operate in the United States", and that a future Republican legislative majority will hold the companies "fully accountable".[690] In response to McCarthy's comment, the watchdog group Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) filed a complaint on September 3 with the chief counsel of the Office of Congressional Ethics. CREW noted that the subpoena was legally valid and claimed that McCarthy was illegally obstructing the investigation insofar as he was "threatening retaliation" against the telecommunications companies.[691] Eleven House Republicans who were associated with the January 6 "Stop the Steal" rally sent a September 3 letter to thirteen telecommunications companies stating they "do not consent to the release of confidential call records or data" and threatened legal action against what they asserted were unconstitutional subpoenas.[692][693][694][695]

During a September 2 television interview, McCarthy was asked about "how deeply [Trump] was involved", to which he replied that the FBI and Senate committees had found "no involvement".[696] He and other Republicans had cited an exclusive Reuters report that unnamed current and former law enforcement officials said the FBI had found "scant evidence" of an organized plot to overturn the election. In a September 4 statement, Thompson and Cheney said the committee had queried executive branch agencies and congressional committees investigating the matter and "it's been made clear to us that reports of such a conclusion are baseless."[697][698]

On October 16, The Lincoln Project co-founder Rick Wilson criticized the committee's glacial progress, stating that "I don't believe that they're pursuing this with the degree of vigor that merits the type of targets they're talking about. We're dealing with people like Steve Bannon and Roger Stone and Ali Alexander ... They've had three months, they've done almost nothing."[699]

Representative Scott Perry said on December 21 that he would not cooperate with the committee because, in his view, the committee itself was "illegitimate, and not duly constituted under the rules of the US House of Representatives".[700] Similarly, on January 23, 2022, Newt Gingrich said on Fox News that he believed the committee was breaking laws, but he did not specify which laws.[701]

On December 23, Laurence Tribe, American legal scholar and University Professor Emeritus of Constitutional Law at Harvard University, and colleagues published in The New York Times about Attorney General Merrick Garland: "Only by holding the leaders of the Jan. 6 insurrection – all of them – to account can he secure the future and teach the next generation that no one is above the law. If he has not done so already, we implore the attorney general to step up to that task."[702]

In June 2022, Fox News announced that it would not carry live coverage of the hearings, relegating it to its sister channel Fox Business and local Fox network affiliates.[703][704][705] Fox News instead carried special editions of Tucker Carlson Tonight and Hannity (the former notably airing commercial-free) that largely featured criticism of the hearing,[705][706] with Carlson deeming it "propaganda", and lower thirds describing it as a "sham", "show trial" and "political theater".[707] The Washington Post reported that members of the committee were given increased security due to greater threats made against them.[708]

In December 2022, Donald Trump responded to the committee's final report, blaming him for the January 6 attack, by calling the members "Marxists" and "sick people".[709]

Polling

According to a poll conducted in July 2021 by Politico, a majority of Americans support the January 6 investigation, with 58% overall supporting and 29% opposing; 52% of Republicans polled opposed it.[710] When Politico repeated the poll in December 2021, again, three-fifths supported the committee, including 82% of Democrats, 58% of independents, and 40% of Republicans.[711]

In an August 2021 Harvard CAPS-Harris Poll, 58% of American voters said they thought the committee was biased, while 42% thought it was fair.[712] In September 2021, a Pew Research poll found that only 11% of American adults said they were very confident the committee would be fair and reasonable while another 34% were somewhat confident, while a 54% majority said they were not too confident (32%) or not at all confident (22%). Confidence was highly partisan: Nearly two-thirds of Democrats and less than a quarter of Republicans said they were at least somewhat confident.[713]

Just greater than half of Americans polled believe that Trump should face criminal charges for his role in the attack. A Washington Post–ABC News poll taken a week after the attack found 54% giving this response, and over a year later, it had not changed substantially, as 52% gave the same response to the same organization's poll conducted April 24–28, 2022. The division is partisan: five out of six Democrats support charging Trump, while five out of six Republicans oppose doing so.[714]

NBC News found that the percentage of Americans who believe that Trump was solely or mainly responsible for the January 6 attack dropped from 52% in January 2021 to 45% in May 2022. A decrease was found within all subgroups: Democrats, Republicans, and independents.[715] Opinions changed after the committee began public hearings. An Ipsos poll conducted June 17–18, 2022, found that 58% of Americans believe Trump is significantly responsible for the attack on the Capitol.[716] An Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research poll conducted June 23–27, 2022, found that 48% of Americans believe Trump should be charged with a crime.[717]

The same Ipsos poll on June 17–18, 2022, also found that 60% of Americans believe the committee's investigation is fair and impartial.[716] Similarly, an Economist/YouGov poll conducted June 18–21, 2022, found that 78% of Democrats, but only 15% of Republicans and 37% of independents, believe the committee's investigation is "legitimate". 78% of Democrats, but only 22% of Republicans and 41% of independents, said they "strongly" or "somewhat" approved of the committee's work.[718]

Notes

  1. ^ The new Congress convened on January 3; new representatives were sworn in four days later.

References

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