WASHINGTON – The house Committee of January 6th on Thursday released its final report on the “unimaginable” attack on the US Capitol in 2021, a mob attack by supporters of defeated President Donald Trump that shook the nation and exposed the fragility of American democracy.
That 814 page account provides a gripping narrative of Trump’s months-long effort to overthrow the 2020 presidential election and lists 11 recommendations for Congress and others to consider to strengthen the nation’s institutions against future attempts to incite an insurgency.
The panel set about putting together a record for the story. Along with the report, it publishes dozens of witness transcripts from its more than 1,000 interviews, with surprising new details. This week it made an unprecedented criminal referral of a former US President for prosecution.
Chairman Bennie Thompson, D-Miss., said in the foreword that “what if” questions remain.
“For the President of the United States to incite a mob to march on the Capitol and obstruct the work of Congress is not a scenario our intelligence and law enforcement agencies envisioned for this country,” he said. “Before January 6, that was unimaginable.”
From the “big lie” of Trump’s claims on November 2020 election night, to a stolen election, to the bloody siege of January 6, 2021, the report details the beginning and end of the mob onslaught that unfolded across the world.
It describes how Trump and his allies engaged in a “multiple” plan to overthrow Joe Biden’s victory in the presidential election – first through court challenges, then, when those failed, compiling voter rolls to challenge Joe Biden’s victory.
As Congress prepared to meet Jan. 6 to confirm the election, Trump called a mob to Washington for his “Stop the Steal” White House rally.
“When Donald Trump pointed them to the Capitol and told them to ‘fight like hell,’ they did just that,” Thompson wrote. “Donald Trump started this fire. But in the weeks leading up to that, the kindling he eventually lit was being piled up in front of everyone.”
NEW DETAILS, PRESS
Following Blockbuster public hearings, the report and its accompanying materials offer more detailed accounts of key aspects of the Trump team’s plan to overthrow the election, join the mob in the Capitol, and, once the committee has begun investigating, pressurize those who would testify against him.
Among dozens of new witness transcripts Thursday was the release of a previously unseen account former White House staffer Cassidy Hutchinson It details a stunning campaign by Trump’s allies, encouraging them to stay “loyal,” she told the panel.
The report said the committee estimated that in the two months between the November election and the January 6 attack, “Trump or his inner circle engaged in at least 200 apparent acts of public or private publicity, pressure or condemnation were directed against both state legislatures or state or local election administrators to overturn state election results.”
The report also details Trump’s inaction when his supporters violently stormed the building.
A Secret Service official told the committee that Trump’s determination to go to the Capitol put agents on high alert.
“[We]all knew … that if he physically went to the Capitol, this would lead to something else,” an unidentified employee said. “I don’t know if you want to use the word ‘uprising’, ‘coup d’état’ or whatever. We all knew that this was going to be something different from a normal democratic… public event.”
When the President returned to the White House after speaking to his supporters, he asked an official if they had seen his remarks on television.
“Sir, they stopped it because they’re rioting down in the Capitol,” the staffer said, according to the report.
Trump asked what that meant and got the same answer. “Oh, really?” Trump then asked. “Alright, let’s check.”
The report makes 11 recommendations for Congress and others to protect American democracy and its tradition of peacefully transferring presidential power from one leader to the next.
The first, an overhaul of the Election Census Act, is on the way to becoming law Expenditure statement at the end of the year en route to final passage in Congress this week.
The committee also made recommendations for the Justice Department to prosecute Trump and others on conspiracy to defraud the public and other possible charges. It also referred the former president to prosecution for “aiding and providing aid and comfort to an insurgency.”
Other changes could be within reach or prove elusive. Among other things, the report recommends increasing security at key congressional events, overhauling oversight of Capitol Police, and increasing federal penalties for certain types of threats against poll workers.
One recommendation for Congress is to create a formal mechanism to consider disfellowshipping individuals from public office for engaging in a Fourteenth Amendment insurrection or rebellion. It states that those who have taken an oath to support the Constitution can be barred from holding future federal or state offices if they support an insurgency.
RECORD FOR HISTORY
The January 6 Committee was formed after Congress rejected efforts to form an independent September 11-style commission to investigate the attack on the Capitol. Republicans blocked the idea.
Instead, Speaker Nancy Pelosi led the House of Representatives to form the committee. In her foreword to the report, she said it “must be a trumpet call to all Americans: to be vigilant in protecting our democracy.”
Led by Thompson and Vice Chair Liz Cheney, R-Wyo., the panel’s work is intended to serve as a historical record of what happened during the worst attack on the Capitol since the War of 1812.
Five people died in the riot and its aftermath, including Ashli Babbitt, a Trump supporter who was shot and killed by police, and Brian Sicknick, a police officer who died the day after fighting the mob.
Cheney noted that the committee decided that most of its witnesses would have to be Republicans — the President’s own team and allies. In the report’s foreword, she wrote that history will remember the “valor of a handful of Americans” and those who withstood Trump’s “corrupt pressures.”
The committee and the report carried personal weight for all of them.
Thompson, a black leader in Congress, noted that the legendary US Capitol, built with slave labor, “is itself a fixture in our country’s history, for both good and ill… symbolic of our journey toward one.” more perfect union.”
Associated Press writers Farnoush Amiri, Mary Clare Jalonick, Eric Tucker and Nomaan Merchant contributed to this report.
Watch AP’s coverage of the Capitol riot at https://apnews.com/hub/capitol-siege
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https://www.local10.com/news/politics/2022/12/23/jan-6-takeaways-from-trumps-lies-to-the-unimaginable/ From Trump’s lies to the ‘unimaginable’