What to look out for as Capitol riot committee makes final public presentation
The House committee investigating the Capitol riots will make its final public presentation Monday on Donald Trump’s unprecedented effort to overturn the results of the presidential election he lost in 2020.
The committee has called it an “attempted coup” warranting prosecution by the Justice Department.
That is expected to be the final argument of the committee as it wraps up a year-and-a-half investigation and prepares to release a final report on January 6, 2021 detailing the results of the uprising in the US capital.
The committee of seven Democrats and two Republicans is scheduled to disband at the end of the year.
Here are a few things to keep in mind for Monday’s presentation:
– Recommendation of a President
The committee is expected to initiate both criminal and civil proceedings against the former president and his allies who lawmakers say have violated the law or committed ethical violations.
“We are focusing on key actors where there is sufficient evidence or ample evidence that they have committed crimes,” Democrat Representative Jamie Raskin said last week.
“We focus on crimes that go straight to the heart of the constitutional order so Congress cannot remain silent.”
Committee chair, Democrat Representative Bennie Thompson, said the references could include criminal, ethical violations, legal wrongdoing and campaign finance violations.
The Office of the Attorney General decides whether charges will be filed.
Lawmakers have suggested his recommended charges against Mr Trump could include conspiracy to defraud the United States, obstruction of an official process in Congress and insurgency.
Although non-binding, the committee’s recommendations would increase political pressure on the Justice Department as Special Counsel Jack Smith conducts an investigation into the incidents.
Lawmakers have promised Monday’s session will include a preview of the committee’s final report, which is expected to be released on Wednesday.
The panel will vote to accept the official minutes, effectively authorizing the release of the report to the public.
The eight-chapter report will contain hundreds of pages of insights into the attack and Mr Trump’s efforts to undermine democracy, drawing on what the committee learned from its interviews with more than 1,000 witnesses.
It will roughly reflect the series of public hearings the committee held over the summer, which detailed various facets of the investigation, including the role of extremist groups in the violence, Mr Trump’s attempt to get the Justice Department involved in his plans and its coordination with GOP lawmakers to overturn election results.
More evidence, including some of the vast trove of video footage and testimonies the committee has gathered, is expected to be released before the end of the year.
As the committee meets one last time, a key legislative response to the insurgency could be in the fast lane.
Lawmakers are expected to overhaul the obscure election law that Mr Trump sought to undermine after his 2020 election defeat by including legislative changes in a year-end spending bill.
The proposed revision of the Electoral Count Act is one of the many by-products of the attack on the Capitol.
A group of bipartisan lawmakers has been working on legislation since the uprising.
Mr Trump and his allies tried to find loopholes in that legislation before Congress confirmed the 2020 vote as the former president worked to overturn his loss to Joe Biden and unsuccessfully pressured Mike Pence to go along.
If passed, the law would change the 19th-century law that, along with the Constitution, governs how states and Congress certify voters and declare winners of presidential elections, ensuring that the popular vote from each state is protected from manipulation and that Congress does not act arbitrarily in deciding presidential elections.
The committee is also expected to publish its own legislative proposals in its final report with ideas to strengthen and expand the guard rails that protected electoral college certification in 2021.
Since its inception, the January 6 Committee has sought to provide historical record and increase public understanding of what led to the attack on the Capitol and those involved.
“We obviously want to complete history for the American people,” said Mr. Raskin.
“Everyone has gone on a journey with us and we want a satisfactory conclusion so that people feel that Congress has done its job.”
After interviewing thousands of people — from Trump cabinet ministers to members of his own family — and obtaining tens of thousands of documents, congressional investigators say they have produced the most comprehensive overview of the worst attack on the Capitol in two centuries.
The 16-month investigation has also provided a roadmap of sorts for criminal investigations and influenced the investigations into Mr Trump and January 6, which are progressing at the local, state and federal levels.
Monday’s session will be the final word for the committee as its temporary or “elected” committee status expires at the end of the current Congress.
Once Republicans take control next year, they are not expected to renew the committee, instead launching a series of investigations that will focus on the Biden administration and the president’s family.