The House committee investigating the January 6th riots has released their final report. The 845-page report is the culmination of the committee’s eighteen-month investigation into former President Donald Trump’s role in the riots. The report held that “one man,” Donald Trump, was responsible for January 6th after conducting a “multipart plan to overturn the 2020 presidential election.”
“The central cause of Jan.6 was one man, former President Donald Trump, whom many others followed,” the report said. “None of the events of Jan.6 would have happened without him.”
The report blames Trump for Jan.6
The report’s conclusion, that Trump was at fault, comes as no surprise; the House already made a criminal referral to the Department of Justice, asking Attorney General Merrick Garland to charge Trump with inciting insurrection, conspiracy to defraud the United States, obstruction of an act of Congress, and one other federal crime.
The criminal referral has no legal weight but represents the first time in US history Congress has recommended a former president for prosecution. If Garland chooses to proceed with bringing charges against Trump, it will represent the first time a former president has ever been charged criminally.
The report extends beyond just recommending criminal charges, in recommending legislative steps to prevent future January 6th-type incidents. The legislative recommendations included: revising the Electoral Count Act; revising the Insurrection Act; and bolstering enforcement of the 14th amendment, which bans an insurrectionist from holding office.
The report also recommended that Congress take steps to improve its own subpoena power and “increase penalties against those who threaten election workers.” Lastly, the report suggests that bar associations should consider taking action against any of the lawyers who assisted Trump. The lawyers who assisted Trump include John Eastman, Rudolph “Rudy” Giuliani, Jeffrey Clark, and Kenneth Chesebro – all of whom the report named “co-conspirators.”
Trump ripped into the report on Truth Social, calling the report “highly partisan.” Clark ripped the report, too, calling it a “last gasp” for a panel that would be dissolved as soon as Republicans take the House majority in January. “This committee is now largely dead and will be fully dead on Jan.2, 2023,” Clark said.
Structure of the report
The report is basically an expanded version of the panel’s set of summer hearings; the report chapters follow the themes of the hearings. The chapters/hearings include “Trump’s spreading of 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 report draws upon an investigation that interviewed over 1,000 witnesses and reviewed over one million pages of documents – all of which were obtained through the issuance of over 100 subpoenas.
Partisan or legitimate?
The report no doubt features insightful criticism and helpful recommendations. But the report is also the sort of thing where the conclusion was predetermined. Was there ever a doubt the report was going to find Trump singularly and comprehensively at fault for January 6th? I recommend taking any Adam Schiff/Liz Cheney/Jamie Raskin criticism of Trump with a grain of salt. And I suspect the report is tainted with partisanship.
That being said, Trump’s behavior on January 6th was reprehensible and unbecoming of the office of the presidency. The question, however, is whether Trump did anything illegal. Did Trump commit a crime?
For that answer I’m not going to rely on Liz Cheney, who inherited her political capital from one of world history’s greatest war criminals and has made a name for herself as a Trump-heel.
The January 6th committee was obnoxious in its self-righteousness, but I’ll reserve judgment on the merits of their claims for the moment. Let’s see what Merrick Garland thinks.
Harrison Kass is the Senior Editor at 19FortyFive. An attorney, pilot, guitarist, and minor pro hockey player, Harrison joined the US Air Force as a Pilot Trainee but was medically discharged. Harrison holds a BA from Lake Forest College, a JD from the University of Oregon, and an MA from New York University. Harrison lives in Oregon and listens to Dokken.