Jan. 6 hearing recap: House committee recommends DOJ prosecute Trump over Capitol attack
Congress' 18-month investigation into Donald Trump's role in the Jan. 6, 2021 U.S. Capitol attack has led the panel to recommend the Department of Justice prosecute the former president over his efforts to overturn the 2020 election, including his role regarding the assault on the Capitol.
The committee’s final report made 17 findings about the Capitol attack on Jan. 6, 2021, including that Trump plotted to overturn the 2020 results despite knowing he’d lost, sent an angry and armed mob to the Capitol and failed to respond to the violence as it unfolded on television.
The findings served as the committee's foundation for its recommendations for a criminal investigation of Trump and ethics inquiries into four Republican House members who defied their subpoenas.
Charge referrals explained: House Jan. 6 panel recommends DOJ prosecute Trump on several charges. Which ones and why?
Ethics referrals: House Jan. 6 panel recommends inquiries for 4 GOP members at House Ethics Committee
The committee accused Trump of seeking to corrupt the Justice Department by trying to change its leadership, pressured state officials to overturn election results and never ordered the National Guard to provide reinforcements to besieged police officers at the Capitol.
"We understand the gravity of each and every referral we are making today, just as we understand the magnitude of the crime against democracy that we described in our report," said committee member Jamie Raskin, D-Md. "But we have gone where the facts and the law lead us and inescapably they lead us here."
In referring the case to the DOJ, the committee accused Trump of violating laws governing obstruction of Congress, inciting an insurrection, conspiracy to defraud the United States, and conspiracy to make a false statement.
Trump responded on his Truth Social web site responded noted that he wanted to prevent violence on Jan. 6, but spent most of his statement in campaign mode, saying his enemies only want to block a presidential campaign he predicted he would win.
The panel also is recommending the House Ethics Committee investigate four Republican lawmakers – including Kevin McCarthy, the potential next House speaker – for defying the committee's subpoenas.
The Committee replayed moments of the testimony gathered during the investigation, including Trump aides and campaign lawyers, including former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani. The aim is to provide a timeline of key events.
Committee members alleged that Trump’s associates offered employment to Jan. 6 witnesses in an effort to influence testimony. Rep. Zoe Lofgren, D-Calif., singled out one witness, who she did not identify, getting offered employment that would make her “financially very comfortable.”
Rep. Liz Cheney, R-Wyo., said Trump should not be allowed to serve as president again, adding that "a guarantee of a peaceful transfer of power” is at the heart of the republic.
House Jan. 6 panel recommends DOJ prosecute Donald Trump
The Jan. 6 committee recommended Monday the Justice Department pursue at least a handful of potential criminal charges against former President Donald Trump.
The department already has a special counsel investigating Trump, but recommendations and evidence the committee gathered could provide a roadmap for prosecutors. Trump has said he did nothing wrong in challenging 2020 election results and the committee is a partisan sham.
The committee argued Trump violated laws governing obstruction of Congress, inciting an insurrection, conspiracy to defraud the United States, conspiracy to make a false statement and other conspiracy statutes.
The Justice Department declined comment on the recommendations.
– Bart Jansen
Trump: Jan. 6 committee's criminal referral is political
Donald Trump reacted to the Jan. 6 committee's criminal referral of him by talking politics, claiming the report will only help him with voters in 2024.
"These folks don’t get it that when they come after me, people who love freedom rally around me," Trump said on the Truth Social website. "It strengthens me. What doesn’t kill me makes me stronger."
Trump noted that he wanted to prevent violence on Jan. 6, but spent most of his statement in campaign mode, saying his enemies only want to block a presidential campaign he predicted he would win.
"This whole business of prosecuting me is just like impeachment was – a partisan attempt to sideline me and the Republican Party," Trump said.
– David Jackson
Jan. 6 panel recommends Ethics inquiries for 4 GOP House members
The Jan. 6 committee recommended Monday the House Ethics Committee investigate four Republican lawmakers – including the potential next House speaker and the incoming head of the Judiciary Committee – for defying the panel’s subpoenas.
The panel targeted Republican Leader Kevin McCarthy of California because he spoke with Trump on Jan. 6; Rep. Jim Jordan of Ohio, who is slated to head the Judiciary Committee and also spoke with Trump; Rep. Scott Perry of Pennsylvania, who introduced Trump to a potential replacement attorney general; and Rep. Andy Biggs of Arizona, who attended meetings to overturn 2020 election results.
The lawmakers each called the committee illegitimate and partisan for how it was organized. The Ethics Committee can discipline lawmakers, but is often stymied because it is evenly three Democratic and three Republican members.
- Bart Jansen
White House mum on Jan. 6 criminal referrals
The White House did not say whether it supports the Justice Department pursuing four criminal charges against Trump as recommended by the House committee investigating the Jan. 6 Capitol attack.
“We've been very clear from the beginning that what we saw on Jan. 6 was the worst attack on our democracy since the Civil War and the president has been very clear our democracy continues and remains under threat,” White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said.
She said the committee has been “doing important bipartisan work to get to the truth of what happened” on Jan. 6 “so we can make sure that doesn’t happen again.”
Jean-Pierre referred reporters to the Justice Department when it comes to the criminal referrals. The Justice Department declined to comment.
- Joey Garrison
Rep. Luria: Trump ‘lit the flame’ and continues to fan it
Rep. Elaine Luria, D-Va., said Trump’s efforts to stay in power “came to a head” on Jan. 6, when Trump instructed his supporters in a speech outside the White House to march to the Capitol.
Luria recounted how Trump ignored his advisors and family who urged him to call for his supports to disperse after a riot erupted at the Capitol. She said Trump for 187 minutes “actively disregarded his constitutional obligation” to ensure laws are faithfully executed and never once spoke to the National Guard, Defense Department or Justice Department.
“As we've established through months of investigation, that is because the mob wanted what President Trump wanted: to impede the peaceful transition of power.”
Luria concluded: “In summary, President Trump lit the flame. He poured gasoline on the fire and sat by in the White House dining room for hours watching the fire burn, and today still continues to fan those flames.”
- Joey Garrison
Aguilar details illegal "pressure campaign" on VP Pence
Trump pressured former Vice President Mike Pence publicly and privately, eventually putting Pence in direct danger on Jan. 6, said Rep. Pete Aguilar, R-Calif, in statements on the committee's findings.
Aguilar described the former president's scheme based on an "unfounded legal theory" that Pence had the ability to overturn the election by rejecting electors during the certification of results. Pence himself had denied having such power, which resulted in an angry phone call between himself and Trump.
"Wimp is the word I remember," said former assistant to Trump, Nicholas Luna, in a clip played by the committee. Luna had overheard the phone call and added that Trump remarked he made the wrong decision years ago in choosing Pence as vice president.
- Savannah Kuchar
Murphy: Trump galvanized domestic violent extremists
Rep. Stephanie Murphy, D-Fla., said Donald Trump’s invitation to protest 2020 elections results at the Capitol spurred members of extremist groups such as the Oath Keepers and Proud Boys, whose members have been convicted of seditious conspiracy.
Trump repeatedly encouraged people to protest at the Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021, Murphy said. A tweet Dec. 19, 2020, concluded: “Be there, will be wild!”
“The president’s Dec. 19 tweet galvanized domestic violent extremists, including members of the Oath Keepers, the Proud Boys and organized militia groups,” Murphy said. “These individuals began organizing to come to the Capitol in large numbers with the specific intent to use violence to disrupt the certification of the election during the joint session.”
- Bart Jansen
Kinzinger: 'Trump sought to corrupt' DOJ
Rep. Adam Kinzinger, R-Ill., opened his remarks arguing that Trump attempted to interfere with the Department of Justice to overturn the 2020 election in his favor.
“It’s of the utmost importance that our Department of Justice operates as a fair and neutral body,” said Kinzinger. “It is this critical function that President Trump sought to corrupt.”
Despite multiple attempts to convey to Trump that there was no evidence of voter fraud, Kinzinger argued, Trump tried to install Jeffrey Clark, an election denier in the DOJ who intended to send a letter imploring state legislatures to “consider appointing Trump rather than Biden electors.”
- Ken Tran
Democrat House members among meeting spectators
Pennsylvania Democrats Reps. Mary Gay Scanlon and Madeleine Dean were among the spectators, seated in the public seating section, taking notes as their House colleague presented their findings.
Dean was among the roughly three dozen lawmakers trapped in the House gallery during the Jan. 6 attack along with Thompson and Rep. Pramila Jayapal, D- Wash, as the mob attempted to break down the gallery’s door.
On being in the House gallery on Jan. 6 when lawmakers were told to get down and a year after the attack that "There’s a chance I could die here ... If anybody comes in here and has a weapon, we will be like ducks in a shooting gallery.”
- Sarah Elbeshbishi
'Fellas, I need 11,000 votes'
Committee member Rep. Adam Schiff, a former federal prosecutor from California, outlined Trump’s alleged threats and efforts to get state elections officials in at least two states to alter official election results.
Schiff described what he said was a scheme by Trump and his inner circle to pressure officials in Georgia to find at least 11,000 votes – the margin by which he lost the battleground state – and to pressure others to join an effort to put forward fake competing slates of electors.
“President Trump repeatedly attacked state and local officials who refused to do his bidding, as well as local elections officials who he baselessly accused of fraud,” Schiff said. Those who refused, he said, received public harassment, death threats and in some cases, like that of former Georgia election worker Ruby Freeman, were forced to leave their homes or jobs for fear of retaliation. Such treatment, Schiff said, “was callous, inhuman inexcusable and dangerous and those responsible should be held accountable.”
– Josh Meyer
Committee accuses Trump and associates of witness tampering
Committee members alleged that former President Donald Trump’s associates offered employment to Jan. 6 witnesses in an effort to influence testimony.
Rep. Zoe Lofgren, D-Calif., pointed to hundreds of millions of dollars that Trump raised after the 2020 election on false claims of election fraud. She said some of the proceeds went toward hiring lawyers. She also highlighted “evidence of efforts” to use funds to provide or offer employment to witnesses.
Lofgren singled out one witness, who she did not identify, getting offered employment that would make her “financially very comfortable.”
“The witness believed this was an effort to affect her testimony. And we are concerned that these efforts may have been a strategy to prevent the committee from finding the truth.”
– Joey Garrison
Jan. 6 committee expected to vote on criminal referrals about Trump to Justice Dept.
The committee is expected to vote Monday on recommendations for the Justice Department to investigate former President Donald Trump for potentially violating federal law in trying to overturn the 2020 election.
The chairman, Rep. Bennie Thompson, D-Miss., told reporters last week the committee would vote on criminal referrals. The potential crimes include inciting the insurrection, obstructing Congress and defrauding the United States.
Trump has insisted he did nothing wrong in challenging the election results. The committee’s recommendations would be nonbinding. But the committee’s report and evidence could serve as a roadmap for prosecutors to follow.
– Bart Jansen
Two Republicans on the Jan. 6 Committee help close out hearings
Rep. Liz Cheney, R-Wyoming, is helping close out the last public meeting of the Jan. 6 committee by outlining events of that day and the alleged attempts to subvert the results of the 2020 election. She’s joined by the other Republican on the committee, Rep. Adam Kinzinger of Illinois.
The committee comprises seven Democrats and two Republicans, all appointed by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, who had rejected several GOP members originally selected by House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy.
Cheney, the committee’s vice chair, was ousted by her party as the No. 3 Republican in the House after her repeated criticism of Trump for his role in inciting the Jan. 6 attack. She has said she is "honored" to serve on the committee. Kinzinger, a military veteran, was first elected in 2010 and is also leaving Congress at the end of this session.
– Josh Meyer
Committee plays video recaps outlining Trump’s timeline
The committee is making its final case through video recaps of testimony given during its past ten public hearings, providing a timeline of Trump’s involvement in the Capitol attack from the 2020 election night to Jan. 6.
The various clips outline the committee’s argument that Trump knew he lost the election and actively worked to overturn the election through pressure campaigns on government officials and Vice President Mike Pence.
“It’s important to remember what we learned and critically examined what happened at the United States Capitol on Jan. 6,” said Thompson before the video.
– Ken Tran
Former law enforcement officers attend final meeting
Former Capitol Police officers Harry Dunn and Aquilino Gonell and former Metropolitan Police officers Michael Fanone and Daniel Hodges are among the onlookers in the packed hearing room, sitting together in the first row. The four provided the committee gripping testimony on the events that took place on Jan. 6 last summer
– Sarah Elbeshbishi
Liz Cheney: Trump should not be allowed to serve as president again
Rep. Liz Cheney, R-Wyo., said former President Donald Trump should not be allowed to serve as president again.
Cheney, vice chair of the committee, began her remarks saying “at the heart of our republic is a guarantee of a peaceful transfer of power.”
“Every president in our history has defended this orderly transfer of authority, except one,” Cheney said, calling Trump’s efforts on Jan. 6, 2021 the first time an American president refused his constitutional duty to transfer power peacefully.
“This was an utter moral failure and a clear dereliction of duty,” she said. “No man who would behave that way at that moment in time can ever serve in any position of authority in our nation again.”
– Joey Garrison
Bennie Thompson: Trump summoned ‘armed and angry mob’ to Capitol
Rep. Bennie Thompson, the committee chairman, said Monday former President Donald Trump broke faith with American democracy by refusing to acknowledge he lost the 2020 election and then trying to overturn the results.
“In the end, he summoned a mob to Washington and knowing they were armed and angry, pointed them to the Capitol and told them to ‘fight like hell,’” Thompson said. “There is no doubt about this.”
Thompson said the committee’s final report would be released later this week and other evidence such as transcripts collected from more than 1,000 witnesses by the end of the year.
– Bart Jansen
How long is today's hearing?
The hearing is expected to last no more than an hour today, far shorter than the committee's past hearings.
Jan. 6 committee final hearing begins
Committee members are filing into the hearing room to close the 18-month investigation into Trump's role in the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol.
The committee is expected to lay out the major findings of their roughly 18-mionth investigation and vote on whether to criminally referral the former president to the Justice Department.
- Rachel Looker
How to watch today's hearing
USA TODAY will livestream the hearing on its YouTube channel. C-SPAN will broadcast, as will other outlets such ABC, NBC and CBS.
What will Monday's hearing cover?
Rep. Bennie Thompson, D-Miss., told reporters that Monday's hearing will include votes on criminal recommendations and the committee's final report.
More: ‘This is insane.’ Lawmakers relive Jan. 6 horror alongside fresh trauma of effort to rewrite history
In addition to criminal referrals, the panel could make recommendations to state bar associations about lawyers, to the Federal Election Commission about campaign violations and to the House Ethics Committee about lawmakers, Thompson said.
When will the Jan. 6 committee's final report be published?
The panel's final report is set to be published Monday though key materials such as transcripts of witness interviews conducted behind closed doors could be released later this week.
Pence doesn’t want Trump to face charges over Jan. 6
Former Vice President Mike Pence, who was a target of the Jan. 6 mob, said Monday he hopes the Justice Department will not bring charges against his former boss.
“I think the president’s actions and words on Jan. 6 were reckless, but I don't know that it’s criminal to take bad advice from lawyers,” Pence told Fox News.
Pence dismissed the bipartisan Jan. 6 committee as partisan because its members were appointed by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif. He emphasized that the Justice Department is not required to follow the committee’s recommendations on charges.
“I hope the Justice Department understands the magnitude, the very idea of indicting a former president of the United States,” Pence said. “I think that would be terribly divisive in the country at a time when the American people want to see us heal.”
- Maureen Groppe
What happened at the last Jan. 6 committee hearing?
Testimony and video evidence revealed during the Jan. 6 committee hearing in October showed congressional leaders pleading for help while the Capitol attack was ongoing.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., reacted to the violence at the Capitol in previously unreleased – and dramatic – footage, saying the attack was "all at the instigation of the president of the United States," and an aide testified that, during the attack, Republican House Leader Kevin McCarthy told Trump the rioters were "your people."
Jan. 6 committee subpoenaed Trump
The October hearing closed with the extraordinary move of unanimously voting to subpoena the former president.
"(Trump) must be accountable," Thompson, the committee chair, said. "He is required to answer for his actions."
A day after the committee voted to subpoena Trump, the former president sent a 14-page memo to the panel complaining about a “Show Trial” and “Witch Hunt,” without addressing the subpoena itself.
How many people died on Jan. 6?
A bipartisan Senate report found that seven people died in connection with the Jan. 6, 2021 Capitol attack. After the report was published, two Metropolitan Police officers, Gunther Hashida and Kyle DeFreytag, also died by suicide.
Hundreds of law enforcement officers were injured in the riot.
How many Capitol rioters have been arrested or convicted?
Federal prosecutors have charged more than 920 people in 48 states with participating in the Jan. 6, 2021, riot at the U.S. Capitol, and arrests have continue.
Some 41 rioters have been convicted in trials, and about 470 rioters have pleaded guilty to various crimes, according to the Justice Department.
Jan. 6 committee preps final report based on 9 hearings
Committee members, who are drafting their final report, said they documented how Trump repeatedly tried to overturn the 2020 election, pressured state officials, assembled a mob and sent it to the Capitol to disrupt the peaceful transfer of power.
Amid nine blockbuster hearings this year, committee members also said Trump or his allies contacted witnesses in a potential attempt to intimidate them against testifying.
"I think most Americans know that attempting to influence witnesses to testify untruthfully presents very serious concerns," the vice chairwoman, Rep. Liz Cheney, R-Wyo., said at the June 28 hearing.
– Bart Jansen
What did Trump do on Jan. 6? Inside his '187 minutes'
In chronicling what happened Jan. 6, 2021, the committee focused on roughly three hours between the end of then-President Donald Trump’s rally near the White House at 1:10 p.m. and the release of his video urging supporters to leave the Capitol and go home at 4:17 p.m.
The vice chair, Rep. Liz Cheney, R-Wyo., accused Trump of dereliction of duty for not acting faster to halt his supporters battling police in what participants called medieval combat before rampaging through the Capitol to temporarily prevent the counting of Electoral College votes.
The committee gathered a chilling timeline for when the Capitol was breached, when lawmakers and staffers hid from rioters and evacuated the building, and when lawmakers and Trump’s own children pleaded with him through texts and calls to do something.
– Bart Jansen
What Trump did during those 187 minutes he was out of sight?: A breakdown of the 187 minutes Trump was out of view on Jan. 6 as aides urged him to act
Deceased Jan. 6 police officers’ family members refused to shake hands with GOP leaders McConnell, McCarthy
The family of a deceased Capitol police officer refused to shake hands with Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., and House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., during a ceremony earlier this month honoring U.S. Capitol Police and D.C. Metropolitan Police.
Family members of Brian Sicknick, a U.S. Capitol Police officer who died after suffering strokes the day after the Jan. 6 insurrection, attended the Congressional Gold Medal Ceremony and declined to shake hands with GOP leaders.
Sicknick's two brothers and parents shook the hand of Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., but bypassed McConnell and McCarthy.
- Rachel Looker
More: US Capitol Officer Brian Sicknick died of strokes the day after riot, medical examiner rules
Extremist groups’ ties to Jan. 6
Across the street from the U.S. Capitol, where the House Jan. 6 committee investigating the president’s role in the Jan. 6, 2021 riot convened, members of extremist groups faced trial in federal court for criminal charges related to the attack.
Five affiliates of the right-wing militia group Oath Keepers, including leader Stewart Rhodes, stood trial accused of seditious conspiracy, or conspiring to forcibly oppose the authority of the federal government. Rhodes and a top deputy, Kelly Meggs, were both convicted of the rarely charged crime.
The House committee investigating the attack alleged that a Dec. 22, 2020 tweet sent by former President Donald Trump telling his supporters to come to D.C. on Jan. 6 for a protest – “Be there, will be wild” – amounted to a call to arms to the Oath Keepers and another extremist group, the Proud Boys. The government showed evidence in the five Oath Keepers' trial that the groups coordinated ahead of the attack.
Five other Oath Keepers and members of the Proud Boys, including leader Enrique Tarrio, face sedition charges that will be tried beginning this month.
- Ella Lee
Oath Keepers trial: Oath Keepers leader Stewart Rhodes found guilty of seditious conspiracy in Jan. 6 attack
More Trump legal battles ahead
The actions by the January 6 committee add to the many other legal battles former President Donald Trump already faces – including three civil lawsuit trials during the next 14 months. Trump and his family have denied wrongdoing.
April 2023 marks the scheduled trial date in the defamation case filed against Trump by former magazine advice columnist E. Jean Carroll. The New York City federal court case is a defamation lawsuit she filed against Trump for ridiculing her allegations that he raped her in a Manhattan department store dressing room decades ago. Carroll also seeks to have the trial held in tandem with the battery case she filed against Trump last month.
Next up is the scheduled October 2023 civil trial in a massive civil lawsuit against Trump, his namesake business, and his oldest children. Filed by the New York State Attorney General’s office, the lawsuit alleges Trump falsely inflated the value of his assets to win lower interest rates on loans and insurance coverage.
And January 2024 is the scheduled trial date for a case that seeks class-action status on behalf of people who say they were conned into investing in a multi-level marketing company. Trump and his oldest children touted the company without disclosing endorsement payments, the plaintiffs argue. The people said the company accepted their investments but failed to produce the benefits touted by the Trumps.
- Kevin McCoy
Jan. 6 Committee decisions complicate WH campaign
Monday’s actions by the special legislative panel come amid challenges President Donald Trump faces during his recently announced third campaign for the White House.
Trump has faced criticism for the mid-term election losses by many of the candidates he touted for a so-called red wave that would propel Republican Party control of both congressional houses. The wave proved to be litte more than a gentle swell, delivering only narrow GOP control of the House, starting in January.
Some political surveys, including an exclusive USA TODAY/Suffolk University Poll, found that GOP voter support for Trump’s latest campaign has plunged. Republicans and those inclined to vote Republican prefer Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis over Trump for the 2024 presidential nomination, the poll found.
- Kevin McCoy
Jan. 6 committee recap: What we learned from all 9 hearings this year
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This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Jan. 6 committee recommends DOJ prosecute Donald Trump: recap