House Jan. 6 Committee releases final report, Trump’s fraud allegations 'concocted nonsense'
House lawmakers investigating the insurrection released their final report Thursday, marking the end of a nearly 18-month probe that resulted in a historic referral for criminal prosecution of former President Donald Trump for his actions connected to the Jan. 6, 2021, Capitol riot.
The 800-page report was unanimously approved earlier this week by the nine-member bipartisan panel, which also released an executive summary including criminal referrals for Trump’s alleged efforts to stop the peaceful transfer of power to his eventual successor, President Joe Biden.
"If this Select Committee has accomplished one thing, I hope it has shed light on how dangerous it would be to empower anyone whose desire for authority comes before their commitment to American democracy and the Constitution," wrote chairman Bennie Thompson.
The report details how Trump watched the attack unfold for hours from the Oval Office, despite urgent pleas from his White House staff and others to tell his supporters to stop.
"What most of the public did not know before our investigation is this: Donald Trump’s own campaign officials told him early on that his claims of fraud were false," wrote the committee's vice chair Liz Cheney. "From the beginning, Donald Trump’s fraud allegations were concocted nonsense, designed to prey upon the patriotism of millions of men and women who love our country."
It also dives into testimonies from Trump supporters who participated in the attack, including Graydon Young who testified in October against other members of the Oath Keepers group.
Young told the jury that they were provoked to travel to Washington by Trump’s tweets and his false assertions that the 2020 presidential election was stolen from him.
According to the committee's findings, Trump's public remarks that he won the election and demands to "stop the vote" on the election night of 2020, were cataclysmic to the traumatic experiences of Congress members that day.
"None of the events of January 6th would have happened without him," wrote the committee in their final report.
For the last year and a half that the investigation has been underway, the investigation has included 10 public hearings, testimony from more than 1,000 witnesses and upwards of 1 million documents that tie Trump to the melee.
The committee referred four charges against Trump: obstruction of an official proceeding; conspiracy to defraud the U.S.; conspiracy to make a false statement; and inciting, assisting or engaging in rebellion or insurrection against the U.S.
Trump denies any wrongdoing related to Jan. 6 and criticized the committee’s criminal referrals earlier this week as “fake charges” brought by the “highly partisan Unselect Committee of Jan. 6.” The Department of Justice meanwhile has declined to comment on the referrals.
The committee writes that they believe their evidence is sufficient for a criminal referral of one of Trump’s attorney’s John Eastman and other associates who attempted to overturn election results by soliciting state officials. It also calls out Trump’s former environmental attorney, Jeffrey Clark, for drafting a letter to persuade Georgia legislatures to change its certified slate of electoral college electors.
These findings are likely to impact what charges will be recommended by the special grand jury in Atlanta that has been conducting its own investigation into potential criminal efforts to overturn the election results in Georgia, with known targets including Trump’s attorney Rudy Giuliani and a slate of 16 fake Republican electors.
While the report emphasizes that Trump is to blame, a 30-page appendix notes that federal and local law enforcement failed to adequately secure the capitol despite receiving “multiple streams of intelligence predicting violence” on Jan. 6.
However, they did also find that the Secret Service seized hundreds of weapons from 28,000 attendees of Trump’s speech at the capitol. According to the report, 269 knives or blades, 242 cannisters of pepper spray, 18 brass knuckles, 18 tasers, six pieces of body armor, three gas masks, 30 batons or blunt instruments, and 17 miscellaneous items such as scissors, needles or screwdrivers were detected by magnetometers and confiscated. But Trump reportedly was not concerned about so many of them being armed.
“When he arrived at the Ellipse that morning, President Trump angrily said: ‘I don’t [fucking] care that they have weapons. They’re not here to hurt me. They can march to the Capitol from here,’” the report states.
The committee further stresses their concern of another attack in the future and recommend for more security in future electoral vote count sessions and harsher penalties against threats to those “involved in the election process.”
The committee suggested the full report would be published on Wednesday, but instead began releasing transcripts of interviews.
A group of Republican representatives meanwhile on Wednesday published a separate 141-page opposition report into the security failures surrounding the Capitol riot.
The dueling report was crafted by five Republicans that party leaders nominated to serve on the committee: Jim Jordan of Ohio, Jim Banks of Indiana, Rodney Davis of Illinois, Kelly Armstrong of North Dakota and Troy Nehls of Texas.
After House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, California Democrat, rejected the appointments of Banks and Jordan, the other three Republican nominees refused to join in response.
"When Speaker Pelosi made the unprecedented decision to reject Jim Banks and Jim Jordan from sitting on the January 6 Select Committee — we knew she intended to play politics instead of addressing the massive security failures that lead to that day," the lawmakers said in a statement on Wednesday.
Along with seven Democrats, the committee ultimately included two Republican members, Representatives Adam Kinzinger and Liz Cheney.
Jordan and the other four Republicans vowed to conduct their own investigation to counter the work of the select committee, which was formed in July 2021 with the goal of providing transparency about the Capitol attack.
Thousands of Trump supporters joined the mob on Jan. 6 that overran the Capitol, causing Congress to call off their work as lawmakers went into hiding. At least five people died either in or because of the riot, which left dozens of police officers injured and resulted in thousands of dollars in damages to government property.
The Department of Justice has so far charged approximately 880 people for their actions related to the attack.
The committee referred the criminal charges against Trump to Special Counsel Jack Smith, who was appointed by Attorney General Merrick Garland last month to oversee the Department of Justice probes into Trump’s efforts to overturn the 2020 election, as well as records taken from the White House at the end of Trump’s term that were stored at his south Florida Mar-a-Lago home.
While largely symbolic, the referred charges — if proven — are punishable by up to 45 years in prison. Legal experts told Courthouse News this week that they think it will be hard for the department to ignore the committee’s referrals.
Four Republican House members — Kevin McCarthy of California, Jim Jordan of Ohio, Scott Perry of Pennsylvania and Andy Biggs of Arizona — were also referred by the committee for failing to comply with subpoenas.
More transcripts of committee interviews are expected to be released on a rolling basis in coming weeks. The committee is set to dissolve on Jan. 3 when the House will be taken over by a Republican majority.