January 6 committee's final report blames Trump for Capitol assault

Panel of seven issued the first US congressional criminal referral against a former president

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The US House committee probing the January 6 attack on the US Capitol issued its final report on Thursday, saying former president Donald Trump incited the violence to hold on to power.

The 814-page report, which came after the panel interviewed more than 1,000 witnesses, held 10 hearings and obtained millions of pages of documents, is the culmination of an investigation that spanned a year and a half.

It detailed Mr Trump’s actions in the weeks before of the insurrection and how his wide-ranging pressure campaign to overturn his defeat directly influenced those who pushed past the police and smashed through the windows and doors of the Capitol in January last year.

“The central cause of January 6th was one man, former president Donald Trump, who many others followed,” the report's executive summary said.

It placed the mob invasion of the Capitol within “a multi-part plan to overturn the 2020 presidential election”.

The findings should be a “clarion call to all Americans: to vigilantly guard our Democracy and to give our vote only to those dutiful in their defence of our constitution”, outgoing Speaker Nancy Pelosi said in a foreword to the report.

A panel of seven Democrats and two Republicans concluded its work on Monday with the first congressional criminal referral against a former president.

It urged that Mr Trump be charged with four offences including insurrection, conspiracy to defraud the US and obstructing a congressional proceeding.

The panel released only a summary of its report on Monday when it voted on the referrals.

“Donald Trump summoned that mob to Washington DC,” wrote Representative Bennie Thompson, a Mississippi Democrat who chaired the panel.

“Afterward, he sent them to the Capitol to try to prevent my colleagues and me from doing our constitutional duty to certify the election. They put our very democracy to the test.”

The report comes as Mr Trump is running again for the presidency and also facing several federal investigations, including probes of his role in the insurrection and the presence of classified documents at his Florida estate.

This week is particularly fraught for him, as a House committee is expected to release his tax returns after he has fought for years to keep them private.

Mr Trump has also been blamed by Republicans for a worse-than-expected showing in the midterm elections, leaving him in his most politically vulnerable state since he won the 2016 election.

It is also a final act for House Democrats who are ceding power to Republicans in less than two weeks, and have spent much of their four years in power investigating Mr Trump.

Democrats impeached Mr Trump twice, the second time a week after the insurrection. He was acquitted by the Senate both times.

Other Democratic-led probes investigated his finances, his businesses, his foreign ties and his family.

The committee has also begun to release hundreds of transcripts of its interviews.

On Thursday, the panel released transcripts of two closed-door interviews with former White House aide Cassidy Hutchinson, who gave evidence in person at one of the televised hearings over the summer and described in vivid detail Mr Trump’s efforts to influence the election results and his indifference towards the violence as it occurred.

Updated: December 29, 2022, 1:47 PM
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