January 6 Committee prepares release of final report

Panel urged US Justice Department to criminally prosecute Donald Trump for his role in scheming to overturn 2020 election

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The US House committee investigating the January 6, 2021 attack on the US Capitol is scheduled to release a report on Thursday concluding that former president Donald Trump was part of a criminal plot to overturn the results of the 2020 election, the Associated Press reported.

The anticipated report follows an investigation that included explosive testimony from White House officials, election officials and far-right groups. The January 6 panel has repeatedly accused the former president of whipping up his supporters to engage in the violent attack on the US Capitol in an effort to subvert the peaceful transition of power.

“The central cause of January 6th was one man, former president Donald Trump, who many others followed. None of the events of January 6th would have happened without him,” the committee wrote in its executive summary, released earlier this week.

Legislators on the panel laid out 17 key findings from their investigation. Among them are that Mr Trump for months “purposely disseminated” false claims of election fraud, plotted to overturn the election outcome, attempted to coerce the Justice Department and former vice president Mike Pence to engage in his scheme, summoned his supporters to Washington and more.

“Each of these actions by Donald Trump was taken in support of a multi-part conspiracy to overturn the lawful results of the 2020 presidential election,” the committee concluded.

Ahead of Thursday's report, the committee released 34 transcripts of the 1,000 interviews it conducted over the course of its investigation. Many of those who within Mr Trump's circle — including retired general Michael Flynn, lobbyist Roger Stone and lawyer John Eastman — responded to questions by invoking their Fifth Amendment right to not incriminate themselves.

The committee also raised concerns that some lawyers advised their clients to “provide false or misleading testimony”.

The committee's report comes weeks before Republicans will shut it down when they take control of the House of Representatives next year.

A small group of Republicans released a counter-report on the insurrection in anticipation of the January 6 Committee's findings. The Republican report mainly focused on security around the Capitol, which legislators friendly to the former president have tried to blame for the day's events.

The January 6 Committee this week also referred Mr Trump to the Justice Department to be prosecuted on four criminal charges — obstruction of an official proceeding, conspiracy to defraud the US, conspiracy to make a false statement and the charge of “inciting”, “assisting” or “aiding or comforting” an insurrection.

The Justice Department is not required to follow the panel's referrals. The department is conducting its own investigation of Mr Trump's activities around January 6, led by special counsel Jack Smith.

Mr Trump denies any wrongdoing for his role in the January 6 attack on the Capitol and has spent much of his post-presidency continuing to spread his bogus claims of electoral fraud.

Updated: December 23, 2022, 4:25 AM