The January 6 Committee, a House committee that was tasked with investigating what transpired before and during the riot at the Capitol on January 6, 2021, finally released its long-awaited findings.
The report, which is nearly 850 pages long, is an analysis of all the evidence gathered by the committee during its investigation. The process led to four criminal referrals against former President Donald Trump being passed on to the Department of Justice (DOJ).
The report was originally planned for release on Wednesday evening; however, a surprise congressional address by Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky forced the committee to postpone its plans. Instead, it issued the report on Thursday evening, three days before Christmas, at a time when the country was bracing for severe winter storms rather than long congressional reports.
The four charges that the committee hopes will be brought against former President Trump include: obstruction of an official proceeding, conspiracy to defraud the U.S., making a false statement, and inciting an insurrection. If found guilty of the latter charge, Trump would be barred from running for political office again.
The Department of Justice now has to compare the evidence from the committee against its own investigations into the former president before making a decision on whether it will pursue the charges. There is no obligation for the DOJ to take action.
The committee also referred four Republican members of Congress—House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) and Representatives Jim Jordan (R-OH), Scott Perry (R-PA), and Andy Biggs (R-AZ)—to the House Ethics Committee for their refusals to obey subpoenas to appear before the committee in the course of its investigation.
The report and the recommendations were compiled after thousands of hours of witness testimony and hundreds of interviews that took place over a period of months. The Republicans released their own report, which blames the chaos on Democrats and Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) in particular, after she failed to secure the necessary level of security for a large demonstration that was scheduled to take place on the Capitol. This protest would turn into a riot that was dubbed an “attempted insurrection” meant to bring back Donald Trump to the presidency after his supposed defeat in the 2020 election.
The committee consisted mainly of Democrats, with the exception of two Republicans – Adam Kinzinger (R-IL), who chose not to run for reelection in November, as well as Liz Cheney (R-WY), who lost her bid for reelection.