The House Jan. 6 committee has accused former US president, Donald Trump of a criminal conspiracy to overturn the results of the 2020 election as they urge the Congress to consider banning him from ever holding public office again.
The panel released its 845-page report on Thursday evening, December 22, detailing 200 ways in which Trump and his allies tried to pressure officials into overturning state results.
The former president quickly dismissed the findings – the result of interviews with more than 1000 witnesses – as a ‘witch hunt’
He tried to shift blame, claiming that House Speaker Nancy Pelosi had ignored his recommendation for troops to be in used in Washington, D.C, a claim repeatedly rejected by fact-checkers.
‘The highly partisan Unselect Committee Report purposely fails to mention the failure of Pelosi to heed my recommendation for troops to be used in D.C., show the ‘Peacefully and Patrioticly’ words I used, or study the reason for the protest, Election Fraud,’ he wrote on Truth Social with a characteristic display of capital letters and misspellings. ‘WITCH HUNT!’
The committee’s final report lays the blame on Trump and says Congress should consider setting up a mechanism to ensure he can never hold power again.
‘The central cause of January 6th was one man, former President Donald Trump, who many others followed,’ reads the report. ‘None of the events of January 6th would have happened without him.’
‘The Committee believes that those who took an oath to protect and defend the Constitution and then, on January 6th, engaged ininsurrection can appropriately be disqualified and barred from holding government office—whether federal or state, civilian or military …’ it concludes.
Much of the information in the report was already public. But it includes some new nuggets.
A text message sent by a Trump aide on the day suggested the president would be enjoying the spectacle of his supporters going berserk.
‘POTUS I’m sure is loving this, Trump’s speechwriter Robert Gabriel texted someone at 2:49 p.m.
The report follows a deeply difficult week for Trump, that included the release of his long-hidden tax returns.
And on Monday the committee referred four criminal charges to the Department of Justice, accusing the former president of insurrection, conspiracy to defraud the United States, and obstruction of an act of Congress.
It stems from the way Trump spread false claims of election fraud, before delivering a fiery speech on the morning of Jan. 6.
He publicly vented at Vice President Mike Pence for not going along with his plan to reject ballots cast for Biden, and the called on supporters to march on the Capitol.
He then waited hours — watching the violence unfold on television — before making a public statement.
And even then, 187 minutes after the violence began, he signed off by telling supporters: ‘We love you, you’re very special.’
In a foreword, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi thanked the committee for its efforts.
‘As the select committee concludes its work, their words must be a clarion call to all Americans: to vigilantly guard our democracy and to give our vote only to those dutiful in their defense of our Constitution,’ she said.
The report’s chapter titles alone tell the story.
Starting from the ‘Big Lie,’ and ‘I Just Want to Find 11,780 Votes,’ as Trump and his allies looked to find evidence that they had been cheated, to the ‘Coup in Search of a Legal Strategy,’ as they formulated a way to prevent Congress certifying Joe Biden’s victory, it builds a crescendo before reaching, ‘Be There Will be Wild.’
The report spells out how Trump was repeatedly told that he had lost the election fair and square but still pushed ahead with his claims.
‘From the beginning, Donald Trumps fraud allegations were concocted nonsense, designed to prey upon the patriotism of millions of men and women who love our country,’ wrote Rep. Liz Cheney, one of only two Republicans on the committee.
It lays out how the plot to overturn the result lay on a legally dubious plan to draw up slates of fake electors. Its architect is identified by the committee as Kenneth Chesebro, a little known lawyer before the investigation began.
Conservative attorney John Eastman then circulated memo claiming Pence could the overturn the result.
‘The fake elector plan emerged from a series of legal memoranda written by an outside legal adviser to the Trump Campaign: Kenneth Chesebro,’ the report concludes.
The report includes new details about planning for January 6, when Congress was due to convene to certify the results.
It describes how aides frantically talked him out of plan to march to the Capitol with his supporters, protected by National Guard troops.
‘Just glad we killed the national guard and a procession,’ said aide Max Miller in a text message obtained by the inquiry.