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January 6 panel releases report blasting Trump for Capitol assault

January 6 panel releases report blasting Trump for Capitol assault
A video of Donald Trump is played on a screen during a hearing of the Select Committee to Investigate the January 6th attack on the US Capitol in Washington, DC, earlier in October.

The House committee investigating the January 6 attack on the US Capitol issued a more than 800-page final report on Thursday, delivering a detailed case that former president Donald Trump incited the violence in a failed attempt to hold onto power.

The report culminates an investigation that spanned a year and a half and captured public attention with disclosures of Trump’s behind-the-scenes fury and his efforts to pressure state officials and the Justice Department to overturn the election.

“The central cause of January 6th was one man, former president Donald Trump, who many others followed,” the report asserts in its executive summary, placing the mob invasion of the Capitol within “a multi-part plan to overturn the 2020 presidential election”.

The panel of seven Democrats and two Republicans concluded its work on Monday with the first-ever congressional criminal referral against a former president, urging that 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,” Representative Bennie Thompson, a Mississippi Democrat who chaired the panel, wrote in a foreword. “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 chapters of the report expand on the narrative the committee laid out in nine hearings this year with an aim of setting a record for history and potential prosecution of Trump and several associates. Investigators for the panel interviewed more than a thousand witnesses and went over millions of pages of documents.

Outgoing House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, who convened the special committee over bitter objections from Republican leaders, said in a foreword that the committee’s work was “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”.

The panel’s findings add to the legal and political troubles plaguing Trump’s 2024 re-election bid, which he announced barely a month ago. Another House committee decided on Tuesday to release six years of Trump’s tax returns that he has long fought to keep private. 

The committee’s charter will expire with the adjournment of Congress and it is sending the report, transcripts of interviews with witnesses and other evidence to Jack Smith, the Justice Department special counsel handling probes of Trump. BM/DM

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