What to see as the January 6 commission wraps up its investigation

WASHINGTON (AP) — The House of Representatives committee is investigating the Riots in the Capitol will make his final public presentation on Monday about Donald Trump’s unprecedented attempt to reverse the results of the presidential election he lost in 2020. The commission called it an “attempted coup” warranting criminal prosecution by the Justice Department.

That is expected to be the commission’s closing argument as it wraps up a year-and-a-half investigation and prepares to publish a final report outlining its findings on the January 6, 2021 uprising in the country’s capital. Democrats and two Republicans will be disbanded at the end of the year.

Monday’s meeting will be the commission’s 11th public hearing since it was formed in July 2021. One of the first hearings, on June 9, was watched by more than 20 million people.

Things to watch for at Monday’s meeting at 1 p.m. EST:

REFERENCING A PRESIDENT

The commission is expected to bring both criminal and civil cases against the former president and his allies, whom lawmakers believe have broken the law or committed ethical violations.

“We are focused on key players where there is sufficient or abundant evidence that they have committed crimes,” Representative Jamie Raskin, D-Md., told reporters last week. “We are focused on crimes that go straight to the heart of the constitutional order so that Congress cannot remain silent.”

The chairman of the committee, Rep. Bennie Thompson, D-Miss., said the references could include criminal, ethical violations, legal misconduct and campaign finance violations.

It will be up to federal prosecutors to decide whether to press charges. Lawmakers have suggested that their recommended charges against Trump could include conspiracy to defraud the United States, obstruction of official Congressional proceedings and insurrection.

While not binding, the committee’s recommendations would increase political pressure on the Justice Department as Special Counsel Jack Smith conducts an investigation into Jan. 6 and Trump’s actions.

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A RECORD FOR HISTORY

Lawmakers have promised Monday’s session will include a preview of the commission’s final report, expected to be released Wednesday. The panel will vote on the approval of the official report, effectively authorizing the publication of the report to the public.

The eight-part report will include hundreds of pages of findings about the attack and Trump’s efforts to undermine democracy, building on what the commission learned through interviews with more than 1,000 witnesses.

It will broadly mirror the series of public hearings the committee held over the summer that detailed the various facets of the investigation, including the role of extremist groups in the Jan. 6 violence, Trump’s attempt to get the Justice Department to and Trump’s coordination with GOP lawmakers to reverse the election results.

Additional evidence, including some of the vast amount of video footage and testimony collected by the commission, is expected to be made public before the end of the year.

Expectations for the final report are high. Book publishers are already offering pre-release versions for sale to the public.

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LEGISLATIVE CHANGES

With the commission meeting one last time, a major legislative response to the uprising could gain momentum.

Lawmakers are expected to review the arcane electoral law that Trump sought to undermine after his 2020 election defeat by incorporating legislative changes into a spending bill at the end of the year.

The proposed revision to the Electoral Count Act is one of many by-products of the January 6 attack on the Capitol. A group of bipartisan legislators have been working on the legislation since the uprising. Trump and his allies tried to find loopholes in that law before congressional certification of the 2020 vote, as the former president tried to reverse his defeat by Biden and unsuccessfully pressured Pence to go along.

If passed, the bill would amend the 19th-century law that, along with the Constitution, governs how states and Congress certify voters and declare presidential election winners, protecting each state’s popular vote from manipulation and preventing Congress from arbitrarily deciding presidential elections.

The committee is also expected to publish its own legislative proposals in its final report, outlining ideas for strengthening and expanding the guardrails that protected Electoral College certification in 2021.

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FINAL ARGUMENTS

Since its inception, the January 6 commission has sought to build a record for history and help the public better understand what led to the attack on the Capitol and the individuals involved.

“We obviously want to complete the story for the American people,” Raskin said. “Everyone has come on a journey with us, and we want a satisfying close so that people feel like Congress has done its job.”

After conducting thousands of interviews — ranging from Trump cabinet secretaries to members of his own family — and obtaining tens of thousands of documents, congressional investigators say they have provided the most comprehensive look at the worst attack on the Capitol in two centuries.

But the 16-month investigation has also provided a sort of roadmap for criminal investigations, influencing the Trump and Jan. 6 probes that are progressing at the local, state and federal levels.

Monday’s session will be the last word for the committee, as its temporary or “selected” committee status expires at the end of the current convention.

Once Republicans win the majority next year, they are not expected to renew the committee, instead launching a slew of investigations that will focus on the Biden administration and the president’s family.

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For a full report of the January 6 hearings, visit https://www.apnews.com/capitol-siege

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