LIVE: Jan. 6 panel announces 4 criminal referrals for Donald Trump

Published December 19, 2022 at 11:29 AM EST
Members of the House Select Committee to Investigate the January 6 Attack on the US Capitol hold its last public hearing in the Canon House Office Building on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC on December 19, 2022.
Jim Lo Scalzo/Pool
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AFP via Getty Images
Members of the House Select Committee to Investigate the January 6 Attack on the U.S. Capitol hold its last public hearing in the Canon House Office Building on Capitol Hill on Monday.

After more than a year of investigating, the House select committee probing the 2021 attack on the U.S. Capitol has just wrapped up its final meeting and sent its final report to Congress.

The panel voted to issue four criminal referrals for former President Donald Trump. It also referred four Republican members of Congress — Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., Jim Jordan, R-Ohio, Scott Perry, R-Pa., Andy Biggs, R-Ariz. — to the House Ethics Committee for failure to comply with subpoenas.

Here's what else you need to know:

Live from NPR

Here's how to keep up with the latest on the Jan. 6 investigation

Posted December 19, 2022 at 6:43 PM EST

This blog is closing for the day — but our coverage isn't stopping any time soon.

NPR's Washington desk will continue to bring you all the latest on the Jan. 6 panel's final report, the criminal referrals for Donald Trump and the aftermath of the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol.

Here's a few ways to follow along:

🎧Listen to the latest episode of the NPR Politics Podcast.

🖊️Sign up for the NPR Politics Newsletter.

➡️Stay up to date with the latest breaking news at NPR.org.

Thanks for joining us!

Analysis

What happens next with the criminal referrals?

Posted December 19, 2022 at 6:31 PM EST
Former President Donald Trump, pictured here speaking at a 2019 rally, is facing four criminal referrals. It's now up to the Department of Justice to decide whether to pursue charges.
Brendan Smialowski
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AFP via Getty Images
Former President Donald Trump, pictured here speaking at a 2019 rally, is facing four criminal referrals. It's now up to the Department of Justice to decide whether to pursue charges.

Progressives have been irritated with Attorney General Merrick Garland’s methodical (read: slow) pace of pursuing charges against Trump. But it’s going to be up to the special counsel whether it brings charges or what they are.

They do not have to act on what the Jan. 6 committee recommends, though investigators are paying close attention to the details of its findings.

But don’t expect to hear much about the special counsel’s progress, as the DOJ tends to stay pretty quiet, if not wholly silent, on the details of ongoing investigations until they present them in court.

Politically, it’s going to be up to voters to choose. Trump will likely retain support with his base. As we noted, Republicans have been the least likely to be paying close attention to these hearings. In a multi-candidate primary, Trump remains the front-runner for the GOP nomination.

But he’s in legal trouble in multiple states, not just federally, and many of his preferred candidates – and election deniers – lost in swing states. So whether it’s because of the chaos that often surrounds him, the threat he presents to U.S. democracy and faith in its elections, or simply because his brand is not a winner in competitive states where Republicans likely need to win to take over the White House and Congress, Trump is at his most vulnerable point since winning the presidency six years ago.

And the members of this committee – some of whom won’t be returning to Congress because of the wrath, or potential wrath, of Trump’s base – certainly hope voters respond.

“The future of our democracy rests in your hands,” chairman Bennie Thompson D-Miss. said today. “It’s up to the people to decide who is deserving of the public trust.”

➡️A full set of takeaways from NPR's Senior Political Editor, Domenico Montanaro, will be available on NPR.org tomorrow morning.

Context

Here's what to watch for in the final report

Posted December 19, 2022 at 6:20 PM EST

The final report from the House panel investigating the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol is expected to be released on Wednesday.

The full report is expected to be 8 chapters long. It will include additional evidence, detailed descriptions of the scheme pushed by Trump and his allies to overturn the 2020 election results, and more tidbits from key witnesses. Citations from the interviews the panel conducted – over 1,000 over the 18 month investigation – are included in the full report.

That report will also include legislative recommendations for measures Congress can enact to avoid another January 6.

One bill clarifying how Congress certifies presidential election results, updating the Electoral Count Act, has already been approved in different forms by the House and the Senate and is expected to be attached to the annual budget bill both chambers are expected to vote on this week.

Separately Chairman Bennie Thompson, D-Miss., has told reporters that the panel will release transcripts of non-sensitive interviews between now and December 31st, when the committee will sunset.

➡️Read more about what to expect from the final report.

Summary

Here's what's in the "introductory materials" the committee published

Posted December 19, 2022 at 6:05 PM EST

We're still waiting on the Jan. 6 committee to publicly release the full text of its final report, the culmination of its year-and-a-half long investigation into the attack at the U.S. Capitol. The committee voted today to send that report to Congress.

Publicly, they released a 154-page document they've described as "introductory material." The document is mostly a recap of the findings the committee has rolled out in nine previous public hearings.

The committee makes a series of specific points about how former President Donald Trump "plotted to overturn the election outcome."

As a sample, the committee claims that Trump:

  1. "purposely disseminated false allegations of fraud" related to the election
  2. failed to honor his constitutional duties as president
  3. "corruptly pressured Vice President Mike Pence to refuse to count electoral votes during Congress’s joint session on January 6th"
  4. unlawfully pressured state officials and legislators to change the election results
  5. oversaw an effort to send false electoral certificates to Congress
  6. pressured members of Congress to object to valid electors
  7. verified false information filed in federal court
  8. summoned thousands of his supporters to Washington on Jan. 6 based on false claims that the election was stolen
  9. further incited violence by tweeting about then-Vice President Mike Pence on Jan. 6
  10. refused repeated requests to ask his supporters to disperse

➡️ You can read all 154 pages of the report here.

Here's why the 4 Republicans referred to the Ethics Committee were wanted for questioning

Posted December 19, 2022 at 5:53 PM EST

The Jan. 6 panel has urged the House Ethics Committee to review the actions of four Republican lawmakers who refused to comply with subpoenas for their testimony during the panel's investigation.

Here are the four Republicans and what the Jan. 6 committee says they did:

  1. House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy: McCarthy spoke to Trump by phone from the Capitol on Jan. 6 as rioters were breaking into the building, but he has not publicly described what was said during the call. After the riot, McCarthy initially said he believed Trump bore responsibility for the attack. But he soon traveled to Mar-a-Lago and quieted his criticism of Trump. He has since opposed the investigation.
  2. Rep. Jim Jordan of Ohio: Jordan, a longtime Trump ally, regularly communicated with Trump, the president's lawyers and various other aides and event organizers in the run-up to Jan. 6, including a forwarded text message publicized by the committee that urged Trump's chief of staff to consider having then-Vice President Mike Pence declare certain electoral votes unconstitutional. Jordan also spoke by phone with Trump on Jan. 6, although he says he does not recall when or how often they spoke.
  3. Rep. Scott Perry of Pennsylvania: Perry, a vehement election denier, was in touch with outside attorneys and officials at the Department of Justice about the plot to not certify the election results. In particular, he helped connect Trump with Jeffrey Clark, the DOJ lawyer who met with Trump and drafted a letter urging state officials to appoint new electors.
  4. Rep. Andy Biggs of Arizona: Biggs reportedly helped organize the Jan. 6 rally, according to Ali Alexander, who founded the pro-Trump Stop the Steal organization. He was part of a group of House Republicans, along with Jordan and Perry, who took part in a December 2020 meeting at the White House where Trump and his allies tried to pressure Pence into overturning the election.

The subpoenas were issued in May.
A fifth House Republican, Rep. Mo Brooks of Alabama, also defied the subpoena but was not referred for investigation. He did not seek reelection in the House this year and will not return to Congress in January.

It's unlikely that anything will come of the ethics complaints. The current session of Congress is quickly drawing to a close, and in January, control of the House will pass to Republicans, who are unlikely to follow up.

Analysis

Will the committee's findings make a political impact?

Posted December 19, 2022 at 5:40 PM EST
Committee Chairman Rep. Bennie Thompson (D-MS) gets into an elevator as he departs the final meeting of the House Select Committee to Investigate the January 6 Attack on the U.S. Capitol in the Canon House Office Building on Capitol Hill on December 19, 2022 in Washington, DC.
Drew Angerer
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Getty Images
Committee Chairman Rep. Bennie Thompson (D-MS) gets into an elevator as he departs the final meeting of the House Select Committee to Investigate the January 6 Attack on the U.S. Capitol in the Canon House Office Building on Capitol Hill on December 19, 2022 in Washington, DC.

It’s no secret that the country is divided politically and partisanship, particularly among Republicans, has become entrenched. So despite the primary evidence – with testimony from Republicans who were aligned with Trump – people have been watching selectively.

The committee in its report recognized this:

“Although the Committee’s hearings were viewed live by tens of millions of Americans and widely publicized in nearly every major news source, the Committee also recognizes that other news outlets and commentators have actively discouraged viewers from watching, and that millions of other Americans have not yet seen the actual evidence addressed by this Report.”

So the committee said it’s releasing video summaries with each relevant piece of evidence. And it’s likely why the beginning of the hearing included so many clips of previously seen testimony from past hearings, almost like the recap of a prior season of a series on Netflix.

There is evidence to suggest those who watched were moved. Before the hearings, just 48% of independents in an NPR/PBSNewsHour/Marist poll said they thought Trump was to blame a “great deal” or “good amount” for what happened that day. After several hearings, the July survey found that the percentage blaming Trump spiked to 57%.

Republicans were only up marginally – and still fewer than 1-in-5 said Trump was responsible for what happened.

Eighty percent of Democrats and 55% of independents said they were paying “a lot” or “some” attention to the hearings. But 56% of Republicans said they were not.

It’s not hard to draw a straight line between the numbers of those paying attention and the movement – or lack thereof – in the survey.

➡️A full set of takeaways from NPR's Senior Political Editor, Domenico Montanaro, will be available on NPR.org tomorrow morning.

Reaction

Trump knocks Cheney's primary loss in his only response (yet) to today's hearing

Posted December 19, 2022 at 4:51 PM EST

It's now been more than an hour after the Jan. 6 committee hearing wrapped, and former President Donald Trump has made only one comment related to today's hearing: A knock on Vice Chair Liz Cheney's primary loss in August.

"...But Liz Chaney lost by a record 40 points!" he wrote, misspelling Cheney's name in a post on Truth Social, the social media network he founded in the wake of his bans from mainstream platforms like Twitter and Facebook after the riot at the Capitol.

Cheney, a Republican who is Wyoming's sole representative in the House, lost in the August primary to her Trump-endorsed challenger by 37.4 percentage points. As a result, she will not return to Congress next year.

On a day when the House committee referred him for criminal prosecution on four different charges, Trump instead focused most of his public statements on two other subjects: the possibility of a Trump-era immigration policy known as Title 42 coming to an end, and conservative media reports about content moderation decisions at Twitter during the 2020 election campaign.

On Sunday, Trump complained that the committee was "highly partisan" and accused its members of "illegally leaking" confidential information.

"How much longer are Republicans, and American Patriots in general, going to allow this to happen," he wrote.

And he applauded the reinstatement of his Twitter account and his two public posts on Jan. 6 asking rioters to "remain peaceful." Those tweets were sent long after he urged his supporters to march on the Capitol; by the time he made his first post, rioters had already been inside the Capitol for nearly 30 minutes, and at least one rioter was already dead, according to the timeline established by the Jan. 6 committee's investigation.

Just In

Jim Jordan calls the ethics committee referral a 'political stunt'

Posted December 19, 2022 at 4:33 PM EST

Rep. Jim Jordan of Ohio is one of the four Republicans that the Jan. 6 panel referred to the House Ethics Committee for failing to comply with a subpoena.

In a statement, a spokesperson for his office said the referral was "just another partisan and political stunt."

The other three members of congress facing referrals have yet to weigh in publicly.

The most high-profile among them is Rep. Kevin McCarthy, who is likely facing a bruising path to be Speaker of the House when Republicans take control of the chamber in the new year.

The House Ethics Committee is not likely to take any action on the referrals announced today. The panel is evenly divided with four Republicans and four Democrats, and Republicans would not likely support any investigation even if they had time to do one before this session of Congress ends in January.

🎧Listen to some of the challenges McCarthy is facing on NPR's Politics Podcast.

Special Live Coverage

The standout moments of the Jan. 6 hearings NPR reporters will remember

Posted December 19, 2022 at 3:44 PM EST
Caroline Edwards, a U.S. Capitol Police officer, testifies before the House Jan. 6 select committee holds its first public hearing on Capitol Hill on Thursday, June 9, 2021.
Demetrius Freeman
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The Washington Post via Getty Images
Caroline Edwards, a U.S. Capitol Police officer, testifies before the House Jan. 6 select committee holds its first public hearing on Capitol Hill on Thursday, June 9, 2021.

After hours of public testimony over six months, NPR correspondents shared the moments from the Jan. 6 committee that stood out to them.

National Justice Correspondent Carrie Johnson told NPR's Ari Shapiro that she'll "forever remember" the accounts of law enforcement officials, including Caroline Edwards, who testified about watching fellow officers "slipping in pools of their own blood" while defending the Capitol.

Congressional Correspondent Deirdre Walsh said she will remember the testimony of Cassidy Hutchinson, the aide to former Chief of Staff Mark Meadows. Hutchinson "was kind of a no-name or low-level staffer, who became sort of a big public figure for her firsthand account of those around the president, including the president of the United States, who knew that his supporters were armed and sent them to the Capitol anyway," Walsh said.

Just In

Committee raises the prospect that Trump could possibly be charged with seditious conspiracy

Posted December 19, 2022 at 3:34 PM EST

In the introductory report materials just made public, the Jan. 6 committee raised additional potential charges against Trump related to Seditious Conspiracy.

The possible conspiracy charges were recently in the news because members members of the Oath Keepers were convicted for violating these criminal codes.

The committee recognizes its limitations on these two charges, but says: “The Department of Justice, through its investigative tools that exceed those of this Committee, may have evidence sufficient to prosecute President Trump under Sections 372 and 2384.

"Accordingly, we believe sufficient evidence exists for a criminal referral of President Trump under these two statutes.”

It adds: “Depending on evidence developed by the Department of Justice, the President’s actions with the knowledge of the risk of violence could also constitute a violation of 18 U.S.C. § 372 and § 2384, both of which require proof of a conspiracy.”

Speaking to reporters outside the hearing room, Rep. Jamie Raskin, D-Md., said that the referrals the committee did make were the ones where "it's clear that criminal conduct took place."

The prospect of any further charges is "a judgment that the Department of Justice will have to make," Raskin said.

➡️Read the committee's introductory materials here.

Just In

Pelosi praises the committee's final report but stops short of outlining next steps

Posted December 19, 2022 at 3:23 PM EST

In a statement, Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., praised the "patriotic leadership" of the committee for "bringing clarity of conscience in our work to defend Democracy and offering a ‘Roadmap to Justice’ that will help guard against future assaults."

“With painstaking detail, this executive summary documents the sinister plot to subvert the Congress, shred the Constitution and halt the peaceful transfer of power," she said.

"The Committee has reached important conclusions about the evidence it has developed, and I respect those findings. Our Founders made clear that, in the United States of America, no one is above the law. This bedrock principle remains unequivocally true, and justice must be done.”

It's still unclear whether the House will take any action on the committee's recommended legislative changes. Republicans will take the majority in the chamber starting in January.

Special Live Coverage

Today's hearing was a subdued coda to wrap up the investigation

Posted December 19, 2022 at 3:21 PM EST
A photo of President Donald Trump is displayed during the Select Committee to Investigate the January 6th Attack on the United States Capitol final hearing on Monday, December 19, 2022.
Bill Clark
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CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Images
A photo of President Donald Trump is displayed during the Select Committee to Investigate the January 6th Attack on the United States Capitol final hearing on Monday, December 19, 2022.

NPR's Deirdre Walsh was in the room for what is expected to be the Select Committee's final meeting.

She told NPR's Ari Shapiro the room was quiet and less crowded compared to the series of hearings held over the summer, with only one member of Congress — Pennsylvania Democrat Mary Gay Scanlon — in attendance.

"It just really felt like a coda to this year-and-a-half-long investigation. But I will say it was a lot more subdued," Walsh said.

While previous hearings meant new information and "a lot of anticipation building up," Walsh said Monday was about "stitching together" the committee's previous findings.

The committee was 'stymied' by a lack of cooperation, Raskin says

Posted December 19, 2022 at 3:07 PM EST

The Jan. 6 committee's investigation was hampered by lack of cooperation by witnesses, ultimately impacting the number of referrals the committee could send to the Justice Department, committee member Rep. Jamie Raskin, D-Md., said Monday.

"There were undoubtedly other people involved. But we were stymied by virtue of a lot of people refusing to come and testify, refusing to give us information they had, or taking the 5th Amendment," Raskin said, speaking to reporters immediately after the committee's meeting ended. "We chose to advance the names of people where we felt certain that there was abundant evidence that they had participated in crimes, and so we're sending those over. It's not to the exclusion of anyone else."

The evidence gathered by the committee will be shared in full with the Department of Justice this week, said Rep. Adam Schiff, D-Calif. Much will be released to the public on Wednesday, including interview transcripts.

The DOJ has carried on its own investigation of the events leading up to Jan. 6, 2021. Some witnesses who refused to cooperate with the House committee may be compelled to cooperate with the Department of Justice, which has greater capabilities to enforce subpoenas.

"The long and the short of it is we possess evidence that, up until this release, the Justice Department may not have. They possess evidence that we don't have. And the cumulative impact of all of that evidence will hopefully lead to justice for those who have broken the law here," said Rep. Schiff.

ICYMI

Here are the four Republicans referred to the House Ethics Committee

Posted December 19, 2022 at 3:00 PM EST
(L-R) Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif.; Jim Jordan, R-Ohio; Scott Perry, R-Penn.; Andy Biggs, R-Ariz.
Win McNamee; Samuel Corum; Alex Wong
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Getty Images
(L-R) Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif.; Jim Jordan, R-Ohio; Scott Perry, R-Penn.; Andy Biggs, R-Ariz.

The Jan. 6 panel referred these four members of congress to the House Ethics Committee for failing to comply with subpoenas to compel their testimony in the probe:

  1. Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif.
  2. Jim Jordan, R-Ohio
  3. Scott Perry, R-Penn.
  4. Andy Biggs, R-Ariz.

It's unclear whether the House Ethics committee will take any action. By design, the committee dissolves at the start of the next congress in January, when Republicans will take a narrow majority in the House.

Special Live Coverage

What now for the Department of Justice?

Posted December 19, 2022 at 2:46 PM EST

In NPR's special live coverage following the Jan. 6 committee meeting, National Justice Correspondent Carrie Johnson outlined what today's outcome means moving forward for the Department of Justice.

Special Counsel Jack Smith is leading the department's investigations into former President Donald Trump.

"Most of what these Department of Justice lawyers want to see is evidence," Johnson said. That evidence includes transcripts of the more than one thousand interviews conducted by the committee, as well as documents and videos that could help build up a case.

Johnson also noted the committee referred the former president for insurrection. That charge hasn't been used by the Department of Justice since the Civil War.

NPR’s Special Coverage: 🎧 You can follow along onyour local NPR member station or using the NPR One app.

Special Live Coverage

Some Republicans are ready to move on from Donald Trump

Posted December 19, 2022 at 2:44 PM EST

The conclusion of the Jan. 6 committee this year may be the turning point for some congressional Republicans to move on from the former president.

In special live coverage for NPR, Congressional Correspondent Deirdre Walsh said that the four criminal referrals against Trump may be the turning point for Republicans to move the party away from him.

But discussion around Trump within the committee hearings and in Congress is marked by his political future, as a candidate for president in 2024.

"This discussion about criminal referrals just sort of helps them try to move on. I don't know if it's the vast majority, he certainly still has a lot of influence over many Republicans," Walsh said.

Read an executive summary of the committee's final report

Posted December 19, 2022 at 2:38 PM EST

The House Jan. 6 committee has released some introductory materials from its final report on the 2021 attack on the U.S. Capitol. The investigation dove into the scheme to keep former President Donald Trump in power after he lost the 2020 presidential election to President Biden.

Click here to read the materials, which include an executive summary and details of criminal referrals.

These are the criminal charges the committee is referring to the Justice Department

Posted December 19, 2022 at 2:36 PM EST
A noose is seen on makeshift gallows as supporters of US President Donald Trump gather on the West side of the US Capitol in Washington DC on January 6, 2021.
Andrew Caballero-Reynolds
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AFP via Getty Images
A noose is seen on makeshift gallows as supporters of US President Donald Trump gather on the West side of the US Capitol in Washington DC on January 6, 2021.

The Jan. 6 committee has officially outlined criminal referrals against former President Donald Trump and other individuals on four charges.

Rep. Jamie Raskin, D-Md., discussed the charges at the end of the committee's meeting on Monday, as well as the standard that it used to decide them.

"We propose advancing referrals where the gravity of the specific offense, severity of its actual harm and centrality of the offender to the overall design of the unlawful scheme to overthrow the election compel us to speak," he said.

These are the charges the committee is making:

Obstruction of an official proceeding of the U.S. government: Raskin said the evidence described by his colleagues in hearings warrants a criminal referral of Trump, John Eastman and others for violation of Title 18, Section 1512C, adding that "the whole purpose and obvious effect of Trump's scheme were to obstruct, influence and impede this official proceeding."

Conspiracy to defraud the U.S.: Raskin said there is "more than sufficient evidence" to refer Trump, Eastman and others for violating Title 18, Section 371, which covers making an agreement to impair, obstruct or defeat the lawful functions of the U.S. government by deceitful or dishonest means.

He added that Trump didn't engage in these actions alone, and that the committee's full report details the efforts of co-conspirators who agreed with and participated in Trump's plan to defeat certification of Biden's victory. But he also stressed that the panel doesn't attempt to determine all potential participations, since many individuals have refused to answer its questions. It trusts the Justice Department will be able to form a more complete picture through its investigation, Raskin added.

Conspiracy to make a false statement: The committee alleges that Trump and others knowingly and willfully made materially false statements to the federal government in violation of U.S.C. §§ 371, 1001. Raskin said the evidence "clearly suggests" Trump conspired with others to submit slates of false electors to Congress and the National Archives. Like with the previous charge, Raskin said many individuals refused to answer questions under oath and that the Justice Department may be able to shed more light on this alleged conspiracy.

"Incite,” “assist” or “aid and comfort” an insurrection: An insurrection is a rebellion against the authority of the U.S., Raskin said, a "grave federal offense" that is written into the constitution as grounds for automatically disqualifying participants from holding office at the state or federal level. Raskin said "more than sufficient evidence exists" for a criminal referral of Trump for assisting, aiding and comforting those at the Capitol.

Stressing the lack of cooperation by potentially key individuals, Raskin also said the committee is referring four members of Congress for sanction by the House ethics committee for failure to comply with lawful subpoenas. And he said all of these referrals are not a decision the committee took likely.

"We understand the gravity of each and every referral we are making today, just as we understand the magnitude of the crime against democracy that we describe in our report," he said. "But we have gone where the facts and the law lead us and, inescapably, they lead us here."

Raskin said that the events of Jan. 6 consist of "hundreds of individual criminal offenses," most of which are already being prosecuted by the Justice Department. But he emphasized that "ours is not a system of justice where foot soldiers go to jail and the masterminds and ringleaders get a free pass."

Got questions? Join NPR's Claudia Grisales for a live debrief on Twitter

Posted December 19, 2022 at 2:27 PM EST

NPR Congressional Correspondent Claudia Grisales is joining NPR's engagement team to discuss what we heard at today's hearing and what will happen next. She'll also be fielding questions directly from the audience.

🎧 Listen to our Twitter Spaces conversation here.

Just In

The meeting has adjourned — but don't go too far

Posted December 19, 2022 at 2:25 PM EST

Chairman Bennie Thompson has adjourned what we expect to be the final public hearing of the committee investigating the Jan. 6 attack.

But don't go anywhere yet: The committee has voted to make its report final, and NPR's Washington Desk is digging into that document now. We'll bring you highlights, updates and analysis in real time.

The committee votes unanimously to approve its final report, including criminal referrals for Trump

Posted December 19, 2022 at 2:21 PM EST
Members of the House Select Committee to Investigate the January 6 Attack on the US Capitol hold its last public hearing in the Canon House Office Building on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC on December 19, 2022.
Mandel Ngan
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AFP via Getty Images
Members of the House Select Committee to Investigate the January 6 Attack on the US Capitol hold its last public hearing in the Canon House Office Building on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC on December 19, 2022.

The committee has voted unanimously to send its final report — which includes its legislative recommendations and criminal referrals of former President Trump and others who aided him — to Congress.

Trump's inaction constituted a "dereliction of duty," says Rep. Elaine Luria

Posted December 19, 2022 at 2:18 PM EST
Representative Elaine Luria, a Democrat from Virginia, speaks during a hearing of the Select Committee to Investigate the January 6th Attack on the US Capitol in Washington, DC, US, on Monday, Dec. 19, 2022.
Al Drago
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Bloomberg via Getty Images
Representative Elaine Luria, a Democrat from Virginia, speaks during a hearing of the Select Committee to Investigate the January 6th Attack on the US Capitol in Washington, DC, US, on Monday, Dec. 19, 2022.

Rep. Elaine Luria, D-Va., recapped Trump's inaction on the day of Jan. 6, summing it up as "187 minutes of a dereliction of duty."

Luria said that, during the attack, everyone from Trump's family to Fox News hosts contacted the then-President to urge him to call off the rioters.

"At no point during the day or at any other point did he request law enforcement officials," Luria said. "He didn't want anything done."

Though Trump tweeted several times throughout the day, he still tried to justify the attack or minimize the danger, Luria said.

Testimony from former Trump advisor Kellyanne Conway recapped how Trump didn't see the need to apologize or put out a statement in the days after the attack. He considered pardons for some involved, the committee found.

"In summary, President Trump lit the flame, he poured gasoline on the fire and he sat by in the White House dining room for hours, watching the fire burn. Today, he still continues to fan the flames," Luria said.

Trump knew the risk of violence on Jan. 6 but encouraged his supporters anyway, Rep. Murphy says

Posted December 19, 2022 at 2:15 PM EST

Although President Trump and other administration officials were aware of the threat of violence on Jan. 6, Trump continued to actively encourage people to come to Washington that day — then, once his supporters had gathered, urged them to go to the Capitol and "fight like hell," said Rep. Stephanie Murphy, a Democrat from Florida.

"The select committee has developed evidence indicating that President Trump did, in fact, intend to go to the Capitol on the afternoon of January 6th, and that he repeatedly expressed that intention that afternoon and in the days prior," Murphy said.

Between Dec. 19 and Jan. 6, the president "repeatedly encouraged" supporters to come to Washington, she said, summarizing the committee's findings. That encouragement famously included his Dec. 19 tweet promising that the events would "be wild."

That tweet "galvanized domestic extremists" who began to organize to come to Washington and "use violence to disrupt the certification of the election," Murphy said. She ticked off the various law enforcement agencies that had gathered evidence and warnings that the events could turn violent, including the FBI, Secret Service and U.S. Capitol Police.

As the committee discusses Pence's role, read what he told NPR about Jan. 6

Posted December 19, 2022 at 2:13 PM EST
Vice President Mike Pence presides over a joint session of Congress to certify the 2020 Electoral College results after supporters of President Donald Trump stormed the Capitol earlier in the day on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC on January 6, 2021.
Erin Schaff
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POOL/AFP via Getty Images
Vice President Mike Pence presides over a joint session of Congress to certify the 2020 Electoral College results after supporters of President Donald Trump stormed the Capitol earlier in the day on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC on January 6, 2021.

Rep. Pete Aguilar, D-Calif., described Trump's pressure campaign on Vice President Mike Pence, focusing on his embrace of the "concocted legal theory" that a vice president can reject electoral votes during a joint session and his escalating pleas and threats when Pence refused.

Former Trump lawyer John Eastman admitted ahead of the 2020 election that Pence couldn't lawfully refuse to count the results, but derived a "meritless proposal" involving fake electors and fraud claims as a basis for Pence to reject legitimate votes for Biden, Aguilar said.

He cited multiple heated conversations in which Trump pressured Pence to adopt Eastman's theory, culminating in a heated and expletive-filled call on the morning of Jan. 6.

In his speech to supporters that day, Trump told the crowd that Pence needed the courage "to do what he had to do." Once the riot was underway, Trump — knowing the crowd had already grown violent — posted a tweet attacking Pence. The crowd surged. Throughout the afternoon rioters chanted "hang Mike Pence," leading him to shelter in a secure location.

Pence told NPR's Morning Edition last month that he believed Trump was wrong on Jan. 6 despite his other accomplishments.

"President Trump was wrong, and his words and actions that day were reckless," Pence said. "They endangered my family and people at the Capitol building. And I'll never hold any other view."

Read or listen to that conversation here.

Trump tried to use the DOJ to give a false sheen of legitimacy to his fraud claims, Rep. Kinzinger says

Posted December 19, 2022 at 2:07 PM EST
WASHINGTON, DC - DECEMBER 19: U.S. Rep Adam Kinzinger (R-IL) delivers remarks during the last hearing of the House Select Committee to Investigate the January 6 Attack on the U.S. Capitol in the Canon House Office Building on Capitol Hill on December 19, 2022 in Washington, DC.
Chip Somodevilla
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Getty Images
WASHINGTON, DC - DECEMBER 19: U.S. Rep Adam Kinzinger (R-IL) delivers remarks during the last hearing of the House Select Committee to Investigate the January 6 Attack on the U.S. Capitol in the Canon House Office Building on Capitol Hill on December 19, 2022 in Washington, DC.

The panel is still working through their opening statements, recounting some of the key findings their investigation has uncovered.

As a quick reminder: The news of today's hearing will come from two expected rounds of votes:

  1. Whether the committee will issue criminal referrals
  2. When the committee will release its final report

For Rep. Adam Kinzinger's turn to speak, the Illinois Republican recapped the committee's key findings on how President Trump sought to use the Department of Justice to investigate false claims of election fraud.

Kinzinger, one of the two Republicans on the committee, said the committee found that Trump pressured top officials at the department, including then-Attorney General William Barr, to give his claims a façade of truthfulness.

"President Trump called or met with [top officials] every day." Kinzinger said.

One of those officials, acting Deputy Attorney General Richard Donoghue, described Trump's action as "nothing less than the U.S. Department of Justice meddling in the presidential election" during committee testimony.

Schiff outlines Trump's 'state pressure campaign'

Posted December 19, 2022 at 2:04 PM EST

A major part of Trump's effort to overturn the election took place in states, which hold, count and determine the winners of presidential elections, said Rep. Adam Schiff, D-Calif.

Schiff described examples of local election workers being baselessly accused of fraud, state officials facing pressure to either stop the count or find votes that didn't exist and state legislatures being urged to disregard their oaths of office — and the will of voters — to name Trump the winner instead.

The most dramatic example of Trump's "campaign of coercion," as Schiff described it, was his call to Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensberger, asking him to find the 11,000 votes he needed to change the outcome in that state. Trump repeated conspiracy theories that his own Justice Department had already debunked, and suggested Raffensberger and his attorney could be subject to criminal prosecution if they didn't comply.

When that didn't work, Schiff said, Trump oversaw an effort to obtain and transmit false electoral college ballots to Congress. They were created on Dec. 14, at the time when certified electors were meeting to cast their votes for Biden — and by which point election-related litigation was either nearly or entirely finished in all states. Schiff said the false documents were transmitted to "multiple officers of the federal government" and were intended to provide a pretext for legitimate electoral votes to be rejected.

Schiff credited brave public servants with foiling Trump's plans, even at great personal cost. Election workers like Ruby Freeman faced consequences for their actions, including facing death threats and being forced to leave their homes and jobs.

Trump "knowingly and corruptly" repeated election lies, says Rep. Zoe Lofgren

Posted December 19, 2022 at 1:57 PM EST
U.S. President Donald Trump speaks during a "Save America Rally" near the White House in Washington, D.C., U.S., on Wednesday, Jan. 6, 2021.
Eric Lee
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Bloomberg via Getty Images
U.S. President Donald Trump speaks during a "Save America Rally" near the White House in Washington, D.C., U.S., on Wednesday, Jan. 6, 2021.

In a preview of the committee’s final report, Rep. Zoe Lofgren, D-Calif., described some of the committee’s key findings in what members have repeatedly described as Trump’s “multi-part plan” to reverse the outcome of the 2020 election. They include:

  • Before, during and after the 2020 election, “President Trump purposefully disseminated false allegations of fraud in order to aid his effort to overturn” the election results, Lofgren said.
  • Trump’s false declaration of victory on election night was “premeditated,” she said.
  • Lofgren said Trump’s campaign raised hundreds of millions of dollars with “false representations” and used those funds in “ways that we believe are concerning” — in particular, using those funds to hire lawyers and offer employment to witnesses.
  • Trump was “told repeatedly” by advisers and officials that there was no evidence to support his claim of election fraud. Numerous courts also found a lack of evidence to support his claims.
  • Despite this, Trump repeated his claims through the riot at the Capitol “and even today,” Lofgren said. “This was an attempt to justify overturning the lawful election results. Donald Trump knowingly and corruptly repeated election fraud lies, which incited his supporters to violence on Jan. 6,” she said in closing.

Those who advised Trump that there was no evidence to support his claims of fraud included Hope Hicks, a longtime aide to the former president. Asked in a recorded interview how Trump had responded, Hicks recalled that “he said something along the lines of, ‘Nobody will care about my legacy if I lose, so that won’t matter. The only thing that matters is winning.’”

A video montage recaps some of the committee's main findings

Posted December 19, 2022 at 1:39 PM EST

Before sharing its final findings, the committee played a compilation of video clips from previous testimony, witness interviews and Jan. 6 footage. The clips broke down pieces of key evidence the committee has uncovered over the last several months.

These are the main takeaways:

  • The violence of the day was highlighted in clips from the U.S. Capitol and testimony from law enforcement officers who were there.
  • Trump knew he lost, as shown by comments from campaign and administration officials who talked about him planning to claim victory prematurely and later telling the president he should concede.
  • Trump pressured state officials to overturn the election, according to testimony from election officials in Georgia and Arizona, as well as election workers who were targeted in the weeks after voting ended.
  • Trump pressured Mike Pence to overturn the election, people said, pointing to his mid-insurrection tweet and videos of the mob encroaching on Pence.
  • Trump summoned the mob, according to testimony from a smattering of administration and campaign officials and riot defendants.
  • Trump didn't stop the riot once underway, with the committee pointing to his lack of action in the 187 minutes between his speech that day and when he finally told rioters to go home.

Cheney says Trump's inaction on Jan. 6 was "an utter moral failure"

Posted December 19, 2022 at 1:33 PM EST
U.S. Rep. Liz Cheney (R-WY), Vice Chairwoman of the Select Committee to Investigate the January 6th Attack on the U.S. Capitol, delivers remarks during the last public hearing in the Canon House Office Building on Capitol Hill on December 19, 2022 in Washington, DC.
Chip Somodevilla
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Getty Images
U.S. Rep. Liz Cheney (R-WY), Vice Chairwoman of the Select Committee to Investigate the January 6th Attack on the U.S. Capitol, delivers remarks during the last public hearing in the Canon House Office Building on Capitol Hill on December 19, 2022 in Washington, DC.

Wyoming Republican Liz Cheney, the committee's vice chair, led off her opening statement by sharing a story about her grandfather who fought in the Civil War because he had a "just appreciation of the value and advantage of free government."

"At the heart of our Republic is the guarantee of the peaceful transfer of power," she continued, reflecting how that fact is depicted in the paintings lining the Capitol rotunda and featured in famous speeches throughout U.S. history.

"Every president in our history has defended this orderly transfer of power. Except one," she said.

Cheney described Trump's inaction on Jan. 6 as "an utter moral failure and a clear dereliction of duty" and added that he should be deemed unfit to ever serve in office again.

Cheney's role in speaking out against Trump has made her an outcast within her own party — and is widely credited as the reason she lost reelection to her House seat.

Rep. Bennie Thompson says the committee's work will "provide a roadmap to justice"

Posted December 19, 2022 at 1:30 PM EST

The recommendations and referrals announced today represent accountability and "will help provide a roadmap to justice," Democratic Rep. Bennie Thompson of Mississippi, the committee's chairman, said in his opening remarks.

Thompson said that American democracy is built on faith. "When we drop that ballot in the ballot box, we expect the people named on the ballot are going to uphold their end of the deal," he said.

Former President Donald Trump broke that faith, Thompson said as he laid out the first hints of today's expected criminal referrals. "He lost the 2020 election and knew it. But he chose to try to stay in office through a multi-part scheme to overturn the results and block the transfer of power. In the end, he summoned a mob to Washington, and knowing they were armed and angry, pointed them to the Capitol and told them to fight like hell," he said. "There's no doubt about this."

The committee's full report will be made public later this week. The committee will also make public "the bulk of its non-sensitive records" by the end of the year, Thompson said.

NPR Special Coverage

In public testimony, Republican witnesses have provided unforgettable moments

Posted December 19, 2022 at 1:25 PM EST
Cassidy Hutchinson, an aide to former White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows, is sworn in to the Select Committee to Investigate the January 6th Attack on the United States Capitol hearing to present previously unseen material and hear witness testimony in Cannon Building, on Tuesday, June 28, 2022.
Tom Williams
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CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Images
Cassidy Hutchinson, an aide to former White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows, is sworn in to the Select Committee to Investigate the January 6th Attack on the United States Capitol hearing to present previously unseen material and hear witness testimony in Cannon Building, on Tuesday, June 28, 2022.

The January 6 committee is mostly made up of Democrats, but multiple standout moments from its public hearings have notably come from Republicans.

In NPR’s live special coverage of the committee hearing, NPR congressional correspondent Susan Davis pointed to Cassidy Hutchinson, a former assistant to former Chief of Staff Mark Meadows, who witnessed Trump’s reactions to the violence at the Capitol on Jan. 6.

“The case against the president that this committee has made was built on testimony by the president’s men and women, and that’s important to remember as people might look at this through a partisan lens, that Republican sources of information provided the most damning testimony against the Republican president,” Davis said.

NPR’s Special Coverage: 🎧 You can follow along onyour local NPR member station or using the NPR One app.

Just In

The hearing is underway

Posted December 19, 2022 at 1:08 PM EST

Chairman Bennie Thompson (D-Miss.) has officially launched the Jan. 6 committee's final public meeting.

We expect a vote on criminal referrals shortly. Stay tuned!

Context

Who sits on the House Jan. 6 Committee?

Posted December 19, 2022 at 12:56 PM EST

The nine committee members, all members of the House of Representatives, have more or less moved in lock and step in terms of committee decisions.

Here’s a look at who's who:

1. Chairman Bennie Thompson

U.S. Rep. Bennie Thompson (D-MS), pictured here speaking to media following a hearing on Oct. 13. 2022, chairs the bipartisan House Select Committee investigating the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol.
Tasos Katopodis
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Getty Images North America
U.S. Rep. Bennie Thompson, D-Miss., pictured here speaking to media following a hearing on Oct. 13. 2022, chairs the bipartisan House Select Committee investigating the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi appointed the Mississippi Democrat as committee chair. Thompson is also chairman of the Homeland Security Committee, in which he and Ranking Republican John Katko, R-N.Y., teamed up to pass legislation to investigate the attack on the Capitol. The measure passed the House but failed to overcome Republican opposition in the Senate.

2. Republicans Liz Cheney and Adam Kinzinger

U.S. Rep Adam Kinzinger (R-IL) and Rep. Liz Cheney (R-WY), pictured here during a hearing on Oct. 13, are the only two Republicans on the House Select committee, making them two to watch.
Alex Wong
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Getty Images North America
U.S. Rep Adam Kinzinger, R-Ill. and Rep. Liz Cheney, R-Wyo., pictured here during a hearing on Oct. 13, are the only two Republicans on the House Select committee.

Only two lawmakers crossed the aisle to vote in favor of the committee and went on to join its ranks: Republicans Liz Cheney of Wyoming and Adam Kinzinger from Illinois.

Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy had suggested five other Republicans to serve on the committee, three of which had voted against certifying the 2020 presidential election results.

Citing statements made by two of the nominees, Pelosi turned down Reps. Jim Banks of Indiana and Jim Jordan of Ohio to preserve the integrity of the investigation, she said. McCarthy in turn pulled all five tentative committee members, leaving just Cheney and Kinzinger to serve on the committee.

3. Six more Democrats

Other committee members include three lawmakers from California: Zoe Lofgren, Adam Schiff and Pete Aguilar. There's also Florida’s Stephanie Murphy, Maryland's Jamie Raskin and Virginia’s Elaine Luria.

What about the rioters who stormed the Capitol on Jan. 6?

Posted December 19, 2022 at 12:49 PM EST
Trump supporters clash with police and security forces as they storm the US Capitol in Washington D.C on January 6, 2021.
Roberto Schmidt/AFP via Getty Images
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AFP
Trump supporters clash with police and security forces as they storm the US Capitol in Washington D.C on January 6, 2021.

The criminal referrals that come out of today's committee meeting won't involve the rioters who stormed the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021.

Federal law enforcement is handling the investigations into the estimated 2,000 people who may have been involved in the attack.

So far, more than 900 people have been charged with crimes related to the riot. Law enforcement has arrested alleged rioters in almost every state as well as the District of Columbia.

According to NPR's database of individuals charged, 483 people have pleaded guilty to one or more charges stemming from the riot. In total, more than 350 people have been sentenced, and over half of those have received prison time. About a dozen criminal cases have been dismissed.

More than 30 individuals have gone on trial, almost all of whom were convicted on at least one charge — including Stewart Rhodes, the founder of the far-right group the Oath Keepers, who was convicted in November of seditious conspiracy and other offenses.

➡️Check out NPR's database of Jan. 6 cases here.

ICYMI

Here's who didn't cooperate with the Jan. 6 committee's subpoenas

Posted December 19, 2022 at 12:39 PM EST
WASHINGTON, DC - OCTOBER 13: The U.S. House Select Committee to Investigate the January 6 Attack on the U.S. Capitol plays a video of former U.S. President Donald Trump's former White House political advisor Steve Bannon during a hearing on the January 6th investigation in the Cannon House Office Building on October 13, 2022 in Washington, DC.
Pool/Getty Images
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Getty Images North America
The House Jan. 6 committee plays a video of former White House political advisor Steve Bannon during a hearing Oct. 13.

The committee has issued approximately 100 subpoenas to individuals, organizations and corporate entities since it began its investigation.

The extensive list includes Republican lawmakers, Trump allies, even the ex-president himself. And though many of those who were subpoenaed cooperated with the committee, others did not.

The full list of subpoenas issued can be found here, but here are some of the notable names:

Steve Bannon

Breitbart News founder Steve Bannon, who also served as Trump’s chief political strategist, said “all hell is going to break loose” on his far-right podcast on the day before the Jan. 6 attack.

He was subpoenaed by the committee in September 2021, and after Bannon openly mocked the panel and its demands, he was indicted for refusing to provide documents and failing to appear before the committee.

A judge sentenced Bannon to four months in jail and fined him $6,500 this past October, a lesser sentence than the six months and $200,000 federal prosecutors sought.

The U.S. Secret Service

The committee subpoenaed one of the nation’s elite law enforcement agencies for deleted text messages from the days leading up to and after the Jan. 6 attack along with other electronic documents.

The Secret Service complied with the request and handed over more than 1 million emails, recordings and other electronic records to the committee.

The materials obtained through that subpoena showed that the Secret Service knew there was a threat of violence leading up to Jan. 6, and that agents feared for the vice president’s life.

Trump and members of his family

Donald Trump was subpoenaed at the end of the committee’s final hearing in October. And though many of his family members cooperated with the panel voluntarily, others did not, including Kimberly Guilfoyle, one of the former president’s advisors and fiancé of Donald Trump Jr.

The committee also subpoenaed the phone records of the ex-president’s other son, Eric Trump, who — along with Guilfoyle — spoke from the Ellipse on Jan. 6 before the former president told the mob to march on the Capitol.

John Eastman

The former law professor joined Trump’s legal team in August 2020 but is best known for his plan for Trump to use then-Vice President Pence to overturn the election results, despite his understanding that doing so would be illegal. Eastman sought a presidential pardon from Trump but didn’t get one.

Eastman complied with the subpoena but invoked his Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination at least 100 times.

➡️Check out NPR's full subpoena tracker here.

ICYMI

A look at the Jan. 6 committee's timeline

Posted December 19, 2022 at 12:34 PM EST

Today's vote on criminal referrals represents the culmination of years of updates and planning.

The timing of today's meeting is critical: The House Select Committee will dissolve at the end of the current Congress, and some of the members won't be returning to their House seats come January.

Here's a look at how their process has played out:

  • Late June 2021: Speaker Nancy Pelosi and House Democrats established the Select Committee to Investigate the January 6th Attack on the United States.
  • July 27, 2021: The first hearing took place, focused on testimony from four D.C. law enforcement officers who were at the Capitol on Jan. 6. The nine-person panel held a total of 10 hearings.
  • June 13, 2022: The panel's next public hearing was held nearly a year later, a meeting that kicked off a series of hearings — sometimes in prime time — that put the investigation in the public spotlight.
  • June 28, 2022: Cassidy Hutchinson, a former top aide to White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows,delivered bombshell testimony during one of the most-discussed hearings. She said the Trump administration had anticipated the violence days before the attack, and she told the committee that Trump knew his supporters had weapons at the rally on Jan. 6 and asked his security to turn the other cheek.
  • Oct. 13, 2022: The committee subpoenaed Trump to testify and hand over documents. The former president did not comply with the subpoena and sued the panel to avoid testifying.

A constitutional expert explains why today's proceedings matter so much

Posted December 19, 2022 at 12:26 PM EST

The Jan. 6 committee is preparing to vote on criminal referrals against former President Donald Trump on at least three charges: the crime of insurrection, obstruction of an official proceeding of Congress and conspiracy to defraud the United States.

What exactly do those charges mean, and why does the committee vote matter? Morning Edition's Steve Inskeep askedKim Wehle, a former federal prosecutor and current law professor who wrote the book How to Read the Constitution and Why.

Hours before the hearing, Wehle explained that the conspiracy and obstruction charges relate to Trump's alleged efforts to overturn the election results leading up to Jan. 6, like drumming up fake electors or pressuring then-Vice President Mike Pence not to certify the results. The insurrection charge is about what happened that day in the Capitol.

Wehle said it includes "assisting in rebellion against the authority of the U.S.," so it "doesn't require that Donald Trump actually have entered the Capitol."

And if the committee does make criminal referrals, how would the Justice Department conduct an investigation in a way that would reassure people it's not deliberately political?

Wehle calls this week's events "kind of a triumph for the rule of law and for government functioning, that this actually happened in these days." The Justice Department will continue its work with a grand jury privately and confidentially, she adds, and there will be public transcripts of what people have already said.

As Wehle sees it, it's a matter of political conflicts of interest on one hand, and "the rule of law and the potential for political violence moving forward" on the other:

"We need to shore up the structure of the constitution and make it clear that this kind of thing is not OK, there are consequences for these kinds of abuses, because retaining the integrity of the office itself is more important."

🎧Listen to their full conversation here.

Live from NPR

How to listen to NPR's special live coverage

Posted December 19, 2022 at 12:15 PM EST

Looking for a livestream of today's vote? Stick around! We'll embed a live video at the top of this page before the meeting begins at 1 p.m. ET.

➡️ Can't watch the whole meeting? Don't fret: We'll summarize key highlights and bring you analysis from our reporters right on this page.

Looking for live audio of the vote? Well, hey, you're our kind of news consumer! NPR will broadcast live special coverage of today's committee meeting, plus analysis and context from our reporters, beginning at 12:50 p.m. ET.

🎧 You can follow along onyour local NPR member station or using the NPR One app.

Thanks for joining us!

Context

Here are some of the key figures who supported Trump

Posted December 19, 2022 at 12:08 PM EST
(L-R) John Eastman, Jeffrey Clark, Rudy Giuliani
Andy Cross/MediaNews Group/The Denver Post via Getty Images; Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call via Getty Images; Bonnie Cash/UPI/Bloomberg via Getty Images
(L-R) John Eastman, Jeffrey Clark, Rudy Giuliani

The committee today could make criminal referrals for people who supported former President Trump. Here are a few notable ones:

  • John Eastman, an outside Trump attorney, pushed a false theory that Mike Pence could block the certification of the electoral votes when he oversaw the count in Congress on January 6.
  • Jeffrey Clark supported Trump's efforts to overturn the election results. A June hearing revealed a dramatic Oval Office meeting on Jan. 3, 2021, in which top Justice Department officials banded together to prevent Clark, an environmental lawyer at the DOJ, from replacing former acting Attorney General Jeffrey Rosen. Trump was eager to install Clark, an ally, in order to pressure the DOJ to overturn the 2020 election results.
  • Rudy Giuliani, Trump's personal lawyer, was a key figure in the wave of disinformation that spread after President Joe Biden was elected. Committee investigators said Giuliani told Trump in a December 2020 meeting to seize voting machines despite knowing the Department of Homeland Security had no lawful authority to do so.

New York Democratic Rep.-elect Dan Goldman, a former House impeachment lawyer, said the panel could have criminal evidence that the Justice Department would not have without a referral. The panel could be considering referrals for witness intimidation, obstruction of justice and false statements made under oath, Goldman suggested.
For example, during one of the panel's final hearings, Committee Vice Chair Liz Cheney raised concerns of witness tampering tied to Trump, but it's unclear if the panel will pursue a related referral.

"They want to make sure the Department of Justice also evaluates all of the evidence that they've uncovered, to be sure that they're including everything in evaluating whether or not a crime was committed and the charges should be brought," Goldman said.

Context

Besides criminal referrals, what else is the committee considering?

Posted December 19, 2022 at 12:00 PM EST

In addition to criminal referrals to the Justice Department, there could be other categories of referrals as well — to the Federal Election Commission, the House Ethics Committee, and bar associations to discipline attorneys. The Justice Department is separately investigating the Jan. 6 attack with a special counsel.

NPR obtained a small portion of a draft scriptfor the Monday meeting that shows the panel intends to accuse lawyers John Eastman and Kenneth Chesebro of being tied to the conspiracy to overturn the 2020 presidential election.

Former lawyer of former President Donald Trump, John Eastman, appears on screen during the fourth hearing by the House Select Committee to Investigate the January 6th Attack on the US Capitol in the Cannon House Office Building on June 21, 2022 in Washington, DC. (Photo by MANDEL NGAN / AFP) (Photo by MANDEL NGAN/AFP via Getty Images)
Mandel Ngan
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AFP via Getty Images
Former lawyer of former President Donald Trump, John Eastman, appears on screen during the fourth hearing by the House Select Committee to Investigate the January 6th Attack.

Eastman was a Trump ally who helped lead the effort to overturn President Biden's win, while Chesebro has been considered a central figure in the scheme pushing for a slate of fake Trump electors in various states won by Biden.

Chesebro's attorney, Adam Kaufmann, in an emailed statement to NPR, pushed back of that assertion and said his client gave the Trump campaign pro bono guidance on "arcane provisions" of the Electoral Count Act and the 12th Amendment, which outlines procedural steps for electing the president and vice president.

The panel could also refer five House Republicans who were subpoenaed but refused to cooperate to the House Ethics committee: House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, Reps. Jim Jordan of Ohio, Andy Biggs of Arizona, Mo Brooks of Alabama and Scott Perry of Pennsylvania.

But with the congressional session wrapping up in a matter of weeks and Republicans about to take control of the House, it's unlikely the ethics panel will launch any new probe.

When asked at a press conference last week if he was concerned that he and his colleagues might face criminal referrals, McCarthy said, "No, not at all. We did nothing wrong."

🎧Listen to NPR's Claudia Grisales discuss her reporting on Morning Edition.

Context

The committee's criminal referrals carry symbolic — but not legal — weight

Posted December 19, 2022 at 11:49 AM EST

It's important to note that any criminal referrals made by the committee are not legally binding.

Referrals will come in the form of a letter from committee chairman Rep. Bennie Thompson, D-Miss., to the Justice Department making the case for prosecution. The referrals, which hold symbolic and not legal weight, are part of a longer list of recommendations from the committee's subpanel of lawyers.

"We're not piling onto existing prosecutions," Rep. Jamie Raskin, D-Md., said. "We're wanting to make sure that nothing falls through the cracks and the crimes of the most serious gravity are attended to."

Already, in a March court filing, the committee said Trump illegally obstructed an official proceeding — Congress' counting of the Electoral College votes. The committee added Trump "engaged in a criminal conspiracy to defraud the United States."

Trump was subpoenaed by the panel in October, but he filed a lawsuit against the panel to block the move and has not cooperated with its investigation.

Context

Here's what you need to know about today's hearing

Posted December 19, 2022 at 11:42 AM EST

What's happening today?
The nine-member committee, which includes seven Democrats and two Republicans, is expected to discuss its final report during Monday's meeting. The lawmakers will vote on criminal referrals of key players who plotted to keep Trump in office. The panel is expected to consider criminal referrals for fewer than a dozen individuals. Each member will offer presentations highlighting the specific areas the panel worked on over the course of the investigation.

When?
1 p.m. ET

Why does today's meeting matter?
This is the culmination of a lengthy investigation into the attack on Jan. 6, 2021. The committee is also expected to provide its assessment of weaknesses in the electoral system, which members argued enabled Trump and his allies to go as far as they did in their attempts to overturn the results of the 2020 presidential election. The panel will make policy recommendations aimed at better protecting democratic institutions and processes, including reforming the Electoral Count Act.

What's next after today?
The select committee will dissolve at the end of the current Congress, just after the start of the new year. Four members of the panel will not return to the House in 2023: Reps. Liz Cheney of Wyoming and Adam Kinzinger of Illinois, the only two Republican members of the committee, along with Democratic Reps. Elaine Luria of Virginia and Stephanie Murphy of Florida.

ICYMI

Haven’t kept up with the Jan. 6 investigation? Here’s some key highlights

Posted December 19, 2022 at 11:32 AM EST
WASHINGTON, DC - JUNE 09: The room is seen before a hearing held by the Select Committee to Investigate the January 6th Attack on the U.S. Capitol on June 09, 2022 on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC. The bipartisan committee, which has been gathering evidence related to the January 6 attack at the U.S. Capitol for almost a year, will present its findings in a series of televised hearings. On January 6, 2021, supporters of President Donald Trump attacked the U.S. Capitol Building during an attempt to disrupt a congressional vote to confirm the electoral college win for Joe Biden. (Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images)
Drew Angerer/Getty Images
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Getty Images North America
The hearing room is seen before a meeting by the Select Committee to Investigate the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol on June 9, 2022 on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C.

A lot has happened since the committee held its first hearing in July 2021. NPR has rounded up some of the critical takeaways from the investigation to help bring you up to speed.

Law enforcement described the attack as “brutal” in the committee’s first hearing

Four police officers testified before the committee at its first hearing on July 27, 2021. One officer described his engagement with the thousands of protesters at the Capitol as "nothing short of brutal" and condemned politicians who tried to downplay the attack.

The officers called on the committee to find out who was responsible for the attack, noting that all signs pointed to former President Trump. One officer even used a hit man analogy to drive the point home to lawmakers.

"If a hit man is hired and he kills somebody, the hit man goes to jail. But not only does the hit man go to jail, but the person who hired him does," said Pfc. Harry Dunn of the U.S. Capitol Police, adding, "I want you to get to the bottom of that."

Trump tried to pressure Mike Pence into overturning results

Testimony from two advisors to the former vice president painted a picture of Trump trying to strong arm Pence into illegally overturning the 2020 election results, knowing full well that he lost to Joe Biden.

Trump called Pence a “wimp”, among other insults, fueling the crowds who began to call for Pence’s head, and continued to ridicule Pence long after the attack. The public hearing also laid out potential criminal liability for Trump and lawyer John Eastman for conspiring to obstruct Congress.

A tidal wave of Trump allies sought pardons after Jan. 6

"Just say it was corrupt and leave the rest to me and the Republican congressmen," former President Trump said, according to the testimony of former acting deputy attorney general Richard Donoghue.

White House staff and lawyers testified before the committee on June 23, 2022, that at least five members of Congress all sought pardons following the attack on the Capitol: Matt Gaetz, R-Fla.; Mo Brooks, R-Ala.; Louie Gohmert, R-Texas; Andy Biggs, R-Ariz.; and Scott Perry, R-Penn. So did former Mayor of New York Rudy Giuliani, former White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows and lawyer John Eastman.

Though they all denied any wrongdoing, Rep. Adam Kinzinger, R-Ill., said, "The only reason I know to ask for a pardon is if you committed a crime."

A former White House aide said Trump knew protesters were armed and didn’t care

Cassidy Hutchinson, previously an aide to former White House chief of staff Mark Meadows, said in a pre-recorded testimony (played during the Jun. 28 hearing) that Trump knew some protesters were armed when he ordered them to march to the Capitol.

She went on to say that the former president became “irate” when he was told he had to return to the White House instead of joining his supporters at the Capitol. "'I am the effing president, take me up to the Capitol now,'" Hutchinson recalled the then-president saying.

Trump sued the committee after it subpoenaed him in October

At the end of the committee’s hearing on Oct. 22, members unanimously voted to subpoena the former president.

"In short, you were at the center of the first and only effort by any U.S. President to overturn an election and obstruct the peaceful transition of power, ultimately culminating in a bloody attack on our own Capitol and on the Congress itself," Rep. Bennie Thompson, D-Miss., the panel's chair, and Rep. Liz Cheney, R-Wyo., its vice chair, said in a letter to Trump.

The ex-president was supposed to turn over documents and appear before the committee in November, however, Trump decided not to cooperate and instead filed a lawsuit to avoid confronting the panel.

➡️If you're looking for more highlights, check out the big, 14-item list from NPR's Senior Political Editor, Domenico Montanaro.