Nearly one year after Jan. 6, investigation into riot in full force
The House select committee’s investigation into the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol is in full force as the U.S. prepares to mark one year since the deadly riot rocked the nation.
The House established the panel in June and tasked it with investigating the facts, circumstances and causes connected to the Jan. 6 attack. Since then, lawmakers have spoken with more than 300 people, issued more than 40 subpoenas requesting testimony and documents, and held a public hearing that at times included emotional testimony from four police officers who were at the Capitol fending off rioters that day.
The facts and circumstances of the Capitol riot extend beyond the Hill’s grounds to the White House and a nearby hotel in which lawmakers say associates of former President Trump devised plans to overturn the election on the day Congress was set to certify President Biden’s win.
Rep. Bennie Thompson (D-Miss.), the chairman of the select committee, made the rounds on the Sunday political shows, where he detailed several aspects of the committee’s investigation.
Thompson revealed during an appearance on CNN’s “State of the Union” that the panel has requested information from the Willard Hotel in downtown Washington, D.C., which in the lead-up to Jan. 6 reportedly served as a war room for Trump’s team. The location and gatherings within have become a key focus of the panel.
Rudy Giuliani, former New York City Police Commissioner Bernard Kerik and lawyer John Eastman were all reportedly present at the hotel before the riot, according to The New York Times. Kerik, who was subpoenaed by the committee, has since handed over a trove of documents to the panel, including a document that outlined how they would pressure Republican lawmakers to vote in favor of overturning election results from certain states.
Thompson, during another interview on NBC’s “Meet the Press,” said the congressional panel has asked the National Archives for videos Trump recorded as the riots were taking place.
He said the president recorded videos from the White House “before the right one was released,” referring to the one-minute clip the president posted on social media urging his supporters to leave the Capitol “in peace.”
The new details from Thompson regarding the investigation, which has largely taken place behind closed doors, comes as Washington braces for the one-year anniversary of the attack, which led to several deaths, including that of a Capitol Police officer.
The House will hold a moment of silence and a prayer vigil. Historians Jon Meacham and Doris Kearns Goodwin are also participating in a conversation “to establish and preserve the narrative of January 6th,” according to a letter from House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.)
Trump is also planning to hold a news conference from Mar-a-Lago on Thursday in which he is expected to bolster claims that the 2020 presidential election was rigged, allegations that have been proved false. He is likely to also tease a potential run in 2024.
New polling suggests that a majority of Americans believe Trump is in part responsible for the incident, while other surveys show that some Americans believe political violence is sometimes warranted.
An ABC News-Ipsos poll found that 58 percent of Americans believe Trump bears a great deal or good amount of responsibility for the incident. Forty-one percent of respondents said he bears just some or no responsibility.
One in three Americans said in another poll it could sometimes be “justified for citizens to take violent action against the government,” which is up significantly from previous years.
One year after the attack and roughly six months after starting its work, the committee is signaling that it may be nearing the final stages of its investigation.
Thompson told NBC’s Chuck Todd on Sunday that the panel believes it is “in a good place” to begin the process of drafting a report.
“We will meet and establish timeline for the production of the report because there’s some legislation that we hope to recommend with this report that Congress needs to adopt so that what occurred on Jan. 6 will never happen again,” Thompson said.
Thompson also told ABC’s “This Week” host George Stephanopoulos that the committee is looking at legislation to address intelligence gathering and the coordination of resources to protect the Capitol.
That would come after other changes related to security were made last year.
Last month, Biden signed a bill that makes it easier for Capitol Police to request emergency assistance from the National Guard or federal law enforcement agencies during emergencies without prior approval from the Capitol Police Board.
Capitol Police Chief J. Thomas Manger, during a rare television appearance, told “Fox News Sunday” the new authority is “crucial” and a “big improvement” and “would have prevented something like Jan. 6 from happening.”
Manger also said the department’s planning has become “much more well thought out” in the aftermath of the attack because it now knows if it will need additional assistance for different events “ahead of time.” He called the change “one of the improvements that we’ve made since Jan. 6.”
Thompson’s signal that the panel is nearing the drafting stage comes as pressure is mounting on the congressional investigators to complete their work ahead of the November midterm elections.
If Republicans take control of the House — which is a real possibility considering sinking poll numbers for Biden and the fact that the party needs to flip only five seats in November — the future of the committee and its investigation could be in jeopardy due to GOP opposition of the probe.
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