Saturday, November 27, 2021

How lawmakers are investigating the January 6 Capitol riot

WASHINGTON – The House committee tasked with investigating the deadly January 6 riots at the US Capitol has stepped up its efforts in recent weeks, issuing subpoenas to nearly 20 individuals, including four advisers and associates of former President Donald Trump.

Lawmakers on the committee have made it clear that they want to act quickly to obtain evidence and documents related to the attack. One witness summoned to testify, former Trump White House adviser Steve Bannon, faced contempt charges after refusing a subpoena.

Here’s a more detailed look at the committee, its mission and how it works:

WHY IS THE CONGRESS RESEARCHING?

Unlike some previous investigations during the Trump era, including the Russia investigation and the impeachment investigation into Trump’s interactions with Ukraine, the basic facts of the January 6 uprising are known. A group of Trump supporters, fueled by his false claims of a stolen election, brutally attacked police and broke into the Capitol to thwart confirmation of President Joe Biden’s victory.

But questions about the attack on the Capitol still remain unanswered, and lawmakers say they are committed to full reporting so that it never happens again.

The committee is looking into all aspects of the riot, including what Trump himself did as it unfolded, and any links between the White House and the rioters who broke into the building.

The group is also investigating how the protests leading to and during the uprising were financed, including the January 6 Ellipse rally prior to the riots.

“The biggest black box – what was the role of the president? What role did people play in the White House? What did the president know about who was going to this rally? “This was stated in an interview with C-SPAN by the chairman of the intelligence committee of the House of Representatives, Adam Schiff, who is a member of the commission. “And what did he do when he found out?”

The California Democrat added, “There are many important questions that have no answer.”

Trump’s allegations of widespread electoral fraud have been vigorously rejected by a string of judges, election officials and Trump’s attorney general, William Barr. In no case were there any scale deviations that would affect the outcome.

WIDE REQUEST

Another goal of the committee is to find out why the US Capitol police, as well as federal, state and local law enforcement agencies were so poorly prepared for the rally that escalated into an uprising, and whether their response after it began was inadequate. The factors behind the attack, including the role of technology companies and online platforms such as Facebook and Twitter, are also being studied.

Committee members expanded their investigation last week when they brought to court Jeffrey Clark, a former Justice Department attorney who has positioned himself as an ally of Donald Trump. Clark’s demands for documents and testimony that helped Trump challenge the 2020 election results reflect the committee’s interest in the chaos that followed at the Justice Department, as Trump and his allies relied on government lawyers to push their false campaign claims. …

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The committee plans to build on the findings of other ongoing investigations, including the large-scale prosecution by the US Department of Justice of more than 600 rioters from nearly every state. But ultimately, the final report that the committee produces will be decoupled from the Justice Department’s efforts.

WHAT POWER IS THE PANEL?

At the moment, the group is conducting closed interviews, rather than open hearings, trying to get a complete picture of everything that happened that day and who was behind it.

But this is not always easy to do – especially with aides and confidants of the former president, who learned during his presidency that rebuffing Congress has little consequence.

The chairman of the committee has the power to issue subpoenas, as well as to bring charges of contempt of court against witnesses summoned to court who refuse to obey. On Tuesday, the committee will begin the process with a vote to recommend contempt charges against Bannon, who ignored last week’s subpoena.

The full chamber will then vote to forward this recommendation to the Justice Department, which will then decide whether to initiate a case. Biden said he would like the Justice Department to open a criminal case, but Attorney General Merrick Garland did not specify what he would do.

WHAT IS AHEAD?

To date, the Jan. 6 commission has issued 19 subpoenas as thousands of pages of documents arrive at the committee and its staff.

In addition to Bannon, lawmakers said they were “interacting” with two other Trump officials – former White House chief of staff Mark Meadows and former Defense Department official Kashyap Patel. It remains unclear whether Dan Scavino, Trump’s longtime director of social media and one of his most dedicated aides, will collaborate.

Of the subpoenas issued, 13 were addressed to officials who helped plan pre-attack rallies in support of Trump, including a mass event on the day of the siege at which the president told his supporters to “fight like hell.”

These men were ordered to appear for separate testimonies, which the committee ordered from late October to early November.

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