Jan 6 Capitol attack: Trump behind multi-part conspiracy
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The House Select Committee has accused former president Donald Trump of a “multi-part conspiracy” to overturn his election defeat three months earlier.

On late Thursday night, the panel, which investigated the January 6 Attack on the US Capitol, released the final report – a detailed 845-page document prepared after over 1,000 interviews and 10 public hearings.

Placing the blame for storming of Congress squarely on the former president, it also recommended barring Trump from public office in the future.

Earlier on Monday, the panel of seven Democrats and two Republicans recommended the Justice Department investigate Trump – who is mounting another White House campaign – for aiding an insurrection and three other federal crimes.

The Democratic chairman of the select committee, Bennie Thompson of Mississippi, wrote in a foreword to the eight-chapter report that it was once “unimaginable” the president of the United States would incite a mob to march on the Capitol.

Key findings:

Trump made false claims

The former Trump’s decision to falsely declare victory on election night 2020 was “premeditated”, and that only his lawyer, Rudy Giuliani, supported this action. The former president soon began making unfounded claims of widespread voter fraud, and continued to do so with more frequency after the election was called for Joe Biden.

Several advisers and lawyers close to Trump say they did not believe these claims of fraud or could find no evidence of the phenomenon.

Most notable among those voices was former Attorney General William Barr, who told the committee during a deposition: “I made it clear that I did not agree with the idea of saying the election was stolen and putting out this stuff, which I told the president was [expletive.]”

Effort to corrupt DOJ

The committee report also lays out in detail what it describes as an effort by the former president to “corrupt the Department of Justice.”

In the aftermath of the election, Barr informed Trump that all of the investigations into election irregularities undertaken by the Department of Justice had failed to find evidence of fraud sufficiently large to overturn the results of the balloting. In the face of Trump’s continued claims of fraud, Barr announced his resignation in December 2020.

The report documents that, in the weeks that followed, Trump took a number of steps to try to persuade senior officials in the department to issue statements expressing doubt about the results of the election.

Trump found an ally in DOJ attorney Jeffrey Clark, an official in the department’s Civil Division, who drafted a document for the department to send to election officials in Georgia, falsely claiming that the department had “significant concerns” about possible fraud that might have affected the election outcome there and in other states. The document, which was never transmitted, also urged the state legislature to consider overturning the election result in that state.

The report chronicles a dramatic showdown in the Oval Office, in which Trump proposed installing Clark as acting attorney general. The most senior officials in the department all told the president that if he took that step, they would immediately resign.

His rhetoric brought rioters to Washington

The committee makes the argument that the attack on the Capitol was sparked by Trump himself. In addition to Mr Trump’s repeated fraud claims, the committee points to a 19 December 2020 tweet, in which the former president wrote: “Big protest in DC on January 6. Be there, will be wild!”

In depositions and court documents, rioters and militia members who were present at the Capitol that day cited the tweet as their rationale for coming to Washington.

He failed to act during the riot

The committee argues that Trump did not take action as the January 6 attack commenced, and that he ignored warnings coming from Congress that a serious attack was unfolding.

Some of their conclusion rests on the testimony of former White House staffer Cassidy Hutchinson, who appeared in a dramatic hearing earlier this year and also gave depositions about the chaos she says she witnessed in the White House that day.

Far-right planned and acted

Tips about armed groups targeting Washington and even the Capitol specifically started coming in December 2020. The report notes that the FBI was sent messages circulating on groups run by the far-right Oath Keepers and Proud Boys.

Attempt to overturn results

Part of Trump’s plan to remain in office revolved around a controversial reading of the US Constitution, which he believed allowed Vice-President Mike Pence, who would preside over the election certification, to declare him the victor.

On 6 January, he attempted to call Pence, shouting at aides to get him on the phone, the report states. The former president then falsely told Pence he had the power to intervene in the certification.

Witnesses told the committee that Trump called the vice-president a “wimp” and said he was “not tough enough”.

But it was not limited to Pence only as Trump had earlier unlawfully pressured state officials and legislators to change the results of the election in their states.

No public office in future

The panel has made 11 recommendations as a result of its investigation. One cites the constitution, which states an individual who has taken an oath to support the US Constitution but has “engaged in an insurrection” or given “aid or comfort to the enemies of the Constitution” can be disqualified from office.

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