Committee News

A committee, or commission, is a group of people subordinate to a deliberative assembly that is responsible for exploring certain matters in greater depth than would be possible within the assembly itself. Most assemblies send matters into committees as a way to avoid unnecessary debate or discussion that might impede the deliberative process. Committees may be used to study legislation, investigate allegations of misconduct, or conduct other business. There are a variety of procedures for running a committee meeting, including rules (such as Roberts Rules of Order Newly Revised) and formalities such as requiring motions before allowing members to speak. Some committees are very informal, and some are more structured.

Congress assigns many of its most important matters to committees, and the results of a committee’s work are presented in reports to the full Assembly. The Assembly can then either adopt the report, discharge the committee from the matter, or refer it to another body that can handle the issue.

The House’s select committee that investigated the riot at the Capitol on Jan. 6 issued a summary Monday that lays out 17 findings that support the committee’s decision to make criminal referrals to the Justice Department. It includes evidence that Trump pushed fraud allegations to mobilize his supporters, and it notes that he knew the claims were false but continued to amplify them anyway. The committee also says that Trump and his allies tried to contact witnesses ahead of their testimony. The panel cited several examples of this, including Trump White House staffers, Trump attorney Charlie Burnham, Ivanka Trump and Rudy Giuliani.

While the report did not directly accuse anyone of obstructing its investigation, it did mention roadblocks the committee ran into as it pursued its evidence, such as invocations of privilege by former Trump White House counsel Pat Cipollone to keep her from speaking about direct conversations with the President. The committee, however, is optimistic that a recent court victory will allow it to access the details of those conversations through grand jury subpoena power.

The summary also revisits the plight of election workers like Ruby Freeman and Wandrea “Shaye” Moss, who faced death and rape threats after the committee heard testimony from them. The summary also points to a number of instances in which Trump or his allies attacked those who came forward to testify, including calling into question the authenticity of their statements.

The summary notes that many of the crimes the committee is referring to the Justice Department for prosecution are related to witness tampering, obstruction of justice, and lying to federal agents. It does not go into specifics about the evidence it has gathered, but it is expected that the full committee will lay out its recommendations in a full report later this year. The committee also plans to release all non-sensitive transcripts and documents by the end of this year. It also expects to file its final report with the Clerk of the House by then.