The House select committee that’s examining the riot in the Capitol on Jan. 6 is gearing up to release a report by this summer. Staffers say that will likely be followed by a series of public hearings this winter and spring. The panel is also investigating efforts by the Trump campaign to sway voters in advance of the inauguration, and whether its own legal advisers were involved. The committee has launched a portal to collect tips from the public.
The committee has used emails and phone records it won in a court battle to obtain. One memo by conservative attorney John Eastman lays out step-by-step how then-Vice President Mike Pence could theoretically overturn the results of the Electoral College vote. The committee has cited him as a key figure in its investigation, and pointed to Kenneth Chesebro, another outside lawyer who worked for the Trump campaign.
Congressional investigators have also focused on other legal options that the Trump administration suggested could be used to overturn the election. That includes seizing assets of voting machine companies or declaring a state of emergency and calling in the National Guard to take control of the country. The committee is also scrutinizing efforts by Rep. Mark Meadows, R-N.C., and others to get the Justice Department to pursue criminal charges against the Trump campaign for conspiracy to obstruct Congress.
Some Republican lawmakers who communicated with the White House on the day of the riot have not cooperated with the committee’s investigation. The committee has already sent two contempt of Congress referrals to the Justice Department, but it is unclear if those will lead to prosecutions.
As the select committee wraps up its work, several members are at a career crossroads. A handful are preparing to leave Congress, and two have announced they’re considering presidential runs in 2024. Thompson, the panel’s chairman, sees his work on domestic extremism as a natural fit with his history fighting civil rights in Mississippi.
The other panel leaders, including Vice Chairwoman Yvette Clark, are also at key political crossroads. Some are running for leadership positions, and some have signaled they will not seek reelection next year. That leaves the investigation at a delicate moment, especially since many GOP critics argue that the committee’s approach is biased and partisan. The panel’s Republican members are split on that issue, but the Democratic members have unanimously backed the probe and pledged to continue its work after this term. The next step is for the committee to decide what to do with its final report. It can be reported by the committee, with or without amendments; tabled, which means no further action will take place on it; or referred back to the original committee for more work. A decision will be made by a majority of the committee members who are present and voting.