A committee is a group of people tasked with examining a specific issue, such as an ongoing controversy or a proposed law. Once the committee has finished its work, it reports back to its parent body. Its report usually includes details about the methods used, the facts uncovered, and any conclusions reached. Some committees use very informal procedures while others follow more formal rules (such as the parliamentary procedure set forth in Robert’s Rules of Order Newly Revised).
The House select committee investigating the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the Capitol has published its full report. The summary paints a clear picture of former President Donald Trump as the instigator behind the chaotic insurrection and lists many reasons why he should be prosecuted.
Among the most damning accusations in the summary, the panel points to two Trump appointees at the Justice Department who abused their positions and acted unethically. One of them, former acting assistant attorney general for the civil division Jeff Clark, helped Trump weaponize the Justice Department in his attempt to overturn the election. The committee alleges that he “intentionally injected the Department into the presidential election on behalf of the President, risking creating or exacerbating a constitutional crisis.”
Another problematic figure mentioned in the summary is Justice Department deputy counsel Pat Cipollone, who was reportedly the liaison between the White House and the select committee during the final weeks of Trump’s administration. The summary cites several instances in which she invoked the Fifth Amendment privilege against self-incrimination and refused to testify about her direct conversations with Trump. The panel, however, is optimistic that an under-seal court victory will allow prosecutors to subpoena her for testimony soon.
The committee also calls out a number of Republican lawmakers who refused to comply with committee subpoenas and other requests for information. The summary alleges that several of them downplayed or defended Trump’s behavior in real time during the Capitol attack. For example, it references a text from then-White House communications director Hope Hicks to a colleague that night: “Mark please tell the President to calm things down this isn’t normal.”
The committee also highlights how some of the individuals who faced Trump’s wrath in the wake of the Capitol attack received death and rape threats and feared for their safety. In a number of cases, they were pressured by their political opponents to seek pardons from the administration. The committee concludes that these tactics were both illegal and dangerous.