Committee News

The work of the Senate is largely conducted by committees, which scrutinize bills, study issues and examine government spending proposals. A wide range of committees exist, covering everything from domestic extremism to the environment to international relations.

Congressional committees often take on controversial issues that are not considered legislatively feasible or within the scope of their jurisdiction, and some even work outside the confines of their assigned chamber. These committees, referred to as caucuses or informal groups, typically organize around shared issues or philosophies and are not officially recognized by the chamber in which they operate.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi tapped Reps. Jamie Raskin of Maryland and Adam Schiff of California to head up the Jan. 6 committee, and they have uncovered a trove of evidence that would lead most any prosecutor to conclude that former President Donald Trump committed a host of crimes. The summary, which lays out evidence that Trump tried to overpower and pressure anyone who stood in the way of his schemes to overturn his election loss, includes many instances of witness tampering, obstructing justice and interfering with a congressional proceeding.

The panel’s summary also raises questions about whether Trump and his associates violated federal law when they used their vast wealth to finance a campaign that blasted voters with false claims that the election was rigged. It also suggests that Trump and his allies may have obstructively interfered with the committee’s investigation by trying to contact witnesses before they testified.

In addition to recommending that Trump be charged with a litany of violations, the panel’s report recommends that other individuals be prosecuted for process offenses, such as lying under oath and tampering with witnesses. Raskin says more referrals to the Justice Department will be made as evidence is assembled.

As the panel nears its end, members are at a crossroads: Two have decided to leave Congress next year and others face challenging reelections. But Chairman Bennie Thompson sees the work as a legacy, and many of the lawmakers on the committee are already weighing possible leadership positions or presidential campaigns in 2024.

As the committee wraps up its work, it’s releasing dozens of documents and transcripts. The public release will satisfy a demand from some of Trump’s allies who want the panel to reveal more of the context behind witness interviews, which were only played in snippets at hearings. The upcoming releases will also fulfill a promise to make the committee’s raw footage publicly available, and will help address the fact that the panel conducted hundreds of interviews, potentially generating tens of thousands of pages of transcripts and hours of video. All of these upcoming releases will grant the panel a major victory in its attempt to expose the full truth about Trump’s efforts to steal a second term. It’s a legacy that will live on long after the current Congress ends.