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The most consequential congressional panel in generations has ended its work with a dramatic and historic conclusion: a report that criminally refers a sitting president to the Justice Department. The committee strove for months to gather evidence from sources who were often reluctant or hostile, and then presented it in captivating televised hearings seen by millions. The final product of the committee’s labors was a trove of evidence that Trump repeatedly sought to use his position and power to overturn his election loss while knowing that many of his schemes were unlawful.
It’s a document that’s brimming with details about Trump and his allies, and a number of those facts haven’t previously been revealed. The report reveals, for instance, that Trump’s former adviser Tom Fitton told him before the election that he should “declare victory falsely on election night and illegally call for vote counting to stop” to force Democrats to admit they won the White House. It also reveals that Trump’s former campaign chief Corey Lewandowski communicated with Trump’s national security adviser HR McMaster about the need for a pre-emptive declaration of victory if he won. The report also outlines a series of communications that demonstrate Trump pushed his top allies to make false statements about the election, including a call between Hutchinson and Trump’s then-press secretary Kayleigh McEnany in which he demanded she tell press that he won.
The summary also outlines a series of roadblocks the committee encountered in its investigation, including repeated invocations of privilege by Trump White House counsel Pat Cipollone that prevented it from learning more about his direct conversations with the president following his speech on January 6. But the panel is optimistic that an under-seal court victory the DOJ has already secured will allow prosecutors to obtain that information.
In addition, the panel notes that both Trump and his allies attempted to contact witnesses ahead of their committee testimony. Specifically, the report points to an attempt by Trump to contact the panel’s witness, Ivanka Trump, and describes an angry conversation between Trump and his vice president Mike Pence in which he called the then-vice president “the P word”—a reference to an anti-choice bill that was blocking abortion services in the state of Indiana.
The committee’s work has also sparked discussion at the highest levels of leadership about how to move forward with oversight. While it isn’t yet clear what investigative steps the House will pursue, some members have signaled that they’re willing to step away from partisan political stunts like this and focus on issues like the economy. The House select committee’s full report is available here.