The most consequential congressional committee in generations started six months after a domestic siege of the Capitol and spent a year seeking evidence from sources who were often reluctant or hostile. It then presented that evidence in captivating televised hearings watched by millions of Americans, and made history by sending the President’s former campaign chairman to jail for conspiracy and witness tampering. In the end, it also uncovered Trump’s own efforts to undermine the election through unsavory means and referred him to the Justice Department for criminal prosecution.
When the committee’s investigative staff wrapped up its work last week, Chairwoman Maxine Waters called Goldston at his Brooklyn Heights home to tell him he was needed for a special subcommittee hearing on Tuesday. It was a sensitive matter, and he should be prepared to take precautions, she said.
Goldston had no interest in aiding a futile partisan cause, but he agreed to attend the hearing, and was impressed by how serious and determined Cheney was to pursue her investigation of a man she believed had compromised democracy. As the two talked in her hideaway, it was evident she had no intention of failing, not even in a cause that might cost her political career.
Despite its successes, the committee faced many internal challenges in its final days together. Four of its members lost their re-election races (Cheney, Luria, Adam Kinzinger and Stephanie Murphy), retired from Congress or were defeated in the 2022 midterms (Dick Cheney and Pete Aguilar). And many of its senior staffers left under less than amicable circumstances. Senior technical adviser Denver Riggleman quit after several committee members accused him of leaking to the media, and Candyce Phoenix left as chairwoman of the Purple Team investigating domestic extremists for disagreements with the committee’s direction.
But the committee’s investigative staff remained undaunted, and a new generation of staffers was preparing to take up the task. Earlier this month, the panel approved a rough timeline for upcoming public hearings and a possible interim report in the summer, with a final report before the November midterm elections. The panel will continue to push for cooperation from Republican lawmakers who communicated with the White House on Jan 6 and may try to subpoena former White House counsel Pat Cipollone, who has cited executive privilege to avoid discussing direct conversations with Trump.
The committee’s Democratic members, led by Torres, remain committed to the cause. But they say they haven’t been given complete information about the new subcommittee’s plans and schedule and are concerned that Republicans will continue to deny the true violence and intent of the Jan. 6 riots. The Democrats will not boycott the hearings, but they haven’t been planning to be as active as their counterparts on the original Jan. 6 select committee. The minority leader’s office is in discussions with the new committee to ensure they have a full role in any proceedings.