Olivier Contreras/AFP via Getty Images
The curtain fell Thursday evening on the January 6 Committee’s Summer Hearings, a series which, through highly produced presentations and explosive testimony, gave audiences an inside view of what led to the attack. of the Capitol.
The Democratic-led panel presented its investigation into eight hearings in June and July, laying out its case that former President Donald Trump was at the center of a voter fraud plot that ultimately led to the insurgency on Capitol Hill – one he knew could turn violent but did nothing to stop.
Was Thursday’s hearing really the last?
No. The House Select committee on January 6 made it clear that it would resume hearings in September.
Republican Vice President Liz Cheney, R-Wyo., opened the latest summer hearing by noting the progress the committee has made, but she added that there is now new evidence and more witnesses to consider.
“The doors opened, new subpoenas were issued and the dam started to break,” Cheney said.
Already, in preparation for Thursday’s presentation, aides to the select committee had hinted that future hearings might take place.
Tasos Katopodis/Getty Images
And committee chairman Bennie Thompson, D-Miss., recently told reporters that the committee could release an initial report in September, followed by a final report later this year. The findings would be accompanied by hearings, he said.
“We just get a significant amount of information,” Thompson said. And the new evidence “pushes the timeline back.”
What’s next for the panel?
Cheney also noted during this week’s hearing that the panel will now return to its investigative mode for the next several weeks.
“Our committee will spend August researching emerging information on multiple fronts, before convening new hearings in September,” Cheney said.
Committee members had been reluctant to call this next step the committee’s last. On the contrary, some, like California Democratic Rep. Pete Aguilar, simply call it the “next chapter.”
“There are issues we want to get to the bottom of and significant progress we’ve made during the hearings to date,” Aguilar told NPR. “I’m looking forward to continuing and doing more work, but ultimately we’re committed to finding the facts, to finding the truth and that’s what we seek to do.”
With the intention of releasing its findings in the form of reports and additional hearings, the committee is racing to process new evidence along the way.
For example, the panel is currently examining allegations that the Secret Service deleted text messages during a two-day period surrounding the January 6 attack. Department of Homeland Security Inspector General Joseph Cuffari claimed the messages were deleted after a request from his office, while the Secret Service denied the allegations, saying the deletions were part of a migration from the system.
A subpoena only returned one text message, a select committee aide and members said. The Secret Service says it produced thousands of documents in response to the subpoena, issued last week, and is conducting a forensic analysis to try to recover the texts.
“I think the important thing to note is that they didn’t turn over the texts that we were looking for,” committee member Stephanie Murphy, D-Fla., told NPR.
This, as the panel seeks to further corroborate the sworn testimony of former Trump White House aide Cassidy Hutchinson, the former senior aide to Trump chief of staff Mark Meadows, who shared a fresh wave explosive testimonies at an emergency hearing. last month.
There are also looming questions about whether the panel will decide whether to officially recommend a criminal referral of Trump to the Justice Department, and whether he or former Vice President Mike Pence should be officially asked to testify.
With Republicans expected to take control of the House in the fall, the committee faces a deadline before a new Congress sits next year.
Members are aware their ongoing investigation may continue until the midterm elections in November, but echoing Aguilar’s remarks, they pledge to unearth all possible findings by the end of the year.
Will the panel’s report lead to concrete actions?
The report should lay the groundwork, following as closely as possible the 9/11 commission report, of the causes that fueled the January 6 attack and the means to ensure that another siege does not happen again. never.
It will encompass much of what the panel shared during its hearings, uncovered through witness interviews and evidence obtained through requests for documents and records.
The committee could include recommendations for legislative fixes to try to thwart new efforts to circumvent US election laws. This includes potential proposals to reform the Electoral Count Act of 1887.
Many said the law was outdated and badly in need of reform. Several proposals have already made the rounds of Congress, pushing to raise the threshold for objection to the results of a state’s presidential election and revamp the role of the vice president as chair of the mostly ceremonial matter.
Members of the January 6 panel argued that the law was weak enough to allow Trump to attempt to manipulate the 2020 election by trying to force Pence to overturn last year’s results.
And last week, a bipartisan Senate group swept through the proposals, reaching agreement on a plan to address the murky law and other election safeguards. The legislation could potentially attract the 60 votes needed to pass the Senate.
The senses. Susan Collins, R-Maine, and Joe Manchin, DW.Va., led the 16-member effort, including nine Republican co-sponsors, in an evenly divided Senate.
“From the beginning, our bipartisan group shared a vision for drafting legislation to correct the flaws of the archaic and ambiguous Voter Count Act of 1887,” the U.S. senators said in a joint statement.
The Senate’s pull could bode well for future negotiations with the House to finally push the legislation onto President Biden’s desk.