- The report is expected to include eight chapters tracking hearings in June and July.
- The report comes after the panel recommended the Justice Department charge Trump with insurrection.
- The committee also recommended Ethics Committee inquiries for four Republican lawmakers.
WASHINGTON – The waiting game resumes Thursday for the final report of the House committee that investigated the Capitol attack on Jan. 6, 2021, after a delay from Wednesday for the visit of Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy and unspecified logistical hurdles.
However, the committee released files from dozens of witnesses it interviewed, though some of the documents remain sealed.
The report culminates an 18-month inquiry into the worst attack on the Capitol since 1814, with recommendations for legislation to prevent another attack. Republicans who will take control of the chamber in January labeled the panel partisan and illegitimate, so the report will be the panel’s final pitch in the court of public opinion.
Here is what we know so far:
- Publix heiress Julie Fancelli was prepared to contribute as much as $3 million to a rally on Jan. 6, 2021 that organizers were calling the “Million MAGA March,” according to interview transcripts.
- John Matze, a co-founder and former CEO of the alternative social media platform Parler, faced questioning by the committee on the platform’s efforts to moderate violent rhetoric before and after the Jan. 6, 2021 riot.
- Nick Fuentes’ lawyer told the panel in February that Fuentes had been notified he was “a subject and possibly a target” of an investigation by the U.S. attorney for the District of Columbia.
The latest on the report and the files:
Publix supermarket heiress pledged up to $3M for ‘Million MAGA March’ on Jan. 6
Publix heiress Julie Fancelli was prepared to contribute as much as $3 million to a rally on Jan. 6, 2021 that organizers were calling the “Million MAGA March,” according to interview transcripts released Wednesday by the House committee investigating the Capitol riot.
Trump fundraiser Caroline Wren sent her a proposal roughly two weeks earlier and within days, Wren texted a colleague to report that she was at Fancelli’s house and had secured the money.
“Guess what the budget is she just gave me for our bus project?” she wrote, according to texts described by investigators. “$3 million…”
The colleague, Trump aide Taylor Budowich, replied with “lol”s, and “probably could do it for that,” before remarking, “rich people are so odd.”
Fancelli did not answers investigators’ questions about the exchange or many others, pleading the Fifth Amendment. She did tell investigators she never intended to fund anything but a peaceful rally.
– Donovan Slack
Trump White House chief of staff Mark Meadows met with the chief U.S. archivist in December 2020 without former President Donald Trump’s knowledge to discuss Trump’s presidential library and the document-retention protocol for the administration’s end, according to a transcript of testimony from Jan. 6 committee witness Cassidy Hutchinson.
According to Hutchinson, Meadows said Trump was left in the dark on the Dec. 9, 2020 meeting because the former president didn’t want his staff to begin working on a “post-election period” yet. Asked whether he agreed with Trump’s thinking, Meadows quipped “Well, I had the meeting, didn’t I?,” Hutchinson said.
“I understood that comment to mean that Mr. Meadows knew it was the right thing to do, to begin having meetings discussing an end of the Trump administration, but also that he needed to keep also trying to balance the interests and ensure that the President wasn’t going to get angry at him,” Hutchinson told the panel. “He was sort of trying to do this a little bit more quietly.”
The FBI uncovered classified documents at Trump’s Mar-a-Lago estate in Palm Beach, Florida, earlier this year, which is a subject of a special counsel investigation concerning the former president.
– Ella Lee
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What we know about the final Jan. 6 report
John Matze, a co-founder and former CEO of the alternative social media platform Parler, faced questioning by the committee investigating the Capitol attack on the platform’s efforts to moderate violent rhetoric before and after the Jan. 6, 2021 riot.
In a May interview, Matze was asked when aggressive language on the platform went from protected speech to unprotected speech worthy of investigation by law enforcement. He primarily pleaded the Fifth Amendment to questions asked by the committee.
Questions asked by the committee indicated Parler employees were aware the events of Jan. 6, 2021 could turn violent. One employee sent a Parler post, not detailed in the interview, to the FBI along with the message, “More where this came from. Concerned about Wednesday.”
The committee also asked Matze questions about the presence of extremist groups like the Proud Boys, Oath Keepers and Three Percenters on the social media platform, which he declined to answer.
– Ella Lee
- The committee on Monday recommended the Justice Department charge Trump with four crimes: inciting the insurrection, obstruction of Congress, conspiracy to defraud the United States and conspiracy to make false statements.
- The committee also recommended Ethics Committee investigations of four House Republicans for defying subpoenas: Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy of California and Reps. Jim Jordan of Ohio, Andy Biggs of Arizona and Scott Perry of Pennsylvania.
Jan. 6 committee witnesses sidestepped questions on fake elector scheme
Questions about a plot to use slates of fake electors in battleground states to overturn the 2020 election were sidestepped under questioning by the House committee investigating the Jan. 6, 2021 Capitol attack.
Nevada GOP chair Michael McDonald and national committeeman Jim DeGraffenreid, in February testimony before the committee, pleaded the Fifth Amendment hundreds of times in their interviews with the panel, refusing to answer questions over whether they signed fake certificates pledging Nevada electoral votes to former President Donald Trump.
In one set of questions not answered, a committee investigator asked McDonald about a Nov. 4 text message to an individual named Steve suggesting McDonald was in direct contact with the then-president.
“Was on the phone to President, Mark Meadows, Giuliani, and they want full attack mode,” the text read, suggesting McDonald would participate in a “war room meeting” shortly after with the three.
Two Michiganders – Kathy Berden, a GOP national committeewoman, and Mayra Rodriguez – also declined to answer most substantive questions from the committee about a plot to subvert the election results.
– Ella Lee
Jeffrey Clark, the former Justice Department official who drafted a letter for Trump’s attorney general to send urging state officials to review their 2020 election results for fraud, refused to answer substantive questions from the committee. But that didn’t stop him from giving lawmakers a piece of his mind.
“I think that this is exclusively a political inquiry, not a legislative one,” Clark told the panel at his second deposition Feb. 2. “It also has, I think, pretenses and an underlying purpose of invading the executive sphere, in terms of law enforcement.”
His lawyer, Harry MacDougald, told the panel Clark received a call threatening to chop him into pieces in the Pine Barrens of New Jersey. MacDougald said lawmakers should be embarrassed for implying Clark is guilty of crimes such as treason because he refused to testify.
“My point is that this whole process has gone off the rails,” MacDougald said. “People have lost their minds.”
– Bart Jansen
Nick Fuentes of Berwyn, Illinois, founder of the America First Foundation advocating American nationalism, Christianity and traditionalism, was among dozens of witnesses who declined to answer substantive questions from the committee under his Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination.
His lawyer, Tom Durkin, told the panel at his Feb. 16 deposition that Fuentes had been notified he was “a subject and possibly a target” of an investigation by the U.S. attorney for the District of Columbia.
Fuentes hosts a streaming show on the internet and is a white nationalist, according to the Southern Poverty Law Center, which tracks extremists. He recently dined with Trump at Mar-a-Lago.
– Bart Jansen
Trump, Fuentes, Kanye dined:Donald Trump dined with Holocaust denier Nick Fuentes, rapper Kanye West at Mar-a-Lago
The chairman, Rep. Bennie Thompson, D-Miss., told MSNBC’s Symone Sanders-Townsend on Wednesday the committee secured interviews with witnesses such as fake electors from contested states the Justice Department couldn’t find.
Thompson expressed confidence in the special counsel, Jack Smith, to investigate who organized and financed the Capitol attack beyond the hundreds of rioters who have already been charged. But the committee interviewed more than 1,000 witnesses and is in the midst of sharing those transcripts with the department.
“There were people that we deposed that Justice had not deposed,” Thompson said. “There were electors in various states that Justice couldn’t find. We found them.”
– Bart Jansen
Jan. 6 committee posts files on 34 witnesses who were interviewed
The committee posted files Wednesday on 34 witnesses interviewed during the investigation, an initial signal of how much information the panel will be passing along to the Justice Department for its criminal investigation.
But the release was scant so far. Thirteen of the files, dealing with people such as Trump lawyer Jenna Ellis and broadcaster Alex Jones, remain sealed.
Witnesses in the rest, such as Michael Flynn, Trump’s former national security adviser, Trump lawyer John Eastman and former Justice Department official Jeffrey Clark, refused to answer substantive questions by invoking their Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination.
– Bart Jansen
Among the unanswered questions observers hope are resolved in the report due out Thursday: Just who tampered with witnesses, how and which ones?
Trump tried to contact a witness after a June hearing, committee members have said. Some of Trump’s fundraising proceeds went to pay lawyers for witnesses, one witness was offered a job but it was rescinded.
“The witness believed this was an effort to prevent her testimony,” Rep. Zoe Lofgren, D-Calif., said Monday.
Still, witness tampering was not among the charges the committee recommended to prosecutors but full details remain elusive.
– Donovan Slack
Did Trump loyalist Hope Hicks incriminate the former president?
Hope Hicks, Trump’s communications director in the White House, made a splash at Monday’s committee meeting with a videotaped deposition saying she told him she believed he lost the election and there was no evidence of widespread fraud.
“I was becoming increasingly concerned that we were damaging his legacy,” Hicks said.
She is among more than 1,000 witnesses who cooperated with the investigation while about 30 people refused to answer questions under their Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination. Transcripts for Hicks and other witnesses will be released after the final report and could shed more light on the investigation.
“Next to Dan Scavino, she was Trump’s most trusted aide and one of the only people he listened to,” said Stephanie Grisham, a Trump White House press secretary. “Her constant proximity to the president makes her not just valuable as a witness, but vital.”
– Josh Meyer
Hope Hicks’ Jan. 6 testimony:Will Trump loyalist Hope Hicks’ Jan. 6 testimony incriminate the former president?
Five House Republicans released a report Wednesday arguing congressional leaders and law enforcement left the campus vulnerable to attack on Jan. 6, but that the Democratic-led investigation disregarded those failings.
Findings accused Democratic leaders of seeking to avoid “optics” of a large police presence at the Capitol after Black Lives Matter protests the previous year. Capitol Police lacked training and equipment to deal with a riotous mob, according to the report, which echoed findings of an earlier Senate report.
The GOP lawmakers who wrote the rebuttal are Jordan and Reps. Jim Banks of Indiana, Rodney Davis of Illinois, Kelly Armstrong of North Dakota and Troy Nehls of Texas. The five were nominated to serve on the committee, but House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Calif., rejected Banks and Jordan, and the others withdrew.
– Bart Jansen
Jan. 6 committee members list: Who is on the House panel?
- Rep. Bennie Thompson, D-Miss.
- Rep. Liz Cheney, R-Wyo.
- Rep. Adam Kinzinger, R-Ill.
- Rep. Rep. Elaine Luria, D-Va.
- Rep. Jamie Raskin, D-Md.
- Rep. Stephanie Murphy, D-Fla.
- Rep. Pete Aguilar, D-Calif.
- Rep. Adam Schiff, D-Calif.
- Rep. Zoe Lofgren, D-Calif.