The final report on the Capitol attack is released by the House Jan. 6 panel
LEILA FADEL, HOST:
The House Select January 6 Committee has released its final report. It comes after an 18-month investigation into the events which culminated in the insurrection at the Capitol in 2021. In more than 800 pages, the report details what led the panel to vote to issue four criminal referrals against former President Donald Trump, among other recommendations. And it lays out a path forward for the panel's findings. Here's Chairman Bennie Thompson.
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BENNIE THOMPSON: We have every confidence that the work of this committee will help provide a roadmap to justice and that the agencies and institutions responsible for ensuring justice under the law will use the information we've provided to aid in their work.
FADEL: To walk us through all of this is NPR congressional correspondent Claudia Grisales. Hi, Claudia.
CLAUDIA GRISALES, BYLINE: Good morning, Leila.
FADEL: Good morning. So what are some of the report's major findings?
GRISALES: It focuses largely on former President Trump's premeditated role in the January 6 attack and goes further into his criminal referrals from the committee. The report is eight chapters long covering false claims of a stolen election, the fake elector scheme, and, quote, "187 minutes of dereliction," referencing Trump's inaction during the siege. One chapter is titled after a federal judge's description of Trump's post-2020 election efforts, calling it a, quote, "coup in search of a legal theory" and captures desperate attempts to overturn the presidential result, such as trying to force then-Vice President Mike Pence to illegally reverse President Biden's win in a ceremonial counting of the vote. Finally, it details ties between extremist groups and Trump allies.
FADEL: So how does the report delve into law enforcement and intelligence failures?
GRISALES: It reiterates other findings that there were significant failures here. For example, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs, General Mark Milley, said before January 6, the probability for violence was clear. And he expected, quote, "street fights when the sun went down."
FADEL: What role does the American public play when it comes to these findings?
GRISALES: The panel says while the danger to the Capitol by an armed and angry crowd was foreseeable, the fact that a president would be the catalyst was unprecedented. The report says, quote, "If we lack the imagination that a president would incite an attack on his own government," it goes on to say, "we lack that insight no more." And it says the best defense against that danger in the future will not come from law enforcement but rather an informed and active citizenry.
FADEL: OK. So what recommendations does the report lay out?
GRISALES: The first is reforms to the Electoral Count Act. This would solidify a vice president's role as ceremonial. And this is part of a major spending bill that could head to President Biden's desk today. It also says it's now up to the Justice Department and courts to take the lead on criminal referrals and that respective legal bar associations should evaluate the conduct of attorneys named in the report, who should not, quote, "undermine the constitutional and statutory process for peacefully transferring power in our government." This includes attorney John Eastman, who was tied to the plot to overturn the result, Kenneth Chesebro, a central figure in the fake elector scheme, and other Trump-aligned attorneys such as Rudy Giuliani.
FADEL: OK. So, Claudia, now that this investigation is done, the report is out. What are the next steps?
GRISALES: There are still more records to come and plenty. For example, a few dozen witness transcripts have been shared so far by the panel, but hundreds more are expected in the coming days as the panel will sunset December 31.
FADEL: NPR's Claudia Grisales, thank you so much.
GRISALES: Thank you much. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.