- The Washington Times - Monday, December 19, 2022

Former President Donald Trump was the “central cause” of the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the U.S. Capitol by a mob seeking to overturn the 2020 presidential election, the House Jan. 6 Committee said Monday in a summary of its final report that Democrats hope, in part, will derail Mr. Trump‘s 2024 presidential bid.

The161-page document, released during what is expected to be the panel’s final public proceeding, presents what the committee said is a factual overview of 17 specific findings pointing to the former president’s “multi-part plan to overturn the election.”

The findings specifically accuse Mr. Trump of disseminating false allegations of election fraud related to the 2020 presidential contest, pressuring state and local election officials in the wake of the election, summoning his supporters to Washington on Jan. 6, and inciting violence by his supporters at the Capitol.

“In the committee’s hearings, we presented evidence of what ultimately became a multi-part plan to overturn the 2020 presidential election,” the executive summary reads. “That evidence has led to an overriding and straight-forward conclusion: the central cause of January 6th was one man, former President Donald Trump, who many others followed.”

“None of the events of January 6th would have happened without him,” the committee concludes in the report.

The findings include “very specific evidence of each of the principal elements of President Trump‘s multi-part plan to overturn the election, along with evidence regarding intelligence gathered before January 6th and security shortfalls that day.”

Monday’s interim report also provides the committee’s legal justification for criminal referrals against the former president, including inciting an insurrection, obstructing an official proceeding, conspiracy to make a false statement, making false statements and conspiracy to defraud the government.

The panel voted unanimously during its hearing to refer the charges to the Justice Department in a rare escalation by Congress against a former president for actions taken while he was in office.

“The committee recognizes that the Department of Justice and other prosecutorial authorities may be in a position to utilize investigative tools, including search warrants and grand juries, superior to the means the committee has for obtaining relevant information and testimony,” the report states.

The former president would face up to 10 years in prison for inciting or assisting an insurrection, the most serious charge proposed by the committee, should the Justice Department decide to prosecute. The charge would also bar Mr. Trump from holding public office in the future.

“The committee has developed significant evidence that President Trump intended to disrupt the peaceful transition of power and believes that the Department of Justice can likely elicit testimony relevant to an investigation under Section 2383,” the report said, citing the statute that refers to inciting or assisting an insurrection.

“Evidence obtained by the Committee also indicates that President Trump did not want to provide security assistance to the Capitol during that violent period,” the report continues. “This appalling behavior by our Commander in Chief occurred despite his affirmative Constitutional duty to act, to ensure that the laws are faithfully executed.”

Committee members have emphasized that the Jan. 6, 2021, riot was part of a coup engineered by Mr. Trump when he encouraged a rally of his supporters to “fight like hell” at the Capitol to disrupt congressional certification of his loss to President Biden.

The panel said Mr. Trump, who has announced he’s running for the presidency in 2024, still poses a threat to American democracy.

Mr. Trump has condemned the committee’s investigation as a partisan “kangaroo court” and said its findings were preordained.

The committee’s full report is expected to be released later this week.

• Joseph Clark can be reached at jclark@washingtontimes.com.

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