The Democrats have preempted Republicans short-lived euphoria on retaking the House by declaring that the party would release the final report of the Jan 6 Congressional Panel headed by Democrat Bennie Thompson and Republican Vice Chair Liz Cheney on the alleged involvement of former President Donald Trump in inciting right wing extremists such as oath keepers and proud boys to invade the Congress building to hold up the election certification process in 2021.
The Republicans, thrilled over their victory in retaking the House of Representatives from the Democrats at 222 to 213, albeit a thin majority, began issuing threats that they would scrap all the panels probing Trump, but the Georgia runoff between Democrat Raphael Warnock and Republican Herschel Walker would deliver a deathly blow on their plans.
The Democrats secured a clear majority in the Senate with 51 to 49 and Vice President on their side with the tie-breaking advantage, giving them enough powers to ensure existing panels are not scrapped and also powers to appoint judges and top-level bureaucrats in various positions in the government, media reports said.
Democrat Adam Schiff said that “facts support” indicting Trump but didn’t name specific charges. The committee is still weighing potential criminal referrals to the Justice Department.
The California Democrat said that facts gathered by the House select committee investigating the January 6 Capitol attack support indictment of former President Donald Trump. Schiff, who is himself a member of the committee, made the comments in an interview with NPR.
The Jan 6 panel faces dissolution by the year end and it is highly unlikely that it will be renewed by a Republican dominated House that will sit in January 2023. Their final report is therefore expected sometime this month, and sources told the NBC news that it could be released on December 21.
The publication of the report would create uncertainties for all the people who have sought preemptive pardons from Donald Trump after the Capitol riots, as per January 6 committee witnesses. At least nine people close to Trump reportedly requested preemptive pardons following the Jan 6 riots.
Former Trump aides named six GOP lawmakers in their testimonies before the Jan 6 panel.
A former aide also said that Mark Meadows and Rudy Giuliani asked the then President for pardons.
At least six Republican members of Congress requested preemptive pardons from Trump in the wake of the Capitol insurrection, according to testimony from former Trump aides last Thursday.
The Congressional panel investigating the Jan 6 riots hosted six public hearings since it began its hearings and its findings include public damning testimony from former staffers in the Trump administration.
Matt Gaetz and Marjorie Taylor Greene were among the six GOP lawmakers who also asked Trump to pardon them for their efforts in trying to overturn the 2020 elections, media reports said.
In the hearing on June 28 this year, Cassidy Hutchinson, a former White House aide, testified that former Trump lawyer Rudy Giuliani and former White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows were among those who asked the former President for a preemptive pardon after the pro-Trump mob descended on Capitol on January 6, 2021.
Hutchinson had also previously testified that former Republican Jim Jordan of Ohio had discussed pardons with the White House but never asked for one.
NPR’s Steve Inskeep asked Schiff if he believed Trump had committed “specific prosecutable crimes on January 6”.
“Yes, I do,” Schiff said, citing a federal judge who ruled in March that Trump had likely “corruptly attempted to obstruct the Joint Session of Congress on January 6, 2021”, which could amount to felony obstruction.
Meanwhile CNN reported on Wednesday citing unnamed sources that the committee was considering criminal referrals for Trump and some of his allies. Those referrals could include people who refused to cooperate in the committee’s investigation or for specific crimes committed on January 6, Schiff said.
The Congressman said the committee planned to release the evidence it has gathered before Republicans take over the chamber.
“We intend to make our evidence public and, in that way, make sure that is accessible to everyone, to the Justice Department, so that when the Republicans take over, they can’t cherry-pick certain evidence and mislead the country with some false narrative,” he said as quoted by the Insider.
Trump’s representative declined to respond to the Insider’s request for comment.