The committee’s report on the events of January 6, 2021 will finally be presented next Wednesday. It won’t be too early.
Hundreds of those involved in the attack on the Capitol on January 6, 2021, have already been indicted, but the key political actors involved have yet to be held accountable, and the ultimate culprit for that failed coup remains comfortably pinned to his lair in Florida.
Expectations are very high for this report, which should lead to recommendations of criminal proceedings against the former president based on solid evidence.
Will he be the only one? That remained to be seen.
It was time
This report is long overdue. The facts could have warranted a political condemnation of Donald Trump in his second impeachment trial, but Republicans did not dare alienate his supporters.
The launch of a House investigative committee has been long overdue, and the committee has been criticized for its inaction, but evidence uncovered during public hearings last summer tempered those criticisms.
This report came late, but the committee members may have wished they had a few more weeks to complete the work.
A mountain of evidence
The commission has uncovered a wealth of evidence that will prove that the events of January 6 were part of a concerted plan to overturn the 2020 elections, nothing more and nothing less than an attempted coup.
The evidence continued to mount. For example, transcripts of text messages between Trump’s chief of staff, Mark Meadows, and 34 Republican lawmakers contain hurtful passages, including one where a congressman urges the then president to invoke martial law to remain in office.
These new elements revive the debate about the expected depth of the prosecution’s recommendations that will be submitted to the Minister of Justice.
Who will take the blame?
How far will the prosecution’s recommendations go? All panelists will likely agree that former President Trump bears much of the blame for inciting the violent insurrection that has already been prosecuted and the participants who purported to act on his behalf convicted.
It is not clear that the two Republican members of the committee want to blame these attacks on democracy on the Republican Party itself.
The key question to which the report will provide some answers is whether the authoritarian temptation we saw in action on January 6 was just a temporary spasm associated with the temporary aberration that Donald Trump represents, or whether it was a symptom of a deeper democratic malaise. Which has extensive and permanent roots in the Republican Party.
If the GOP is to blame, its members will likely resort to a cynical interpretation of the report’s findings as a mainly partisan exercise by Democrats, allowing the most extreme and anti-democratic elements to consolidate their hold on the party.