The criminal investigation into Donald Trump’s top secret documents stash at Mar-a-Lago has taken over the headlines where Trump is concerned, but the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol remains under investigation as well, with Trump as a focus. The Jan. 6 committee has been quiet since its last hearing on July 21, but that doesn’t mean it hasn’t been doing the work. With just 16 weeks left to finish its job, the committee is expected to hold two more public hearings and release a final report and legislative recommendations.
Last week, Rep. Jamie Raskin told a Maryland audience that the committee will hold “at least two more blockbuster hearings,” with one likely before the end of September. The committee’s hearings in June and July delivered bombshell after bombshell—but there remains a lot of ground to cover.
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The committee has been in negotiations with former Vice President Mike Pence over whether he will testify. Additionally, Tony Ornato, who went from the Secret Service to serving as deputy chief of staff in Trump’s White House (and then back to the Secret Service before leaving the agency in August) has said he will cooperate with the investigation. Ornato and the Secret Service more generally became a significant focus after former Mark Meadows aide Cassidy Hutchinson testified that Trump had lunged at a member of his protective detail in a dispute over whether he would be taken to the Capitol on Jan. 6. An anonymous Secret Service official denied that account on Ornato’s behalf and the Secret Service talked big about officials contradicting Hutchinson under oath, but that hasn’t happened. Also, the agency turned out to have deleted all of the texts from that time frame, so there are big questions to be answered about the Secret Service.
In recent weeks, the committee interviewed members of Trump’s Cabinet, focusing on whether they considered using the 25th Amendment to oust Trump. It also asked Newt Gingrich to testify, and staffers traveled to Copenhagen to see footage from a documentary filmmaker’s project on Roger Stone.
Some of this work may be highlighted at the final hearings, whenever they happen. Additionally, the committee will issue a final report and may publicly release many interview transcripts. All of that should make for fascinating reading. Another objective for the committee is to release legislative recommendations for preventing disruptions to the peaceful transition of power in the future. “People want to make sure that we fortify the democracy against coups and insurrections, political violence and other efforts to usurp the will of the people,” Raskin said recently. Will such legislation pass? Probably not, as long as Republicans have the power to stop it. But once again, it’s important for Democrats to make clear who stands where—even if (or especially if) that confronts Republicans with a tough vote.
Jan. 6 committee conducting interviews with Trump Cabinet officials
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