WASHINGTON -- The House committee investigating the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol released its 845-page final report on the effort to overturn the 2020 election, the panel's final major action in its 18-month groundbreaking inquiry.
The release of the full report late Thursday came three days after the committee voted Monday to formally accuse former President Donald Trump of inciting insurrection, conspiracy to defraud the United States, obstruction of an act of Congress and one other federal crime as it referred him to the Justice Department for potential prosecution. While the referrals do not compel federal prosecutors to take any action, they signaled that Congress believes the former president committed crimes.
"The work of the select committee underscores that our democratic institutions are only as strong as the commitment of those who are entrusted with their care," House Speaker Nancy Pelosi wrote in a foreword to the report.
The committee already released the report's executive summary, a lawyerly, 154-page narrative of Trump's relentless drive to remain in power after he lost the 2020 election by 7 million votes. The summary identified co-conspirators who aided Trump, but it said the evidence pointed to one straightforward conclusion: "The central cause of Jan. 6 was one man, former President Donald Trump."
The riot gravely threatened democracy and "put the lives of American lawmakers at risk," the nine-member panel concluded.
The committee on Wednesday and Thursday released more than 40 witness testimony transcripts, which showed nearly two dozen witnesses invoking their Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination. More of them, as well as attachments, will be released before the end of the year.
The report's eight chapters of findings tell the story largely as the panel's hearings did this summer -- describing the many facets of the plan that Trump and his advisers devised to try and void President Joe Biden's victory. The lawmakers describe his pressure on states, federal officials, lawmakers and Vice President Mike Pence to game the system or break the law.
Trump's repeated claims of widespread voter fraud resonated with his supporters, the committee said, and were amplified on social media, building on the distrust of government he had fostered for his four years in office. And he did little to stop them when they resorted to violence and stormed the Capitol.
The report also contains the committee's legislative recommendations, which are designed to prevent future presidents from attempting a similar plot. The panel has already endorsed overhauling the Electoral Count Act, the law that Trump and his allies tried to exploit on Jan. 6 in an attempt to cling to power. The House is scheduled to give final approval to that overhaul today.
The committee's report is the result of an investigation that included more than 1,000 witness interviews and a review of more than 1 million pages of documents, obtained after the panel issued more than 100 subpoenas.
The nine-member panel was made up of seven Democrats and two Republicans.
Both Rep. Bennie Thompson, D-Miss., the committee's chair, and Rep. Liz Cheney, R-Wyo., the committee's vice chair, wrote forewords to the report.
"Our country has come too far to allow a defeated president to turn himself into a successful tyrant by upending our democratic institutions, fomenting violence and, as I saw it, opening the door to those in our country whose hatred and bigotry threaten equality and justice for all Americans," Thompson wrote.
Likewise, Cheney focused her remarks on her long-stated goal: Ensuring Trump never gets near the reins of power again.
"No man who would behave that way at that moment in time can never serve in any position of authority in our nation again," Cheney wrote of Trump's actions on Jan. 6. "He is unfit for any office."
The massive report comes as Trump is running again for the presidency and also facing multiple federal investigations, including probes of his role in the insurrection and the presence of classified documents at his Florida estate. This week is particularly fraught for him, as a House committee is expected to release his tax returns after he has fought for years to keep them private. And Trump has been blamed by Republicans for a worse-than-expected showing in the midterm elections, leaving him in his most politically vulnerable state since he won the 2016 election.
It is also a final act for House Democrats who are ceding power to Republicans in less than two weeks, and have spent much of their four years in power investigating Trump. Democrats impeached Trump twice, the second time a week after the insurrection. He was acquitted by the Senate both times. Other Democratic-led probes investigated his finances, his businesses, his foreign ties and his family.
Trump has tried to discredit the report, slamming members of the committee as "thugs and scoundrels" as he has continued to dispute his 2020 loss.
In response to the panel's criminal referrals, Trump said: "These folks don't get it that when they come after me, people who love freedom rally around me. It strengthens me."
Information for this article was contributed by Luke Broadwater of The New York Times and by Mary Clare Jalonick, Eric Tucker, Farnoush Amiri, Lisa Mascaro, Jill Colvin, Nomaan Merchant and Michael Balsamo of The Associated Press.