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What to Expect From the Jan 6th Special Select Committee

What to Expect From the Jan 6th Special Select Committee

Now that House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has created the House select committee to investigate the January 6th insurrection, it reopens the possibility of a comprehensive investigation into the myriad security failures and the causes of the deadly attack on Congress by the pro-Trump mob who breached the Capitol doors with the intention of stopping the certification of the 2020 Presidential election.

The committee was created after Senate Republicans blocked a 9/11-style bipartisan commission to investigate the Capitol attack, fearful of scrutiny that could tarnish their party ahead of the 2022 midterm elections and possible personal fallout from whatever the questioning would uncover.

WASHINGTON DC – JANUARY 6 Thousands of Trump supporters violently stormed the Capitol to support the President’s baseless claims and lies that he won the election on January 6, 2021 in Washington DC. Trump has asked his supporters including members of the extremist male chauvinist group Proud Boys to protest the election results. (Photo by Michael Robinson Chavez/The Washington Post via Getty Images)

The special select committee will have subpoena power and a broad mandate to examine the facts, circumstances, and causes of the Capitol attack against the seat of American democracy. Now six months after the attack, there are several key issues that the committee may look at more closely than others:

*What were Trump and members of his administration doing during the attack? At some point, after he delivered his incendiary speech to thousands of supporters opposite the White House, the former president watched TV coverage of the unfolding insurrection from the Oval Office. It’s also been noted that neither Trump nor any member of his staff or family was evacuated out of the White House to a secure location. All reports indicated the family watched the events unfold live along with the rest of the world.

Trump also knew that the rioters had breached the Capitol since he was told in real-time over the phone by Republican senator Tommy Tuberville that his colleagues were being evacuated from the chamber. Yet Trump did nothing to call off his own supporters. Nor did he act later when he was begged to do so by House minority leader Kevin McCarthy. Only after a few hours into the siege did he record a brief and uninspiring message to ask the rioters to go home, but almost none of them saw it while breaching the Capitol. In conflicting accounts, Trump later claimed he called in the national guard, but his acting defense secretary Christopher Miller later testified that he never spoke to the former president during the entire day.

The committee is also expected to tackle the other looming questions from the day, such as why were police and US intelligence agencies so unprepared, why did it take so long to get the National Guard deployed, and most significantly, was there any coordination between Trump White House officials, Republican lawmakers, and the rioters?

An organizer of the “Stop the Steal” rally, Jim Arroyo, who also leads the Arizona chapter of the rightwing Oath Keepers militia group, has previously said that three members of Congress “schemed up” the events of 6 January with him. House Republican and longtime Trump ally Paul Gosar was certainly among the lawmakers who participated in the rally that immediately preceded the Capitol attack, though he has denied any involvement with the insurrection. The same can be said for freshman Reps Marjorie Taylor Greene and Lauren Boebert, among other House Republicans.

The DoJ is also investigating whether a number of House Republicans provided tours of the Capitol and other information about the Capitol complex to people who might have gone on to be part of the Trump mob.

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