January 6 survey: why we only scratched the surface

In text messages to then-White House chief of staff Mark Meadows days after the 2020 election, Trump Jr. lays out leads regarding the election outcome.

The reconstructed account we learned from the House committee investigating the events of January 6 The insurgency has long suggested that former President Donald Trump and his supporters are actively trying to overturn the 2020 presidential election. These new developments — expect more to come — fuel this narrative.

What the House Committee has

Rep. Liz Cheney, the Republican from Wyoming who broke with her party to join the committee, said Sunday it was “absolutely clear” that Trump and a number of people around him knew their actions were “unlawful.” but “did it anyway”.

“I think what we’ve seen is a massive, well-organized, well-planned effort that used multiple tools to try to overturn an election,” she told CNN’s Jake Tapper on “State of the Union “.

Cheney disputed that there was a split on the committee over whether to recommend charges against the former president.

Judge open to challenging Marjorie Taylor Greene candidacy

In the meantime, there are other avenues of accountability. Georgia federal judge appears ready to allow GOP challenge The candidacy of Representative Marjorie Taylor Greene for re-election.

Why? The 14th Amendment to the US Constitution prohibits elected officials from returning to elective office if they have supported an insurrection.

Note: A similar lawsuit against Rep. Madison Cawthorn, a Republican from North Carolina, was dismissed. Learn more about CNN’s Marshall Cohen.

What we know about what will happen next

To find out what we know about what happens next with the House committee and its investigation into Jan. 6, I spoke to Ryan Nobles, CNN’s congressional correspondent and one of the reporters who published the news. details on Trump Jr.’s text messages. Our conversation, conducted via email and slightly edited, is below.

Will these new developments change mentalities?

WHAT MATTERS: Your report (with Zachary Cohen and Annie Grayer) significantly changes the narrative of this story and directly involves the president’s son: it exposed ways to circumvent the election results for the White House chief of staff. Is this evidence, which doesn’t look good, likely to inspire more Republicans to reconsider the facts?

NOBLE: Color me with skepticism that anything presented by the Jan. 6 committee upsets rank-and-file Republicans, especially those who are die-hard supporters of President Trump. That said, the committee continues to uncover hard and incontrovertible evidence of the extensive efforts of the former president and his political cronies to try to prevent certification of the 2020 election.

What is most remarkable about our reporting is the fact that we learned how early these plans were made. Donald Trump Jr. sent this text to Mark Meadows two days after the election, when the votes were still being counted and before one of the major news networks had declared Joe Biden the winner.

The job the committee is doing may not be so much about convincing a broad spectrum of Republicans — perhaps it’s more about convincing Attorney General Merrick Garland that Trump’s plot amounts to a criminal conspiracy, worthy of an indictment. Which, at this stage, is still a tough sell.

When should we expect the endgame?

WHAT MATTERS: We learned bit by bit what the committee discovered. What can we expect him to allege in his final report?

NOBLE: The committee was hesitant to set a firm deadline for its work. It is generally accepted that he must wrap things up before the midterm elections. If the Republicans win this election and take control of the House, either the committee will be shut down or its mission will be radically changed.

I think based on my own reading of his progress, we’d expect a final report sometime after Labor Day and before Halloween – enough to make it part of the midterm election conversation, but far enough away that it can stand on its own.

But before that, we are still awaiting a series of prime-time public hearings, which promise to be explosive and feature testimony we have yet to hear.

As for what the final report will reveal: The committee has promised to write the definitive account of the events leading up to and on January 6. They plan to hire a professional writer who will write the report and make it accessible reading, not a stuffy legal document. It will also contain legislative proposals to prevent such a situation from happening again.

What the committee is still wrestling with is how it presents the information it has uncovered that could show a crime has been committed.

Could the DOJ decide to do nothing?

WHAT MATTERS: How likely is the committee to allege a criminal conspiracy to nullify the election and the Justice Department decides to do nothing about it?

NOBLE: I think that remains the biggest open question and has been the biggest question since the committee was formed.

The committee could offer an official criminal referral to the Department of Justice. It has no legal weight and might even turn against you as it will be seen as political.

Instead, he can simply lay out the report’s findings and hope that Garland and the DOJ take over the investigation from there.

There is a very real possibility that justice will choose not to act. There isn’t much case law to guide a prosecution like this, and election laws are murky when it comes to charging someone with a crime in regards to trying to prevent certification of the vote.

We also don’t know if the committee found a definitive link between efforts to undermine the election and the violence on Capitol Hill on Jan. 6.

There is an election coming up. We don’t know how it will affect him.

WHAT MATTERS: What role do the upcoming midterm elections play in all of this?

NOBLE: It is twofold:

  1. That’s why the committee has a shot clock. He can’t risk the Democrats lose the election, then the House committee lose his power as a result. The committee must first do the work.
  2. The second aspect is how it works to stir the base on both sides.

We’ve seen Republicans use the committee before to accuse Democrats of conducting a partisan witch hunt. Democrats have been less inclined to lure Jan. 6 into the campaign conversation, instead trying to focus on the work they’ve done with domestic politics, particularly the trillion-dollar infrastructure bill.

The timing of the final report will be interesting. If this provides tangible, direct evidence that Trump and perhaps even some congressional Republicans played a direct role in inciting violence on January 6, it could change the conversation.

However, if it falls flat and is left open to interpretation, or can be used in a disinformation campaign, it could help Republicans.

There is no doubt that its impact on the midterm elections could be considerable, but at the same time unpredictable.

What’s left to learn? A lot.

WHAT MATTERS: Do you expect there to be more facts that we haven’t learned, like with the Texts by Donald Trump Jr.? Are there more bombs to drop?

NOBLE: How many ways can I say “yes”? I’ve been covering the January 6 investigation since January 7, 2021, and I still feel like I’ve only scratched the surface of what the committee likely uncovered.

Only Meadows text messages are a treasure trove of information on their own. Only a few dozen or so have been made public, and the committee has 4,000 of his texts in its possession.

The committee also collected thousands of documents from the Trump archives and interviewed hundreds of witnesses who have first-hand insight into the events leading up to and on January 6. We still have so much to learn.

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