U.S. House Select Committee holds final public meeting to release report on Jan. 6, 2021 assault on Capitol in Washington

Key takeaways from the Jan. 6 committee report summary

After a year and a half of work and interviews with more than 1,000 witnesses, the House committee investigating the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol has begun to release some of its final report. On Monday, the panel approved what is essentially an executive summary of those conclusions.

The panel voted unanimously to adopt its final report and refer former President Donald Trump for criminal prosecution. This is the first time in American history Congress recommended a criminal referral against a former U.S. president.

Read the Jan. 6 committee’s summary of its final report.

Criminal referrals for Trump

U.S. House Select Committee holds final public meeting to release report on Jan. 6, 2021 assault on Capitol in Washington

A slide reading “The Big Lie” is seen during the Jan. 6 committee’s last public meeting of its investigation into the Jan. 6 Capitol attack. Photo by Jonathan Ernst/Reuters

For Trump, the committee concluded there is enough evidence to convict, and therefore recommend the Department of Justice to make the following criminal charges:

  • Obstruction of an official proceeding. The “proceeding” being the Jan. 6 meeting of Congress itself.
  • Conspiracy to defraud the United States. The committee argued this happened in multiple ways, including Trump’s lies about the 2020 election, then-Vice President Pence’s role in certification, among other issues.
  • Conspiracy to knowingly make a false statement. The committee said Trump broke this statute by participating in a plot to submit fake slates of electors.
  • Assisting, aiding or comforting an insurrection. The committee believes Trump incited the U.S. Capitol attack, but notes he was impeached on that charge already. The report summary specifically concludes there is enough evidence to convict, and, therefore, charge him with “assisting, aiding or comforting” the insurrection. The focus here is on his actions as the attack unfolded — and his lack of action in not stopping it.


In its last public meeting Monday, the Jan. 6 committee introduced a video presentation that laid out key findings and evidence throughout its investigation.

On Trump

Across 161 pages, the committee also lays out 17 central findings, which cover two areas: Trump’s alleged misconduct and how law enforcement and the Pentagon handled the attack. Twelve of the conclusions accuse the former president of specific misconduct and the leading role related to the events of Jan. 6, 2021:

  • Using lies and provocation. Starting election night 2020, the committee’s report summary states that “Donald Trump purposely disseminated false allegations of fraud” in order to overturn the election outcome and raise money. Those lies directly provoked his supporters on Jan. 6.
  • Not honoring the Constitution. Trump did not honor his constitutional obligation to “take Care that the Laws be faithfully executed,” the committee concluded, but instead plotted to overturn the election outcome.
  • Pressuring Pence. Trump knew it was illegal, but he “corruptly pressured” then-Vice President Mike Pence to refuse to count electoral votes on Jan. 6, the committee found.
  • Targeting the Department of Justice. According to the committee, Trump tried to convince DOJ officials to lie to help overturn the election. When that failed, he offered the job of acting attorney general to a man — Jeffrey Clark — who, according to past witness testimonies, planned to do those things.
  • Pressuring state officials. Without evidence and against the law, Trump pressured state officials and lawmakers to change election results.
  • False electors. Trump oversaw an effort to create and submit false electoral certificates to Congress and the National Archives.
  • Pressuring members of Congress. Trump pressured members of Congress to object to several states’ electors.
  • False information in court. Trump “purposely verified false information” filed in federal court, the committee found.
  • Summoning and provoking the crowd. Trump summoned tens of thousands of supporters to Washington with baseless claims of election fraud. Although those supporters were known to be angry and armed, he instructed them to march to the Capitol to “take back” their country.
  • Condemning Pence during the attack. On Jan. 6, Trump purposely went on social media and condemned Pence, knowing the attack was underway and his own words would incite more violence.
  • Failing to act. For hours, Trump watched the attack, but refused repeated calls to tell his supporters to end the violence and leave the Capitol.
  • Conspiracy. These actions by Trump were each part of a “multi-part conspiracy” to overturn the results of the 2020 election, the committee found.

On pre-attack intelligence and how agencies and law enforcement reacted

The committee looked at the failure of law enforcement to anticipate and guard against the violence at the Capitol. In this area, it spells out five findings:

  • Prior warning of plans for violence. Intelligence agencies and law enforcement knew that militia groups, led by the Proud Boys and Oathkeepers, were planning violence on Jan. 6 and that information was shared with the Secret Service, the president’s National Security Council and others in the executive branch.
  • Left-wing groups were not significantly involved. Antifa and other left-wing groups were not involved “to any material extent” on Jan. 6. In addition, in the days before the attack, intelligence did not back up the idea of left-wing violence.
  • Intelligence and law enforcement missed Trump’s plans. Law enforcement and intelligence agencies did not understand the full extent of Trump, Rudy Giuliani and others’ plans to try to overturn the election results. The agencies “did not (and potentially could not) anticipate” Trump’s provocations of the crowd and the scale of the violence on Jan. 6. No advance assessment from the intelligence community predicted Trump’s behavior.
  • U.S. Capitol Police were unprepared, but other forces were more proactive. Capitol Police leadership was not prepared for and did not expect the scale of the attack. Prior to Jan. 6, the Capitol Police chief suggested the idea of bringing in help from the National Guard, but it was not requested by the Capitol Police Board. The Washington Metropolitan Police Department was more proactive and ultimately deployed about 800 officers. In addition, DOJ anticipated that the day could become violent and had a group of agents ready outside of Washington.
  • Miscommunication at the Pentagon, no assistance from Trump. There was “likely miscommunication” by civilian leaders at the Pentagon, which delayed sending help to the Capitol, the committee concluded, while also stating that there is no evidence this was intentional. In addition, they found that Trump never gave an order to send the National Guard or any other federal support to the Capitol. (The decision to deploy the National Guard was delegated to the Pentagon.)

Although the timing can still change, the panel’s full report is expected to be publicly released as early as Wednesday, when Americans will get more details on all of these revelations.