The congressional committee investigating the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol on Monday concluded a year and a half of work, finding that former President Donald J. Trump and some of his associates violated federal laws, conspired against the United States and should be prosecuted.
At their final meeting, the bipartisan committee of nine House lawmakers released a 160-page summary of their findings, bringing to an end the most comprehensive examination of the violence aimed at stopping the certification of Joseph R. Biden Jr. as the 46th president.
The panel voted 9 to 0 to accept the final report and to urge the Justice Department to consider criminal charges against Mr. Trump and his allies in four separate areas of the law.
Here are some takeaways:
The committee kept its focus on Trump.
The committee’s hourlong presentation focused almost exclusively on Mr. Trump, essentially ignoring findings about intelligence and security failures at the Capitol before and during the attack. The committee also did not dwell on the information it collected about the rise of domestic extremism.
The focus on Mr. Trump had been telegraphed for months as the committee drafted its final report, using it primarily as a means to hold Mr. Trump to account for his actions in trying to prevent the orderly transfer of power after a presidential election. As Representative Liz Cheney of Wyoming, a Republican and the panel’s vice chairwoman, put it: “Every president in our history has defended this orderly transfer of authority, except one.”
In one place, the report laid out the facts of how Trump attempted to stay in power.
The summary of the committee’s final report is a remarkable account of a president’s desperate attempt to stay in office following his election loss to Mr. Biden in 2020.
While it breaks no new ground since the panel’s series of public hearings this summer, the report for the first time brings together all the facts in one place.
Understand the Events on Jan. 6
The report states that even people around Mr. Trump “ultimately admitted that they lacked actual evidence sufficient to change the election result, and they admitted that what they were attempting was unlawful.”
The report laid out, step by step, how Mr. Trump sought to cling to power after losing the 2020 election: first, by lying about widespread fraud, despite being told his claims were false; by organizing false slates of electors in states won by Mr. Biden by pressuring state officials, the Justice Department and Vice President Mike Pence to overturn the election; and finally, by amassing a mob of his supporters to march on the Capitol, where they engaged in hours of bloody violence while Mr. Trump did nothing to call them off.
“That evidence has led to an overriding and straightforward conclusion: The central cause of Jan. 6 was one man, former President Donald Trump, who many others followed,” the report states. “None of the events of Jan. 6 would have happened without him.”
The committee revealed new details from two top advisers: Hope Hicks and Kellyanne Conway.
The committee revealed on Monday the investigative work it had done since the end of their previous hearings. That included the panel’s first interviews with two of the former president’s top advisers: Hope Hicks and Kellyanne Conway.
Ms. Hicks, who served as a senior adviser in the White House, said that when she raised concerns with the former president about the actions on Jan. 6 affecting Mr. Trump’s legacy, he responded that “nobody will care about my legacy if I lose. So, that won’t matter. The only thing that matters is winning.”
The committee also revealed testimony from Ms. Conway, who described telling Mr. Trump that Jan. 6 was a “terrible day.” She recalled him responding: “No. People are upset. They are very upset.”
The events of Jan. 6 hurt Trump but did not knock him out of 2024 contention.
The work of the committee over the past year has already helped to chip away at Mr. Trump’s political standing and his reputation as the nation’s 45th president. Ms. Cheney said again on Monday that Mr. Trump should never “serve in any position of authority in our nation again. He is unfit for any office.”
And yet, Mr. Trump already has announced his pursuit of the presidency again, hoping to reclaim the office he falsely asserts was stolen from him. Despite a rocky campaign announcement and a swirl of potential criminal prosecutions, Mr. Trump remains a central figure in the Republican Party, with strong support across the country. And he has weathered setbacks, both political and legal, before.
The committee’s legacy is still an open question.
The legacy of the Jan. 6 committee is now out of the panel’s hands, and will most likely be determined by federal prosecutors in the coming months. It will be up to Jack Smith, the special counsel appointed to oversee investigations into Mr. Trump’s actions, to determine whether the information sent over by the committee, along with the Justice Department’s own material, warrants charging the former president with any crimes.
That remains an open question. Members of the committee were firm on Monday in their belief that Mr. Trump and the people around him violated four statutes in the planning and execution of the Capitol attack. They are: obstructing or influencing an official proceeding; conspiring against the U.S. government; making false statements to the government; and engaging in insurrection against the government.
Pursuing those charges, or others, against Mr. Trump would be a historic effort to hold the nation’s top official accountable for his actions. But it will be up to the special counsel, and ultimately Attorney General Merrick B. Garland, to decide whether to move forward. Other Justice Department officials will have to decide whether to charge Mr. Trump’s aides as committee members called for.
Meanwhile, Republicans are already gearing up to discredit the committee when they take control of the House in January. Representative Kevin McCarthy of California, who is seeking to become the speaker next year, has vowed to investigate the committee’s work and has demanded that the staff and lawmakers preserve records for that purpose.
The committee has not been a political boon for many of its members.
The end of the Jan. 6 committee is also the end of the House careers of four of the nine members of the panel.
Two of them — Representative Adam Kinzinger, Republican of Illinois, and Representative Stephanie Murphy, Democrat of Florida — decided not to run for re-election in 2022. Mr. Kinzinger faced fierce opposition from within his own party because of his frequent criticism of Mr. Trump and his decision to be part of the Jan. 6 committee.
Two others — Ms. Cheney and Representative Elaine Luria, Democrat of Virginia — lost their House seats in 2022. Ms. Cheney was defeated in her primary campaign in Wyoming after drawing the ire of party officials and voters for her opposition to Mr. Trump and her determination to hold him accountable for Jan. 6. Ms. Luria was defeated in the general election in Virginia.
All four have said they have no regrets about serving on the committee. But it is unlikely to serve as a political steppingstone for many of its members.