Yesterday the January 6th Committee had its final, choreographed hearing, and dropped a preliminary 145 page report. One can get a PDF version of the report here. (The full, 1000+ page is scheduled to drop later this week, with various bookhouses scheduled to publish the whole thing. I pre-ordered my copy back in March.)
The preliminary report was in a kind of narrative format, not quite as organized into chapters and subchapters as I had expected. No matter. As is by now well known, the Committee recommends that Trump be prosecuted for four particular violations of federal law. These are:
- Obstruction of an Official Proceeding, 18 U.S.C. § 1512(c)
- Conspiracy to Defraud the United States, 18 U.S.C. § 371
- Conspiracy to Make a False Statement, 18 U.S.C. §§ 371, 1001
- Acting to “Incite,” “Assist” or “Aid and Comfort” an Insurrection , 18 U.S.C. § 2383
So now there is finally a little “meat” on that bone.
But that’s not all.
The Committee also recommended the prosecution of John Eastman, a former professor and dean at the Chapman University School of Law who became one of Trump’s preferred legal advisors. (Eastman, it turns out, also tried to edit his own Wikipedia page to put a more positive spin on his work, but was exposed for that as well.)
And if that’s not enough, the Committee also recommended referring four sitting members to the House Ethics Committee: House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, Representative Jim Jordan, Representative Scott Perry, and Representative Andy Biggs.
Needless to say, none of these four will actually be referred to the Ethics Committee. McCarthy is, after all, the incoming House Speaker (assuming he can get his caucuses’ vote in line to actually deliver for him); Jordan is about to become the chair of the Judiciary Committee; and the other two are House “Freedom Caucus” members who will be immune from an ethics investigation as long as Republicans are in charge.
In addition, as many other commentators have already noticed, making a “referral” to the Department of Justice does not obligate the DOJ to undertake any particular prosecution.
House Republicans have already been saber-rattling about how they are going to investigate the January 6th Committee and how the Committee had better preserve their documentation — which they are already legally obligated to do — but that’s mostly because this is very bad for the GOP. Not so much with their own voters, but mostly with independents, the voting bloc that everyone needs to get to be President, as well as for many other federal offices.
The committee’s work — and how deliberately and carefully they went about it — is definitely not good news for Republicans, no matter how they try to spin it.