bennie thompson and liz cheney
Photo by Mandel Ngan at AFP

WASHINGTON — The House Select Committee investigating the Jan. 6 attack on Congress and the attempt to overthrow the 2020 election met for the final time on Monday, approving its report and the criminal referrals to the Justice Department. Thus far just the executive summary has been published.

Speaking to reporters after the hearing, Chairman Bennie Thompson (D-MS) said “we felt very strongly about the four [referrals], so we went with that…it was just something that the committee didn’t come to agreement on."

"The Department of Justice, through its investigative tools that exceed those of this Committee, may have evidence sufficient to prosecute President Trump under Sections 372 and 2384. Accordingly, we believe sufficient evidence exists for criminal referral of President Trump under these two statutes," the summary says. It goes on to cite Section 2383, which provides penalties for those who "incite," "assist" or "aid and comfort" to an insurrection. The final piece cites the possible obstruction of its investigation.

"If we are to survive as a nation of laws and democracy, this can never happen again," Thompson said at the start of the committee meeting.

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The insurrection piece explains: "As explained throughout this Report and in this Committee’s hearings, President Trump was directly responsible for summoning what became a violent mob to Washington, DC, urging them to march to the Capitol, and then further provoking the already violent and lawless crowd with his 2:24p.m. tweet about the Vice President," the summary also says "Even though President Trump had repeatedly been told that Vice President Pence had no legal authority to stop the certification of the election, he asserted in his speech on January 6 that if the Vice President 84 'comes through for us' that he could deliver victory to Trump: 'if Mike Pence does the right thing, we win the election.' This created a desperate and false expectation in President Trump’s mob that ended up putting the Vice President and his entourage and many others at the Capitol in physical danger. When President Trump tweeted at 2:24 p.m., he knew violence was underway. His tweet exacerbated that violence."

There were plenty of opportunities for Trump to stop the violence, they said, but he refused, instead watching as it panned out on live television.

"Depending on evidence developed by the Department of Justice, the President’s actions with the knowledge of the risk of violence could also constitute a violation of 18 U.S.C. § 372 and § 2384, both of which require proof of a conspiracy," the summary continues. "Section 372 prohibits a conspiracy between two or more persons 'to prevent, by force, intimidation, or threat, any person from accepting or holding any office, trust, or place of confidence under the United States, or from discharging any duties thereof, or to induce by like means any officer of the United States to leave the place, where his duties as an officer are required to be performed, or to injure him in the discharge of his official duties.'"

They went on to cite those members of the Oath Keepers who were charged with seditious conspiracy and those who were convicted of violating Section 372.

With additional reporting by Matt Laslo