The House Select Committee investigating the Jan. 6 Capitol attack is expected to address a number of key themes during six public hearings in which it will demonstrate that Donald Trump broke the law as he sought to annul the results of the 2020 elections.
The panel has previously said – and won – in court that it believes Trump and his top advisers conspired to obstruct congressional proceedings and defrauded the United States, as part of an effort to obtain documents otherwise privileged.
But as it lays out the basis for reaching that conclusion, the select committee also aims to use the hearings to place the attack on Capitol Hill within a larger context of efforts to overturn the election, with the involvement of the former president as a common thread.
Here are the main themes to consider during the hearings.
How involved was Trump?
What Trump knew, and when he knew it, was the focus of the select committee’s concerns. House investigators have reached the conclusion behind closed doors, according to sources familiar with the matter, that Trump was the common thread running through all efforts to nullify the election.
The panel has evidence of a number of potentially illegal schemes, including the plot to seize voting machines or the plan to send fake voters to Congress to potentially persuade then-Vice President Mike Pence, to refuse to certify states with “duel” lists. .
But the central question has long been whether Trump had prior knowledge — through his network of political operatives — of the Capitol attack. It remains unanswered, but it appears he was aware of the political plan to prevent Biden’s election certification.
Did Trump break the law?
As the investigation progressed, the select committee seemed to indicate that it had amassed enough evidence of potential criminality on the part of Trump as he unsuccessfully sought to return to the White House for a second term.
At a business meeting last year, panel vice chair Liz Cheney suggested while reading the U.S. criminal code that Trump, by not stopping the attack on Capitol Hill through “inaction”, has violated a federal law that prohibits obstructing congressional proceedings.
A federal judge ruled earlier this year that Trump and an attorney, John Eastman, who advised the former president on post-election legal strategies, on a preponderance of evidence, likely also openly conspired to obstruct Congress and defraud. United States.
Is the evidence sufficient to file a complaint?
The question to consider in the hearings is whether the select committee appears to have the evidence to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that Trump and his top advisers committed crimes – either for an obstruction charge or for other related crimes.
Final conclusions on the strength of the evidence will likely come after the hearings, when the panel releases its final report, currently scheduled for September, and whether it shows corrupt intent on the part of the former president – a key benchmark.
The select committee will also decide at this stage whether to initiate criminal proceedings. But regardless of the credentials, whether Trump or anyone else is charged with crimes related to Jan. 6 remains a call for the Justice Department alone.