After several delays, the January 6 select committee will belatedly release the full findings of its 18-month “investigation” into the Capitol protest on Wednesday. Controversy over the contents of the final report led to infighting among staff. Strong-arming by lame duck Representative Liz Cheney (R-Wyo.), who wanted to focus almost exclusively on the conduct of Donald Trump and omit criticism of law enforcement, prompted some investigators to quit the committee in protest.
Family quarrels were set aside just in time for Christmas. Committee members will gift the Biden regime and news media with a stocking stuffed with all things January 6—shiny toys for all the naughty girls and boys desperate to sustain outrage over a four-hour political disturbance that took place nearly two years ago. Visions of perp walks now dance in their heads.
The public, however, should brace for a blizzard of false accusations, cherry-picked quotes, uncorroborated testimony, and twisted interpretations of the law to substantiate the claim that Trump engineered an “insurrection” in a vain attempt to remain in office. And contrary to the first narrative that gripped regime mouthpieces—that the president incited the crowd with his speech at the Ellipse that afternoon—Trump’s “attempted coup,” as the committee describes the events of January 6, is now said to have been months in the making.
But like the drunk uncle at Christmas dinner, committee members had to spoil their own surprise gift (to the extent any exists in the report) by holding their last performance Monday to announce criminal referrals against Trump for insurrection, obstruction of an official proceeding, conspiracy, and perjury.
Persuading the Department of Justice, now functioning under the ruse of an “independent” special counsel, to charge Trump won’t be too difficult. It will take a bit more heavy lifting to convince the American people that the wide-ranging investigation is a truth- and justice-seeking mission rather than an extension of the nonstop (now stretching over the better part of a decade) crusade to destroy Trump and everyone around him.
If early leaks about what to expect in the final report are accurate, Cheney got her way. Seven of eight chapters will fixate on Trump’s role with little attention paid to how powerful federal and local agencies failed to prevent what happened. The last installment will give an “analysis of the attack on the Capitol,” according to Politico, contrary to early promises made by the committee.
So, what should thinking people look for in the pending report? Here is a partial list:
Identity of the pipe bomber: The alleged discovery of two explosive devices outside the headquarters of the Democratic National Committee and Republican National Committee just blocks from the Capitol—and, conveniently, about 15 minutes before the joint session convened—set off the first wave of panic on January 6. Investigators claimed the pipe bombs had been planted the night before; the FBI promised a full-fledged inquiry and offered a $100,000 reward for information leading to an arrest and conviction.
The story took a turn for the worse when prosecutors admitted in court that Kamala Harris had been inside the DNC building when police seized the device, which the FBI claimed was viable and lethal. Certainly, law enforcement would spare no resource in hunting down the perpetrator who could have assassinated a sitting U.S. senator and incoming vice president?
But that didn’t happen, and the case went cold quickly. General media interest also waned as reporters, including Revolver News’ Darren Beattie, raised troubling questions about aspects of the official story.
The January 6 select committee spent zero time exploring the potential mass casualty event during televised hearings; no witnesses or law enforcement officials publicly testified with an update into the investigation—including Steven D’Antuono, the former head of the Washington FBI field office who led the probe into the pipe bomber. He retired from the bureau on November 30 shortly after House Republicans included his name on a list of interviewees.
The role of the FBI: Which leads to the next big question: Did the panel interrogate anyone at the FBI, including D’Antuono? Since the Justice Department, according to a Senate report, was the lead agency responsible for the federal response to January 6, how did the FBI miss all the warning signs that the committee pieced together?
The question is even more urgent with confirmation that the bureau embedded several informants in two so-called “militias” months before January 6. This should outrage committee members and lawmakers who insisted their lives were in danger that afternoon. Oddly, no one has expressed anger at FBI Director Christopher Wray for failing to protect Capitol grounds. Committee members have not condemned Wray for dropping the ball or demanded accountability.
To the contrary—when Rep. Clay Higgins (R-La.) twice asked Wray during a House Homeland Security Committee hearing in November whether his agency planted informants disguised as Trump supporters inside the building before the breach on January 6, Wray was rescued from answering the question by Chairman Bennie Thompson (D-Miss.), the same Democrat who also chairs the January 6 committee.
And there is still no clarity from the FBI about whether informants engaged in or provoked violent behavior on January 6; when asked the question by Senator Ted Cruz (R-Texas), FBI Executive Assistant Director Jill Sanborn refused to answer.
If committee members didn’t bother to interview Wray, D’Antuono and Sanborn or ask any official to explain the many failures related to January 6, the public—and congressional Republicans—should become even more wary about the FBI’s suspected behind-the-scenes role in fomenting what happened that day.
Ray Epps and other uncharged provocateurs: In one of the weirdest spectacles of the past two years, committee members immediately jumped to the defense of Ray Epps, the ubiquitous January 6 protester who remains uncharged to this day. Reporters, social media influencers, and Republican lawmakers wondered aloud why Epps remained a free man more than a year later when so many others involved in less provocative behavior had been arrested.
Rep. Adam Kinzinger (R-Ill.) strangely branded the questions surrounding Epps a “conspiracy.” A committee spokesman issued a statement dismissing suspicions Epps was an FBI asset. “The Select Committee has interviewed Mr. Epps [who] informed us that he was not employed by, working with, or acting at the direction of any law enforcement agency on January 5th or 6th or at any time.” After a year of describing J6ers as “insurrectionists” and “domestic terrorists,” suddenly Epps was merely a “Jan. 6 protest attendee,” Kinzinger insisted.
Committee members promised to release Epps’ transcribed interview as part of the report—if it’s heavily redacted or omitted entirely, House Republicans should move to interview him next month.
Epps isn’t the only uncharged provocateur. As I wrote in November 2021, dozens of individuals wearing neon hats and tape have not been charged, either. Who were they?
Lack of security: Despite open-source evidence that hundreds of thousands of Americans planned to attend Trump’s speech that day, local and federal law enforcement agencies did not order more officers on duty that day. Many Capitol protesters told me they had never before seen such a lack of police presence in the city—an inexplicable situation considering all the violent assaults by antifa and Black Lives Matter activists against Trump supporters throughout 2020 in Washington.
Will the committee report finally explain why the Capitol Police Board, the agency in charge of Capitol security, repeatedly denied requests for extra help? Will the document include records from House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), the top lawmakers tasked with keeping the grounds protected? What about correspondence between those offices, Capitol police, D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser, and the D.C. Metropolitan police department?
And what about Joe Maher, a longtime Cheney family friend who was head of the Department of Homeland Security office responsible for sharing threat information with law enforcement partners on January 6? Yahoo News recently reported that a DHS analyst alerted the office about an online plan detailing an “attack on the Capitol” but Maher did nothing with it. Maher, however, wasn’t fired for malfeasance—he was hired as an investigator for the committee by none other than Liz Cheney.
So . . . did Maher investigate himself?
Odds and Ends: Will the committee authorize the full release of thousands of hours of video captured by security cameras on January 6? Will the public finally see all the text messages deleted by top Secret Service agents before and after January 6? Did the committee assemble excessive force investigations for police officers seen on video attacking protesters outside the building—including the unauthorized use of nonlethal munitions such as flashbangs? Did anyone interview Lt. Michael Byrd, the Capitol cop who shot and killed Ashli Babbitt? What about the deaths of three other Trump supporters that day? Did investigators obtain arrest records of those accused of carrying rifles around the capital that day?
The full report will be epic in size and scope. (A 160-page executive summary was released Monday afternoon.) But what isn’t in the report will be more telling about what really happened on January 6, 2021, than what’s actually in it.