Briefing

What's next for the Jan. 6 committee?

The House select committee investigating the Jan. 6 Capitol attack is holding its next public hearing on Wednesday. This could be the panel's final hearing before the midterm elections, featuring new information gleaned over the summer. Here's everything you need to know:

Where did we leave off with the Jan. 6 committee?

The committee held its eighth public hearing on July 21, which focused on former President Donald Trump's actions during the Capitol riot. Three Trump administration officials testified about what they witnessed, including Matthew Pottinger, a former National Security Council official, who said he saw a printout of a tweet Trump wrote that called former Vice President Mike Pence a coward for not trying to overturn the 2020 election results. This "looked like fuel being poured on the fire," Pottinger said, and he was "disturbed and worried to see that the president was attacking Vice President Pence for doing his constitutional duty." Later that night, Pottinger resigned.

The committee also showed footage that had never been seen before of lawmakers inside the Capitol during the attack and of Trump recording a video message on Jan. 7, in which he is heard saying, "I don't want to say the election is over." Several witnesses told the committee that Trump did not try to intervene when his supporters stormed the Capitol, and it was up to Pence to order the military to go to the Capitol to stop the violence. Rep. Adam Kinzinger (R-Ill.), one of the two Republicans on the committee, said the "mob was accomplishing President Trump's purpose, so of course he didn't intervene. President Trump did not fail to act ... he chose not to act."

What has the committee been doing since then?

The panel's vice chair, Rep. Liz Cheney (R-Wyo.), said during the July 21 hearing that committee staffers would "spend August pursuing emerging information on multiple fronts." Recently, the Secret Service turned over material that had been subpoenaed by the panel, including messages sent between personnel on Jan. 5 and Jan. 6. Committee member Rep. Pete Aguilar (D-Calif.) told Bloomberg that the panel is "taking in documents every day" about the Capitol attack, and it's "not lost on any of us how important this work is to make sure that this doesn't happen again and make sure we tell the full and complete story."

Does the committee have any new interviews planned?

Yes. On Wednesday, an attorney for conservative activist Ginni Thomas, wife of Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas, said his client had agreed to sit for an interview with the panel and is "eager to answer the committee's questions to clear up any misconceptions about her work relating to the 2020 election." Evidence turned over to the committee showed that Thomas exchanged text messages with Trump's final White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows about overturning President Biden's electoral win and making sure Trump didn't concede. In one of the messages shared by The Washington Post, Thomas wrote to Meadows, "Help This Great President stand firm, Mark!!! ... You are the leader, with him, who is standing for America's constitutional governance at the precipice. The majority knows Biden and the Left is attempting the greatest Heist of our History."

How can I watch the Sept. 28 public hearing?

The hearing is set to begin at 1 p.m. ET, and last for about two hours. It will air on the major cable news networks.

What can we expect during this hearing?

When the committee announced the hearing, no details were given about its focus or whether anyone will testify in person. Rep. Jamie Raskin (D-Md.), a member of the committee, told Time viewers can expect to hear brand new information that gives a fuller picture of what was happening behind the scenes on Jan. 6. "We will complete the investigative hearings to try to fill in some gaps that have been left even though the basic storylines are well understood," he said. 

As part of its duties, the panel will write and submit a report to Congress about the Jan. 6 riot, what led to it, and policies that should be put in place to prevent future attempts to disrupt the peaceful transfer of power. The report will include new details not yet shared during the public hearings, based on testimony from more than 1,000 witnesses and tens of thousands of pieces of evidence. The committee does not have the power to indict Trump, but its members are trying to decide whether a criminal referral should be made to the Department of Justice.

Is this going to be the last public hearing?

It's not entirely clear. Raskin told Time he thought there could be two or three more hearings, and he expected "at least one hearing on the continuing threats to democracy in America and what needs to be done legislatively at the federal level and at other levels of government in order to fortify ourselves against coups, insurrections, political violence, and attempts to sabotage elections."

However, Raskin made these comments before the Sept. 28 hearing was announced, and the committee's chair, Rep. Bennie Thompson (D-Miss.), said he expects this to be the final one. Still, he cautioned, that's "not set in stone," and more hearings could be scheduled if a lot of new information is shared.

Does this hearing have anything to do with the New York attorney general's lawsuit against Trump?

No, this is a separate issue focusing just on the Jan. 6 Capitol attack. It isn't linked to New York Attorney General Leticia James filing a suit against Trump, his three eldest children, and the Trump Organization for fraud, alleging that they inflated the value of their assets by billions of dollars. It also isn't connected to several other investigations involving Trump, including the probe into his removal of classified documents from the White House to his Mar-a-Lago resort in Florida and his January 2021 request to Georgia's secretary of state asking him to find the votes he needed to reverse Biden's win there.

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