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The U.S. House Select Committee Investigates the January 6 Attack on the Capitol: Part 1

Social Justice Policy Brief #26 | By: Erika Shannon | September 10, 2021

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USRENEW NEWS plans to cover the work of the US House Select Committee to Investigate the January 6 Capitol Riot. In our first report we set forward the Committee’s agenda and what it hopes to accomplish.

In the aftermath of the overtaking of the U.S. Capitol Building by insurrectionists on January 6th of this year, there was the question of who would be investigating the events that occurred. Originally, there was a proposal to form a National Commission to Investigate the January 6 Attack on the United States Capitol Complex; however, there was a Republican filibuster of the proposal to create this “January 6 Commission” in May, with not enough votes to break the filibuster. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi then created the House Select Committee on the January 6 Attack, with the resolution to form the committee passed in late June. In a statement from Speaker Pelosi, her reason for creating the Select Committee is to establish the truth of the events of that day and ensure that another such attack will not happen again.

There are currently nine members on this committee. It is comprised of Democrats Bennie Thompson (committee chairman), Zoe Lofgren, Adam Schiff, Jamie Raskin, Pete Aguilar, Stephanie Murphy, and Elaine Luria; as well as Republicans Liz Cheney and Adam Kinzinger. Chairman Bennie Thompson has served fourteen terms in office and is also chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee, so it is easy to see why Speaker Pelosi chose him to head up this House Select Committee. Although the demographic makeup of this group is heavily Democratic, members have pledged to take a non-partisan approach to investigating the events that occurred on January 6th in the Capitol.

Recently, the Select Committee has issued orders to thirty-five social media and communications companies to preserve their records. Some of those targeted by the orders include AT&T, Verizon Wireless, and T-Mobile. The House committee will be looking at the records of individuals who have been charged with crimes related to the January 6 attack, as well as those who participated in a rally prior to the riot or its potential planning.

The committee has also demanded records related to the events on January 6 from fifteen social media companies. These social media companies include 4chan, 8kun, Facebook, Gab, Google, Parler, Reddit, Snapchat, Telegram, theDonald.win, Tik-Tok, Twitch, Twitter, YouTube, and Zello. From these social media compaies, the House committee is seeking information including records related to the spread of misinformation, efforts to overturn the 2020 election or prevent the certification of results, violent extremism, and foreign influence in the 2020 election. The companies were given a two-week deadline in late August.

Besides communications companies and social media websites, the House Select Committee has also demanded records from eight different agencies within the Executive Branch. These include the National Archives and Records Administration, Department of Defense, Department of Homeland Security, Department of the Interior, Department of Justice, the FBI, the National Counterterrorism Center, and the Office of the Director of National Intelligence. 

These agencies also have two weeks to come up with records to appease the House Committee. Chairman Thompson is seeking records that deal with a range of matters relevant to the January 6 attack; this includes the gathering and dissemination of intelligence in advance of the attack; security preparations around the U.S. Capitol; the role agencies played in the defense of the Capitol on January 6; the planning and organization of events in Washington D.C. on January 5 and 6; and how the January 6 events fit in the continuum of efforts to subvert the rule of law, overturn the results of the November 3, 2020 election, or otherwise impede the peaceful transfer of power.

Photo taken from: The Nation

The House Select Committee is seeing  a number of  hurdles to overcome as it seeks to carry on its work. These includes recent comments by House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, who has recently made claims regarding former president Donald Trump and his involvement in the January 6 insurrection. McCarthy has alleged that the FBI has already concluded that former president Trump had no involvement in the insurrection. He also implied that the Department of Justice has already concluded that Trump did not cause, incite, or provoke the January 6 violence.

Committee chairman Bennie Thompson has pointed out that McCarthy’s claims are baseless; this is partially due to the fact that McCarthy doubled down on his own past comments that that Trump DOES bear responsibility for the January 6 events. McCarthy’s recent comments come in the wake of Speaker Pelosi blocking two of McCarthy’s picks for the bipartisan committee.

While McCarthy, and possibly others, hope to disrupt the investigation of the House Select Committee, many do have faith that they will get to the bottom of the events that occurred on January 6. The insurrection at the Capitol was an attempt to stop the Democratic process of electing a new President, and should be investigated to the fullest extent. In order to prevent future attacks or interruptions to the certification of election results, any and all people that were involved with the Capitol Riots must be caught and charged. That is only possible if the House Select Committee is able to figure out whom the key players were and how they fit into the events that unfolded. Check back for further updates from the House Select Committee and their findings as they come to light.

Engagement Resources​

Click or tap on image to visit resource website.

To listen to hearings held by the House Select Committee, click here.

To submit a tip directly to the House Select Committee, visit this webpage.

Visit the official website of the House Select Committee on the January 6 Attack to find out more about their purpose.

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