The Jan. 6 committee’s major ‘challenge’ will be getting the public to pay attention: report
More than 14 months after the January 6, 2021 insurrection, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s select committee continues to investigate that day’s disturbing events — and federal prosecutors for the U.S. Department of Justice are moving ahead with their January 6-related indictments. Washington Post reporters Jacqueline Alemany and Josh Dawsey, in an article published on March 17, stress that a great deal of work has gone into the select committee’s investigation. But they also point out that the committee’s major “challenge,” in the months ahead, will be making sure that its work receives enough attention.
“Committee members and staffers are seeking to compile dramatic videos, texts and e-mails in a digital format that is easy to understand — and easy to share on social media,” Alemany and Dawsey explain. “And they want to put together blockbuster televised hearings that the public actually tunes into, according to people with knowledge of the process who spoke on the condition of anonymity to speak candidly. Their challenge: making the public care deeply — and read hundreds of pages more — about an event that happened more than a year ago, and that many Americans feel they already understand.”
Committee members, according to Alemany and Dawsey, are planning “a final report that will be published ahead of the November midterms — with the findings likely a key part of the Democrats’ midterm strategy.”
“Looming over lawmakers are a handful of high-profile government reports — some more recent than others — that provide a laundry list of lessons learned as the committee deliberates the best way to present its findings: the Senate Watergate Report, the 9/11 Commission Report, and Special Counsel Robert S. Mueller III’s report on Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election,” the Post reporters note. “Much to the frustration of Democratic lawmakers at the time, Mueller’s lawyerly and heavily redacted 400-page report conspicuously excluded an explicit recommendation that former President Donald Trump be prosecuted for obstruction of justice for allegedly interfering with the inquiry.”
What remains “unclear,” according to Alemany and Dawsey, is “whether the committee will succeed in bringing on a high-profile journalist or if the committee has finalized a choice to author the report.”
Rep. Stephanie Murphy of Florida, a Democratic member of the committee, told the Post, “We do not want a bureaucrat to write this report, but rather, a historian or a journalist — or someone who writes and can tell a story in a compelling way so that people can actually understand what happened.”
Journalist, author and historian Garrett Graff notes that the select committee has a very different mission from the U.S. Department of Justice where January 6, 2021 is concerned.
Graff told the Post, “The role Congress has asked the January 6 committee to play is one that’s much more focused on the moral responsibility, the corruption of power, and abuse of regular order that the Trump Administration engaged in during those final weeks leading up to the insurrection. The Justice Department might decide that Trump is not criminally liable for his actions but that the committee is able to provide at least a high standard of proof that Trump was morally liable — and as a political question, that latter standard is, in some ways, more important to the future of the country than the criminal ones.”
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