Jan. 6 committee tackled unprecedented attack with time-tested inquiry
Claire Leavitt, Assistant Professor of Government, Smith College, presents an overview of the broad investigative powers of the Congress from the 1920s to the present. The latest investigation may be its most consequential to date. After 18 months, more than 1,200 interviews and 10 public hearings that presented 70 witnesses’ testimony, the House Select Committee to Investigate the January 6 Attack released its 845-page final report late on Dec. 22, 2022. The report recommended that the Department of Justice prosecute former President Donald Trump on four criminal charges, including conspiracy and incitement of insurrection. The committee’s recommendation to prosecute a former president was unprecedented. But its investigation of the events of Jan. 6, 2021 fell squarely within Congress’ power, and added a new chapter to a centuries-long history of congressional investigations into government scandals and failures.