Release of House January 6 report expected to pile more

Flesh on the bones of Trump’s insurrection

The final report of the House January 6 committee that’s been investigating Donald Trump’s insurrection for the last 18 months will drop today. And it’s unlikely to make very palatable reading for the former president.

The document, running to more than 1,000 pages, will put flesh on the bones of Trump’s plotting and scheming to stay in power after his 2020 election defeat. Those efforts landed him a referral to the justice department for four criminal charges.

Donald Trump.
Donald Trump. Photograph: Brandon Bell/Getty Images

And it comes on the heels of Tuesday night’s vote by the House ways and means committee to publicly release up to six years of his tax returns, documents Trump had fought for three years to keep secret.

We already knew, including from a series of televised hearings on the January 6 panel this year, many of the details of the insurrection. Trump incited a mob that overran the US Capitol on January 6 2021 seeking to halt the certification of Joe Biden’s victory; tried to manipulate states’ election results in his favor; and attempted to install slates of “fake electors” to reverse Biden’s win in Congress.

But what we’ll see today is the deepest of dives into his efforts: the panel interviewed countless witnesses and reviewed thousands of documents and hundreds of hours of video evidence to compile the report and make recommendations.

They include referrals to the House ethics committee for four Trump allies in Congress who refused to submit to the panel’s subpoenas to give evidence.

We’re expecting the report to feature eight main chapters, detailed below, plus appendices that capture more aspects of the investigation, and findings from all of the select committee’s five investigative teams.

We’ll bring you details when it drops.

Key events

Nancy Pelosi says Ukraine’s president Volodymyr Zelenskiy will address a joint session of Congress at 7.30pm Wednesday.

In a tweet, the Speaker says Zelenskiy’s “courageous, patriotic, indefatigable leadership has rallied not only his people, but the world, to join the frontlines of the fight for freedom. We look forward to hearing his inspiring message of unity, resilience and determination”.

It is with immense respect and admiration for his extraordinary leadership that I extend on behalf of bipartisan Congressional leadership an invitation for @ZelenskyyUa to address a Joint Meeting of Congress at 7:30 p.m. E.T. tonight.

— Nancy Pelosi (@SpeakerPelosi) December 21, 2022

A reminder that you can find coverage of Zelenskiy’s historic visit to Washington DC, including his Oval Office meeting with Joe Biden, on our live Ukraine blog here:

Here’s an unexpected turn of events. After a single term of office defined by aggression, confrontation, bombast and abuse, Donald Trump left a “shockingly gracious” letter for Joe Biden at the White House. Martin Pengelly reports:

Donald Trump wrote a “shockingly gracious” letter to Joe Biden on leaving office, a new book says, amid the unprecedented disgrace of a second impeachment for inciting the deadly Capitol attack as part of his attempt to overturn Biden’s election victory and hold on to power.

According to excerpts published by Politico on Tuesday, The Fight of His Life: Inside Joe Biden’s White House, by Chris Whipple, captures Biden saying of Trump’s note: “That was very gracious and generous … Shockingly gracious.”

Presidents traditionally leave letters for their successors. George HW Bush’s note for Bill Clinton is generally held up as an ideal of civility between presidents from different parties.

The ex-presidents club: Jimmy Carter, George W Bush, George HW Bush and Bill Clinton. George HW Bush’s handover letter to Clinton is seen as the gold standard of the genre.
The ex-presidents club: Jimmy Carter, George W Bush, George HW Bush and Bill Clinton. George HW Bush’s handover letter to Clinton is seen as the gold standard of the genre. Photograph: Jim Chapin/AFP/Getty Images

After Bush died, Clinton wrote in the Washington Post that the letter revealed “the heart of who he was … an honorable, gracious and decent man who believed in the United States, our constitution, our institutions and our shared future”.

Trump refuses to admit Biden beat him fairly, faces extensive legal jeopardy for his election subversion attempts, and recently called for the constitution to be “terminated” so he could return to power.

Biden has said Trump’s letter was “very generous” but he has not shared its contents. According to Bob Woodward and Robert Costa, authors of the book Peril, on discovering the note in the Resolute Desk in the Oval Office, Biden “put it in his pocket and did not share it with his advisers”.

Whipple’s book will be published in January. He told Politico writing it was “tough, because … this is the most battened-down, disciplined, leak-proof White House in modern times”.

Read the full story:

It’s a hugely significant day in Washington DC, where Ukraine’s president Volodymyr Zelenskiy is visiting Joe Biden, and will address Congress this evening.

We’ll be following all the developments in the Guardian’s live Ukraine blog, which you can find here:

Among the revelations to come from Tuesday’s House ways and means committee meeting, which voted to publicly release Donald Trump’s tax returns, was the bombshell that the IRS had failed to failed to conduct mandatory audits on the president during the first two years of his administration.

The Associated Press has the details:

The US Internal Revenue Service (IRS) failed to pursue mandatory audits of Donald Trump on a timely basis during his presidency, a congressional committee found on Tuesday, raising questions about statements by the former president and members of his administration who claimed he could not release his tax filings because of such ongoing reviews.

A report by the Democratic majority on the House ways and means committee indicated the Trump administration may have disregarded an IRS requirement dating to 1977 that mandates audits of a president’s tax filings. The IRS only began to audit Trump’s 2016 tax filings on 3 April 2019, more than two years into his presidency and months after Democrats took the House. That date coincides with Richard Neal, the panel chairman, asking the IRS for information related to Trump’s tax returns.

Required IRS audits of former President Donald Trump were delayed, according to a report issued by a Democratic-controlled House committee.

A separate report suggested Trump paid a relatively modest share of his income to the federal government. https://t.co/m8y4Z2bJkE

— The Associated Press (@AP) December 21, 2022

There was no suggestion Trump, who has announced a third presidential run, sought to directly influence the IRS or discourage it from reviewing his tax information. But the report found that the audit process was “dormant, at best”.

The 29-page report was published hours after the committee voted on party lines to release Trump’s tax returns, raising the potential of additional revelations related to the finances of a businessman who broke political norms by refusing to voluntarily release his returns as he sought the presidency. The vote was the culmination of a years-long fight between Trump and Democrats, from the campaign trail to Congress and the supreme court.

Democrats on the ways and means committee argued that transparency and the rule of law were at stake. Republicans said the release would set a dangerous precedent.

“This is about the presidency, not the president,” Neal told reporters.

Kevin Brady, the panel’s top Republican, said: “Over our objections in opposition, Democrats have unleashed a dangerous new political weapon that overturns decades of privacy protections. The era of political targeting, and of Congress’s enemies list, is back and every American, every American taxpayer, who may get on the wrong side of the majority in Congress is now at risk.”

Trump spent much of Tuesday releasing statements unrelated to his tax returns. The IRS did not immediately comment. An accompanying report released by the nonpartisan joint committee on taxation also found repeated faults with the IRS approach to auditing Trump and his companies.

IRS agents did not bring in specialists to assess the complicated structure of Trump’s holdings. They also determined limited examination was warranted because Trump hired an accounting firm they assumed would make sure Trump “properly reports all income and deduction items correctly”.

Read more:

Flesh on the bones of Trump’s insurrection

The final report of the House January 6 committee that’s been investigating Donald Trump’s insurrection for the last 18 months will drop today. And it’s unlikely to make very palatable reading for the former president.

The document, running to more than 1,000 pages, will put flesh on the bones of Trump’s plotting and scheming to stay in power after his 2020 election defeat. Those efforts landed him a referral to the justice department for four criminal charges.

Donald Trump.
Donald Trump. Photograph: Brandon Bell/Getty Images

And it comes on the heels of Tuesday night’s vote by the House ways and means committee to publicly release up to six years of his tax returns, documents Trump had fought for three years to keep secret.

We already knew, including from a series of televised hearings on the January 6 panel this year, many of the details of the insurrection. Trump incited a mob that overran the US Capitol on January 6 2021 seeking to halt the certification of Joe Biden’s victory; tried to manipulate states’ election results in his favor; and attempted to install slates of “fake electors” to reverse Biden’s win in Congress.

But what we’ll see today is the deepest of dives into his efforts: the panel interviewed countless witnesses and reviewed thousands of documents and hundreds of hours of video evidence to compile the report and make recommendations.

They include referrals to the House ethics committee for four Trump allies in Congress who refused to submit to the panel’s subpoenas to give evidence.

We’re expecting the report to feature eight main chapters, detailed below, plus appendices that capture more aspects of the investigation, and findings from all of the select committee’s five investigative teams.

We’ll bring you details when it drops.

Good morning US politics blog readers, and welcome to what promises to be a hectic Wednesday.

Donald Trump’s not-very-good week rolls into a third day with publication of the final report of the House January 6 committee that’s been investigating his insurrection for the last 18 months.

We learned the essentials through a final public meeting and executive summary on Monday, when the bipartisan panel referred the former president for four criminal charges. But the final report, at more than 1,000 pages, will be a much deeper dive into Trump’s scheming to reverse his 2020 election defeat to Joe Biden.

We’ll bring you the details when we receive it.

Here’s what else we’re watching:

  • There’s ongoing fallout from last night’s vote by the House ways and means committee to publicly release six years of Trump’s tax returns.

  • Joe Biden and Washington lawmakers are preparing for Wednesday’s historic visit from Ukraine’s president Volodymyr Zelenskiy, his first trip outside his country since it was invaded by Russia 10 months ago. Biden meets his counterpart at 2.30pm, followed by a joint press conference.

  • Hakeem Jeffries, the incoming Democratic House minority leader, and congresswoman Suzan DelBene, nominee for head of the party’s congressional campaign committee, host a press briefing at 1pm on plans to retake the majority in 2024.