The House select committee investigating the January 6, 2021, attack on the United States Capitol building is extending the length of time it will keep its inquiry open.
Originally slated to end in September, the January 6 committee — which was tasked with investigating the Capitol attack but has also delved into other related matters (including former President Donald Trump’s efforts to unjustly remain in office) — will instead operate indefinitely, chair Rep. Bennie Thompson (D-Mississippi) said.
The new deadline may even depend upon how the midterm elections turn out this year. If Republicans assume control of Congress, which many are predicting will happen, the committee’s work could conclude as late as January 3, 2023. If Democrats are able to retain control of the House, however, the committee’s work could feasibly go beyond that date.
The reason for the indefinite extension is that the committee continues to receive new evidence regarding its work, Thompson explained to reporters this week.
“We’re just getting a significant amount of information we didn’t have access to. And so because of that, obviously, we can’t meet what we felt was an optimistic timeline,” Thompson said.
Another reason that the committee is extending its work past the original September deadline is the positive public response the hearings have received, panel members said. New insights at each committee hearing have also motivated new witnesses to come forward, to contact the committee with information that it was either unaware of before or which reinforces the assertions they have made regarding the attempt by Trump and his allies to disrupt the process of certifying President Joe Biden as the winner of the 2020 presidential election.
It’s unclear whether the committee will hold more public hearings beyond September, though Thompson did acknowledge that he and other panel members would “have to do some additional public facing” regarding new evidence they may uncover. At least two more public hearings are set to happen — one this week, and an additional hearing in September to detail the committee’s work up to that point.
The September hearing was originally meant to detail the committee’s final report, but will instead feature a “scaled-back” interim report, Thompson said.
The next public hearing, set to happen at 8 p.m. Eastern Time this coming Thursday, will preempt primetime programming that was set to air on ABC, CBS and NBC. Fox said it will allow individual affiliates to decide on their own whether to show the hearings or not.
Thursday’s hearing will focus on Trump’s actions on the day of the Capitol attack, and what his response was while the mob of his loyalists was violently interrupting Congress’s work. Specific attention will be given to how Trump didn’t act to quell the violence that was happening in his name.