The first public hearing of the Congressional committee investigating the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the US Capitol left no doubt as to its position on who was responsible. House members labeled the deadly attempt to block the transfer of power an “attempted coup” and said it was the bloody culmination of a seven-part plan that began before the 2020 election—a plan ultimately moved forward by one person. The bipartisan committee alleged criminal acts by Donald Trump and his aides, punctuating arguments with gruesome video of his followers doing violence to Capitol police, along with similarly powerful witness testimony. With more public hearings scheduled through the month, the world is likely to get more insight into the events of that day and other facets of a purportedly wide-ranging bid to subvert American democracy. But Congress cannot prosecute federal crimes—that’s the job of the Department of Justice. Its unprecedented nationwide probe continues to slowly accumulate arrests, guilty pleas, cooperators and convictions. As Congress completes its report, all eyes will turn to Attorney General Merrick Garland, and the course of his inquiry into an alleged seditious conspiracy.
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