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House Jan. 6 Panel Faces Key Decisions as It Wraps Up Work


Representative Bennie Thompson, Democrat of Mississippi and the chairman of the committee, said the panel recently received a trove of documents from the Secret Service in response to a subpoena it issued after the news that agents’ text messages from Jan. 5 and Jan. 6, 2021, had been lost.

A spokesman for the agency said the Secret Service provided a “significant level of detail from emails, radio transmissions, Microsoft Teams chat messages and exhibits that address features of planning, operations and communications surrounding January sixth.” However the spokesman said the documents didn’t include any additional text messages, akin to those sought by the committee that were erased during an upgrade of phones.

Members of the committee had originally seen their investigation, and the potential for a criminal referral, as a way of putting pressure on the Justice Department to pursue a criminal case. But with federal prosecutors now investigating elements of Mr. Trump’s efforts to retain power despite losing on the ballot box, the House committee is considering a recent suggestion for the knowledge it uncovered about Mr. Trump and his allies raising money by promoting baseless assertions about election fraud: making a referral to the Federal Election Commission, a largely toothless body that may weigh abuses of campaign finance laws.

“F.E.C. can be a superb possibility,” Mr. Thompson said. “Obviously we looked seriously at a few of the fund-raising that went on around Jan. 6.”

Members have also been discussing what legislative recommendations they need to make. Last week, to shut off the potential for one other president attempting to have a vp block the certification by Congress of the Electoral College results, Ms. Cheney and Ms. Lofgren introduced an overhaul of the Electoral Count Act, which quickly passed the House. (Senator Mitch McConnell, Republican of Kentucky and the minority leader, on Tuesday endorsed a somewhat different version awaiting motion within the Senate, bolstering its prospects of enactment.)

Members are also discussing reforms to the Rebellion Act, laws related to the 14th and twenty fifth amendments and regulation of militia groups. Additionally they are more likely to recommend improvements to Capitol security.

Not all of the panel’s recommendations have found agreement. Mr. Raskin, as an illustration, has pushed for recommending that the Electoral College be eliminated, but that concept has been met with resistance from Ms. Cheney and others and is unlikely to be included in the ultimate recommendations.

Maggie Haberman, Alan Feuer and Reid J. Epstein contributed reporting.

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