The chief investigator of the January 6 committee of the House of Representatives said the riots were part of a “multiple plan to prevent the transfer of power” after the 2020 election.
Timothy Heaphy, a former US attorney, said he believes the Justice Department also needs to indict several of former President Donald Trump’s allies, including his former chief of staff Mark Meadows and his attorney Rudy Giuliani.
Meadows never testified before the committee, while Giuliani revealed very little — pleading the Fifth throughout his testimony.
The House Select Committee spent months investigating the involvement of Trump and his allies in instigating the riots and asked several members of his inner circle to testify.
Though some chose to remain silent when called before the panel, Heaphy said the DOJ will ultimately make a decision about who to indict, based on what additional evidence it can obtain — beyond what the committee has found submitted to the House of Representatives.
Timothy Heaphy (pictured), the chief investigator of the House Jan. 6 committee, said the Jan. 6 riots were part of a “multiple plan to prevent the transfer of power.”
The unrest followed months of false claims by Trump and his allies that the election was rigged against him. Pictured, Trump speaking to supporters of The Ellipse near the White House on Jan. 6
Heaphy remained silent during the panel’s 18-month investigation, but finally shared his thoughts with the New York Times in his first Jan. 6 interview since congressional hearings concluded late last year.
On January 6, 2021, supporters of former President Donald Trump stormed the US Capitol as Congress prepared to confirm the 2020 election result. Five people died in the riots.
The unrest followed months of false claims by Trump and his allies that the election was rigged against him.
Heaphy told the Times how he believed the country was on the verge of losing democracy itself that day.
Heaphy told the Times how he believed the country was on the verge of losing democracy itself that day. Pictured, Trump supporters attempt to breach a police barrier at the Capitol in Washington on January 6, 2021
With the investigation now complete, Heaphy believes the DOJ may indict several more members of former President Trump’s inner circle. Pictured is Chapman University law professor John Eastman alongside Trump’s personal attorney Rudy Giuliani
He said: “I sometimes didn’t quite understand how fragile democracy is. But for the courage of a handful of people who put principles before politics, against their own interests, we could have had a different outcome.
“We could have undermined the will of the people. This is scary and we cannot take it for granted.”
The committee interviewed over a thousand people and reviewed over a million documents. The investigation quickly took on the feel of a criminal investigation, Heaphy explained.
“When we started seeing intentional behavior, specific moves aimed at disrupting the joint session of Congress, it started to sound criminal. The whole key for the Special Counsel is intention.
“The more evidence we saw of the intent of the President and others working with him to take steps to prevent the transfer of power, it began to feel more and more like possible criminal behavior.”
With the investigation now complete, Heaphy believes the DOJ may indict several more members of former President Trump’s inner circle.
Trump’s former chief of staff Mark Meadows, pictured, did not testify at the hearings, but Heaphy believes he may yet face indictment by the DOJ
The US House of Representatives Special Committee investigating the January 6 attack on the US Capitol in Washington, DC will hold its final session in December 2022
One criticism of the committee was how the panel waited until near the end of hearings before issuing a subpoena for President Trump to appear. He never testified
“There are a number of characters. I think you could look at that [Rudolph] Giuliani and Mark Meadows. I think the Justice Department needs to look very closely to see if there was an agreement or a conspiracy.”
“There’s a lot of evidence that we haven’t gotten. Mr. Meadows didn’t come to talk to us. We have interviewed Mr. Giuliani, but he has often asserted attorney-client privilege. John Eastman quoted the Fifth Amendment on everything.’
Heaphy pointed out that the DOJ could also file charges against attorneys John Eastman and Jeffrey Clark.
Eastman has garnered widespread attention for his role as attorney for then-President Donald Trump, in which he suggested that Vice President Mike Pence could dismiss the results of some states’ election results.
Clark, meanwhile, was a senior DOJ official in the Trump administration and one of the few attorneys within the DOJ willing to respond to Trump’s unsubstantiated allegations of voter fraud and requests for help overturning the results, witnesses said.
US Capitol Police officers attempt to prevent supporters of President Donald Trump from entering the Capitol on January 6, 2021. Demonstrators breached security and entered the Capitol
“A criminal grand jury investigation overrides or takes precedence over attorney-client privilege or executive privilege. The grand jury may be able to get answers that we didn’t get, and I hope they do,” Heaphy told the Times.
“I don’t know how far the conspiracy extends. But it’s potentially broader than the individuals we’ve mentioned.
Heaphy explained how he believes the panel has broken new ground in understanding what’s behind the Capitol siege thanks to the inclusion of 14 former federal prosecutors who were brought in because of the scale of the work.
‘[A] The pattern of the multi-pronged plan to prevent the transfer of power began to take shape early on, and that was surprising. The world had seen the violence of the Capitol and how terrible it was.
“But how we got there and how methodical and intentional it was — that pressure build-up that ultimately culminates in the President inciting a mob to disrupt the joint session — that was new,” Heaphy said, describing the severity of the Task recognized before him.
Heaphy also recounted how difficult it was to question witnesses when they feared their cooperation would leak out after they spoke, calling them “apostates.”
“I mean, there were days where we were interviewing a witness and literally 30 minutes later there was Luke Broadwater [NY Times journalist] on TV that the select committee questioned the witness,” Heaphy said.
“And that makes it really difficult because there were times when people were like, ‘Well, my client would like to help the committee, but she’s afraid that she’ll be immediately outed as a defector.’
Violent rioters loyal to President Donald Trump stormed the Capitol on January 6, 2021
One criticism of the committee was that the panel waited until near the end of hearings before issuing a subpoena for President Trump’s appearance, and never issued one for Vice President Mike Pence’s appearance. But Heaphy justifies the delay simply as part of the investigation’s learning process.
“In any investigation, you want to learn as much as you can before you get to the key witnesses. Similar to a criminal investigation, you climb the ladder. You talk to people of increasing importance. You start from the bottom and build a foundation.”
Not all who were called to testify before the committee did so, some exercising their Fifth Amendment right not to speak.
“The public nature, the scrutiny that we were operating under, was unhelpful and made it harder for us to gain people’s trust,” Heaphy said.
“I’m really glad that all of our transcripts have been released. So if anyone thinks we have misled or covered up or hidden facts, it’s all out there. As Chief Investigator, I wanted to make sure that we could stand behind every single statement made by a member or witness.’