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Trump was ‘central cause’ of Jan. 6, committee report says

First Read is your briefing from “Meet the Press” and the NBC Political Unit on the day’s most important political stories and why they matter.
Trump January 6 Capito riot speech.
Then-President Donald Trump at The Ellipse near the White House on Jan. 6, 2021.Brendan Smialowski / AFP via Getty Images file

WASHINGTON — If it’s Tuesday ... The House Jan. 6 committee  approves criminal referrals against Donald Trump. ... Trump calls referrals “a partisan attempt to sideline me and the Republican Party,” per NBC’s Garrett Haake. ... Senate negotiators release text of $1.7 trillion omnibus spending bill, NBC’s Capitol Hill team reports. ... NBC’s Ali Vitali confirms that Rep. Suzan DelBene, D-Wash., will be the next DCCC chair. ... And Democrats choose their nominee in VA-4 race to succeed the late Rep. Donald McEachin.

But first: These are arguably the two most important sentences in the 154-page summary of the final report the House Jan. 6 committee released on Monday:

  • “[T]he central cause of January 6th was one man, former President Donald Trump, who many others followed.” 
  • “None of the events of January 6th would have happened without him.” 

He lied about winning an election he ultimately lost by 7 million votes.

He pressured his vice president, his Justice Department and state officials to contest or overturn the election results.

He told his supporters to gather in D.C. on Jan. 6 (“Be there, will be wild”). 

He riled up the crowd that day (“We fight like hell. And if you don’t fight like hell, you’re not going to have a country anymore”). 

He tweeted his displeasure at VP Pence when the vice president was at the Capitol and when the attack was already underway (“Mike Pence didn’t have the courage to do what should have been done to protect our Country and our Constitution”).

And he waited hours to call for the rioters to disperse. 

Then there are the people who were affected — those who died that day; the Capitol Police and law enforcement who were attacked; the members of Congress, staff and press who witnessed and experienced the attack; and the rioters who later said they were duped. 

“I am ashamed to be for the first time in my 68 years, standing before a judge, having pleaded guilty to committing a crime, ashamed to be associated with an attack on the United States Capitol, a symbol of American democracy and greatness that means a great deal to me,” said one of the rioters.

And then there are the questions:

What if Pence had agreed he could refuse to certify the electoral votes?              

What if state officials like Brad Raffensperger in Georgia and Rusty Bowers in Arizona had caved?

What if all those DOJ officials hadn’t threatened to resign and Jeffrey Clark was appointed acting attorney general? 

What if the mob had found Pence?

Photo of the day

Data Download: The number of the day is … 172

That’s how many 2022 candidates denied or actively cast doubt on Biden’s 2020 victory won their races for Congress, governor or Secretary of State in November. That figure is a majority of the 268 GOP candidates who cast doubt on Biden’s 2020 victory, per an NBC New analysis of past candidate statements. 

But the vast majority of those candidates who won — 155 — ran in races where Republicans were heavily favored to win, per race ratings from the Cook Political Report with Amy Walter and a political unit analysis of Secretary of State races, which the Cook Political Report does not rate. Election-denying or doubting candidates were more likely to lose competitive races.

These candidates’ success also varied by office, with many finding more success in House races. Here is their record by office:

  • Governor: 5 won; 12 lost 
  • Senate: 8 won; 9 lost
  • Secretary of State: 3 won; 7 lost 
  • House: 156 won; 68 lost

Other numbers to know

4: How many Republican House members the Jan. 6 committee referred to the Ethics Committee for defying their subpoenas. They are: House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, Ohio’s Jim Jordan, Arizona’s Andy Biggs and Pennsylvania’s Scott Perry. 

More than 900: How many people have been criminally charged for their involvement in the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol, per the New York Times. 

Over 9,000: The estimated number of threats against members of Congress the Capitol Police tracked last year, an exponential increase from a few years ago, USCP Chief Thomas Manger said during a Senate hearing Monday, per NBC News’ Liz Brown-Kaiser. 

54: The number of GOP House members who signed a letter pledging their support for McCarthy for Speaker, per Axios. 

19: How many attorneys general from GOP-led states asked the Supreme Court for an emergency stay to keep a Trump-era immigration rule known as Title 42 in place. Chief Justice John Roberts placed a temporary hold on a lower court ruling that would have ended the rule.

Nearly 50: How many Milwaukee-area suburbs have seen a shift in vote of at least 20 points away from Republicans, per a new Milwaukee Journal Sentinel analysis that looks at the clash between GOP dominance of rural areas and Democratic success in more urban areas of the state. 

Eyes on 2024: Virginia Democrats hold primary in Virginia-04 race

Voters are voting in Virginia — at least, Democratic ones. 

Tuesday is the day Democrats will choose their nominee in the 4th Congressional District, the Democratic-leaning seat that the late former Rep. Donald McEachin, D-Va., represented until his death late last month. 

Four Democrats qualified for the ballot, with the top candidates expected to be state Sens. Jennifer McClellan and Joseph Morrissey. Many Democrats in Virginia and across the country have coalesced around McClellan’s candidacy — she’s backed by EMILY’s List, NARAL, Virginia Sen. Tim Kaine and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi — as some Democrats look to prevent a rise by the controversial Morrissey. 

Republicans already made their choice — Leon Benjamin, a Richmond minister who was the party’s nominee last cycle too — ahead of February’s special general election.

ICYMI: What else is happening in the world

Rep.-elect George Santos, R-N.Y., disputed allegations on Monday from the New York Times that Santos fabricated parts of resume while on the campaign trail, while Democrats want an ethics investigation. 

Former movie producer Harvey Weinstein was found guilty of rape and sexual assault in a Los Angeles trial on Monday.

A judge will hold a two-day trial to hear Republican gubernatorial nominee Kari Lake’s challenge to her 2022 electoral defeat, and he’s ordered Gov.-elect Katie Hobbs to testify. 

The new FBI headquarters has become the latest sticking point in government funding negotiations, Politico reports.