This is probably the last of the committee’s hearings. If Republicans succeed in their drive to win the House majority (which seems likely), they will almost certainly disband the committee in January and shut down any official accounting by Congress for the largest attack on the Capitol in centuries.
This means the panel has less than three months to finish up its investigation, write and release its final report (likely in December), make any legislative recommendations, and decide whether to make a criminal referral to the Justice Department.
The January 6 committee, led by Chairman Bennie Thompson (D-MS) and Vice Chair Liz Cheney (R-WY), has done America a great service — giving the nation exactly what it has most needed: an accounting of what occurred January 6, why it occurred, and Trump’s role in it.
Whether this will lead to Trump being held criminally accountable does not depend on the committee making a criminal referral. Regardless of whether it makes such a referral, that decision is solely up to the U.S. Attorney General, Merrick Garland (who would now be sitting on the Supreme Court had it not been for Mitch McConnell and a Republican Senate majority).
But the committee’s work — its investigation and its public hearings — have played a part in persuading Garland to move forward with a criminal case against Trump. If you’d asked me six months ago, I’d have said Garland would not do so, for fear of dividing the nation even more deeply. Now, I believe he will.