A committee investigating the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol has recommended criminal charges against former President Donald Trump.
These include conspiracy to defraud the United States; obstruction of due process (to prove joe bidenelection victory); conspiracy to make false statements, sedition, aiding rebellion.
The recommendation is mostly symbolic – it’s up to the DOJ to decide whether to prosecute Mr Trump.
But Democrat Bennie Thompson, the committee’s chairman, said: “We have every confidence that the work of this committee will help create a road map for justice.”
The final report made multiple recommendations accusing Trump of engaging in a “multiple conspiracy” to overturn the election.
Mr Thompson added: “We will also show that the evidence we have gathered shows that we can take further action beyond the power of this committee or Congress to help ensure legal accountability,” he said.
“Accountability that can only be found in the criminal justice system.”
“This will never happen again”
Mr Thompson also criticized Mr Trump for “undermining” confidence in the democratic system: “This will never happen again if we are to survive as a country of law and democracy.”
Describing Mr. Trump’s actions on the day of the riots, the committee’s vice-chairman, Republican Liz Cheney, said: “In addition to breaking the law … this is a complete moral failure and a clear dereliction of duty.
“The evidence for this can be seen in the testimony of President Trump’s own White House counsel and several other White House witnesses.
“At that moment, anyone who would do that can no longer hold any position of authority in our country.
“He is unfit for any position.”
Ms Cheney said the committee’s work had only just begun, describing it as the “first step” in efforts to address Mr Trump’s “illegal stay in office”.
Ms. Cheney added that prosecutors were now considering the implications of the conduct described in the committee’s report.
Protesters gathered outside Trump Tower in New York City after the commission’s report was released, waving placards calling for his arrest.
Mr Trump posted on the social media site Truth Social: “But Leeds (Cheney) lost by a record 40 points!”
On the radio, he described the committee as a “kangaroo court” that failed to recognize the reason for such a large crowd gathering on January 6 – sticking to his claims about election fraud.
He insisted that he asked 10,000 troops to stand ready that day in case there was a protest – but the committee said it found no evidence of that.
It also referred to the testimony of Trump’s then-acting Defense Secretary Christopher Miller, who swore under oath that the president “had no direct order” to put 10,000 troops on standby.
Trump’s attorney, John Eastman, said in a statement: “A criminal ‘referral’ by a congressional committee is not binding on the Justice Department and has no less legal force than a ‘referral’ of any American citizen.
“In fact, the Jan. 6 committee’s ‘recommendation’ should carry less weight due to the absurdly partisan nature of the process that produced it.”
He also accused the committee of “concocting a fake ‘criminal case’ … designed to create political advantage for Democrats and stigmatize unfavorable political groups”.
Trump’s daughter ‘won’t come’
The committee believes Mr. Trump’s daughter, Ivanka, who served as a White House adviser during her father’s tenure, clearly knew more than she was prepared to reveal.
The report said she was “less candid” with the former president than other aides and displayed “a lack of complete recall on certain issues.”
The committee said parts of former press secretary Kayleigh McEnany’s testimony “appeared to be vague” and appeared less forthright than other press office staffers.
Hope Hicks, a former Trump adviser, was also accused of not coming forward on whether she told the president he needed to encourage supporters to stay peaceful.
“One Big Scam”
Mr. Trump’s lawyer, Rudy Giulianihad previously claimed that voting machines had already cast votes for President Biden.
However, Mr Giuliani admitted in his testimony: “I don’t think machines stole the election”, the committee’s report said.
When other Trump lawyers and supporters were asked to present evidence they found the election was stolen, they invoked the Fifth Amendment’s privilege against self-incrimination.
The committee panel said: “None of them provided evidence that genuinely challenged the election results.
“In short, it’s a big scam.”
Robert Costello, Mr. Giuliani’s legal representative, who noted that he was not transferred for prosecution, told NBC News that the committee’s transfer meant “absolutely nothing to the Justice Department” and likened the committee’s work to “political drama.” “.
Trump ‘tried to contact witnesses’
The committee said it knew of Mr. Trump’s “repeated efforts” to contact unnamed witnesses during the investigation, and that the Justice Department knew at least one thing.
Some witnesses were also described as “unnecessarily combative” when they testified, and some witnesses were not credible when they argued that they did not know certain circumstances — especially those whose jobs or income were tied to Trump-affiliated organizations.
Analysis: Why Jan. 6 committee votes matter for Trump
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Mr Trump has launched a campaign for the Republican nomination second time in the white house 2024.
He announced his leadership bid in November, even as he faces multiple investigations into the unrest that claimed the lives of five people, including a police officer.
Mr Trump is said to have seen the violence unfold on TV Intervene in the White House dining room, not when supporters storm Congress.
More than 140 police officers were injured during the riots, which caused millions of dollars in damage to the Capitol.