January 6 committee recommends charges for Trump
The Democrat-led January 6 committee agreed on Monday to make criminal referrals against former President Donald Trump. The panel recommended that Trump be charged with defrauding the US, making false statements, obstruction, and inciting an “insurrection” on Capitol Hill last January.
The committee, made up of seven Democratic members of Congress and two Republican opponents of the former president, voted unanimously to adopt a report recommending the charges.
The report is the culmination of 18 months of investigation by the panel, which was convened to investigate Trump’s alleged role in inciting the riot by his supporters that interrupted the certification of Joe Biden’s electoral victory last year. Trump has accused the committee of orchestrating a “witch hunt” against him, calling its members “partisan hacks.”
Referring to the “insurrection” charge, Rep. Jamie Raskin said before the vote that the committee believes “that more than sufficient evidence exists for a criminal referral” of Trump for “assisting or aiding and comforting those at the Capitol who engaged in a violent attack on the United States.”
“The Committee has developed significant evidence that President Trump intended to disrupt the peaceful transition of power,” Raskin continued.
Shortly before the riot, Trump urged his supporters to protest “peacefully and patriotically” at the Capitol. The riot that followed led to the deaths of five people, but only one of these deaths has been conclusively linked to the actions of another person: that of Ashli Babbitt, a Trump supporter who was shot by a police officer.
It is now up to the Justice Department to decide whether to prosecute Trump. The former president said in September that he “can’t imagine” being indicted, but added that charges wouldn’t prevent him from seeking a return to office in 2024. Trump announced his candidacy in November.
In a tweet after the committee’s vote, Rep. Adam Kinzinger, one of the panel’s two Republicans, linked the criminal referral to Trump’s political future. “We now turn to the criminal justice system to ensure Justice under the law,” he wrote. “The American people can ensure he’s never elected again.”