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The Democrat-controlled House Committee on January 6 believes that former President Donald Trump is criminally culpable for the riot that consumed the Capitol Building in January 2021 and is planning to decide his fate early next week, just days before a new Republican majority takes control of the chamber.
According to the UK’s Daily Mail, members of the panel believe that Trump could be guilty of at least three criminal charges, including “insurrection,” and plan to recommend that the Justice Department pursue a case against the former president.
Meanwhile, Politico added:
The report that the select panel is expected to consider on Monday afternoon, described to POLITICO by two people familiar with its contents, reflects some recommendations from a subcommittee that evaluated potential criminal referrals. Among the charges that subcommittee proposes for Trump: 18 U.S.C. 2383, insurrection; 18 U.S.C. 1512(c), obstruction of an official proceeding; and 18 U.S.C. 371, conspiracy to defraud the United States government.
It’s unclear whether the select committee’s final report will recommend additional charges for Trump beyond the three described to POLITICO, or whether it will urge other criminal charges for other players in Trump’s bid to subvert his 2020 loss. The document, according to the people familiar, includes an extensive justification for the recommended charges.
In order to justify their recommendation to the DOJ to pursue insurrection charges, the panel’s report cites U.S. District Court Judge Amit Mehta’s February ruling, in which he claimed that Trump’s language plausibly incited violence on Jan. 6, 2021. They alleged that his verbiage led a mob of supporters to besiege and storm the Capitol Building with the intent to disrupt Congress’s certification of his loss to then-President-elect Joe Biden.
In addition, the report references the 57 votes in the Senate in last year’s impeachment trial, which was the second one for Trump, in a failed attempt to convict him on an “incitement of insurrection” charge that the House passed.
“But the panel’s recommendation for charges against Trump will likely create a political firestorm. Trump has already announced he is seeking another term in the White House in the 2024 election and has long complained he is facing political retribution from rivals,” the Daily Mail reported, adding: “Even some Republicans say he should not be a target while a candidate for office.”
Trump declared his intention to seek the 2024 GOP presidential nomination during an event at his Mar-a-Lago estate in Florida last month.
Meanwhile, the Justice Department has been investigating Trump over potential violations of national security laws governing the handling of classified documents that were discovered at Mar-a-Lago during an unprecedented FBI raid in early August. Trump has argued in public that, as president before leaving office, he had declassified all the documents in his possession, which he has the authority to do. He has also said the documents were locked in a secure room at the DOJ’s request and that there are Secret Service agents on the property at all times guarding him.
An October report noted prosecutors at the Justice Dept. believe “there is sufficient evidence” to charge Trump in that area. Still, they have “not made a formal recommendation” to Attorney General Merrick Garland, who has the ultimate approval, though it’s likely that there will be some behind-the-scenes discussions about whether or not to charge Trump with the Biden White House.
In a statement, a spokesman for Trump ripped the panel’s decision to recommend charges.
“The January 6th un-Select Committee held show trials by Never Trump partisans who are a stain on this country’s history,” said Steven Cheung, according to Politico. “This Kangaroo court has been nothing more than a Hollywood executive’s vanity documentary project that insults Americans’ intelligence and makes a mockery of our democracy.”
Meanwhile, earlier this week, House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.), who is on a path to replace House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), issued a warning to the J6 Committee that things will change when the GOP takes over control of the chamber next month.
“I remind you and your staff on the Committee to preserve all records collected and transcripts of testimony taken during your investigation,” McCarthy wrote to the committee’s chairman, Rep. Bennie Thompson (D-Miss.), on Wednesday.
He also said the panel must be held to the strictest scrutiny, considering the implications of any findings.
“You have spent a year and a half and millions of taxpayers’ dollars conducting this investigation. It is imperative that all information collected be preserved not just for institutional prerogatives but for transparency to the American people,” he wrote.
“The official Congressional Records do not belong to you or any member, but to the American people, and they are owed all the information you gathered — not merely the information that comports with your political agenda,” McCarthy added.