In a historic vote Monday, the House committee investigating the Jan. 6 attack on the US Capitol overwhelmingly voted to report former president Donald Trump and other individuals to the Justice Department for possible criminal charges, such as instigating or assisting an insurgency.
Donald Trump Associates, including attorneys John Eastman and Kenneth Chesebro and White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows, a former Republican House member from North Carolina, likely also played criminal roles, the panel said in an executive summary of its final report.
The panel also recommended Andy Biggs of Arizona, Jim Jordan of Ohio, Scott Perry of Pennsylvania, and Kevin McCarthy of California to the House Ethics Committee for their refusals to testify. McCarthy is anticipated to take over as speaker of the House when Republicans retake the chamber in January.
Before taking the unprecedented step of referring a former president for criminal charges, the bipartisan panel recapped its findings in its final public meeting, concluding that Trump engaged in a multifaceted plan to destabilize the 2020 presidential election, culminating in the deadly attack on the Capitol that shook a bedrock of the nation’s democracy.
The Justice Department, which is already investigating Donald Trump’s behavior in connection with the 2020 election, will decide how to proceed with the referrals.
Donald Trump promoted another Dec. 9 post that linked to his Jan. 6 video on his own social media network, Truth Social, on Monday, ordering supporters to evacuate the Capitol. According to committee members, Trump saw the attack for more than three hours before the footage was released.
The Committee’s Members Voted To Refer Trump For Criminal Charges
The committee’s seven Democrats and two Republicans unanimously voted to charge Trump on four counts:
- Hindering an authentic process
- Plotting to rob the United States
- Plotting to make a fake statement
- Disturbing, assisting, or encouraging a revolt.
Trump led a multipart effort to overturn the election, they said.
He claimed victory despite knowing he lost the election, pressured state and federal officials to promote his lie that the election results were fraudulent, summoned his supporters to the nation’s capital on Jan. 6, 2021, and incited them to attempt to violently block the certification of election results.
Members of the panel said Donald Trump then sat in the White House dining room and watched the attack unfold.
His actions violated a core principle of the U.S. Government, the two-century tradition of a peaceful transition of power, committee Vice Chair Liz Cheney, a Wyoming Republican, said.
“At the heart of our republic is the guarantee of peaceful power transition,” Cheney said.
“Every president in our history, with the exception of one, has defended this orderly transfer of authority. On January 6, 2021, one American president refused his constitutional duty to hand over power peacefully to the next… The Select Committee has recognized our obligation to do everything we can to ensure this never happens again.”
Committee’s Recommendation For Two Of The Criminal Charges
The committee’s recommendation for two of the criminal charges, conspiracy to defraud the United States and conspiracy to make a false statement, focused on the scheme to use false voter slates from states Trump lost in 2020: Arizona, Georgia, Michigan, New Mexico, Nevada, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin.
The phony documents were signed by 84 Republicans, including dozens of party leaders.
“These intentionally false documents were transmitted to multiple officers of the federal government,” said California Democrat U.S. Rep. Adam Schiff.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi praised the committee’s work and appeared to call on the Justice Department to prosecute Trump in a statement issued following the panel’s meeting.
“This executive summary documents the sinister plot to subvert Congress, shred the Constitution, and halt the peaceful transfer of power in painstaking detail,” Pelosi said.
“The Committee has reached important conclusions about the evidence it has developed, and I respect those findings.“Our forefathers made it clear that no one is above the law in the United States of America. This fundamental principle remains unwavering, and justice must be served.”
Donald Trump Violated The Basis Of The U.S. Democracy
Chairman Bennie G. Thompson, a Democrat from Mississippi, said Donald Trump had violated the foundations of American democracy and that criminal referrals were necessary to seek accountability and ensure that a similar insurgency against the US government never occurred again.
“The evidence we’ve gathered points to further action beyond the power of this committee or the Congress to help ensure accountability under the law, accountability found only in the criminal justice system,” Thompson said.
Rep. Jamie Raskin of the United States thinks that President Donald Trump should also be held responsible for his role in the entire incident, despite the fact that several Trump fans have already been charged for their involvement in the mob scene at the Capitol.
“Ours is not a justice system in which foot soldiers go to jail while masterminds and ringleaders get a pass,” he explained.
Ethics Panel To Decide To Proceed With An Inquiry
According to the committee, those members “had materially relevant communications” with Trump on Jan. 6 and in the days leading up to the attack, but withheld that information from the panel.
Jordan’s spokesman dismissed the accusation in an email.
“This is just another partisan and political stunt,” Jordan spokesman Russell M. Dye wrote Monday.
Biggs, Perry, and McCarthy’s representatives did not immediately respond to messages seeking comment on Monday.
It would be up to the ethics panel, which is evenly split between Democrats and Republicans, to decide whether to pursue an investigation into the four named members.