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 said “accountability” was the most important focus.
“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, telling the committee: “If we are to survive as a nation of law and democracy, this will never happen again.”
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.
“But Leeds (Cheney) lost by a record 40 points!” Mr Trump posted on the social media site Truth Social after the committee’s report was made public.
“A criminal ‘referral’ by a congressional committee is not binding on the Justice Department and has no less legal force than a ‘referral’ by any U.S. citizen,” his attorney, John Eastman, said in a statement.
“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”.
“The American people have been hurt by the Jan. 6 committee and its members,” he added.
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’s executive summary said Ms. Trump was “not as forthcoming” about the former president’s actions as other aides, including then-White House counsel Pat Cipollone.
The committee accused her of showing “a lack of complete recollection of 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 being candid when he asked her if she told the president he needed to encourage supporters to be 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.”
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
Retired cop gets longest sentence in US Capitol riot for beating officer
Mr Trump has launched a campaign for the Republican nomination second time in the white house 2024.
Speaking from his Mar-a-Lago estate in Florida, he said: “The American renaissance begins now.”
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.