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Jan. 6 Committee Votes Unanimously to Refer Trump for Criminal Charges

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The House Jan. 6 committee is wrapping up its investigation of the 2021 U.S. Capitol incursion, with lawmakers on Monday declaring that they have assembled a “roadmap to justice” to bring criminal charges against former President Donald Trump and his allies.

As they cap the probe, the panel’s seven Democrats and two Republicans are recommending criminal charges against Trump and associates.

The committee alleged violations of four criminal statutes by Trump, in both the run-up to the incursion and during it, as it recommended the former president for prosecution to the Justice Department. The charges recommended by the committee are conspiracy to defraud the United States, obstruction of an official proceeding of Congress, conspiracy to make a false statement and insurrection.

A criminal referral is mostly symbolic, with the Justice Department ultimately deciding whether to prosecute Trump or others.

Democratic Chairman Bennie Thompson of Mississippi said the criminal justice system can provide accountability, adding, “We have every confidence that the work of this committee will help provide a roadmap to justice.”

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Thompson said Trump “broke the faith” that people have when they cast ballots in a democracy. “He lost the 2020 election and knew it,” Thompson said. “But he chose to try to stay in office through a multi-part scheme to overturn the results and block the transfer of power.”

Wyoming Rep. Liz Cheney, the panel’s Republican vice chairwoman, said in opening remarks that every president in American history has defended the orderly transfer of power, “except one.”

The committee also voted 9-0 to approve its final report, which will include findings, interview transcripts and legislative recommendations. The report is expected to be released in full Wednesday.

The panel, which will dissolve on Jan. 3 with the new Republican-led House, has conducted more than 1,000 interviews, held 10 public hearings and collected more than a million documents since it launched in July 2021.

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California Rep. Adam Schiff, a Democratic member of the panel, said ahead of the hearing that Trump is someone who “in multiple ways tried to pressure state officials to find votes that didn’t exist, this is someone who tried to interfere with a joint session, even inciting a mob to attack the Capitol.”

“If that’s not criminal, then I don’t know what it is,” Schiff said.

The panel aired some evidence at the meeting, including a recent interview with Trump aide Hope Hicks. Describing an alleged conversation she had with Trump around that time, she said he told her that no one would care about his legacy if he lost the election.

Hicks told the committee that Trump told her, “The only thing that matters is winning.”

“We obviously want to complete the story for the American people,” said Democratic Rep. Jamie Raskin, another member of the committee. “Everybody has come on a journey with us and we want a satisfactory conclusion, such that people feel that Congress has done its job.”

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The panel was formed in the summer of 2021 after Senate Republicans blocked the formation of what would have been a bipartisan, independent commission to investigate the incursion. When that effort failed, the Democratic-controlled House formed an investigative committee of its own.

As the committee was getting started, House Republican leader Kevin McCarthy of California, a Trump ally, decided not to participate after House Speaker Nancy Pelosi rejected some of his appointments. That left an opening for two anti-Trump Republicans in the House — Reps. Liz Cheney of Wyoming and Adam Kinzinger of Illinois — to join seven Democrats.

In court documents earlier this year, the committee suggested criminal charges against Trump could include conspiracy to defraud the United States and obstruction of an official proceeding of Congress.

In a “conspiracy to defraud the United States,” the committee argues that evidence supports an inference that Trump and his allies “entered into an agreement to defraud the United States.”

The panel also asserts that Trump obstructed an official proceeding, the joint session of Congress in which the Electoral College votes are certified. The committee said Trump either attempted or succeeded at obstructing, influencing or impeding the ceremonial process on Jan. 6 and “did so corruptly” by pressuring Pence to try to overturn the results as he presided over the session.

The committee may make ethics referrals for five House Republicans — including McCarthy — who ignored congressional subpoenas from the panel.

The panel subpoenaed McCarthy of California, and Reps. Jim Jordan of Ohio, Scott Perry of Pennsylvania, Andy Biggs of Arizona and Mo Brooks of Alabama. The panel has investigated McCarthy’s conversations with Trump the day of the incursion and meetings the four other lawmakers had with the White House beforehand.

The Western Journal has reviewed this Associated Press story and may have altered it prior to publication to ensure that it meets our editorial standards.

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