‘Trump engaged in multi-part conspiracy’: Capitol riots committee seeks criminal charges against ex-president

Image Source : AP/FILE Former US President Donald Trump

Capitol riots: The House January 6 committee urged the Justice Department on Monday to bring criminal charges against Donald Trump for the violent 2021 Capitol insurrection, calling for accountability for the former president and “a time of reflection and reckoning.”

After one of the most exhaustive and aggressive congressional probes in memory, the panel’s seven Democrats and two Republicans are recommending criminal charges against Trump and associates who helped him launch a wide-ranging pressure campaign to try to overturn his 2020 election loss. The panel also released a lengthy summary of its final report, with findings that Trump engaged in a “multi-part conspiracy” to thwart the will of voters.

The House Jan. 6 committee urged the Justice Department on Monday to bring criminal charges against Donald Trump for the violent 2021 Capitol insurrection, calling for accountability for the former president and “a time of reflection and reckoning.”

After one of the most exhaustive and aggressive congressional probes in memory, the panel’s seven Democrats and two Republicans are recommending criminal charges against Trump and associates who helped him launch a wide-ranging pressure campaign to try to overturn his 2020 election loss. The panel also released a lengthy summary of its final report, with findings that Trump engaged in a “multi-part conspiracy” to thwart the will of voters.

Committee alleged violations of four criminal statutes by Trump

At a final meeting Monday, the committee alleged violations of four criminal statutes by Trump, in both the run-up to the riot and during the insurrection itself, as it recommended the former president for prosecution to the Justice Department. Among the charges they recommend for prosecution is aiding an insurrection — an effort to hold him directly accountable for his supporters who stormed the Capitol that day.

The committee also voted to refer conservative lawyer John Eastman, who devised dubious legal maneuvers aimed at keeping Trump in power, for prosecution on two of the same statutes as Trump: conspiracy to defraud the United States and obstructing an official proceeding.

While a criminal referral is mostly symbolic, with the Justice Department ultimately deciding whether to prosecute Trump or others, it is a decisive end to a probe that had an almost singular focus from the start.

Chairman Bennie Thompson, D-Miss., said Trump “broke the faith” that people have when they cast ballots in a democracy and that the criminal referrals could provide a “roadmap to justice” by using the committee’s work.

“I believe nearly two years later, this is still a time of reflection and reckoning,” Thompson said. “If we are to survive as a nation of laws and democracy, this can never happen again.”

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

Committee also voted 9-0 to approve its final report

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

The report’s 154-page summary, made public as the hearing ended, found that Trump engaged in a “multi-part conspiracy” to overturn the election. While the majority of the report’s main findings are not new, it altogether represents one of the most damning portraits of an American president in recent history, laying out in great detail Trump’s broad effort to overturn his own defeat and what the lawmakers say is his direct responsibility for the insurrection of his supporters.

The panel, which will dissolve on Jan. 3 with the new Republican-led House, has conducted more than 1,000 interviews, held 10 well-watched public hearings and collected more than a million documents since it launched in July 2021. As it has gathered the massive trove of evidence, the members have become emboldened in declaring that Trump, a Republican, is to blame for the violent attack on the Capitol by his supporters almost two years ago.

(With inputs from AP)

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