The U.S. House of Representatives committee will complete its investigation into the assault on the Capitol on January 6, 2021, resulting in the referral of at least three former presidents of the United States to the criminal justice system this week. Since Trump falsely claimed that he lost the 2020 election to Democratic President Joe Biden due to widespread fraud, the Democratic-led panel has spent 18 months investigating the unprecedented effort by thousands of Republican supporters to prevent the peaceful transfer of power.
The House of Representatives committee expects to complete its investigation this week by referring at least three former presidents to the criminal justice system in response to Donald Trump supporters assaulting the Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021.#DonaldTrump #CapitolRiot #Trump pic.twitter.com/KFvtHqIaIy
— News Live (@NewsLiveFree) December 19, 2022
Multiple media outlets have reported that the Justice Department could handle criminal charges such as obstruction of legislative proceedings, conspiracy to defraud the United States, and insurrection. Unidentified sources first reported the possibility of criminal charges in Politico and The Guardian. On Monday, the committee will meet to discuss referrals and vote on the final report, which will be released on Wednesday. Ahead of the meeting, members of the panel declined to provide any specifics.
During a statement at the Capitol last week, Democratic committee member Jamie Raskin stated, “We are focusing on key players who have sufficient or abundant evidence that they committed crimes.” Any referrals, however, will not have an immediate impact since the Justice Department will have to decide whether to bring charges against the individual. A series of investigations have been conducted into the riots, including the select committee’s work. For their participation in the attack, right-wing members of the Oath Keepers militia have already been found guilty of sedition by a jury.
January 6 Committee is Likely to Disband
The White House is being investigated by a special counsel, Jack Smith, in connection with Trump’s attempts to overturn his decision to remove classified documents. The January 6 committee is expected to be disbanded next month when Republicans take control of the House of Representatives, even as Trump seeks the Republican nomination for the 2020 election. From July 2021 to October 2022, the committee held a series of televised public hearings and meetings.
Ivanka, Trump’s eldest daughter, and members of Trump’s administration were interviewed, including her own statement that she did not believe her father’s false claims about stolen elections. The Capitol was stormed by thousands of rioters, causing lawmakers and Vice President Pence to flee the building during the attack. Several former Republicans and White House chiefs of staff are being considered for referrals, including former New York mayor and Trump attorney Rudy Giuliani, former Justice Department official Jeffrey Clark, and attorney John Eastman, according to several media reports.
Although some of the five responded to subpoenas after being subpoenaed, the committee subpoenaed them after they refused to testify. The FBI subpoenaed Trump for testimony in October, but he responded by filing suit to prevent the subpoena from being enforced. Moreover, the riot resulted in the death of five persons, including a police officer, and the injuries of more than 140 police officers. The Capitol sustained a million dollars worth of damage.
Some of Trump’s Allies Quit Believing Him
Even after leaving office more than two years ago, Trump continues to make false allegations of election fraud, which have been dismissed by dozens of courts, state reviews, and even members of his own administration. After giving a fiery speech to the committee, Trump wanted to join the mob that marched toward the Capitol carrying guns, according to multiple Trump associates whose testimony was heard by the committee. In his attempts to retake power, Trump has described the many investigations he faces as political.
Republicans’ weaker performances in the midterm elections last month, including the defeat of several candidates who supported his fraud allegations, indicate that most voters reject his assertions. Some prominent Republicans have encouraged the party to look beyond Trump’s 2020 focus when choosing its nominee for 2024. Reuters and Ipsos conducted a poll in October revealing that two out of five Republican respondents believed Trump was at least partially responsible. Whether or not to prosecute any cases recommended by the committee would be decided by the Justice Department itself. The federal government has already pursued charges against two Trump allies recommended for prosecution by the committee.
Steve Bannon, a former adviser to Trump, was found in July guilty of contempt of Congress for refusing to testify, and Peter Navarro, a former White House aide, will face trial next month on the same charges. Furthermore, the office of the Attorney General announced last month the appointment of Smith, a war crimes prosecutor, as special counsel to lead the Trump investigation. That action was taken to prevent any appearance of political interference in the investigation in the context of Trump’s and Biden’s preparations for a possible rematch in the upcoming election.
Background of Criminal Probes Against Trump
The U.S. government is already investigating Trump as the subject of two criminal investigations, both of which were initiated under the supervision of a special counsel shortly after Trump announced his intention to run for president in 2024. In one of the investigations, he is being investigated for allegedly mishandling classified documents after his term as president expired, while in the other, the investigation focuses on his attempts to overturn the results of the 2020 presidential election.
Furthermore, Trump is under investigation for alleged interference in Georgia elections and possibly falsifying financial statements in New York. In the committee hearings on January 6 earlier this year, it was portrayed that the former president had incited, and in some respects planned, an insurrection attempt by an angry mob. In addition to carefully choreographing and scheduling the hearings to ensure maximum viewership, the investigation focused on collecting evidence to complement Justice Department investigations involving the former president regarding Trump’s criminal culpability on January 6 and throughout the riot.