What You Need to Know:
After interviewing more than 800 witnesses, the New York Times reports the House Select Committee investigating the January 6 Attack on the U.S. Capitol has enough evidence to refer former President Donald Trump for charges.
During a recent CNN appearance, Committee Vice Chair Rep. Liz Cheney (R-Wyo.) said, “It’s absolutely clear that what President Trump was doing, what a number of people around him were doing, that they knew it was unlawful. They did it anyway.”
While the committee may have the evidence, the NYTimes points out members are divided on whether to send the Trump criminal referral to the Department of Justice for action. The Times reports committee leaders are debating whether making a referral to the Justice Department, would backfire by making it political and taint the investigation.
Congresswoman Cheney says the committee hasn’t yet made the decision, especially as public hearings are scheduled to begin within the next month or so.
Two crimes by Donald Trump are alleged:
1- Obstruction of Justice-in delaying the certification of the electoral vote on January 6, 2021
2-Trump and members of his campaign engaged in a criminal conspiracy to defraud the United States.
Many, including Rep. Cheney, point to a ruling in a civil case, issued last month by U.S. District Judge David Carter. The federal judge found that evidence proved that Donald Trump most likely “attempted to obstruct the joint session of Congress” on January 6. “The illegality of the plan was obvious.” wrote Judge Carter. “With a plan this ‘BOLD,’ President Trump knowingly tried to subvert this fundamental principle.”
The statement was in reference to Donald Trump and his lawyer John Eastman’s plan to have Vice-President Pence determine the results of the 2020 election. “
How, whether or not, or when, if at all, the January 6 committee moves forward, is not the issue. Answers may be revealed during the committee’s public hearings in the next month or so. But the next actions are up to the Department of Justice. Pressure is growing to move Attorney General Merrick Garland to act on charges against Donald Trump as well as the criminal contempt referrals on former White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows and former White House aides Peter Navarro and Dan Scavino.
Like many Americans, some on the January 6 committee want the Department of Justice to move “swiftly and aggressively,” but whether or how Justice officials, namely Merrick Garland, will act on the criminal referral of Donald Trump, remains to be seen.