January 6 committee members claim they have enough evidence for the DOJ to begin investigating a criminal indictment for Trump
- Members of the House select committee investigating the Capitol riot appeared on various Sunday news programs ahead of their second hearing
- ‘I would like to see the Justice Department investigate any credible allegation of criminal activity on the part of Donald Trump,’ Rep. Adam Schiff said
- Rep. Jamie Raskin said he doesn’t want to ‘browbeat’ Attorney General Merrick Garland but pointed out the panel has already laid out potential crimes
- A third Democrat on the panel, Rep. Elaine Luria, told NBC that the remaining hearings would include a focus on Trump’s ‘dereliction of duty’
- There are 187 minutes between when rioters broke into the Capitol and when Trump called on them to go home
- GOP Rep. Adam Kinzinger, one of two Republicans on the panel, said Trump is ‘not mentally capable to be president’ if he believes he won 2020
- The committee held its first in a series of six public hearings Thursday night
Members of the House committee investigating the Capitol riot said Sunday they have uncovered enough evidence for the Justice Department to consider a criminal indictment against Donald Trump for seeking to overturn his 2020 election defeat.
‘I would like to see the Justice Department investigate any credible allegation of criminal activity on the part of Donald Trump or anyone else,’ said committee member Rep. Adam Schiff.
He later added: ‘They need to be investigated if there’s credible evidence, which I think there is.’
The committee held its first public hearing last week, with members laying out their case against Trump to show how the defeated president relentlessly pushed his false claims of a rigged election despite multiple advisers telling him otherwise.
Lawmakers say the Capitol riot was ‘no accident’ but rather ‘Trump’s last stand’ in a vast scheme to overturn President Joe Biden’s victory.
Additional evidence is set to be unveiled this week in hearings that will demonstrate how Trump and his advisers engaged in a ‘massive effort’ to spread misinformation and pressured the Justice Department (DOJ) to embrace his false claims.
Committee members indicated Sunday their most important audience over the course of the hearings ultimately may be Attorney General Merrick Garland, who must decide whether his department can and should prosecute Trump.
They left no doubt their own view as to whether the evidence is sufficient.
Rep. Adam Schiff said he believes there is ‘credible evidence’ that Donald Trump could be criminally charged
‘Once the evidence is accumulated by the Justice Department, it needs to make a decision about whether it can prove to a jury beyond a reasonable doubt the president’s guilt or anyone else’s,’ Schiff said.
In a veiled jab at Biden’s DOJ, Schiff said there were ‘certain actions’ and ‘lines of effort to overturn the election’ that he did not ‘see evidence the Justice Department is investigating.’
Rep. Jamie Raskin, meanwhile, said he doesn’t intend to ‘browbeat’ Garland but noted the committee has already laid out in legal pleadings a variety of criminal statutes they believe Trump violated.
The Capitol riot committee alleges the riot was ‘no accident’ but rather ‘Trump’s last stand’
‘I think that he knows, his staff knows, the U.S. attorneys know, what’s at stake here,’ Raskin said. ‘They know the importance of it, but I think they are rightfully paying close attention to precedent in history as well, as the facts of this case.’
Garland has not specified how he might proceed, which would be unprecedented and may be complicated in a political election season in which Trump has openly flirted with the idea of running for president again in 2024.
‘We will follow the facts wherever they lead,’ Garland said in his speech at Harvard University’s commencement ceremony last month.
A federal judge in California said in a March ruling in a civil case that Trump ‘more likely than not’ committed federal crimes in seeking to obstruct the congressional count of the Electoral College ballots on Jan. 6, 2021.
The judge cited two statutes: obstruction of an official proceeding, and conspiracy to defraud the United States. Trump has denied all wrongdoing.
Schiff appeared on ABC´s ‘This Week,’ and Raskin spoke on CNN´s ‘State of the Union.’
A third Democrat on the bipartisan committee, Rep. Elaine Luria, also hinted toward Trump’s alleged criminality by suggesting the next five hearings would focus heavily on the former president’s ‘dereliction of duty.’
Referencing a documented 187-minute window between rioters breaking into the US Capitol and Trump finally calling them off, Luria told NBC’s Meet the Press: ‘You know, it’s been reported previously that the phone logs at the White House on that day. They’re missing information.’
‘We’ve pieced together a very comprehensive tick tock timeline of what he did. And then 187 minutes, you know, this man had the microphone; he could speak to the whole country. His duty was to stand up and say something and try to stop this,’ Luria said.
‘So, we’ll talk about that and what I see to be his dereliction of duty, and he had a duty to act.’
Rep. Adam Kinzinger, one of the committee’s two Republican members, told CBS News’ Face The Nation that he believes it’s ‘obvious’ Trump knew he lost the election even as he tried to convince supporters it was stolen from him.
The military veteran declined to give details when asked for solid evidence of Trump’s criminality, insisting they would be unveiled later.
‘Let me tell you my belief that I can say right now, the president absolutely tried to overthrow the will of the people and he tried to do it initially through misinformation, through the Department of Justice, through pressuring the Vice President, and then on January 6,’ Kinzinger said.
‘And so I think it’s pretty obvious he knew, but he didn’t want to lose.’
He later added, ‘If the president truly believed that, for instance, he’s not mentally capable to be president.’
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