Jan. 6 riot panel urges prosecution of Trump, allies over U.S. Capitol riot

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WASHINGTON: A U.S. House of Representatives panel on Monday asked federal prosecutors to charge former President Donald Trump with obstruction and insurrection for his role in sparking the Jan. 6, 2021, assault on the Capitol.

The request is non-binding, but may increase pressure on prosecutors to bring a criminal case against Trump and some of his allies. The committee also said several House Republican lawmakers should face an ethics investigation.

Here are details of the committee‘s referrals:

CORRUPTION OF AN OFFICIAL PROCEEDING

The Committee said Trump likely broke this law because he knew his efforts to overturn his defeat in the 2020 election would interfere with Congress’ duty to certify Democrat Joe Biden as the winner.

The committee also referred lawyers John Eastman and Kenneth Chesebro, who provided legal justification for Trump’s efforts to overturn the election, for possible prosecution under this law.

CONSPIRACY TO DEFRAUD THE UNITED STATES

The committee said Trump potentially broke this law because he planned with others, including Eastman and former Justice Department official Jeffrey Clark, to prevent Congress from certifying the election results. Lying about the election results and planning to act on the conspiracy also amounts to further evidence of guilt, the committee said.

The committee also referred Eastman for possible prosecution under this law.

CONSPIRACY TO MAKE A FALSE STATEMENT

Trump may have violated this law by submitting slates of fake electors to Congress and the National Archives in an unsuccessful attempt to overturn his losses in several battleground states, the committee said.

INCITING OR AIDING AN INSURRECTION

The committee said Trump possibly broke this law because he summoned supporters to Washington and incited them to engage in violence during a rally in front of the White House. His refusal to condemn the violence or tell the attackers to go home also serves as evidence that he supported their behavior, the committee said.

HOUSE ETHICS VIOLATIONS

The Committee also referred several fellow House members, all Republicans, to the House Ethics Committee for possible sanction, for defying a subpoena and refusing to cooperate with their investigation. They are Republican leader Kevin McCarthy and Representatives Jim Jordan, Scott Perry and Andy Biggs.

Republicans will take the leadership of the House on Jan. 3 and are unlikely to take disciplinary action against members of their own party.