Insurrection, obstruction and fraud to the government: the criminal charges that the committee for the assault on the Capitol decides against Trump

The House select committee investigating the assault on the Capitol on January 6, 2021, is preparing to wrap up the final chapter of its mission before being dissolved by the next Congress in January. As an epilogue, he highlights the highly probable recommendation of criminal charges against former President Donald Trump for his role that day.

At least three charges will be submitted to the committee for consideration, according to various media sources from Congress last Friday, including insurrection, obstruction of an official procedure and conspiracy to defraud the federal government. It is the first time that a former president could face criminal charges if the Department of Justice considers it so.

Like the nine previous public hearings held by the committee during 18 months of investigation, it is expected that this final chapter, which will be divided into two acts, will be able to be witnessed by the American public from their television screens.

This Monday the committee will specifically agree to the presentation to the Department of Justice of the recommendations for criminal prosecution of people who, according to the conclusions derived from the committee’s investigations, have criminal responsibilities for the violent events that occurred on January 6 in the National Capitol.

In any case, the hearing will focus on the potential charges against former President Trump, whom the committee has accused in previous hearings of having been the main instigator of what happened, since his ultimate responsibility for the violent outcome has been the thesis investigators throughout the public hearings.

Regarding the most serious charge, that of insurrection, the report of the select committee to which the specialized media outlet Politico had access, indicates that among the justifications for recommending the accusation to the Department of Justice is the fact that to violate the insurrection statute, Trump did not need an express agreement with the mob that stormed the Capitol, but simply needed to provide them with “help or comfort.”

Trump spokesman Steven Cheung said in a statement last Friday that “the Jan. 6 Unselect Committee conducted mock trials of Never Trump supporters who are a blot on the history of this country,” to later add: “This kangaroo court has been nothing more than a vain documentary project by a Hollywood executive insulting the intelligence of Americans and mocking our democracy.”

Other possible recommendations

Several reports also point to other figures in Trump’s orbit as targets for criminal charge recommendations, such as his last chief of staff Mark Meadows, his lawyers Rudy Giuliani and John Eastman, and Jeffrey Clark, a Justice Department environmental lawyer who Trump tried to install himself as attorney general because he was the only one not opposed to acting on his unsubstantiated allegations about voter fraud in 2020 that never existed.

According to Adam Schiff, a California Democratic representative and a member of the committee, the panel’s investigation is ahead of that of the Justice Department, which is ultimately responsible for deciding whether to criminally indict Trump.

Schiff said on CBS’s Face de Nation last Sunday that he believes the Department “has made use of the evidence that we have presented in our open hearings. I believe they will use the evidence we prefer to present in our report to further their investigations.”

Schiff further said that if the committee does submit recommendations “we want to be very careful how we do it. But I think we all agree that there is evidence of criminality here and we want to make sure that the Department of Justice is aware of that.”

A CNN report further reported that the committee is considering other types of charges beyond criminal charges, but have not yet decided what they will be or who they might be awarded.

These could include ethics referrals to the House Ethics Committee, discipline referrals to bar associations, and campaign finance referrals to the Federal Election Commission.

Final report

Although the committee will vote on the approval of its final report at Monday’s hearing, it will not be released to the public until two days later, on Wednesday, December 21.

It is important for committee members to release the report before the end of the year, since Kevin McCarthy, who is presumed to be the speaker of the House of Representatives next year, announced the dissolution of the committee when the Republicans take control of the House of Representatives in the next Congress.

According to a report in The Washington Post, 15 current and former committee staff members expressed concern that important non-Trump investigation findings would not be included in the report.

According to this group, which spoke to the capital newspaper on condition of anonymity, they are angry and disappointed that the vice president of the panel, the Republican congresswoman from Wyoming Liz Cheney, has focused the report on Trump while leaving out other important facts.

Cheney has been adamant in blaming Trump for what happened: “Trump called the mob, he rallied the mob, and he ignited the flame for this attack.”

By October 2022, when the most recent of its public hearings was held, the committee had interviewed more than 1,000 witnesses, obtained more than 1,000,000 documents, and reviewed hundreds of hours of video, including footage obtained from cellphones, social media, security cameras, news services and professional cinematographers documenting violence by Trump supporters.

The final report will be made available to the public through a dedicated website for that purpose.

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