Jan. 6 panel eyes recommending 3 criminal charges for Trump

Jan. 6 panel eyes recommending 3 criminal charges for Trump

WASHINGTON (AP) — The House panel is investigating the Jan. 6 attack on the United States

WASHINGTON (AP) — The House panel investigating the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol is considering recommending that the Justice Department file an unprecedented criminal complaint on rioting and two other charges against former President Donald Trump

Alongside the insurrection, a riot aimed at overthrowing the government, the panel is also considering recommending prosecutors file charges of obstructing an official process and conspiring to defraud the United States, a person familiar with the matter told The Associated Press. The committee’s deliberations continued late Friday, and no decisions were formalized on which specific counts the committee would refer to the Justice Department.

The panel is scheduled to meet publicly on Monday afternoon when recommendations are released.

The deliberations were confirmed to the AP by a person familiar with the matter, who was unable to publicly discuss the matter by name and spoke on condition of anonymity. A second person familiar with the deliberations confirmed that the committee was considering three charges.

The decision to issue referrals is not unexpected. Rep. Liz Cheney, R-Wyo., the committee’s vice chair, has indicated for months that she would submit criminal reprimands to the Justice Department based on the extensive evidence the nine-member panel has gathered since its formation in July 2021.

“You must not send an armed mob to the Capitol; You can’t sit for 187 minutes and refuse to stop the attack while it’s underway. You can’t tweet calling for more violence,” Cheney said of Trump on NBC’s ‘Meet the Press’ in October. “So we’ve been very clear on a number of different offenses that are likely to be involved here.”

The committee’s chairman, Rep. Bennie Thompson, D-Miss., last week categorized potential referrals into a number of categories, including criminal and ethical violations, legal misconduct and campaign finance violations.

It would then be up to federal prosecutors to decide whether to pursue any prosecution referrals. While it has no legal weight, recommendations from the committee would increase political pressure on the Justice Department to investigate Trump’s actions.

“The gravest offense in constitutional terms is attempting to overturn a presidential election and circumvent the constitutional order,” committee member Jamie Raskin, D-Md., told reporters last week. “Along with all of this is a body of criminal offenses that underscores the gravity and scale of this violent onslaught on America.”

Raskin, along with Cheney and Democratic Representatives Adam Schiff and Zoe Lofgren, both from California, formed the subcommittee that drafted the referral recommendations and submitted them to the larger group for consideration.

During the course of its investigation, the committee made recommendations that several members of Trump’s inner circle should be prosecuted for refusing to comply with subpoenas from Congress. One, for Steve Bannon, has resulted in a conviction.

Farnoush Amiri, Mary Clare Jalonick, and Michael Balsamo, The Associated Press

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