Donald Trump faces up to forty years in prison, thousands in fines, and a prohibition on ever running for office again if he’s convicted on the four federal charges leveled against him by the January 6th committee on Monday.
The nine-members of the House Select Committee to Investigate the January 6th Attack voted unanimously to refer the former president to the Justice Department on charges of inciting insurrection, conspiracy to defraud the United States, obstruction of an act of Congress, and conspiracy to make a false statement.
And it didn’t rule out more charges in the future. Plus the panel, in its executive summary report released on Monday noted that ‘sufficient evidence exists’ that there could be charges on one or more counts in each federal incident.
The vote and pronouncements by the committee members – seven Democrats and two Republicans – made for a dramatic final conclusion to the panel’s 17-month investigation into the origins of the January 6th insurrection.
‘The committee believes that more than sufficient evidence exists for a criminal referral of former President Trump for assisting or aiding and comforting those at the Capitol who engaged in a violent attack on the United States,’ announced panel member Rep. Jamie Raskin, Democrat of Maryland.
‘The committee has developed significant evidence that President Trump intended to disrupt the peaceful transfer transition of our under our Constitution,’ he said.
Trump has repeatedly denied he committed any crimes. He has made the false claim that voter fraud caused him to lose the 2020 presidential election. He also has been critical of the committee’s work and called its members ‘political thugs.’
On Monday, he claimed to be the victim of Democrats who don’t want him to run for the White House again – because he’d win.
‘The people understand that the Democratic Bureau of Investigation, the DBI, are out to keep me from running for president because they know I’ll win and that this whole business of prosecuting me is just like impeachment was — a partisan attempt to sideline me and the Republican Party,’ he wrote on the Truth Social platform.
‘The Fake charges made by the highly partisan Unselect Committee of January 6th have already been submitted, prosecuted, and tried in the form of Impeachment Hoax # 2. I WON convincingly. Double Jeopardy anyone!,’ he added.
It’s unclear if the Justice Department or special counsel, Jack Smith, who is overseeing DoJ’s Trump-related inquiries, will take up the charges or prosecute the former president and his allies.
Smith said last month that he would follow the department procedure in his work.
‘I will exercise independent judgement,’ Smith said in a statement, adding that the investigations would move forward quickly to ‘whatever outcome the facts and the law dictate.’
Meanwhile, the House committee didn’t rule out more charges in the future for the former president.
And it laid out its reasoning for the four charges it recommended against the former president. In fact, out of 17 specific findings in the report, 15 center on Trump’s role in the conspiracy to overthrow the 2020 election results.
‘That evidence has led to an overriding and straightforward conclusion: the central cause of Jan. 6th was one man, former President Donald Trump, who many others followed,’ the report says. ‘None of the events of Jan. 6th would have happened without him.’
The charge with the most jail time is obstructing an official procedure.
If convicted, it carries a fine up to $100,000 and up to 20 years in prison.
The federal statue prohibits the tampering with official proceedings, including those happening before Congress.
The panel members argue Trump tried to thwart Congress’ official counting of the electoral college votes on January 6th by directing his supporters to march on the Capitol.
‘Based on the evidence developed, President Trump was attempting to prevent or delay the counting of lawful certified Electoral College votes from multiple States,’ the committee states in its executive summary.
The law requires proving that any interference with a congressional proceeding be done ‘corruptly’ if a conviction is to be had.
The committee argues Trump had a ‘corrupt’ purpose because he was warned in advance that he could not legally stop the electoral vote count. The panel, in its televised hearings, showed members of Trump’s own White House legal team told him repeatedly he could not overturn the election results.
The panel spent a significant amount of time in its public hearings show how Trump and some of his allies were pressuring then-Vice President Mike Pence to send the electoral college results back to the states.
Pence, as vice president, had the ceremonial role of overseeing the certification of the electoral college results in Congress. He did not have the legal power to do what President Trump wanted.
The panel members argue they are not the only ones to come to such a conclusion about Trump’s actions as he tried to hang on to his presidential power.
In the executive summary, they note the committee staff had to prevent evidence to Federal District Court Judge David Carter in earlier hearings on Trump officials’ claims of executive privilege.
‘Based on the evidence,’ Judge Carter said, ‘the Court finds it more likely than not’ that President Trump corruptly attempted to obstruct the Joint Session of Congress on January 6, 2021.
The committee also referred Trump attorney John Eastman and others for violations of this statute.
Prosecutors at the Justice Department have used the obstruction charge in nearly 300 criminal cases to describe the mob of MAGA supporters who rushed the Capitol on January 6th.
But defense lawyers have countered that DoJ stretched the federal charge beyond its original scope and used it to criminalize behavior that closely resembles protest protected by the First Amendment.
The second charge Trump faces is conspiracy to defraud the U.S., which he would face a fine and up to 5 years of incarceration if convicted.
The statue involves seeking to obstruct the function of the government by deceit, craft or trickery, or at least by means that are dishonest. A federal crime occurs here when two or more people agree to commit a particular crime.
The committee charges that Trump conspired with Eastman, attorney Jeffrey Clark and others to stop the certification of the election results.
Eastman presented a theory to Trump that Pence, in his role as vice president, could reject electors or delay certification. Several constitutional experts have said the vice president has no such powers.
In its Monday report, the panel said Rudy Giuliani and Trump chief of staff Mark Meadows may also have been a part of it but added that ‘this Committee does not attempt to determine all of the participants of the conspiracy, many of whom refused to answer this Committee’s questions.’
Several Trump allies plead the fifth or claimed executive privilege when called to testify before the panel.
The third charge is conspiracy to make a false statement, which carries up to give years in prison if convicted.
It involves making false statements to the government, which the committee charges Trump did when he, through others acting at his behest, submitted slates of fake electors to Congress.
The fourth and final charge is insurrection, which carries up to 10 years in prison if convicted but could also keep Trump from running for president again.
It’s seen as the most serious charge against the former president and could be hardest to prove. The Justice Department has not charged anyone with insurrection in more than 900 criminal cases involving the January 6th rioters.
‘It is a grave Federal offense, anchored in the Constitution itself, which repeatedly opposes insurrections and domestic violence,’ Raskin said Monday when announcing the charge.
The law states that ‘Whoever incites, sets on foot, assists, or engages in any rebellion or insurrection against the authority of the United States or the laws thereof, or gives aid or comfort thereto, shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than ten years, or both; and shall be incapable of holding any office under the United States.’
The panel argues that Trump, when he addressed his supporters on the Ellipse outside the White House on January 6th, incited them to march on the Capitol.
The committee also notes that Trump was impeached for ‘Incitement of Insurrection’ when the House voted on that matter in his second impeachment.
Trump was acquitted by the Senate.
It also points out that federal Judge Amit P. Mehta laid the groundwork the insurrection case in February when he ruled a series of Jan. 6-related civil cases filed against Trump could move forward.
Mehta ruled that Trump not just exercising free speech when he called on the crowd at his January 6th rally to march on the Capitol and ‘fight like hell.’
Monday’s move by the House committee is the first time in American history that Congress has referred a former president for criminal prosecution.
The Justice Department is already investigating Trump on the matter of documents discovered at his Mar-a-Lago home, many of which were reported to be classified. He brought them with him from the White House, which is a violation of the Presidential Records Act.
An October report said prosecutors at the DoJ believe ‘there is sufficient evidence’ to charge Trump in that area but the group ‘has not made a formal recommendation’ to Attorney General Merrick Garland, who has ultimate approval.
Garland would have to approve an additional investigation or charges.
The committee’s recommendations have no legal weight and Garland is not required to consider them when making any decisions.
But Democratic Rep. Adam Schiff, a member of the panel, told reporters after Monday’s hearing that he hopes the Justice Department will take the evidence presented seriously.
‘I think the day we start giving passes to presidents or former presidents or people of power or influence is the day we can say that this was the beginning of the end of our democracy,’ he said.
The January 6th committee, created by Democrats to study the origins of the riot that interrupted the certification of the 2020 presidential election, is wrapping up its work before Congress adjourns.
It is expected to release all of its transcripts of witness interviews. And, on Wednesday, will release its full, final report on its findings.
Officials, in its 17 months of investigation, collected more than 140,000 documents, and conducted more than 1,000 interviews with Trump aides, rioters and officials who they claim were directly or indirectly involved in the riot.
Monday’s final hearing was its 10th.
The committee should be impeached they are the ones who commited the insurection they are all crooks
that is what each one on the committee, should get
C’mon man! Are not this arm of the government that twice Impeached him?
President Trump has done more for all us than most realize. We owe him a great debt of thanks and appreciation. From an owner operator trucking family who knows!!!!!!!
President Donald Trump has done a wonderful job for all Americans. I hope and pray that he becomes our President again. Only he can save America, I pray for him because he is needed for all Americans.
Thank you and I agree completely!
This is a railroad commission committee. All they’ve done are breaking laws themselves. Like Trump or not, this is one sided and criminal.
Totally agree! Thank you,
You are so right. The Committee is the one that made the Jan 6 set up by busing in Antifa members. The deceased January 6 cop Brian Sicknick sent two final texts to his best friend. Here they are:
“F***in windows smashed all over.”
That says it all. His last words before he died.
Just remember when it is their turn to be held accountable hold them to the standards that they have put forward and no less. This committee had access to all 14000 hrs of video footage, they have knowledge that Pelosi turned down protection of the National Guard offered by President Trump days prior, they were warned of the ANTIFA and BLM coming from Baltimore by the bus loads to act as agitators at the Capital and still denied National Guard protection. On her daughters filming Nancy Pelosi said when the incursion happened “that is what I was waiting for” it sounds like a set up to me by Pelosi/Capital Police/FBI/agitators as well as McConnell who was also asked to accept protection and declined. What was the date and time of Nancy Pelosi’s draft of the impeachment documents, did it precede the 1-6 events at the Capital?
I think that all the members of the January 6 fraudulent committee should pay the taxpayers all the millions that they spent on their false meetings and collecting false compromising evidence on Trump. To be punished for hundreds of political prisoners, the murder of Ashley Babbit and Rosanna Boyland. Force these scammers to open access to all documents related to the overthrow of the legitimate President of America, Donald Trump.