Washington, Dec 19 (EFE).- The House of Representatives committee investigating the Jan. 6, 2021, assault on the US Capitol by supporters of then-President Donald Trump on Monday recommended that the Department of Justice indict the former president on four criminal charges.
The committee, after extensive interviews and evidence gathering over many months, found that Trump obstructed an official government proceeding and working to incite, assist or provide aid or comfort to an insurrection against the US government, along with conspiring to defraud the federal government and conspiring to make false statements to the administration.
“The whole purpose and obvious effect of Trump’s scheme were to obstruct, influence and impede this official proceeding, the central moment for the lawful transfer of power in the United States,” said Democratic Congressman Jamie Raskin, a prominent member of the committee.
But the Republican ex-president, Raskin said, did not act alone, adding that he was confident that the ongoing investigation of the matter by the DOJ will provide an even more detailed picture.
The committee also recommended that the House Ethics Committee investigate several lawmakers who refused to testify in response to congressional subpoenas seeking to question them about their knowledge and efforts regarding the Jan. 6 attack. These lawmakers include: House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., Rep. Jim Jordan, R-Ohio, Rep. Andy Biggs, R-Ariz., and Rep. Scott Perry, R-Pa.
In the committee’s recommendations to the DOJ, it also explicitly cited Trump’s attorney, John Eastman, accusing him of obstructing an official government proceeding and conspiring to defraud the federal government.
“We understand the gravity of each and every referral we are making today – just as we understand the magnitude of the crime against democracy we describe in our report,” said Raskin, adding “But we have gone where the facts and the law lead us and inescapably they lead us here.”
On Jan. 6, 2021, some 10,000 people, most of them supporters of the Republican then-president, demonstrated outside the US capitol and about 800 broke into the building while lawmakers were assembled therein to certify the victory of Joe Biden in the presidential election the previous November. Five people died and some 140 law enforcement officers were injured in the mayhem.
“President Trump lit the flame. He poured gasoline on the fire and sat by in the White House dining room for hours watching the fire burn, and today still continues to fan those flames,” namely claiming that he lost reelection because the election was “stolen” by the Democrats, said Democratic committee member and Congresswoman Elaine Luria, adding that “the mob wanted what President Trump wanted: to impede the peaceful transition of power.”
The fact that Trump spent the afternoon of Jan. 6 watching the attack unfold on television, according to Republican lawmaker Liz Cheney, the vice-chair of the committee, was one of the “most shameful” discoveries in the investigation.
“In addition to being unlawful as described in our report, this was an utter moral failure and a clear dereliction of duty. No man who would behave that way, at that moment in time, can ever serve in any position of authority in our nation again. He is unfit for any office,” said Cheney.
The committee, established in July 2021, was made up of nine lawmakers – seven Democrats and two Republicans – and the group decided unanimously to issue its recommendations that Trump and Eastman be indicted. On Wednesday, the committee will present its final report.
The decision to file charges against anyone in the matter ultimately rests with US Attorney General Merrick Garland, who last month announced the appointment of a special prosecutor to investigate Trump for his possible involvement in instigating – and allowing to continue for more than three hours – the assault on the Capitol and also for retaining classified US government documents at his residence at Mar-a-Lago in Florida after he left the White House.
The hearing on Monday was the 10th and last public session of the committee, which over the course of its months of investigatory work interviewed more than 1,000 people implicated directly or indirectly in the insurrection.
The committee had wanted to release its findings before the start of the new legislative session on Jan. 3 because the new Republican majority that will preside in the House of Representatives as of that date is expected to almost immediately dissolve the investigatory grouping.