It was another historic day on Capitol Hill with the final public hearing of the panel investigating the January 6 insurrection. The biggest takeaway from the hearing was the recommendation of the committee to formally charge former President Donald J. Trump on four criminal charges.
Key Findings of CommitteeRead More »
The report was based on over 1,000 interviews, hordes of documents, texts, phone records, and more collected over a period of 17 months. The bipartisan committee consisted of nine U.S. representatives. The full details of the report, including transcripts and supporting materials, will be released on Wednesday.
It is important to note that the committee’s recommendations are only symbolic. Because they do not have the power to prosecute, they need the DOJ to follow through with this part of the process. In addition, the DOJ did not need a referral from the committee to pursue the charges.
However, the panel was set on providing the full scope of the investigation to the public. Additionally, Committee Chairman Bennie Thompson said that he is confident that the DOJ will be able to use the road map to justice provided by the panel.
Diving Into the Charges and Possible Accomplices
The executive summary points out evidence that can be used to charge Trump for multiple crimes. These crimes include conspiracy to defraud the country, obstruction of an official proceeding, conspiracy to make false statements, assisting or aiding in an insurrection, conspiracy to injure or impede an officer, and seditious conspiracy.
The panel came down particularly hard on Trump attorney John Eastman. According to the committee, it has enough evidence to also refer Eastman on the charge of obstruction. The report names him as a co-conspirator in some of the other alleged criminal activities.
In addition to Eastman, the panel also linked Trump’s illegal activities to former DOJ attorney Jeffrey Clark, Trump chief of staff and longtime ally Mark Meadows, and former Trump attorneys Chesebro and Rudy Giuliani. More information about the extent of the involvement of these players is expected to be released in the full report on Wednesday.
There are also several members of Congress that the panel is referring to the House Ethics Committee as a result of their alleged direct involvement in the insurrection. This list includes prominent names such as House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, Reps. Jim Jordan of Ohio, Scott Perry of Pennsylvania, and Andy Biggs of Arizona. All of these Republican representatives could be in danger of facing sanctions for their refusal to comply with subpoenas issued by the committee.
Details Surrounding Presidential Election
One of the main tenets of the executive summary was how the insurrection was connected to the 2020 presidential election in which President Joe Biden defeated Trump. The committee laid out how Trump knew that his claims of election fraud were false yet he continued to push forth this narrative in the weeks to come, eventually leading up to the fateful events of January 6.
The panel also alleged that Trump’s decision to declare victory on election night had been premeditated. Included in this evidence was an email from the president of the conservative group Judicial Watch prior to the election calling for Trump to declare victory on election night regardless of the outcome at the time.
According to the executive summary presented on Monday, Trump raised about $250 million in fundraising efforts in the days between the election and January 6. The money came from Trump supporters who had been conned into donating to efforts to prove that election fraud was at play. The Trump Campaign sent millions of emails to donors and supporters urging them to send money to help to “stop the steal.”
Less Cooperative Witnesses
The committee also highlighted witnesses that they deemed to be less cooperative, including Ivanka Trump and former White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany. The panel said that these two women were not frank or direct and were not able to fully recollect some of the issues surrounding January 6.
The summary of the findings indicated that the committee found that some of the less senior officials when compared to Ivanka Trump and McEnany had better recollection of the events. The panel called out McEnany for her “evasive” testimony, detailing that her testimony felt as if it was prepared using specific talking points.
Trump Ignored Warnings
A key finding of the committee was that Trump ignored warnings from his advisors that violence was a possibility on January 6. Text messages exchanged between Hope Hicks, former communications director, and former White House Deputy Press Secretary Hogan Gidley demonstrated that his closest advisors tried to warn Trump about the potential of violence on Capitol Hill.
Despite being warned repeatedly by his staff, Trump went ahead with plans to take to the stage on the National Mall in the hours leading up to attacks. The committee also released evidence that demonstrated that Trump had plans to travel to Capitol Hill himself to watch the events unfold.
Warning Trump Could Do it Again
In conclusion, the executive summary also offers a dire warning that Trump could do this again. The committee asserted its belief that Trump continues to believe that he is above the law and does not have to comply with the rules of the Constitution. The panel warned that Trump and his allies are a danger to society and future elections if they are not held accountable for what happened in late 2020 and early 2021.
As part of its evidence in this assertion, the panel came back to Trump’s phone call with Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger. During this call, the president begged Raffensperger to find the votes that would put him over the top in the Peach State in hopes of this being enough to secure the victory in the presidential election.
The strongly worded warning alleges that Trump is a threat to the security of the nation if left unchecked. In her closing remarks, the committee’s vice chair, Rep. Liz Cheney, warned that Trump was unfit for holding any office.
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