Trump In More Legal Hot Water: Former President Donald Trump’s legal jeopardy has worsened. The U.S. House of Representatives’ January 6 committee has voted to issue four criminal referrals to the Department of Justice on December 19. The judgments have to do with the January 2021 Capitol riots. These included issues involving: obstructing an official proceeding, conspiracy to defraud the government, making knowingly and willfully make materially false statements to the federal government, and inciting or assisting an insurrection.
The recommendations from the Congressional panel have no legal binding unless the Department of Justice takes the recommendations under advisement and acts to pursue its own criminal charges.
Democrats Are on the War Path
The committee held a private meeting December 18 that revealed the recommendations for the DOJ in which they had a preliminary vote ahead of public vote December 19.
Republican Liz Cheney Turned Against the President
Trump Says He Promoted Peace
Trump and his supporters have pointed out that the president tweeted at 2:38 p.m. ET that day: “Please support our Capitol Police and Law Enforcement. They are truly on the side of our Country. Stay peaceful!” Trump believes this shows he did not incite the riot or encourage violence.
Ethical Complaint Too
Four Republican members of Congress who had defied subpoenas to answer questions in front of the committee are expected to be referred to the House Ethics Committee.
Huge Written Report Will Recount Findings
The committee will release a written report of its findings on December 21 after nearly 18 months of investigating. The exhaustive product may have as many as eight chapters based on testimony collected.
Will the Attorney General Act?
The January 6 committee viewed its mandate as “saving American democracy,” after Trump supporters refused to allow a peaceful transfer of power in 2021 during what many viewed as an insurrection.
The DOJ is conducting its own investigation with a special counsel, and it will likely include some of the House report into its own findings against Trump and some of his lawyers who recommended Trump refuse to give up power after his election defeat in 2020.
Committee Left No Stone Unturned
The House committee’s findings were based on hundreds of interviews and hundreds of thousands of documents, plus hearings conducted in private and on television.
Republicans Believe Committee Is Bogus
Republicans have castigated the committee as illegitimate because the GOP leadership in the House could not recommend the Members that it wanted to include to sit on the body.
Two House Republicans, Cheney and Adam Kinzinger of Illinois, were on the committee along with seven Democrats. GOP leadership does not believe that Cheney and Kinzinger stand for the views of ordinary Republicans. Trump, according to these Republicans, did not incite riots or plot to overthrow the government.
Committee Will Be Disbanded During the Next Congress
Democrats want to pressure Garland to take action, and the committee had to rush to make its findings public since Republicans are taking control of the House in January and are expected to dissolve the January 6 committee.
The House Ethics Committee will likely not act on the referral by the investigative body to act against the five Republican legislators in the House who refused to participate in the hearings.
At least 964 Trump supporters have been arrested for the activities during the insurrection. Convicted rioters were found guilty of trespassing and interrupting official proceedings, among other charges such as assault or possession of deadly weapons.
Expert Biography: Serving as 1945’s Defense and National Security Editor, Dr. Brent M. Eastwood is the author of Humans, Machines, and Data: Future Trends in Warfare. He is an Emerging Threats expert and former U.S. Army Infantry officer. You can follow him on Twitter @BMEastwood. He holds a Ph.D. in Political Science and Foreign Policy/ International Relations.