Capitol Riot Panel Allegedly Probing Trump Over Conspiracy to Derail Certification of 2020 Election
Donald Trump has been consistently lambasting the House Select Committee investigating the events of 6 January 2021 as an attempt to seek evidence that could lead to the former president's prosecution.
House Select Committee investigators are looking into the possibility of former US President Donald Trump overseeing a criminal conspiracy to prevent the certification of the results of the 2020 presidential election, The Guardian reported
, citing several sources familiar with the matter.
The new concerns, per the sources, stem from a bunch of communications turned over by some Trump administration officials, including former Chief of Staff Mark Meadows, that suggest that there was a scheme in the Trump White House to cut short the certification of Joe Biden's victory in Congress.
It is estimated that the 6 January panel has obtained several thousand messages, with some of them suggesting that a number of House Republicans were briefed by the Trump administration on its plan to force then-Vice President Mike Pence to abuse his ceremonial role in Congress and refuse to certify Biden's victory.
The report shed light on the content of just one message, allegedly sent by an unnamed Republican lawmaker, saying that 6 January was a “terrible day” not because of the Capitol breach, but rather due to the failure to prevent the certification of the election results.
Now, given the allegations about Trump's purported scheme, the House Select Committee aims to find whether such plans, if there were any, were in violation of federal law that prohibits obstruction of a congressional proceeding and whether it should result in a criminal referral to the Department of Justice. The panel is also investigating whether Trump oversaw the purported conspiracy.
A criminal referral is essentially a recommendation to prosecute a certain individual, which does not necessarily end in actual prosecution. The House Select Committee does not have any legal authority to charge witnesses with a crime, while Congress, in its turn, cannot force the DoJ to open a criminal case.
While the panel, according to the sources, is yet to determine their stance on whether Trump was involved in the conspiracy, the committee's chairman Benny G. Thompson told ABC last week that the probe had found evidence to suggest the events of 6 January 2021 “appeared to be a coordinated effort on the part of a number of people to undermine the election”.
'Voice of Desperation and Despair'
The work of the 6 January panel has prompted a lot of derogatory comments from Donald Trump, who quickly nicknamed the committee "Unselect" and accused it of bias and prejudice towards him.
"Joe Biden’s voice is now the voice of desperation and despair", Trump stated, commenting on Biden's Capitol riot anniversary speech. "His handlers gave him that speech to read yesterday because they know the unprecedented failures of his presidency and the left-wing extremism of the Pelosi-Schumer Congress have destroyed the Democrat Party".
According to Trump, the Democratic Party is trying to use the Capitol riot as an "excuse and pretext for the most chilling assault on the civil liberties of American citizens in generations". Having repeatedly slammed the panel for "not talking about the rigged Presidential Election", Trump views the grievances and concerns related to the aftermath of the Capitol riot as efforts by the Dems to "justify outrageous attacks on free speech, widespread censorship, de-platforming, calls for increased domestic surveillance, appalling abuse of political prisoners, labeling opponents of COVID lockdowns and mandates as national security threats".
Trump, who was impeached for an unprecedented second time over "inciting insurrection" accusations, vehemently denies any wrongdoing in relation to the 6 January events. A year ago, a crowd of protesters supporting his beliefs of a "stolen" election breached the Capitol, demanding that Congress stop the certification of the election results.
The former president held a big "Save America" rally on the day, and particularly called on his supporters to "go to the Capitol". Hours after the Capitol siege, however, he took to Twitter and urged his supporters to "stay peaceful" and refrain from violence.