‘Incompetent or a Coward?’: Jan 6 Panel Warns Trump He’s Not Immune From Criminal Prosecution
19:08 GMT 09.01.2022 (Updated: 19:26 GMT 09.01.2022)
Thursday marked the one year anniversary of the Capitol riots – the attempted takeover of the seat of US legislative power by a mob of Trump supporters convinced that the 2020 election had been stolen from their candidate. Democrats have referred to the event as an attempted “coup.” Donald Trump and his supporters have dismissed these allegations.
Adam Kinzinger – one of the two Never-Trump Republicans on the House select committee investigating the events of 6 January 2021, has warned that the former president’s action or inaction may have constituted “criminal” behaviour and needs to be investigated further.
“I think what’s important is the difference between was the president absolutely incompetent or a coward on the 6th when he didn’t do anything, or did he know what was coming? And I think that’s the difference between incompetence with your oath and possibly criminal,” Kinzinger said, speaking to NBC’s Meet the Press on Sunday.
“One thing that, if I could wave a magic wand and have more information on, it would certainly be what did the president know about January 6 leading up to January 6,” Kinzinger elaborated. “That’s where I want to get more information. We do have obviously some, some things leading up to that, but the more we can get, obviously the better,” he said.
“I think the most important thing is not even the day of January 6, it’s what led up to it. We have a lot of what’s out there in the public venue, what the president himself said. The fact that he was watching for three hours on TV probably gleefully while this happened,” the lawmaker added.
Republican Senator Mike Rounds, known for his criticism of Trump’s allegations of large-scale voter fraud in the 2020 vote, stressed to ABC’s This Week on Sunday that the former president’s immunity from prosecution ran out after his term ran out, and that he may be subject to criminal penalties.
“The shield of the presidency does not exist for someone who was a former president – everybody in this country is subject to the courts of this country,” Rounds said, adding that it would be up to the Justice Department to determine whether Trump engaged in any criminal behaviour.
Saturday that the Select Committee is continuing to snoop for evidence of a possible criminal conspiracy by Trump to block Congress from its formal rubber stamp certification of Biden as the winner of the 2020 election on 6 January. If any evidence of such a conspiracy is suspected, the committee can refer Trump to the Justice Department for formal charges.
The Hill previously reported that Trump could theoretically face a up to 20 years
behind bars if he is charged with obstruction of Congress – the same charge already successfully prosecuted many times against the Capitol rioters in recent months.
26 December 2021, 18:25 GMT
The House committee has spent months investigating the 6 January events, subpoenaing tens of thousands of pages of documents and testimony from Trump officials, many of whom have refused to comply with the probe.
Trump himself has sought to prevent his records from being made available to the committee, which is made up of Democratic lawmakers, plus Kinzinger and fellow Never-Trump GOP lawmaker Liz Cheney from the party's neoconservative wing, and taken his case to the Supreme Court. Trump has alleged that the committee is part of a broader “witch hunt” against him aimed at distracting Americans from the Biden administration’s “massive failures." Hr has denied all allegations of wrongdoing.
On the day the violence took place, Trump held a separate 'Stop the Steal' rally at the White House, about 3 km walking distance from the Capitol, promising
supporters that he would "never give up" and "never concede" because "you don't concede when there's theft involved." After rioters stormed Congress, Trump called on his supporters to "stay peaceful" and "go home."
Last month, it was revealed that the 187 minutes of silence between the time the mob breached the legislative chambers and the moment Trump spoke out about it included the president doing take after take of videos calling on rioters to leave.
24 December 2021, 23:25 GMT