6 January Panel Prepares Potential Criminal Charges Against Donald Trump

© AP Photo / Alex Brandon In this Thursday, June 18, 2020 file photo, President Donald Trump looks at his phone during a roundtable with governors on the reopening of America's small businesses, in the State Dining Room of the White House in Washington.
 In this Thursday, June 18, 2020 file photo, President Donald Trump looks at his phone during a roundtable with governors on the reopening of America's small businesses, in the State Dining Room of the White House in Washington. - Sputnik International, 1920, 03.03.2022
The committee has been investigating whether the former president and his allies played any role in the massive protests in and around the Capitol on 6 January 2021 that left five people dead. Several officials from the Trump administration were subpoenaed by the panel and the president's daughter Ivanka was invited to participate in an interview.
The US House Select Committee says there is enough evidence to conclude that former President Donald Trump and some of his allies conspired to commit fraud and obstruction by misleading the public about the results of the 2020 election. Donald Trump's representatives have not commented on the statement.

In a motion submitted to the District Court for the Central District of California, the panel writes the evidence they obtained demonstrates that the businessman-turned-politician, conservative lawyer John Eastman, and other Trump allies, could potentially be charged with criminal violations, including conspiracy to defraud the public and obstruction an official proceeding in Congress.

"[A] review of the materials may reveal that the president and members of his campaign engaged in common law fraud in connection with their efforts to overturn the 2020 election results", the panel's motion read.

Commenting on the potential criminal charges the committee said it relied on the extensive and detailed accounts of Trump administration officials that had been made public as well as information from the interviews it held with more than 550 government officials, including Justice Department employees, top aides to Donald Trump, and others.

The panel's court filing stems from a lawsuit filed by John Eastman. Eastman sued the committee after it subpoenaed him, requesting documents in his possession, including one where Eastman wrote to Donald Trump about how to overturn the results of the election with the help of Vice President Mike Pence. The memo, obtained by CNN, was released to the public last September.

Since the US House Select Committee is a legislative committee it has no authority to charge Donald Trump and his allies, or anyone else with a crime. Yet, it can refer the case to the US Justice Department, which potentially can take up a case against the 45th president and officials from his administration.

What Happened on 6 January 2021?

The panel has been investigating whether Donald Trump and his allies had any role in the storming of the Capitol on 6 January 2021. The incident occurred in the aftermath of the 2020 presidential election, which Donald Trump lost to Democrat Joe Biden. However, the Republican refused to concede defeat and claimed that the vote was rigged by the Democrats and that he actually won the election.

On 6 January, Congress convened to certify the results of the election, Donald Trump held a so-called "Stop the Steal" rally in Washington, DC, which was attended by thousands of his supporters.
Addressing the crowd, Donald Trump and other speakers at the rally reiterated claims about the election being stolen. Trump also called on his audience to "march" on Congress.

"You are the people that built this nation. You have to get your people to fight", the president told his supporters.

During the rally hundreds of supporters headed to the Capitol, with a large group of people storming into the building. Five protesters and a policeman were killed and more than a hundred law enforcement officers were injured as Trump supporters breached the building.
Following the incident, the Democrats accused Trump of inciting an "insurrection" and introduced an impeachment article against him. The Republican POTUS became the first US president to be impeached twice.

The four-day trial ended with lawmakers voting 57-43 to convict Trump, but he was acquitted because a two-thirds majority (67 votes) was needed. The president said he bore no responsibility for the deadly riots and dismissed the Democrats' decision to introduce an impeachment article against him as "ridiculous".
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