January 6 committee recommends criminal charges against Donald Trump

The U.S. House committee investigating the January 6, 2021 riots has formally recommended that the Justice Department bring four criminal charges against former President Donald Trump, including conspiracy to defraud the government. and incitement to insurrection.

Saying Trump ‘wanted to ride like Mussolini on the shoulders of the crowd,’ Maryland Rep. Jamie Raskin announced the committee had voted to fire the 75-year-old former president to the Justice Department for allegedly obstructing to an official procedure. , conspiracy to defraud the government, incitement to insurrection and conspiracy to make a false statement.

RELATED: Former DOJ officials are asked under oath if any of Trump’s voter fraud allegations were found to be credible: “No.”

Raskin added that the committee would fire Trump’s lawyer, John Eastman, for allegedly obstructing official process and conspiring to defraud the government.

According to a preview of the committee’s final report, they will also refer four members of Congress to the House Ethics Committee for refusing to comply with subpoenas: House GOP Leader Kevin McCarthy, Rep. Jim Jordan , Rep. Scott Perry and Rep. Andy Biggs. .

John Eastman

John Eastman

Susan Walsh/AP/Shutterstock John Eastman

Eastman, a former professor at Chapman University, described himself as Trump’s lawyer assisting the then-president in his efforts to prove the 2020 election was “stolen”.

But, according to documents released by the committee earlier, Eastman was more than an adviser: “He spoke at the rally on the morning of January 6, spreading proven lies to the tens of thousands of people attending that rally. , and appears to have a broader role in many of the specific issues the select committee is investigating. »

AUSTIN, TEXAS - MAY 14: Former United States President Donald Trump speaks during the American Freedom Tour at the Austin Convention Center on May 14, 2022 in Austin, Texas.  The national event brought together conservatives from across the country to advocate, empower and help promote conservative agendas nationwide.  (Photo by Brandon Bell/Getty Images)

AUSTIN, TEXAS – MAY 14: Former United States President Donald Trump speaks during the American Freedom Tour at the Austin Convention Center on May 14, 2022 in Austin, Texas. The national event brought together conservatives from across the country to advocate, empower and help promote conservative agendas nationwide. (Photo by Brandon Bell/Getty Images)

Brandon Bell/Getty donald trump

In response to questions posed by the committee, Eastman invoked his Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination, the filing states, and attempted to “hide a series of relevant documents behind claims of professional secrecy and product protection.” work”.

As the criminal remands themselves carry no official legal weight, they are largely symbolic — and come just weeks before Republicans take control of the House, ending the committee’s work. It will now be up to the Justice Department to determine whether or not to indict the former president or Eastman.

RELATED: 187 Minutes: Jan. 6 Witnesses describe what Trump did — and didn’t do — as Capitol riots raged

January 6 Uprising

January 6 Uprising

Michael Nigro/Pacific Press/LightRocket via Getty Riot at the Capitol on January 6, 2021

The referrals come as the Justice Department is already looking into the events surrounding Jan. 6 and has been hearing testimony for months as part of a criminal investigation into the riots.

Recent testimony from relatives of former Vice President Mike Pence indicates that the Justice Department’s criminal investigation into Jan. 6 is intensifying, according to a recent report by The New York Times.

The committee hearings, which began airing publicly in June, featured new revelations about the events leading up to the attacks and how Trump and his allies reacted.

RELATED: Attacking the secret services, throwing ketchup on the walls: the biggest bombs of the hearing on Tuesday, January 6

Among the more notable allegations is that Trump at one point tried to force his Secret Service agents to drive him to the Capitol building himself as his supporters descended on the building.

The House committee’s final report is expected to be released on Wednesday and will provide the DOJ with additional evidence to work with as it considers potential charges.

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Trump has always embraced the extremism expressed by those who participated in the Capitol riots, which resulted in the death of a Capitol police officer, who died after being beaten by the rioters. Several other police officers were also beaten, some sustaining life-threatening injuries.

Since leaving office in 2021, Trump has continued to express his solidarity with the rioters who stormed the Capitol that day, filming a video just this month in which he said that they had been treated “very, very unfairly”.

The announcement of the criminal referrals comes amid several other investigations into Trump, including one into his handling of classified documents after he left office.

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