US House recommends criminal charges against Trump, aides
Washington, December 20, 2022
A select committee of the US Congress voted on Monday to refer to the Justice Department four criminal charges against former President Donald Trump in relation to the January 6, 2021, attack on the US Capitol as lawmakers met to certify Joe Biden's victory in the 2020 presidential election.
The four charges are obstruction of an official proceeding of the Congress, conspiracy to defraud the US and insurrection, as the January 6 attack has been called, and putting together a fake list of electors, who would technically confirm Biden's election in the final stage of presidential election.
Aides of the former President have also been referred to the Justice Department -- Mark Meadows, his final Chief of Staff, and the lawyers Rudolph W. Giuliani, John Eastman, Jeffrey Clark and Kenneth Chesebro.
The committee has also named four members of the House for ethics investigation.
Criminal referrals such as these have no legal weight and the Justice Department is not bound to take them up, but they could be considered, given that the Justice Department is already investigating the January 6 attack -- led by a special counsel, Jack Smith, who has added a new sense of urgency.
The bipartisan select committee of the US House of Representatives, which took the vote in its final public hearing, also released an executive summary of their report based on their 18-month-long investigation, which included several high-profile public Congressional hearings that included several Trump's aides.
"That evidence has led to an overriding and straightforward conclusion: the central cause of January 6 was one man, former President Donald Trump, who many others followed," the report states.
"None of the events of January 6 would have happened without him."
The criminal reference against Trump is unprecedented and added to the already sullied White House record of the former President, which includes two impeachments -- one while in office, and the other after leaving -- and a host of criminal and civil cases he is currently embroiled in.
Hordes of Trump supporters had descended upon the US Capitol on January 6 after a rousing speech from the former President and his aides to stop a joint meeting of the two chambers of the Congress -- the Senate and the House of Representatives -- from certifying Biden as the winner of the 2020 presidential election, ignoring Trump's false claims that he lost because of election fraud.
The former President has continued to hawk these same claims, making it a litmus test for Republicans seeking his support and endorsement.
Trump has announced he is running for the Republican nomination for presidential nominee in 2024 in a move, many experts have said, that is intended to help him fight possible prosecution for January 6 and a bunch of other criminal investigations currently underway against him. He would cite his candidature to allege the investigations are politically motivated.