Image source, Getty Images
A Trump bust being held up during the day of the riot at the US Capitol
https://www.bbc.com-By Max Matza-BBC News
A US congressional inquiry into last year’s Capitol riot says ex-President Donald Trump should face criminal charges, including insurrection.
The Democratic-led committee voted unanimously for the justice department to prosecute Mr Trump.
The panel also aired a new clip of former Trump aide Hope Hicks on her warning to him about his legacy.
Trump supporters stormed Congress on 6 January 2021, interrupting Joe Biden’s certification as president.
Mr Trump, who denies any wrongdoing, released a statement slamming the panel as a “kangaroo court”.
After spending around 18 months investigating the riot, the House of Representatives select committee recommended at their final meeting on Monday that Mr Trump face four charges:
- Inciting, assisting, aiding or comforting an insurrection
- Obstruction of an official proceeding
- Conspiracy to defraud the United States
- Conspiracy to make a false statement
The justice department – whose prosecutors are already considering whether to charge Mr Trump – does not have to follow a congressional committee’s referral.
While the panel’s actions are mostly symbolic, the chairman described the proposed charges as a “roadmap to justice”.
A justice department spokesman declined to comment on Monday about the referral.
“An insurrection is a rebellion against the authority of the United States,” said congressman Jamie Raskin, a Maryland Democrat who serves on the committee.
“It is a grave federal offence, anchored in the Constitution itself.”
The panel’s seven Democrats and two Republicans released their preliminary 161-page executive summary on Monday.
It accused Mr Trump of a “multi-part conspiracy” to thwart the will of voters in the run-up to the Capitol riot and during the riot itself.
The House committee has argued Mr Trump spread claims that he knew were false about the 2020 presidential election being stolen, before pressuring state officials, the justice department and his own vice-president to help overturn his defeat. The panel accuses him of inciting the riot at Congress in a last-ditch bid to block the peaceful transfer of power to Mr Biden.
The full report, spanning hundreds of pages, is due to be released on Wednesday.
On Monday, the panel also released a new video from their deposition with longtime Trump aide Hope Hicks, who said she had warned Mr Trump that by continuing to make false claims about the election, he and his team were “damaging his legacy”.
Mr Trump had shrugged off her concern, she said.
The then-Republican president, she testified, “said something along the lines of, ‘Nobody will care about my legacy if I lose, so that won’t matter.
“‘The only thing that matters is winning.'”
The committee also criticised the president’s eldest daughter Ivanka Trump, a former White House aide, for not being “forthcoming” with investigators.
Ms Trump and White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany “displayed a lack of full recollection of certain issues, or were not otherwise as frank or direct” as other aides to Mr Trump, the report said.
Mr Trump’s presidential campaign, which he launched last month, released a statement accusing the committee of holding “show trials by Never Trump partisans who are a stain on this country’s history”.
“This Kangaroo court has been nothing more than a vanity project that insults Americans’ intelligence and makes a mockery of our democracy.”
The committee also said it would refer four Republican members of Congress to the House ethics committee, including Republican leader Kevin McCarthy, for failing to comply with the committee.
“If we are to survive as a nation of laws and democracy, this can never happen again,” said committee chairman Bennie Thompson, a Mississippi Democrat.
“If the faith is broken, so is our democracy. Donald Trump broke that faith,” he added.
More than 900 people have been charged in relation to the Capitol riot.