Members of the House committee investigating the Capitol riot said Sunday they had uncovered enough evidence for the Justice Department to consider an unprecedented criminal indictment against former President Donald Trump for allegedly sought to overturn the 2020 election results.
“I would like to see the Department of Justice investigate any credible allegations of criminal activity by Donald Trump,” said Rep. Adam Schiff, D-California, a committee member who also heads the House Intelligence Committee. “There are certain actions, parts of these various lines of effort to nullify the election that I see no evidence the Justice Department is investigating.”
The committee held its first public hearing last week, with members setting out their case against Trump to show how the defeated president relentlessly pushed his false claims of a rigged election despite several advisers telling him otherwise and how he stepped up an extraordinary plan to overthrow Joe Biden. victory.
Additional evidence is expected to come to light this week in hearings that will demonstrate how Trump and his advisers engaged in a ‘massive effort’ to spread disinformation and pressured the Justice Department to accept his false claims. .
Committee members indicated Sunday that their most important audience during the hearings may be Attorney General Merrick Garland, who must decide whether his department can and should prosecute Trump. They left no doubt of their own view as to whether the evidence was sufficient.
“Once the evidence has been accumulated by the Justice Department, it must decide whether it can prove to a jury beyond a reasonable doubt the guilt of the president or anyone else,” Schiff said. “But they should be investigated if there is credible evidence, which I think there is.”
Rep. Jamie Raskin, D-Md., said he didn’t intend to “bully” Garland, but noted that the committee has already outlined in legal argument a variety of criminal laws they believe that Trump violated.
“I think he knows, his staff knows, American lawyers know, what’s at stake here,” Raskin said. “They know the significance of it, but I think they rightly pay close attention to historical precedents as well as the facts of this case.”
Garland did not specify how he might proceed, which would be unprecedented and could be complicated in a political election season in which Trump has openly flirted with the idea of running for president again in 2024. “We will follow the facts wherever they lead,” Garland said in his speech at Harvard University’s commencement ceremony last month.
A California federal judge said in a March ruling in a civil case that Trump “more likely than not” committed federal crimes by seeking to obstruct Congressional Election’s vote count on January 6, 2021. The judge ruled cited two statutes: obstruction of due process and conspiracy to defraud the United States. Trump has denied any wrongdoing.
Schiff appeared on ABC’s “This Week” and Raskin spoke on CNN’s “State of the Union.”
For full coverage of the January 6 hearings, visit https://www.apnews.com/capitol-siege