Former US President Donald Trump is under investigation for the attack on the Capitol.
A panel investigating the attack on the US Capitol is recommending that the US Justice Department open criminal investigations against former President Donald Trump, 76, and confidants. The House of Representatives voted unanimously to do so at a public hearing in Washington on Monday.
The panel’s recommendation is not binding — the Justice Department makes its own decision on whether to prosecute Republicans. It is not known when this decision will come. However, such a recommendation is unprecedented. That’s because the group accuses Trump of rioting, disrupting public order and conspiracy against the US government. The committee’s vote is a strong signal, can influence the decision-making process and lead to an impeachment.
The Justice Department must now see if there is enough evidence to file a criminal complaint against the former president. The rare crime of rioting is the most serious. It is accomplished under US law by inciting or participating in rebellion against the government or the authority of law. It is punishable with fine or imprisonment for a term which may extend to ten years or with both. So if Trump is found guilty of treason, he will no longer be allowed to hold political office.
Cheney, a Republican, is fiercely critical
At the start of its last public hearing, the panel renewed its harsh accusations against Trump. Committee Chairman Benny Thompson (74) said on Monday at the beginning of the committee meeting in the US capital, Washington, “The President of the United States has never used violence to prevent the transfer of power. Trump knew he had lost the 2020 presidential race. “Eventually he invited a mob to Washington,” continued Thompson, a Democrat. Accountability for this can only exist in the criminal justice system.
Even from within his own party, there was strong criticism. “A person who behaves like this at a time like this should never be in office in our country again, he’s unfit for office,” Republican Liz Cheney, 56, said Monday. His inaction had fatal consequences: Trump made no public statement for hours following the violent riots televised from the Oval Office, despite calls from his staff, his family and lawyers to do so.
During the trial, Trump was heavily incriminated by witnesses. That includes Trump’s former attorney general, William Barr, 72, and White House staffers. Former White House staffer Cassidy Hutchinson, 26, was considered a particularly fascinating surprise witness. Over the summer, he accused Trump of knowing about the potential violence on January 6, 2021.
Trump sees himself as a victim
Trump railed against the investigation team from the start and denied its legitimacy. In November, Trump announced his intention to run again for the Republican nomination for the White House. Against this backdrop, he dismisses the allegations against him as political persecution.
Over the past 18 months, the group examined how Trump supporters entered the US Congressional seat on January 6, 2021, in which Joe Biden’s (80) defeat in the Republican primary was recognized. A mob, spurred on by Trump, stormed the building. Five people died.
In theory, Trump could not run if convicted
Trump wants to be the President of the United States again. He announced his candidacy for the 2024 elections in November. He dismissed the allegations against him as political persecution. Yes, the panel consists of only seven Democrats and two Republicans. That’s because Republicans in Congress more or less torpedoed the body from the beginning. A new Congress convenes in January, and Democrats have lost their majority in the House of Representatives. The Capital Committee is history. He must act now and pull out the last straw and decide whether to recommend that the ministry prosecute Trump.
But even if Trump were found guilty in this case, it would mean nothing. That’s because some legal experts argue that the Constitution trumps federal laws — and that it contains nothing about carrying government documents with you as a criterion for disqualification from political office. Here again the courts are likely to have the last word. So the question now is how much the legal drag and Capitol Committee actions hurt Trump, his party — and ultimately, voters. Only time will tell.
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