Jan. 6 Panel Recommends Criminal Charges for Trump

Justice Department will make the final decision
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 19, 2022 1:29 PM CST
Jan. 6 Panel Recommends Criminal Charges for Trump
Former President Trump speaks at the Minden Tahoe Airport in Minden, Nev., on Oct. 8, 2022.   (AP Photo/Jos? Luis Villegas, Pool, File)

The House panel investigating the Capitol riot just made its biggest move yet: It recommended that former President Trump face four criminal charges. The AP describes the move as "mostly symbolic" given that the final decision rests with the Justice Department. The Washington Post also makes a point to note that such referrals "hold no legal weight." However, the move is still seen as a remarkable one against a former president for actions he took while he was a sitting president. The panel of seven Democrats and two Republicans (outgoing GOP Rep. Liz Cheney is the vice chair) recommended that Trump be charged with inciting or assisting an insurrection, obstruction of an official proceeding of Congress, conspiracy to defraud the United States, and conspiracy to make a false statement .

The charges relate to Trump's efforts to overturn the results of the 2020 election, which culminated in his supporters' Capitol riot. The panel's recommendation is being sent to Justice Department prosecutors and Attorney General Merrick Garland will make the final call on whether Trump will face charges, though he has appointed special counsel Jack Smith to investigate the former president's actions. Democratic Rep. Bennie Thompson, the panel's chairman, said the criminal justice system can provide accountability. "We have every confidence that the work of this committee will help provide a roadmap to justice," he said, per the AP. The panel also voted 9-0 to approve its final report, which will be released Wednesday.

(More Jan. 6 hearings stories.)

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