When the House of Representatives formed a special committee this summer to investigate the Capitol attack on January 6, its stated goals put together the most credible explanation of what happened, and it never happened again. Was to make a recommendation to do so.
But when investigators screened a large amount of documents, metadata, and interview records, they began to consider whether the investigation could bring something potentially more important: the judiciary to encourage the investigation. Evidence of criminal activity by President Donald J. Trump or others that can be sent to the province.
The move (known as sending criminal referrals) has no legal weight, as Congress has little ability to tell the Department of Justice what investigations should be conducted. However, it could have a substantial political impact by increasing public pressure on Attorney General Merrick B. Garland. Unfounded allegations of fraudulent voting.
The criminal issue goes far beyond the contempt of parliamentary insults that the House sent to the Justice Department because Mr. Trump’s former chief strategist Stephen K. Bannon and his former chief of staff Mark Meadows refused to cooperate. More and more investigation. (Federal law requires prosecutors to file contempt of Congress before a grand jury when they receive such a referral.)
According to those who were briefed on their efforts, Commission investigators are investigating whether various crimes have been committed, including two in particular. The claim was not true. And whether Mr. Trump and his allies interfered with Congress in an attempt to stop the voter vote.
If there is new evidence that the Commission may support criminal referrals, whether it pursues that option, and whether the Commission may file a proceeding strong enough to withstand the inevitable accusations. It is not clear when and how to decide if it can be done. Acted in a partisan way.
Behind the scenes, the Commission’s day-to-day operations are carried out by a team of 40 investigators and staff, including a former federal prosecutor. The panel has set more than 30,000 records and interviewed more than 300 witnesses. Among them are about 12 last week who said that members of the committee provided “significant” testimony.
In recent weeks, the Commission has publicly expressed its interest in criminal issues. Immediately after receiving a 9,000-page document from Mr. Meadows, including a text message and a PowerPoint presentation, the panel’s top Republican, Congressman Liz Cheney of Wyoming, read the criminal law at a televised hearing.
She suggested that Mr. Trump’s failure to stop the violence in the Capitol on January 6 may have violated federal law prohibiting obstruction of official pre-parliamentary proceedings.
“We know that while trying to count the electors, hours have passed without the president taking any action to protect the US Congress from attacks,” Chainy added. Are you obstructing or attempting to interfere with the official process of counting voters? “
Understand the U.S. Capitol Riot
On January 6, 2021, a Trump mob attacked the Capitol.
This question is one of the most important to reveal in the first six months of the survey.
The panel has nine members, including two Republicans, modeled after the committee investigating the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks. The Commission will produce an authoritative report on January 6th.
A television hearing will be held early next year to show the public how the Trump supporter’s “Stop Stealing” movement led to the Parliamentary riots. And it finally proposes a change in federal law, strengthens legislation to curb the president’s actions, and reviews the voter voting law that Mr. Trump and his allies tried to use in an attempt to stick to power. ..
One of the challenges facing the Commission is that much has been reported about Mr. Trump’s efforts to gain power and the attack itself. So far, much disclosure about the role of Mr. Trump, his aides, and others who promoted the unfounded idea that the election was stolen from him has had little impact on his Republican support in Congress. Not giving.
However, credible criminal referrals could provide the Commission with an opportunity to highlight the significance of what happened, while exposing Mr. Trump and others to increased legal oversight. I have.
Parliamentary investigators are not authorized to accuse crimes, but their ability to summon documents and force witnesses to testify allows them to reveal new details about the case. Sometimes the process leads witnesses to reveal potential crimes about themselves and others.
When that happens, Congress can make a criminal referral to the Department of Justice — often in the form of an open letter — which could pressure the Department of Justice to initiate an investigation. Occasionally, in a partisan dispute, members of the House of Representatives exaggerate evidence of the crime and refer it to the Department of Justice, which is ignored because of its political appearance.
Parliamentary investigations also cause problems for witnesses because it is against the law to make false or misleading statements to Congress. Special counsel Robert S. Mueller III accuses Roger J. Stone Jr. in 2019 of lying to a parliamentary investigator investigating Russia’s intervention in the 2016 elections and interfering with the investigation. Did. Mr Stone was finally convicted and subsequently pardoned by Mr Trump.
Mr Stone appeared before the committee on Friday, January 6, and faced questions about his role in the “Stop Stealing” movement. But instead of answering the question, he said he was afraid to accuse Democrats of lying under the oath again, so instead of answering the question, he was entitled to Article 5 of the Constitutional Amendment for self-incrimination. Exercised repeatedly.
At a hearing this month, Mr. Chainy suggested that the commission could summon Mr. Trump to answer the question, and if he lied, criminal penalties would be placed on his head.
“Every communication Mr. Trump makes with this committee will be under an oath,” she said. “And if he continues to lie then, he is responsible under the law of this great country and is subject to criminal penalties for all the false words he speaks.”
California Democrat and Commission member Adam B. Schiff said it was “certainly possible” for the panel to make a criminal referral before the investigation was completed.
Key figures for inquiries on January 6
“Judging from the experience of Russian and Ukrainian investigations, most of the criminal referrals I know were related to perjury or the threat of witnesses,” he said. “But it’s not unprecedented for Congress to make a referral when we notice …