US Capitol Riot Panel to Assess Trump’s Culpability

VOA News

VOA FILE – A video of President Donald Trump is shown on a screen, as the House select committee investigating the January 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol holds a hearing at the Capitol in Washington, July 21, 2022.

WASHINGTON — One chapter of the never-ending saga of the 2020 U.S. presidential election is coming to an end Monday, with the congressional committee that investigated last year’s January 6 riot at the U.S. Capitol offering its final public assessment of how former President Donald Trump tried to claim another White House term despite losing the vote to Democrat Joe Biden.

The House of Representatives panel, after a 16-month investigation that included interviews with more than 1,000 witnesses, examination of thousands of pages of documents related to the final weeks of Trump’s four-year presidency and 10 riveting public hearings, appears set to conclude that Trump and close associates engaged in an “attempted coup.”

The committee comprises seven Democrats and two vocal anti-Trump Republicans. It is set to vote on whether to make criminal referrals to the Justice Department on whether Trump and key advisers should be prosecuted for their actions in trying to upend the election results and thwart Congress from certifying the state-by-state vote counts showing that Biden had defeated him.

The panel has not taken public votes yet on the criminal referrals and its actions will have no official standing.

But its assessment could lend impetus to the ongoing criminal investigations of Trump and others that are being conducted by special counsel Jack Smith, subject to oversight by Attorney General Merrick Garland, and a state prosecutor in the southern state of Georgia.

Last week, a Trump spokesman belittled the possibility of the criminal referrals.

“The January 6th un-Select Committee held show trials by Never-Trump partisans who are a stain on this country’s history,” spokesman Steven Cheung said in a statement. “This kangaroo court has been nothing more than a Hollywood executive’s vanity documentary project that insults Americans’ intelligence and makes a mockery of our democracy.”

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