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Can the January 6 Panel Really Charge Donald Trump?

By Ilya Tsukanov – Samizdat – 19.12.2022

Congressman Adam Schiff announced Sunday that the House Select Committee Investigating January 6 had accumulated “sufficient evidence” to criminally refer Donald Trump to the Justice Department for prosecution “in connection with his efforts to overturn” the 2020 election. What kinds of charges could the former president face? Sputnik explores.

After a year-and-a-half and over $9 million worth of interviewing, interrogating, examining, and investigating, the January 6 committee is ready to present its final report on the riots and chaos that broke loose at the Capitol complex on January 6, 2021.

The report – an executive summary of which will be released later Monday, will be complemented by a committee vote on criminal referrals to the Justice Department targeting the former president and members of his staff for possible criminal activity.

“People are hungering for justice and for accountability and consequences here,” Maryland Democrat committee member Jamie Raskin told reporters earlier this month. “I know that people feel that we need to make sure that accountability runs all the way to the top. Just because you’re elected president, or used to be president, does not give you the right to engage in crimes freely,” the politician stressed.

California Democrat Adam Schiff echoed his colleague’s sentiments on Sunday, saying that the “evidence was plain” that Trump was guilty of criminal wrongdoing. “This is someone who tried to interfere with a joint session, even inciting a mob to attack the Capitol. If that’s not criminal, then I don’t know what is,” he said.

What Charges Could Trump Face?

Schiff did not specify what criminal charges Trump could face, saying he did not “want to telegraph too much.” However, possible charges include obstruction of the certification of the outcome of the 2020 election, which Trump continues to maintain was rigged against him, seditious conspiracy or insurrection charges, conspiracy to defraud the United States, or even “dereliction of duty” charges over the former president’s purported failure to promptly stop the unrest taking place at the Capitol on that cold January day.

The obstruction and seditious conspiracy charges would be the most serious, and could land the former president up to 40 years prison time total, meaning the 76-year-old would be almost certain to die in prison if tried and convicted, and if the maximum penalty was applied. The conspiracy to defraud the United States charge could mean five years jail time.

Trump has dismissed the committee and its 18-month investigation as a “show trial” and a continuation of the “Russia-Russia-Russia” “witch hunt” against him that began shortly before he was elected president in 2016. Trump’s allies suspect that the January 6 committee’s real goal is to bar the businessman from running for president again in 2024 after two failed impeachments and the collapse of the “Russian collusion” claims.

The committee has been criticized for its partisan nature, with its nine members including just two Republicans – never-Trumpers Liz Cheney and Adam Kinzinger.

By law, the DoJ would be required to treat the criminal referral in a nonpartisan, unbiased way. However, as other recent criminal cases against Trump associates like Steve Bannon have demonstrated, impartiality may not exactly be the Biden DoJ’s forte. Bannon, 69, appealed his contempt of Congress conviction last month after being slapped with a four-month jail sentence and a $6,500 fine for failing to comply with two subpoenas from the January 6 committee requiring him to testify.

Charges Would Be Historic

A recommendation of criminal charges against a former president would be a precedent-setting event. No sitting or former president has ever been convicted of a crime or served jail time. Three presidents have been impeached (Andrew Johnson, Bill Clinton, and Donald Trump), but all three were acquitted by the Senate. Ulysses S. Grant was arrested in 1872 on a misdemeanor charge for speeding in his horse-drawn carriage. George W. Bush was arrested near his family’s home in Kennebunkport, Maine for drunk driving in 1976, nearly 25 years before becoming president. Other than that, most American presidents have had a squeaky clean criminal record, regardless of suspected crimes by some of them while in office.

And Dangerous

As Democrats seek to silence Trump and prevent him from running again, and mainstream Republicans’ search for a safe, more controllable alternative to the brash New York businessman, political observers on both the left and right are becoming increasingly concerned about the state of the political climate in the United States. According to one recent poll, 57 percent of Americans fear that a civil war is “very likely” or “at least somewhat likely” as Americans become increasingly divided.

Surely, DoJ action to slap criminal charges against a former president, particularly as outstanding questions about the alleged pre-election cover-up of a suspected pay-to-play scandal involving President Joe Biden’s son Hunter ahead of the 2020 election remain unresolved, wouldn’t be a measure that would cool existing tensions. Especially given that upwards of 40 percent of Americans, (and over 60 percent of Republicans) still believe that Biden didn’t win the 2020 race fair and square.

Amazingly, the likely January 6 criminal referrals aren’t even the only potential criminal charges facing the former president, with Trump also being probed by the government over the alleged improper handling and storage of classified files at his Mar-a-Lago estate (which could land him charges under the Espionage Act – and 10 years in the slammer).

Separately, the Trump Organization has been under investigation by New York City and New York State officials, with the real estate mogul’s business empire found guilty of tax fraud earlier this month, facing a fine of up to $1.6 million.

December 20, 2022 - Posted by | Civil Liberties |

2 Comments »

  1. When I read this kind of stuff I really wonder how it is possible for some people to be atheists. The most productive, peaceful, moral, and fair environment is dictated by the Ten Commandments, which were given by God. In summary, the Golden Rule.

    As is plain to see by simply reading history, man has been utterly incapable of living with his fellow man in peace. If people such as Gates, Soros, Hitler, Fauci, Biden, Schiff, Hillary and cohorts establish what is true, just, moral, and peaceful, the earth cannot continue functioning for much longer. In fact, things are quickly deteriorating down a slope that has no return.

    Like

    Comment by Peter | December 20, 2022 | Reply

  2. Yawn. Fake RINO swamp thing Warp speed Epstein rapist P0S Trump licks Israeli dingus and won’t ever be charged just like Israeli dingus slurping Bannon wasn’t. All theater

    Like

    Comment by Larry | December 21, 2022 | Reply


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