Jan 6 Panel says Trump May Have Engaged in ‘Criminal Conspiracy’

A House of Representatives committee examining former President Donald Trump's withdrawal of sensitive materials from the White House.

The House select committee investigating the Jan. 6 2021 violent insurrection in the U.S. Capitol said for the first time that its evidence suggests former President Donald Trump and his associates may have committed crimes in the failed effort to overturn the outcome of the 2020 presidential election. 

Trump and his close associates engaged in a “criminal conspiracy” to prevent Congress from certifying the victory of his opponent, Joe Biden, in the Electoral College. 

In a court filing, the House committee said that Trump and those working with him spread false information about the outcome of the 2020 presidential election, which Trump unequivocally lost, and furthermore, pressured state officials to overturn the legitimate results. 

This may have violated multiple federal laws. 

In the court filing, it said that Trump and allies could be liable for fraud and obstruction. Obstruction, because they allegedly tried to obstruct a congressional proceeding, specifically, the certification of election results. Fraud, because they allegedly worked to defraud the U.S. public, including by repeatedly lying about the election and spreading conspiracy theories about it. 

In a filing submitted in the U.S. District Court in the Central District of California, the committee wrote that it has a good-faith basis for concluding that Trump and members of his campaign engaged in a criminal conspiracy to “defraud the United States.” 

The filing was a whopping 221 pages long. It marks the committee’s most formal effort yet to link Trump to a federal crime involving the Jan. 6 insurrection. Congressional lawmakers do not have within their power to bring criminal charges on their own. What they can do is make referrals to the Justice Department.

The DOJ has been investigating the 2021 riot, but it has not yet given any indication that it is considering seeking charges against Trump specifically. 

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