Speaker Benny Thompson will not rule out referring criminal charges to the Justice Department over former President Trump’s role in the riots
“What I want to say is that we have been able to make sure that we have come dangerously close to losing our democracy,” Mr Thompson told CNN Sunday. What happened on January 6 was a comedy of errors or a well-planned attempt on the part of some individuals.”
“Before we just walk out with a story we can’t defend, what we believe is true, and that’s the charge we have as a committee,” he said.
Mr Thompson also said on Sunday that the committee would not rule out referring criminal charges to the Justice Department related to former President Donald Trump’s role in the Capitol attack. “If during our review we find something that we think warrants review or recommendation [the Justice Department], we’ll do it. We’re not looking for it, but if we do find it, we’ll do a whole lot of referrals,” he said on ABC.
Representative Liz Cheney (R., Wyo.), one of the panel’s two GOP members, said the lack of criminal referrals would make the committee look at legislative changes.
“I think there are a number, as the president said, of potential criminal statute at issue here. But I think there’s no doubt that it was a dereliction of duty,” said Ms. Cheney, one of the few Republicans. One, who is a regularly outspoken critic of Mr. Trump. “I think one of the things the committee needs to look at, given a legislative purpose, is whether we need increased punishment for that dereliction of duty.”
Mr Thompson also left open the possibility of issuing subpoenas for the cooperation of two GOP lawmakers, Reps Scott Perry of Pennsylvania and Jim Jordan of Ohio, with whom the committee had previously asked to speak about January 6. “We have asked them to come voluntarily. Now, we will see whatever opportunities we may have to get those people to come,” he said. Asked whether this would include summons, he replied: “We Will see it.”
Representatives of Messrs Perry and Jordan did not immediately respond to requests for comment.
The committee’s investigation intensified when the House voted to hold former White House chief of staff Mark Meadows in contempt of Congress after he refused to comply with a subpoena to testify before the panel. refused. Now, the Justice Department must decide whether it will file charges against him.
“There is communication between some of those members [of Congress] And the White House, in particular… is asking the Chief of Staff Meadows to call on the president to call back this riot or rebellion. So there is some participation. We just want to make sure we get to the bottom of it,” Mr Thompson said on ABC.
Mr Meadows did not respond to requests for comment.
The remarks from lawmakers came days before the first anniversary of the attack, when a crowd of Mr Trump’s supporters gathered at the Capitol while Congress was meeting to ratify the results of the 2020 election.
That day, Mr Trump addressed an afternoon crowd at the “Stop the Steel” rally in the Ellipse and encouraged supporters to march to the Capitol. Hundreds then clashed with police, in which several officers were seriously injured. An intruder was shot by a Capitol police officer, who was later cleared of wrongdoing.
Shedding light on the country’s deepening polarization, Americans are divided on the seriousness of the incident, who is to blame and what punishment is imposed.
recently quinnipiac pole It was found that 93% of Democrats and 56% of independents considered it an attack on the government, while only 29% of Republicans said so. Pew Research Center survey shows Republicans’ Declining Share Of those who believe it is important that rioters be prosecuted, 57% expressed support in September, up from 79% in March.
“Frankly, it’s crazy that many people believe that—things that just aren’t true,” Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan, a Republican, said on CNN. “To think that the violent demonstrators who attacked the Capitol, our seat of democracy on January 6th, were just tourists looking at statues, it’s insane that anyone can see it on television and believe what happened.”