Panel wants Trump to face criminal charges

A United States congressional inquiry into last year’s Capitol riot says ex-President Donald Trump should face criminal charges, including insurrection.

The Democratic-led committee voted unanimously for the justice department to prosecute Trump.

The panel also aired a new clip of former Trump aide Hope Hicks on his refusal to admit election defeat.

Trump supporters stormed Congress on 6 January 2021, interrupting Joe Biden’s certification as president.

Trump, who denies any wrongdoing, released a statement slamming the panel as a “kangaroo court”.

After spending around 18 months investigating the riot, the House of Representatives select committee recommended at their final meeting on Monday that Trump face four charges:inciting, assisting, aiding or comforting an insurrection; obstruction of an official proceeding; conspiracy to defraud the United States and conspiracy to make a false statement.

The justice department – whose prosecutors are already considering whether to charge Trump – does not have to follow a congressional committee’s referral.

While the panel’s actions are mostly symbolic, the chairman described the proposed charges as a “roadmap to justice”.

A justice department spokesman declined to comment on Monday about the referral.

“An insurrection is a rebellion against the authority of the United States,” said congressman Jamie Raskin, a Maryland Democrat who serves on the committee.

“It is a grave federal offence, anchored in the Constitution itself.”

The panel’s seven Democrats and two Republicans released their preliminary 161-page executive summary on Monday.

It accused Trump of a “multi-part conspiracy” to thwart the will of voters in the run-up to the Capitol riot and during the riot itself.

The House committee has argued Trump spread claims that he knew were false about the 2020 presidential election being stolen, before pressuring state officials, the justice department and his own vice-president to help overturn his defeat. The panel accuses him of inciting the riot at Congress in a last-ditch bid to block the peaceful transfer of power to Biden.

The full report, spanning hundreds of pages, is due to be released on Wednesday. (BBC)

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