The House Jan. 6 Committee voted on Monday to refer criminal charges against Donald Trump for trying to overturn the 2020 election, the first time a congressional committee has made such a declaration against a former President. The nine-member committee unanimously agreed that there was enough evidence for the Department of Justice to pursue at least four charges: obstructing an official proceeding, conspiracy to defraud the government, make false statements, and assisting an insurrection.
It will be up to the Justice Department – specifically Special Counsel Jack Smith, who Attorney General Merrick Garland appointed last month to take over criminal investigations involving Trump – to decide whether to bring charges or not.
The historic move was the capstone of 18 months of investigations and 10 public hearings by the House Jan. 6 Committee.
The top Republican on the committee, Rep. Liz Cheney of Wyoming, put the committee’s work into a broader sweep of American history, saying Trump’s efforts to stay in power after losing the election broke with more than two centuries of American tradition and rule of law. She described the pioneering decision by George Washington at the end of the Revolutionary War to resign his commission and turn the power of the Continental Army back to Congress, and quoted President Ronald Reagan saying the peaceful transfer of power in the U.S is seen by many as “a miracle.”
“Every president in our history has defended this orderly transfer of authority except one,” Cheney said.
This is a developing story that will be updated.