The January 6 committee is on a collision course with Trump and the midterms

A rush for new evidence and the Jan. 6 House committee’s growing ambition to hold the ex-president accountable for the Capitol insurrection means his investigation and new hearings in September will head headlong into the season. midterm elections.

Trump’s determination to wage a revenge campaign in 2024 rooted in his mountain of misinformation means it could be 2026, at least, before Americans experience a campaign not shaped by his inability to come to terms with his loss. legit almost two years ago.

It’s no coincidence, then, that senior members of the January 6 committee are increasingly adamant that Trump needs to pay the price now for his misdeeds after the 2020 campaign – before it’s too much. late.

“There is no doubt in my mind that (the former) President of the United States is unfit to hold other office,” committee vice chair Liz Cheney told CNN’s Jake Tapper on Sunday. the state of the Union”.

“Any man who behaves – or woman – who behaves the way he did in trying to overturn an election and stay in power must never again be anywhere near the Oval Office,” the Wyoming Republican said. , who faces a Trump-backed primary challenger next month who is well-positioned to win the state’s only House seat in November.

The panel has yet to decide whether to recommend a criminal investigation of the former president, Cheney told CNN, but committee members on Sunday put indirect pressure on the Justice Department to initiate formal charges against the former president, days after revealing his dereliction of duty as his mob ransacked the Capitol in January 2021.

They also signaled their willingness to open another politically electric avenue of investigation with a potential subpoena for Virginia “Ginni” Thomas, the conservative activist and wife of Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas.

Trump’s behavior in Arizona, where his grandstanding foreshadowed the presidential campaign he could soon launch, has deepened the dilemma of the Justice Department, which must decide whether overwhelming evidence at House Select Committee hearings is sufficient to open a criminal investigation against the ex-president.

Has the January 6 committee proven itself?  A point-by-point breakdown of its main claims and the evidence presented
During its televised hearings, the committee alleged that Trump knew he had lost the 2020 election but pressured Washington, DC and state officials to nullify it anyway. He called a crowd in Washington and urged them to march on the Capitol knowing that some members were armed. Then, as the committee revealed in shocking detail on Thursday, the ex-president watched the chaos unfold and broke his oath to defend the country and the Constitution.

Despite preconceptions that there was nothing new to learn about January 6, 2021, the hearings suggested a previously unknown level of intent from the ex-president regarding his attempted coup.

The question is no longer just whether a Justice Department investigation of a former president would draw so many recriminations that it might run counter to the national interest. Such is the strength of the evidence uncovered by the committee that Attorney General Merrick Garland must now consider the example given if Trump’s coup attempt does not attract accountability.

Cheney slams Trump for ‘most grievous’ misconduct of all presidents

Cheney laid out the gravity of the moment on Sunday.

She told Tapper that with his violations of his oath of office and the Constitution, Trump had engaged in “the most serious misconduct of any president in the history of our nation.” The Wyoming lawmaker, a rare Republican with the guts to take on Trump, could return to Washington in September knowing she sacrificed her immediate political career to defend democracy.

But Cheney told Tapper she had no regrets.

“If I have to choose between keeping a seat in the House of Representatives or protecting the constitutional republic and ensuring that the American people know the truth about Donald Trump, I will choose the Constitution and the truth every day.”

January 6 committee may subpoena Ginni Thomas
Cheney also said the committee would “consider” a subpoena for Ginni Thomas, if she does not voluntarily accept an interview about her role in promoting the overturning of the 2020 election result. committee will rekindle controversy over the role of the Supreme Court justice’s wife and whether her role in discrediting the 2020 election poses conflicts of interest for her husband, a hardline majority conservative voice in the top of the country, which Trump reshaped during his presidency. Ginni Thomas asked Mark Meadows to make sure the then-president didn’t give up on staying in power, according to text messages the former White House chief of staff gave to the committee.

Even without the panel deciding whether or not to recommend a criminal removal of Trump, the growing vehemence of committee members’ statements leaves little doubt about the direction they hope to take.

Democratic Rep. Adam Schiff, who also sits on the select committee, seized on Garland’s comments last week in which he said no one is above the law.

“The Attorney General made a commitment to follow the evidence where it might lead and that led to Donald Trump. ‘And so I think the president should be investigated,’ the California Democrat said on NBC’s “Meet the Press,” that it was up to the Justice Department to decide whether the committee’s evidence proves Trump’s guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.

Another member of the committee, Democratic Rep. Elaine Luria of Virginia, was even more forceful. She said she had no specific knowledge on the matter of a possible Justice Department investigation into the ex-president, but added: ‘I really hope they have a criminal investigation into this. stadium on Donald Trump.”

Garland’s Dilemma

There is a difference, however, between a House select committee investigation and an investigation conducted by the rigorous standards of a courtroom — a distinction that is often lost in commentary on recent televised hearings.

The Select Committee is not a criminal body and does not have the power to lay charges. There was no cross-examination of witnesses — in part because House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy pulled GOP representation from the committee after House Speaker Nancy Pelosi s objected to her choice of two of Trump’s fellow Holocaust deniers. (It was Pelosi who then selected Cheney and another prominent Trump critic — Republican Rep. Adam Kinzinger of Illinois, who is retiring from Congress — for the panel.)

The way the committee presented the evidence and selected excerpts of witness testimony in a highly produced, made-for-television format may have disguised contradictions or inconsistencies in the evidence that a defense attorney could exploit. Given the extraordinary implications of a growing criminal case against a former president, Garland should be extremely confident that a prosecution could succeed.

Proxy fight between Trump and Pence continues with rallies in Arizona

And one reason Trump might be interested in launching a presidential campaign even before the midterms is to make it easier for him to present any official investigation against him as politically motivated.

If he concluded that the evidence is suitable for an official investigation, Garland would also have to consider the implications of setting a precedent for a former president to be prosecuted in a criminal investigation by a successor administration.

Trump, for example, has already shown his commitment to politicizing the law and militarizing the Justice Department for his own ends. Given his strength in the Republican Party, he seems to have a reasonable chance of winning the nomination and being the next president. There is no doubt that he would use his power for revenge.

Kinzinger warned Sunday that the Justice Department should not stop short of prosecuting Trump for political reasons because it could also set a dangerous precedent.

“If there’s the ability to go forward with prosecution, and you don’t, you’ve basically laid the foundation for any president’s future behavior. And I don’t think a democracy can survive this,” Kinzinger told ABC News “This Week.”

In Arizona, the savage cult of personality that contributed to the Jan. 6 insurgency was in full force, with Trump’s Republican gubernatorial choice Kari Lake restoring Trump’s strongman image. the ex-president.

“For the record, I believe Superman is coming back, and I hope he comes back soon,” Lake said.

Trump, telling new lies about the 2020 election and criticizing the Jan. 6 committee, left little doubt about his future intentions.

“This is the year we’re going to take back the House, we’re going to take back the Senate, we’re going to take back America. And in 2024, most importantly, we’re going to take back our beautiful, beautiful White House,” he said. he says.

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