Members of the House committee that investigated the Jan. 6, 2021, Capitol insurrection and the events that led to it are taking credit in part for the latest indictment of former President Donald Trump.
What You Need To Know
- Members of the House committee that investigated the Jan. 6, 2021, Capitol insurrection and the events that led to it are taking credit in part for the latest indictment of former President Donald Trump
- Last December, the committee voted to send four criminal referrals against Trump to the Justice Department, which included two charges listed in Tuesday's indictment
- Rep. Adam Schiff, D-Calif., told Spectrum News that “so much of what is listed” in the indictment “were facts that we elicited from our testimony in the committee"
- Committee member Rep. Jamie Raskin, D-Md., told CBS News the indictment was “vindication of the rule of law in America and that this grand jury saw what the Jan. 6 committee saw"
A federal grand jury voted Tuesday to indict Trump over his efforts to subvert the 2020 presidential election results. Trump is facing charges of conspiracy to defraud the United States, conspiracy to obstruct an official proceeding, obstruction of and attempt to obstruct an official proceeding, and conspiracy against rights.
Special counsel Jack Smith alleges Trump engaged in illegal activity aimed at discounting legitimate votes while knowingly making false claims about widespread election fraud. Trump has called the indictment “fake” and claimed it’s part of a politically motivated prosecution designed to damage his 2024 presidential campaign.
Last year, the now-disbanded Jan. 6 committee held 10 public hearings that presented evidence and testimony painting Trump as a president so determined to remain in power that he ignored his closest advisers in pushing baseless election fraud claims; pressured state officials, senior Justice Department officials and Vice President Mike Pence to help overturn the results; summoned his supporters to Washington on Jan. 6 then directed them to the Capitol knowing some were armed; and then refused to call off the violent mob or order the National Guard to step in.
Last December, the committee voted to send four criminal referrals against Trump to the Justice Department. Two of those charges — conspiracy to defraud the nation and obstructing an official proceeding — appear in Tuesday’s indictment. Two other charges — willfully making false statements to the federal government and inciting or assisting an insurrection — do not. It’s unclear if prosecutors sought indictments on those counts.
Rep. Adam Schiff, D-Calif., told Spectrum News that “so much of what is listed” in the indictment “were facts that we elicited from our testimony in the committee.”
“I think all of us committee members realize the importance of the work that we did, that indeed this indictment may not have come to pass but for our bringing these facts before the American people and before the Justice Department,” Schiff said.
While it’s not known if Smith’s team followed a blueprint laid out by the committee or if its investigation happened to independently lead to many of the same conclusions, committee member Rep. Jamie Raskin, D-Md., told CBS News the indictment was “vindication of the rule of law in America and that this grand jury saw what the Jan. 6 committee saw when we tried to analyze the chaos and the violence unleashed against America, not just on Jan. 6, but in the weeks leading up to it.”
Raskin noted that one significant deviation was that Trump was not charged with inciting an insurrection. The congressman conceded that the statute has rarely been used and has not been constitutionally tested in the Supreme Court.
Rep. Bennie Thompson, D-Miss., who chaired the panel, posted on the X social media platform, formerly known as Twitter, that the “charges are consistent with those the Select Committee referred to the Special Counsel last year, and successful prosecutions will not only bring accountability but also help prevent something like January 6th from ever happening again.”
Former Rep. Adam Kinzinger, R-Ill., wrote on X that the committee “uncovered proof that Donald Trump not only knew what was happening at the Capitol, but encouraged it. He is a cancer on our democracy. Today is the beginning of Justice. Nobody is above the law; least of all a president who swore an oath to defend it.”
Republicans criticized the Jan. 6 committee as being one-sided. The panel consisted of seven Democrats and two Republicans — Kinzinger and Liz Cheney of Wyoming — both of whom had been critical of Trump.
Senate Republicans had blocked the creation of a bipartisan, independent commission to investigate Jan. 6. The House responded by forming its own committee, but then-Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., withdrew his picks to sit on it after Speaker Nancy Pelosi barred two of his selections because they had voted against certifying the election.
Cheney and Kinzinger were placed on the committee by Pelosi. The two Republican members received backlash from within their party for criticizing Trump and serving on the panel. Cheney lost her reelection bid last year, and Kinzinger did not run again.
“They were very courageous, and they did pay a political price for it,” Schiff said. “But at the same time, they must feel some sense of their worth being vindicated by these charges.”