Jan 6: US Capitol Riot committee recommends criminal charges against Donald Trump

Donald Trump could face criminal proceedings over the Capitol riots after an historic ruling in the US Congress tonight. Robert Moore reports

The committee of lawmakers investigating the attempted insurrection at the US Capitol building has recommended criminal charges against former president Donald Trump and his allies.

While it will be up to the Department of Justice and Attorney General to decide whether to prosecute, it is a decisive end to one of the most extensive and aggressive congressional probes in memory.

The House January 6 committee released a lengthy summary of its final report, including findings that Mr Trump engaged in a “multi-part conspiracy” to overturn the 2020 Presidential election result.

Made up of seven Democrats and two Republicans, the committee alleged four criminal offences by Mr Trump, in both the run-up to the 2021 riot, and during the insurrection itself.

The charges recommended by the panel are conspiracy to defraud the United States, obstruction of an official proceeding of Congress, conspiracy to make a false statement and aiding an insurrection.

Watch ITV News US Correspondent Robert Moore's report from Washington DC on January 6 in full

Chairman Bernie Thompson said: "We have every confidence that the work of this committee will help provide a roadmap to justice."

He said Mr Trump "lost the 2020 election and knew it", but "chose to try to stay in office through a multi-part scheme to overturn the results and block the transfer of power".

The Democrat who represents Mississippi said Mr Trump "broke the faith" that people usually have when they cast ballots in a democracy with his alleged interference.

Many of Mr Trump’s former aides testified about his unprecedented pressure on states, federal officials and vice president Mike Pence to find a way to thwart the popular will.

Liz Cheney, the panel’s Republican vice chairwoman, said in opening remarks that every president in American history has defended the orderly transfer of power, “except one.”

The committee have said Mr Trump knew full well that he had lost but tried to hold onto power. Credit: AP

An 154-page summary of the committee's report accused Mr Trump of purposely disseminating false allegations of voter fraud, pressuring Congress, the Justice Department and his vice president to join his efforts to subvert the results.

The committee has also described how Mr Trump riled up the crowd at a rally on the morning of January 6, and then did little to stop his supporters for several hours as he watched the violence unfold on television.

After beating their way past police, injuring many of them, rioters stormed the Capitol and interrupted the certification of Democrat Joe Biden’s presidential election win.

They did so while echoing Mr Trump's lies about widespread election fraud, sending lawmakers and others running for their lives.

In November Mr Trump announced his third bid for the White House. Credit: AP

While the majority of the new report’s main findings are not new, it altogether represents one of the most damning portraits of an American president in recent history.

The panel, which will dissolve on January 3 with the new Republican-led House, has conducted more than 1,000 interviews, held 10 well-watched public hearings and collected more than a million documents since it launched in July 2021. The panel aired some new evidence at the meeting, including a recent interview with longtime Trump aide Hope Hicks.

Describing a conversation she had with Mr Trump around that time, she said he told her that no one would care about his legacy if he lost the election. Hicks told the committee that Mr Trump said to her: “The only thing that matters is winning."

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