California Democratic Representative Adam Schiff has said that Donald Trump’s efforts to overturn the election were “criminal” ahead of the January 6 House Select Committee’s expected referrals to the Justice Department.
Appearing on CNN’s State of the Union on Sunday morning, the former federal prosecutor was asked by host Jake Tapper if he thinks “the evidence is there that Donald Trump committed ... crimes ... and that the cases are prosecutable, that you could get a conviction?”
Mr Schiff replied: “I think that the evidence is there that Donald Trump committed criminal offences in connection with his efforts to overturn the election.
“Viewing it as a former prosecutor, I think there's sufficient evidence to charge the president. Again, I don't actually know. Well, I don't know what the Justice Department has. I do know what's in the public record. The evidence seems pretty plain to me.”
He added: “But I would want to see the full body of evidence, if I were in the prosecutor’s shoes, to make a decision. But you know, this is someone who, in multiple ways tried to pressure state officials to find votes that didn't exist. This is someone who tried to interfere with a joint session, even inciting a mob to attack the Capitol.
“If that's not criminal, then I don't know what it is.”
Mr Schiff’s comments come ahead of a meeting of the January 6 panel on Monday during which they will reportedly vote on issuing criminal referrals against Mr Trump for his role in the insurrection, according to The New York Times and Politico.
Two people familiar with the matter told Politico that the report on which the committee will vote reflects recommendations from a subcommittee of the panel’s members that evaluated potential criminal referrals.
The subcommittee reportedly recommended the charges of insurrection; obstruction of an official proceeding; and a conspiracy to defraud the United States government.
The report supposedly cites Judge Amit Mehta’s ruling in the United States District Court for the District of Columbia, which said that Mr Trump’s rhetoric likely incited the January 6 riot.
“From these alleged facts, it is at least plausible to infer that, when he called on rally-goers to march to the Capitol, the President did so with the goal of disrupting lawmakers’ efforts to certify the Electoral College votes,” that ruling said. “The Oath Keepers, the Proud Boys, and others who forced their way into the Capitol building plainly shared in that unlawful goal.”
The supposed criminal referrals come as the select committee is wrapping up its work. The committee’s mandate will end at the end of the current Congress.
House Republicans are set to take control of the House of Representatives at the beginning of the year after they won the majority in last month’s midterm elections.
In addition, four of the committee’s members will not be in Congress come next year; Vice Chairwoman Liz Cheney lost the Republican primary for Wyoming’s at-large district while Democratic Representative Elaine Luria lost her race in November for Virginia’s 2nd district.
Republican Adam Kinzinger of Illinois and Democrat Stephanie Murphy of Florida both opted not to seek re-election.
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