US Capitol riot panel to vote Monday on whether criminal charges should be pursued against Trump

An 18-month probe into the Capitol riots on January 6, will finally reach a conclusion on Monday when the lawmakers convene to vote on whether to recommend criminal charges against former president Donald Trump and some of his closest aides. The investigation by the select House of Representatives has seen at least a 1,000 witnesses being interviewed. Explosive public hearings showing videos from inside the Capitol have been made public to understand who was responsible for it.

The panel comprises seven Democrats and two Republicans and will meet at 10 am Pacific Time to reveal the findings of their investigation. Trump supporters had attacked and forcefully entered the Capitol after Trump in a speech falsely claimed that the 2020 election was stolen from him by Joe Biden. 

While Trump has made it official that he will be contesting for the White House a third time in 2024, the panel will decide if the Justice Department should seek charges against Trump on at least three counts, according to reports. Notably, the January 6 ruckus had led to the death of six people and injured 140 police officers. About 900 people have been arrested till date.

The charges would include inciting an insurrection, obstruction of an official proceeding and conspiracy to defraud the US government, NBC News reported Sunday. 

Meanwhile, the Justice Department has already appointed a special counsel to look into Trump’s role in the Capitol riot and his efforts to overturn the 2020 election. However, their vote will be nonbinding and the final decision on charges will ultimately rest with Attorney General Merrick Garland.

Trump is staring at prison time owing to the three charges and faces a possible ban from public office.

“I think that the evidence is there that Donald Trump committed criminal offenses in connection with his efforts to overturn the election,” Democratic committee member Adam Schiff, a former federal prosecutor, told CNN on Sunday.

The committee may also make legislative recommendations to protect the process of certifying election results. Its final report is due for release on Wednesday. 

(With inputs from agencies)

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