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Trump's Capitol Crisis: 2 Years Since Jan. 6 Riots, How Congress Panel Moved From Insurrection To Criminal Charge Advisory

Benzinga · 01/06/2023 07:40

Washington, DC descended into anarchy on Jan.6, 2021, after supporters of former President Donald Trump descended upon the U.S. Capitol, which at the time was preparing to count the Electoral College votes ahead of President Joe Biden’s inauguration. 

On Friday, it will be exactly two years since that insurrection that threatened the lives of lawmakers and overwhelmed law enforcement and was described as an “unprecedented assault” on democracy by Biden. 

The U.S. House Select Committee On the January 6 Attack, also known as the Jan. 6th Committee, was a bipartisan panel formed to investigate the events of the day. The committee had seven democrats and two republicans as members. It was chaired by Rep. Bennie Thompson (D-Miss.) while Liz Cheney, the former Republican representative from Wyoming, served as vice chair.

Here are some notable events that have taken place in the last two years related to the body.

The First Hearing: The first hearing of the panel took place on June 9, 2022. At the hearing, evidence was shown of Trump’s allies admitting that they knew the former president had lost the election. A 10-minute-long video showing the events on the day of the riot was also shared. 

The President Takes The Wheel: In June, Cassidy Hutchinson, a former White House aide, testified before the panel that Trump lunged at a Secret Service agent and tried to drive the presidential limousine himself to the Capitol building on January 6.

“The president said something to the effect of ‘I’m the effing president, take me to the capitol now’ He reached up to grab the steering wheel,” said Hutchinson at the time.

The Subpoena That Came To Nought: Trump was subpoenaed by the panel in October. He was required to produce “relevant documentary material as set forth” by Nov. 4, 2022. The former president was set to participate by giving testimony around Nov. 14, 2022.

Trump responded by issuing a rambling letter to Committee Chair Thompson but made no mention of whether he would comply with the subpoena. Instead, the former U.S. leader chose to lay the blame on the doorstep of the then-House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and others.

The former president filed a lawsuit in early November to avoid being made to testify before the committee or to provide any documentation, reported Reuters. His lawyers argued that the subpoena infringed on his constitutional rights to free speech and that the panel amounted to what was a "quasi-criminal inquest.”

Curtains On The Panel: At its final public meeting in December, the Jan. 6 panel voted unanimously to recommend that the U.S. Department of Justice investigate Trump on four referrals: Obstruction of an Official Proceeding, Conspiracy To Defraud the United States, Conspiracy To Make a False Statement, and Incite, Assist or Aid and Comfort an Insurrection.

The referral is seen as largely symbolic and the DoJ isn’t required to do anything in response to it, according to the former White House lawyer Ty Cobb.

Trump brought up the legal principle of “Double Jeopardy” in response and said that he had already been “submitted, prosecuted, and tried” in the form of an earlier impeachment. In his rebuttal to the development, he said, “What doesn’t kill me makes me stronger.”

Read Next: Trump Caused Wrongful Death Of Capitol Police Officer Brian Sicknick During Jan. 6 Riots, Lawsuit Alleges