By: YASHWANT RAJ
A select committee of the US Congress is expected to vote on Monday to refer to the Justice Department at least three criminal charges against former President Donald Trump concerning the January 6, 2021 attack on the US Capitol as lawmakers met to certify Joe Biden's victory in the 2020 presidential election.
The three charges are expected to be obstruction of an official proceeding of Congress, conspiracy to defraud the US, and insurrection, as the attack has been called.
Aides of former President Donald Trump are also expected to be referred to the Justice Department - former Chief of Staff Mark Meadows, personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani, former Justice Department official Jeffrey Clarke and another lawyer John Eastman.
Criminal referrals such as these have no legal weight, but the Justice Department is already investigating the January 6 attack - led by the special counsel, Jack Smith, who has added a new sense of urgency.
The bipartisan select committee of the US House of Representatives is scheduled to take the vote later in the day and is likely to also release an executive summary of their report, based on their 18-month-long investigation, which included several high-profile public congressional hearings that included several Trump aides.
The criminal reference against Trump will be unprecedented and will add to the already sullied record of the former President, which includes two impeachments -- one while in office, and the other after leaving -- and a host of criminal and civil cases he is currently embroiled in.
Hordes of Trump supporters had descended upon the US Capitol on January 6 after a rousing speech from the former President and aides to stop a joint meeting of the two chambers of the Congress -- the Senate and the House of Representatives -- from certifying Biden as the winner of the 2020 presidential election, ignoring Trump's false claims that he lost because of election fraud.
The former President has continued to hawk these same claims, making it a litmus test for Republicans seeking his support and endorsement.
Trump has announced he is running for the Republican nomination for presidential nominee in 2024 in a move, many experts have said, that is intended to help him fight possible prosecution for January 6 and a bunch of other criminal investigations currently underway against him. He would cite his candidature to allege the investigations are politically motivated. (KB/IANS)