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Capitol riot panel says there’s  enough evidence to lay criminal charges against Donald Trump

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A video of former President Donald Trump, played before the panel on Thursday June 9, 2022, speaking during a rally near the White House on January 6, 2021 Photo: Andrew Harnik/AP

A video of former President Donald Trump, played before the panel on Thursday June 9, 2022, speaking during a rally near the White House on January 6, 2021 Photo: Andrew Harnik/AP

A video of former President Donald Trump, played before the panel on Thursday June 9, 2022, speaking during a rally near the White House on January 6, 2021 Photo: Andrew Harnik/AP

Members of the US committee investigating the 2021 Capitol riot say they have uncovered enough evidence for the Justice Department to consider criminal charges against Donald Trump for seeking to overturn the results of the 2020 election.

I would like to see the Justice Department investigate any credible allegation of criminal activity on the part of Donald Trump,” said Adam Schiff, a California Democrat and committee member who also leads the House Intelligence Committee. “There are certain actions, parts of these different lines of effort to overturn the election that I don’t see evidence the Justice Department is investigating.”

The committee held its first public hearing last week, with members laying out their case against Mr Trump to show the way in which the defeated president relentlessly pushed claims of a rigged election despite multiple advisers telling him otherwise and how he intensified an extraordinary scheme to overturn Joe Biden’s victory.

Additional evidence is set to be unveiled this week in hearings that will try to demonstrate how Mr Trump and his advisers engaged in a “massive effort” to spread misinformation and pressured the Justice Department to embrace his false claims.

Committee members indicated yesterday their most important audience over the course of the hearings ultimately may be Attorney General Merrick Garland, who must decide whether his department can and should prosecute Mr Trump.

They left no doubt their own view as to whether the evidence is sufficient.

“Once the evidence is accumulated by the Justice Department, it needs to make a decision about whether it can prove to a jury beyond a reasonable doubt the president’s guilt or anyone else’s,” Mr Schiff said.

“But they need to be investigated if there’s credible evidence, which I think there is.”

Maryland Democrat Jamie Raskin said he didn’t intend to “browbeat” Mr Garland but noted the committee had laid out in legal pleadings a variety of criminal statutes they believe Mr Trump violated.

A federal judge in California said in a March ruling in a civil case that Mr Trump “more likely than not” had committed federal crimes in seeking to obstruct the congressional count of the electoral college ballots on January 6, 2021.

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