Criminal referrals in Jan. 6 attack probe weighed: Rep. Schiff

  • World
  • Monday, 26 Sep 2022

FILE PHOTO: Rep. Adam Schiff,D-CA, speaks as members share the recollections on the first anniversary of the assault on the Capitol in the Cannon House Office Building in Washington, U.S. January 6, 2022. Mandel Ngan/Pool via REUTERS

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. Representative Adam Schiff, a Democratic member of the special panel investigating the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the Capitol, on Sunday said he likely would support approving criminal referrals against those involved in the violence, but that it would take a unanimous decision by its nine members.

The committee has focused much of its year-long investigation on the actions of then-President Donald Trump and his associates in the aftermath of the November 2020 presidential election culminating with the deadly Jan. 6 storming of the Capitol.

Trump has falsely claimed without evidence that widespread voter fraud tainted the election result and that he should have been declared winner.

"It is, I think, apparent that there is evidence that Donald Trump was involved in breaking several of those laws" in relation to the Jan. 6 attack, Schiff told CNN's "State of the Union."

He did not provide further details, but criticized the Justice Department for being "slow" in its independent investigation of the attack.

Representative Liz Cheney, an outspoken critic of Trump and one of two Republican members of the committee, this summer also raised the possibility of the Justice Department charging Trump with criminal behavior, even before the panel wraps up its work.

The committee is due to meet on Wednesday, which Chairman Bennie Thompson has said likely would be the final investigative hearing following a series of eight such sessions this summer.

Democratic Representative Pete Aguilar told CBS-TV's "Face the Nation" that Wednesday's hearing will expose new details about the investigation. He did not elaborate.

Asked about the possibility of former Vice President Mike Pence being subpoenaed to testify, Aguilar said: "I think it's important that we hear from the vice president, but the committee's work continues. We haven't made a determination on where we go with the vice president, specifically."

Pence was presiding over Congress' formal certification of Joe Biden's victory in the 2020 election when Trump supporters stormed through barricades, fighting with police and smashing their way into the Capitol.

Trump repeatedly urged Pence to refuse to certify Biden's win. Pence declined, saying he had no such power.

Democratic Representative Jamie Raskin, also a panel member, told NBC-TV's "Meet the Press" that there could be an additional hearing to publicize legislative recommendations stemming from its probe.

"I'm hopeful ... that we will have a hearing that lays out all of our legislative recommendations about how to prevent, coups, insurrections, political violence and electoral sabotage in the future because that is a clear and present danger that is continuing up right to this day," Raskin said.

Raskin said he did not know whether that report would be finished before the Nov. 8 congressional elections that will determine whether Democrats continue to control the U.S. House and Senate.

"Our plan is to complete our report before the end of this Congress" in December, he said.

(Reporting by Richard Cowan and Daniel Burns; Editing by Daniel Wallis)

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