Capitol Insurrection Donald Trump Justice Department

January 6 Select Committee Preparing To Refer Trump To DOJ For Dereliction Of Duty: Report

The House Select Committee on the January 6 Capitol insurrection is preparing to decide what criminal referrals it will forward to the Justice Department regarding former President Donald Trump’s actions on the day of the horrific attack on the seat of government.

Committee Chairman Bennie Thompson (D-MS) told The Washington Post that the most likely referral would be for dereliction of duty as Trump dithered for over three hours before finally releasing a video instructing his supporters to clear the Capitol grounds:

Of particular interest is why it took so long for (Trump) to call on his supporters to stand down, an area of inquiry that includes obtaining several versions of a video Trump reportedly recorded before finally releasing a message 187 minutes after he told his supporters to march on the Capitol during the rally that preceded the attack.

“It appears that he tried to do a taping several times, but he wouldn’t say the right thing,” Thompson said, basing his statement on information the panel has gleaned from interviews with witnesses as well as media reports about that day.

Thompson made a specific reference to dereliction of duty, but other charges could also be referred to the DOJ once the committee has completed its investigation:

“That dereliction of duty causes us real concern,” Thompson said. “And one of those concerns is that whether or not it was intentional, and whether or not that lack of attention for that longer period of time, would warrant a referral.”

Another possible charge that may be referred to the Justice Department is criminally obstructing Congress in performing its official duties. Rep. Liz Cheney (R-WY), who serves as vice chair of the Jan. 6 panel, has suggested Trump did indeed try to obstruct the certification of electoral votes on that fateful day as both houses were meeting in joint session to declare the winner of the 2020 presidential election.

On December 14, Cheney remarked:

“Mr. Meadows’s testimony will bear on another key question before this committee: Did Donald Trump, through action or inaction, corruptly seek to obstruct or impede Congress’s official proceeding to count electoral votes?”

A criminal referral isn’t necessary for the DOJ to take up the matter, and most legal experts suggest the agency is already weighing whether or not Trump and others should be charged for their actions prior to and on the day of the Capitol riots. But a criminal referral from the committee — along with evidence and testimony the panel has gathered — would certainly provide a strong impetus for indictments.


By Andrew Bradford

Proud progressive journalist and political adviser living behind enemy lines in Red America.

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