Jan. 6 panel has enough evidence to refer Trump for criminal charges, Cheney says

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Former President Donald Trump arrives at a rally on April 02, 2022 near Washington, Michigan.
Scott Olson | Getty Images

The House panel investigating the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the U.S. Capitol has enough evidence to refer President Donald Trump for criminal charges, Rep. Liz Cheney, R-Wyo., said Sunday.

“It’s definitely clear that what President Trump was doing. What a number of people around him were doing. That they knew it was unlawful. They did it anyway,” Cheney, the vice chair and one of two Republicans on the committee, said on CNN’s “State of the Union” when asked by host Jake Tapper if they had enough evidence to make a criminal referral for the former president. Cheney added that the panel has not made a decision on moving forward with the referral.

Her remarks came after the New York Times reported that the committee has concluded that they have enough evidence to make a criminal referral but its leaders were split over whether to do so.

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“I think what we have seen is a massive and well organized and well-planned effort that used multiple tools to try to overturn an election,” Cheney said. The committee has “got a tremendous amount of testimony and documents that I think very, very clearly demonstrate the extent of the planning and the organization and the objective.”

Cheney added, “The objective was absolutely to try to stop the kind of electoral votes, to try to interfere with that official proceeding. And it’s absolutely clear that they knew what they were doing was wrong.”

She referred to a ruling over a civil suit involving the committee last month, in which a federal judge found that based on evidence, Trump likely “attempted to obstruct the joint session of Congress” on the day of the attack, which would be a crime.

“The illegality of the plan was obvious,” U.S. District Judge David Carter wrote of Trump and lawyer John Eastman’s plan to have then-Vice President Mike Pence determine the results of the 2020 election. “Every American — and certainly the president of the United States — knows that in a democracy, leaders are elected, not installed. With a plan this ‘BOLD,’ President Trump knowingly tried to subvert this fundamental principle.”

The Jan. 6 panel made similar allegations in a court filing in the case last month, saying it had “good-faith basis for concluding that the President and members of his Campaign engaged in a criminal conspiracy to defraud the United States.”

Trump has not been charged with a crime and has denied any wrongdoing.

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