The House committee investigating the attack on the United States Capitol on January 6, 2021, has found enough evidence to charge former President Donald Trump, according to the panel’s vice chair, Rep. Liz Cheney (R-Wyo.).
“It’s absolutely 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 told CNN’s Jake Tapper on “State of the Union.”
She was responding to a New York Times report that the committee leaders were split on whether to refer Trump to the Justice Department on criminal charges of obstructing a congressional proceeding and conspiring to defraud the American people.
They were splitting despite concluding they had enough evidence to do so. People involved in the discussions were mentioned in the report. The committee has not yet decided whether to make a referral, according to Cheney.
“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.
She cited details from a recent plea agreement from one of the far-right Proud Boys’ leaders, Charles Donohoe, who admitted to conspiring to help organize an attack on Congress by Trump supporters and acknowledged the intention to halt the Electoral College proceedings, among other things.
She said that the evidence showed that those involved in planning the events of Jan. 6 “knew that they were going to attempt to use violence to stop the transfer of power.”
“That is the definition of an insurrection,” she said.
She said the panel has 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.”
That objective was “to try to stop the kind of electoral votes, to try to interfere with that official proceeding,” she added.
She also referred to a ruling last month by a federal judge presiding over a civil suit in which the Jan. 6 committee sought access to emails written by John Eastman, a lawyer who advised Trump on his efforts to prevent the Electoral College votes from being certified.
According to U.S. District Judge David Carter, Trump “more likely than not” attempted to obstruct the joint session of Congress on Jan. 6, 2021, which would be a federal crime. “The plan’s illegality was obvious,” Carter said.
The House committee announced in early March that it had evidence that Trump and his associates engaged in a “criminal conspiracy” to prevent Congress from certifying the presidential election results, spread false information about it, and pressured state officials to overturn the results.