Jan. 6 committee opens final public hearing with plans for criminal referral against Donald Trump

The House Jan. 6 Committee opened its final public hearing Monday with the majority-Democrat panel expected to recommend criminal charges against former President Donald Trump for his role in the 2021 attack on the U.S. Capitol.

Committee Chairman Bennie G. Thompson, Mississippi Democrat, said the committee will provide “a roadmap to justice” for prosecutors. He said the committee’s 18-month investigation requires further “accountability that can only be found in the criminal justice system.”

“He lost the 2020 election and knew it,” Mr. Thompson said of Mr. Trump. “But he chose to try to stay in office through a multi-part scheme to overturn the results and block the transfer of power.”

The referral of criminal charges to the Justice Department would fulfill Democrats’ pledge to seek to hold Mr. Trump accountable for the violence at the Capitol nearly two years ago. It would also prevent Mr. Trump, an announced candidate for the presidency in 2024, from becoming president again or holding any federal office if he were convicted.

Committee Vice Chair Liz Cheney, Wyoming Republican, said Mr. Trump is the only president in history who “refused his constitutional duty” to transfer power peacefully. She said Mr. Trump’s claims of a stolen election are “flatly false.”

Ms. Cheney said it was “shameful” that Mr. Trump watched the riot unfold on TV from the White House but did nothing to stop it for hours. She said his actions were “unlawful.”

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“No man who would behave that way at that moment in time can ever serve in any position of authority in our nation,” Ms. Cheney said.

Mr. Trump has denounced the committee’s probe as a partisan “Kangaroo court” that is intended to prevent him from running for president again.

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