The commission investigating the assault on the Capitol concludes with a devastating account and recommends that the former president be charged with four crimes
Donald Trump may be liable for at least four crimes in connection with the events of Jan. 6, 2021, when thousands of his most fanatic supporters stormed the U.S. Capitol to disrupt the protocol certification of Joe Biden’s election victory two months earlier. The House special committee’s final report of this monumental bipartisan work was released on Thursday after more than 1,000 witnesses were interviewed, including some of Trump’s closest White House aides, and more than 140,000 documents were reviewed. The committee has presented a shattering account of events in which Trump appears as the leader of a conspiracy to deny the election result. Trump was aware of the lie at all times. The charges recommended by the commission are: obstruction of an official act (in this case, the certification of the result); conspiracy against the state; lying to institutions; and, the most serious of all, insurrection. The decision to indict, unprecedented in history, rests with the prosecutor’s office, which is conducting its own investigation (900 people have already been indicted) and has appointed a special prosecutor.
The report destroys any attempt to downplay what happened on Jan. 6, either because the assault on the Capitol failed in its ultimate objective, or because it had the appearance of being a spontaneous attack of collective anger that was without resistance. The truth that will go down in history is absolute and undeniable. The assault was led by organized far-right groups, but it was executed by thousands of Trump fanatics with no violent background who believed they were defending their president. The challenge for the commission was to convey the gravity of what happened not only to pundits or politicians but to the ordinary citizen. The commission has designed and planned its sessions for television and has explained the facts to millions of viewers with a docudrama format, extraordinarily pedagogical, which will mark a “before” and “after” in the way in which congressional investigations are conducted, so often victims of political posturing and the desire for prominence. Those videos and tweets are perhaps Trump’s most important legacy. Because this man, cornered in a Florida mansion, intends to become president again. Whether he succeeds or not depends, ultimately, on whether a large majority of Americans accurately understand the danger he poses to democracy.
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