January 6 panellists: Enough evidence to indict Trump

Committee say its uncovered enough for Justice Department to consider unprecedented criminal indictment against Trump

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Members of the House committee investigating the US Capitol riot said on Sunday that they had enough evidence for the Justice Department to consider an unprecedented criminal indictment against former president Donald Trump for seeking to overturn the results of the 2020 election.

The committee said Mr Trump's campaign manager, Bill Stepien, is among the witnesses due to testify at a hearing on Monday that focuses on the former president's effort to spread lies about a stolen election.

Mr Stepien was subpoenaed for his public testimony.

As the hearings unfold, Congressman Adam Schiff said he would like the department to “investigate any credible allegation of criminal activity on the part of Donald Trump".

”There are certain actions, parts of these different lines of effort to overturn the election that I don’t see evidence the Justice Department is investigating,” said Mr Schiff, who also leads the House intelligence committee.

The committee held its first public hearing last week.

Members laid out their case against Mr Trump to show how he pushed his false claims of a rigged election despite advisers telling him otherwise, and how he intensified a scheme to overturn Joe Biden's victory.

More evidence is set to be released in hearings this week that will show how Mr Trump and some of his advisers engaged in a "massive effort" to spread misinformation.

It will show how they pressured the Justice Department to embrace his false claims, and urged then-vice president Mike Pence to reject state electors and block the vote certification on January 6, 2021.

Mr Stepien, a long-time Trump ally, is now a top campaign adviser to the House candidate in Wyoming's Republican primary, Harriet Hageman.

Ms Hageman, whi was endorsed by Mr Trump, is challenging Congresswoman Liz Cheney, the committee's vice chair and a vociferous critic of the former president.

A spokesman for Mr Trump, Taylor Budowich, suggested that the committee's decision to call Mr Stepien was politically motivated.

Monday's witness list includes BJ Pak, the top federal prosecutor in Atlanta who left his position on January 4, 2021, a day after an audio recording was made public in which Mr Trump called him a "never-Trumper".

Also included is Chris Stirewalt, the former political editor for Fox News.

The committee has said most of those interviewed in the investigation are coming forward voluntarily, although some have wanted subpoenas to appear in public.

Filmmaker Nick Quested, who provided documentary footage of the attack, said during last week’s hearing that he had received a subpoena to appear.

Committee members said they would present clear evidence that Republican legislators had sought a pardon from Mr Trump, which would protect them from prosecution.

Committee members indicated that perhaps their most important audience member over the course of the hearings may be Attorney General Merrick Garland, who must decide whether his department could and should prosecute Mr Trump.

They left no doubt as to their own view of whether the evidence was sufficient to proceed.

“Once the evidence is accumulated by the Justice Department, it needs to make a decision about whether it can prove to a jury beyond a reasonable doubt the president’s guilt or anyone else’s,” Mr Schiff said.

“But they need to be investigated if there’s credible evidence, which I think there is.”

No president or former president has ever been indicted.

Richard Nixon resigned from office in 1974 as he faced an impeachment and a likely grand jury indictment on charges of bribery, conspiracy and obstruction of justice.

President Gerald Ford later pardoned his predecessor before any criminal charges related to Watergate could be filed.

Updated: June 12, 2022, 11:41 PM