America’s Darkest 187 Minutes: The Crimes Donald Trump May Have Committed While the Capitol Was Overrun
Today, the House panel investigating the January 6 riots will hold its last planned hearing. Although more may be scheduled
Today, the House panel investigating the January 6 riots will hold its last planned hearing. Although more may be scheduled in the near future, this is the last one we know to expect.
It will cover what happened during the 187 minutes in which the Capitol was overrun up until Donald Trump released a video message asking rioters to stand down and go home.
The question is, has or will the committee meet the burden of proving that Donald Trump committed crimes related to January 6?
Today’s Hearing Spans Just Over 3 Hours of Chaos
This is the last planned hearing of the summer, although there may be more to come.
What it will cover is the 187 minutes during which the former President did not take public action to disarm the situation.
While the former President ostensibly sat in the White House and watched TV, rioters attacked and killed Capitol police, roamed the halls of the nation's most iconic legislative building, and threatened violence on any members of Congress they could get their hands on, as well as the former Vice President Mike Pence.
What Trump was saying to whom and what he wanted to do will answer some vital questions about how involved he was in the activities of January 6.
CNN writes, "This timeframe is central to the committee's mission. Republican Rep. Liz Cheney of Wyoming, the committee's GOP vice chair, has repeatedly said that the evidence obtained by the panel about these 187 minutes provides a clear example of Trump's 'supreme dereliction of duty' throughout the insurrection.
The panel's Democratic chairman, Rep. Bennie Thompson of Mississippi, said earlier this year, 'The President was told, 'You need to say directly to your people to go home, leave the Capitol.' And so, it took over 187 minutes to make that simple statement. Something's wrong with that.'"
The question is though – has the House proven that he is criminally culpable for the rioters on January 6? And what criminal charges could he be facing?
Has the House Proven Its Case?
First, it's important to remember that the House is not a judicial body. Whether or not they have met the burden of proving criminal intent or involvement is almost irrelevant.
What they're trying to prove to the public is that Donald Trump was aware, involved in, and enthusiastic about the preparation and operation of the January 6 attempted insurrection.
That burden of proof, they have met – depending on which public you ask. Some supporters remain steadfast regardless of the witnesses and statements being trotted out before the nation.
Other viewers however are convinced, and regardless of any criminal charges they have decided to abandon the former Republican darling for good.
Criminal intent and activity only matters to the Department of Justice, and their investigation is going on behind closed doors and away from public scrutiny.
Attorney General Merrick Garland recently came under fire for releasing a memo reminding the DOJ that they do not get involved in political theater and that during an election year especially, conducting themselves with impartiality and professionalism is of the utmost importance. Many took this memo as a suggestion that Trump could not be prosecuted – a theory which Garland responded to by reassuring the public that "no one is above the law," not even a former President.
However, whether or not the DOJ actually will or can bring charges against Trump remains uncertain. Trump for his part has privately revealed to his team that he longs to reclaim the protection from prosecution that the office of President provides. Whether or not that would be enough, or whether Trump has anything to fear, are still unknowns.
But here are the potential crimes Trump could be facing if the Department of Justice believes him criminally culpable:
- Conspiracy to insurrection
- Obstruction of Congress
- Seditious conspiracy
- Conspiracy to defraud
- Dereliction of duty.
In addition, Trump faces mounting scrutiny over his attempts to overturn election results in Georgia – which may supersede animal criminal liability from the actions of January 6.
Whether or not they can prove that he was involved in the planning and execution of the January 6 riots, Trump's inaction during those vital 187 minutes may hold the most damning evidence of all.
Whether or not criminal charges stem from the investigation, what people are learning about the business mogul's care for the lives of the American people during the Capitol riots may paint him forever with a scarlet letter.