“The leaders of the House committee that is investigating the Capitol attack have been divided over whether to issue a criminal referral to the DOJ of Donald J. Trump, even though they believe they have the required evidence to do so, people close to the discussions said on Sunday,” according to The New York Times.
“Is that correct? Do you have enough evidence to seek criminal charges against Trump?” Asked Jake Tapper on CNN.
“We haven’t made a decision about referrals on the committee,” Cheney said. “I believe it is indisputably true that they knew what they were doing was illegal, and they did it anyway.” In fact, that isn’t the case at all. Cheney overlooks the fact that on Jan. 6, 2021, Trump informed protestors: “Everyone here will soon be going over to the Capitol building to patriotically and peacefully make your voices heard.”
In the United States, peaceful protest is not against the law, and there is nothing else that the Jan. 6 Committee can legitimately charge Trump with. The key word, though, is “reasonably,” because the Jan. 6 Committee is made up of pillars of Washington politics who despise Trump; there’s no evidence that they want to be objective about it.
However, the illegal behavior was discovered elsewhere, according to Cheney. She added: “I believe you saw that in the decision given by Judge Carter a few weeks ago, where he found it more probable than not that the president of the U.S. was engaged in criminal activity.”
“The evidence indicates that he [Trump] engaged in obstruction of justice, and the Court finds it more likely than not,” U.S. District Court Judge David Carter said, referring to his opinion on late March: “Based on the evidence, the Court believes it is more likely than not that Trump obstructed justice during a Joint Session of the U.S. Congress on Jan. 6, 2021.” Taylor Budowich, a spokesperson for President Trump’s team, called Carter’s decision “absurd and baseless.”
Cheney, on the other hand, had a lot more than that: “I think what we’ve seen is a massive and well-organized and well-planned effort to try to overthrow an election,” she said.
“You’ve seen in the past few days a plea agreement from one member of the Proud Boys, which lays out in great detail the amount of violence planned, and how far-reaching the message was on Dec. 19 about planning — and don’t forget, Trump tweeted it: Be there. Be wild.”
It’s a huge leap to connect Trump’s “be wild” comment with someone accused of planning violence, especially since Trump urged protesters to be peaceful. That isn’t stopping Cheney, though.
“That, the day after that message,” she continued, “the organization and the planning began, and they understood they were going to attempt to use force to try to stop the transfer of power. This is what an insurrection is defined as. It’s absolutely chilling.”
Even if her description of the Proud Boys situation is accurate, there’s no evidence Trump knew about it or even approved of it. Her claim that it relates to Trump is tenuous at best.