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Donald Trump rages as Capitol riot committee recommends criminal charges against him

In a statement released on his Truth Social media platform after the Democratic-led committee voted unanimously for the justice department to prosecute him, he said: “These folks don’t get it that when they come after me, people who love freedom rally around me. It strengthens me. What doesn’t kill me makes me stronger.”

Mr Trump attempted to condemn the criminal referral as “a partisan attempt to sideline me and the Republican Party” as he runs for office again in 2024.

But the Republican Party appeared to be slow in rallying around the former president – with Republicans so far largely avoiding commenting on the criminal referral as his critics were outspoken.

Maryland Governor Larry Hogan, a Republican Trump critic, said: “No man is above the law”.

While the Republican vice chair of the committee, Liz Cheney, describing Mr Trump’s behaviour on the day of the riots, said: “In addition to being unlawful… this was an utter moral failure and a clear dereliction of duty.” She said: “No man who would behave that way, at that moment in time, can ever serve in any position of authority in our nation again. He is unfit for any office.”

On Monday the House January 6 committee finished its 18 month inquiry into the Capitol riot by urging the Justice Department to bring criminal charges against Mr Trump saying he engaged in a “multi-part conspiracy” to overturn Joe Biden’s 2020 election victory.

New video of Hope Hicks’ deposition was played

/ AP

The committee alleged violations of four criminal statutes by Mr Trump, in both the run-up to the riot in which Trump supporters stormed the Capitol building and during the insurrection itself.

The charges recommended by the committee in its “roadmap to justice” are conspiracy to defraud the United States, obstruction of an official proceeding of Congress, conspiracy to make a false statement and aiding an insurrection.

The recommendations are largely symbolic. The Justice Department – whose prosecutors are already considering whether to charge Mr Trump – does not have to follow a congressional committee’s referral. It declined to comment on the recommendation.

On Monday, the committee also released a new video from their deposition with longtime Trump aide Hope Hicks, who said she had warned Mr Trump that by continuing to make false claims about the election, he and his team were “damaging his legacy”.

Mr Trump had shrugged off her concern, she said. The committee’s full report into the Capitol riot will be published on Wednesday.

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