Why January 6th committee vote matters to Donald Trump and his political ambition

US News

​​​​​​​This committee was never building a case against Donald Trump simply to let him off the hook.

For months, the story told has been of an insurrection plot with the former president at its heart.

In laying out a timeline towards the attack on the Capitol, time and again committee members have pointed to Donald Trump.

House Select Committee investigating the Jan. 6 attack led by Chairman Rep. Bennie Thompson, D-Miss., swears in the witnesses during during the seventh public hearing by the House Select Committee to investigate the January 6th attack on the US Capitol, in Washington, DC, U.S., July 12, 2022. Doug Mills/Pool via REUTERS
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The House Select Committee investigating the January 6 attack. Pic: AP

Of course, they still have to agree to make a referral on the proposed charges, as reported by US media outlets. Don’t bet against it.

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Their findings were always going to put Trump in the frame.

Anything less would send a message to prosecutors and public alike that he has no questions to answer, and they won’t let that happen.

This doesn’t mean an early morning knock on the door at Mar-a-Lago, at least not yet.

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The January 6th committee is made up of politicians, making a political finding, and they’ll pass any recommendations onto the Department of Justice.

It will be its job to pursue any criminal charges and it’s a job already under way.

January 6th – and Trump’s part in it – is already on the department’s case files along with the investigation into classified documents found at his Mar-a-Lago home in Florida.

Pic: AP
Image:
Pic: AP

Investigators will insist their enquiries are air-tight and unaffected by external events, but the context is altered by a congressional committee calling for criminal charges.

When politicians playing detective say “prosecute”, it heightens public expectations. Actual detectives will have some explaining to do if they don’t concur.

Amidst it all, of course, is Donald Trump and his designs on a second term in the White House.

Decisions taken next week, and in the weeks to follow, matter to him and his political ambition.

They could dictate time spent on the campaign trail versus the courthouse.

And wherever else beyond.

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