The House panel formed by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and investigating the events surrounding the January 6th Capitol riot could soon be turning its attention directly to former President Trump. After issuing requests and then subsequent subpoenas to many former Trump Administration officials the panel is indicating it plans to explore any potential criminal wrongdoing by former President Trump.
The Hill reports:
Quoting the statutory text for a felony obstruction offense, Cheney said that a key question for the select committee investigation is, “Did Donald Trump, through action or inaction, corruptly seek to obstruct or impede Congress’ official proceedings to count electoral votes?”
Obstruction of an official proceeding is a charge that carries a maximum possible sentence of 20 years in prison. Federal prosecutors have wielded it against hundreds of rioters accused of participating in the attack on the Capitol.
But bringing the same charge against a president who never set foot in the building would require far more complex legal and political calculations.
“The challenge is … this undefined territory of the circumstances under which an executive official crosses the line between exercising executive power to actual obstruction of justice,” said Daniel Hemel, a University of Chicago law professor.
The move is a distinct uptick in the panel’s investigation. If they went forward with the plan the committee said it can refer Donald Trump to the Justice Department for prosecution.