Donald Trump will not dull the investigation of the congressional committee investigating the deadly attack on the Capitol on Jan. 6 by announcing that he will return to the Oval Office, a panel member said Sunday.
Elaine Luria, a congresswoman from Virginia and one of seven Democrats on the committee, told CNN’s Dana Bash, “The bottom line is that no one is above the law — whether he’s a president, former president, or a potential future presidential candidate, we’re not. going after the facts.”
Luria’s comments were in response to a frequently asked question of whether Trump could simply announce that he will run for president again in 2024 and protect himself from the threat of prosecution posed by the evidence presented at the recent January 6 commission hearings. presented.
While the commission cannot indict Trump itself, it can recommend federal prosecutors.
Federal prosecutors have historically avoided bringing criminal cases against prominent candidates ahead of high-stakes elections. But Luria’s comments suggest the committee members will not halt their investigation or possibly avoid recommending charges against Trump just because the ex-president would announce his ambitions to seek an election rematch against Joe Biden.
Millions of Americans have watched live as witnesses called by the Jan. 6 commission showed how far Trump tried to keep himself in the presidency after losing to Biden in the 2020 race.
One of the most disturbing episodes: He’s accused of claiming his armored car and sending it to the Capitol when a mob of his supporters – whom he said “fight like hell” – stormed the building the day Congress had to certify his defeat. And when his vice president was confronted by a mob who tried to hang him for not obstructing certification, Trump is said to have told aides Mike Pence “deserves it.”
Luria and Congressman Adam Kinzinger of Illinois, one of two Republicans on the panel, will chair the committee’s next hearing on July 21.
Luria said Sunday the commission planned to call new witnesses close to Trump and broadcast additional “minute-by-minute” evidence to establish that he watched idly as the attack on the Capitol unfolded. A bipartisan Senate report has linked seven deaths to the rioting that day.
Meanwhile, Kinzinger promised on CBS’ Face the Nation on Sunday that the commission’s investigation is “not being finalized.” He said he personally hoped the panel could host an interview with Pence, though he admitted, “I’m not sure we’ll get much from him.”
Likewise, when asked on ABC’s This Week whether the committee would like to interview Pence or Trump himself, California panelist Zoe Lofgren said, “Everything is on the table.”
Over time, the commission recommended criminal charges against four prominent Trump White House officials who refused to cooperate with the investigation: Steve Bannon, Peter Navarro, Mark Meadows and Dan Scavino.
Federal prosecutors have charged Bannon and Navarro, who face jail terms, and have pleaded innocent, but it has not charged Scavino or Meadows.
Bannon’s trial begins Monday with jury selection, although he recently offered to meet with the committee and give affidavit.